David Wright’s super start, Bobby Parnell’s good week, Mike Baxter’s heroics

While Ike Davis grabs all of the attention for duplicating his rough start from a season ago, almost no attention is being given to David Wright once again getting off to a terrific start. Unlike last year at this time, the Mets are under .500 and all of the buzz centers around Matt Harvey and John Buck. However, Wright deserves praise for getting out of the gate quick.

Through games of May 9th last year, Wright had a .376/.475/.554 line. It was great fun watching him return to MVP form yet Wright was succeeding thanks to an unsustainable .427 BABIP during that stretch. Compare that to this year, when Wright has a .299/.424/.542 line with a .325 BABIP. That number might still appear to be elevated, yet compare it to his career .345 mark in the category.

This year, Wright has both a better walk rate (18.2 vs. 16.4) and a higher ISO (.243 vs. .178) than a season ago. Wright is accomplishing this coming off last year’s second-half swoon, signing an offseason mega extension and being named captain. Given all that’s happened, no one would have been surprised if Wright didn’t come close to 2012’s fantastic start. Instead he’s been extremely productive and seems better situated to maintain this output going forward.

PARNELL’S GOOD WEEK – In their last six games, the Mets are 4-2 and Bobby Parnell is 3-0 with a save. It’s a continuation of his strong pitching and for the season, the Mets’ closer has a 1.20 ERA and a 0.600 WHIP. Parnell has only three saves this year but that’s more of an indication of how the games have played out rather than Parnell’s performance. In High Leverage situations, Parnell has limited opposing batters to a .411 OPS over 32 PA. The NL average in High Leverage situations is a .733 OPS.

BULLPEN STRAIGHTENING THINGS OUT? – Last night the bullpen allowed just 1 ER in 4 IP. In the month of May, the pen has contributed 21.2 IP and allowed 7 ER – good for a 2.91 ERA. The Mets do not have an overpowering group of relievers but in May they have allowed 6 BB, notched 16 Ks and allowed just 2 HR. It’s a far cry from April, when the relievers allowed 68 ER in 88.1 IP. LaTroy Hawkins reverting to form has given Terry Collins five solid choices out of the pen. Robert Carson is clearly the seventh option in the 7-man pen and if management would replace him with a true long man, the bullpen would be even better.

BAXTER COMES THROUGH IN A PINCH – For the second time in three games, Mike Baxter came off the bench to deliver the game-winning hit. He’s now 5-9 as a pinch-hitter this year and as a Met he is 17-41 (.415) as a PH. Baseball-Reference makes available searches for splits on starter/sub and in franchise history, Baxter has the highest OPS for a sub (minimum 50 PA) with his .984 mark in 77 PA. Teammate Jordany Valdespin is tied for 11th in this same split with an .832 OPS in 90 PA.

STARTERS ENJOY REGULAR TURN IN ROTATION – The Mets recently embarked on a stretch where – weather permitting – they play 16 games in a row. This should be good news for the rotation, which has pitched much better going on traditional four days of rest rather than either with fewer or greater off days. When pitching every fifth day, the starters have a combined 3.65 ERA, a 1.266 WHIP and a 2.60 K/BB ratio. On non-traditional rest, the numbers are: 4.16 ERA, a 1.371 WHIP and a 1.85 K/BB ratio.

COMEBACK HEROICS – Last year – especially after the All-Star break – it seemed like if the Mets fell behind at any point in the game there was little hope for a win. But it feels like a different vibe in 2013. Five of the team’s 14 wins have been of the comeback variety including four walk-off wins. The Mets have batted in the ninth inning 26 times in 2013 and have scored 13 runs. Last year the Mets batted in the ninth inning 132 times and scored 50 runs. The 2012 Mets had 23 comeback and six walk-off wins.

5 comments for “David Wright’s super start, Bobby Parnell’s good week, Mike Baxter’s heroics

  1. eric
    May 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    When Wheeler is called up, Hefner or Gee (depending on who is pitching less effectively – as of now, Gee)will replace Carson in the bullpen as the long man. I can see Familia being sent down for Francisco who should take over the 8th inning role, with Lyons in the 7th, and Hawkins and Rice filling the righty/lefty specialist roles. Atchison may end up getting reduced opportunities in high leverage situations. In general, the Mets brass has done a good job getting rid of the weak links – although they probably waited a week too long with Edgin.

    • May 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      So who gets here first – Francisco or Wheeler?

  2. Name
    May 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    The key to David, as most know, are his strikeouts.
    In his first 9 games, he was striking out at a rate of 20% while putting up a .250 BA and .697 OPS.
    In the last 22 games, he has cut his strikeout rate to only 13% and in that time frame has put up a .320 BA with a 1.081 OPS.
    If you put the ball in play, good things can happen.

  3. Metsense
    May 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I thought that DW would earn the WAR value of his conract and it is nice to see that he is off to a good start doing just that.Very good points from Name and Brian.
    Gee pitched OK but needs to go deeper or he may be the candidate for long man when Wheeler comes up AFTER Fransisco.
    1959 ElRoy Face 18-1, 1963 Ron Perranoski 16-3,1966 Phil “The Vulture” Regan 14-1, Bobby Parnell 4-0 and projected to 21-0 in 2013 !!!
    Baxter’s whole pinch hitting approach has made him a valuable commodity with a guarantee for a long baseball life, hopefully with the Mets. Way to go “Whitestone Wonder” !

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