Heading into Spring Training, I thought it would be nice to take a look at some projected offensive numbers for the eight players believed to be in the lead for starting positions on the 2013 edition of the New York Mets. This analysis is only meant to reflect offensive production and doesn’t attempt to reflect any defensive contributions the player might or might not make.  It also doesn’t get into complete offensive output on a position basis.  That is to say, a platoon situation like that of 2B in 1986 had two significant contributors: Backman and Teufel; for this exercise, only Backman is considered.  An analysis of Bench Contributions is in the development stage.

There are two sections: 1) the final production numbers from those players who had the most starts at each position (catcher through right field) and 2) some projected numbers based on statistics accrued over the past two full* seasons.

(*Note: I tried to go with numbers that made sense.  For instance, in the case of Ike Davis, I skipped the 2011 season because he only had a limited number of bats).

I used Keith Hernandez’s 1986 number of AB’s as an artificial ceiling so as not to over-inflate some numbers accrued over the past couple of years.  So no player for 2013, projects to have more than 551 AB’s.

    At Bats Runs Hits Home Runs RBIs SBs SacFlys
1986 Team                
1B Hernandez   551 94 171 13 83 2 3
2B Backman   387 67 124 1 27 13 3
SS Santana   394 38 86 1 28 0 3
3B Knight   486 51 145 11 76 2 8
C Carter   490 81 125 24 105 1 15
LF M. Wilson   381 61 110 9 45 25 1
CF Dykstra   431 77 127 8 45 31 2
RF Straberry   475 76 123 27 93 28 9
2013 Team                
1B I Davis   514 65 117 31 89 0 3
2B Murphy   548 60 160 6 62 9 4
SS Tejada   547 63 158 1 27 5 2
3B Wright   529 86 167 20 87 14 5
C Buck   254 21 48 9 30 0 1
LF Cowgill   118 11 32 1 10 3 1
CF Nieuwenhuis   282 40 71 7 28 4 2
RF Duda   534 57 128 20 76 1 4

1. First Base: Davis stands up competitively with Hernandez. He’s got significantly more power. We can see a slight deficiency in expected runs scored. The biggest difference between the two is in number of hits (Hernandez had 171 and Davis projects to 117).

2. Second Base: Murphy also matches up well against Backman. Murphy exceeds Backman’s production in most categories. There is a slight edge to Backman in Runs Scored and SB’s but otherwise Murphy is better than Backman. However, we must again note that Backman was in a full-time platoon with Teufel. So although Murphy’s totals exceed Backman, they might not exceed the sum total of the Backman/Teufel tandem. Analysis of “Positional Output” is still to come.

3. Shortstop: Tejada matches up against Santana well and exceeds him in some notable categories: AB’s, Runs Scored, and Hits.

4. Third Base: Wright exceeds Knight in all offensive categories but note that Knight in a platoon role, still amassed 145 hits and 76 RBI’s. Again, when “Positional Output” numbers are computed, we might see that the Knight/HoJo platoon might exceed Wrights’ potential All-Star offensive contributions.

5. Catcher: (Note: I went with Buck as the starter here). Buck has some decent power for a catcher; he projects at 9 HR’s and 30 RBI’s. Obviously, there is a major gap between what Buck is expected to do when compared to what Carter did do. (Second note: You have to expect D’Arnaud to get the call at some point during the 2013 season, and there probably isn’t a Met fan out there who can’t wait for him to get behind the plate in Citi Field. Everyone will accept the Rookie’s production this year in anticipation of production yet to come).

6. LF: Mookie Wilson contributed 110 Hits, 61 Runs Scored, 45 RBI’s, and 25 SB’s in only 381 AB’s (Note: George Foster was the original full-time starter in 1986 but Wilson had more total AB’s that year). Will Cowgill be the Opening Day left fielder for the 2013 Mets? He hasn’t amassed enough major league AB’s to full predict his production over a full season with a reasonable amount of plate appearances. Right now, he is not projecting as a significant contributor in any offensive category.

7. CF: Lenny Dykstra was also a significant contributor to the 1986 Mets Offense. With 77 Runs Scored, 127 Hits, 45 RBI’s, and 31 SB’s. Will Nieuwenhuis be the Opening Day center fielder for the 2013 Mets? His numbers project out more positively than Cowgill. He has a bit more power. At 282 projected AB’s though, he doesn’t seem to be a full-time contributor but he is not without some offensive merit.

8. RF: Strawberry led the team with 27 HR’s. He was second with 93 RBI’s and contributed 28 SB’s. Will Duda be the Opening Day right fielder for the 2013 Mets? His numbers project out higher than both Cowgill or Nieuwenhuis. He projects to be a significant contributor with 20 HR’s and 76 RBI’s.

Where can the 2013 Mets use help?  Its probably no surprise but at least two of three OF spots seem to lack any offensive punch.  What is the single biggest missing offensive weapon? Speed.  How could it be resolved?  It might cost us a draft-pick.

6 comments on “1986 Mets versus 2013 Mets: Starting eight

  • Glenn

    To even suggest that Ike Davis matches up competitively with Keith Hernandez invalidates the whole article. Hernandez’s contributions were much greater than the sum of his stats. And you didn’t even reference fielding, where Keith may have saved more runs than he produced at the plate.

    • Brian Joura

      Read the very first paragraph.

    • Jim OMalley

      Comletely understood. I was looking at Offense only. I mentioned that in article. Defense will be assessed in another article. Keith H was the total team captain. Look at Ike numbers against Hernandez’s numbers and only the numbers.

  • NormE

    Jim, this was a fun article. Just the kind of thing to do in February. The one quibble I would make is that I don’t see Duda in RF. If you’ve got to play him in the OF it should be LF.

  • Glenn

    Even just looking at the offensive stats, Ike doesn’t math up with Hernandez. Keith had a 140 OPS+ in 1986 and led the NL in walks. Ike’s OPS+ was 110 last year, that is a significant difference. Keith Hernandez is a superior player in every aspect except power, but his other traits easily make up the difference. Add in defense and leadership and it is a no contest.

  • Pete

    When you display and compare players of different generations you can’t show the heart and grit that defines a player. While it’s fun to “compare” sometimes you guys miss the point. It takes more than numbers to define a player. To say that Daniel Murphy stacks up just as well as Wally Backman leaves me at a lost for words. You can’t sit down on a computer and look up statistics and then leave out the intangibles that certain players bring to a team. That is the one thing you cannot quantify.

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