Daniel Murphy has a reputation as a streaky hitter and he’s ending the 2013 season on a hot note. In his last 12 games he has 17 hits and sports a .925 OPS. He now has 184 hits for the year, one more than the best season in New York by current Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez. Murphy sits in 12th place in franchise history for hits in a single season. He’s one behind Felix Millan, who set the club record in 1973 with 185 hits. Here’s the top 10 in club history:
227 – Lance Johnson, 1996
204 – Jose Reyes, 2008
197 – John Olerud, 1998
196 – David Wright, 1997
194 – Reyes, 2006
191 – Reyes, 2007
191 – Edgardo Alfonzo, 1999
191 – Millan, 1975
190 – Reyes, 2005
189 – Wright, 2008
A DICEY PROPOSITION? – Daisuke Matsuzaka has made seven starts for the Mets after being acquired to replace Matt Harvey in the rotation. His first three starts were dreadful but the last four have been terrific, as he’s 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA and a 0.835 WHIP. There’s even been talk about bringing him back for next season. The interesting thing with Matsuzaka is how his 2013 stats are so similar to his lifetime MLB totals.
If we set the IP requirement to 60 innings, we have 83 SP in the NL to meet that so far in 2013. Matsuzaka’s ERA would put him solidly as an SP5, although he has just 38.2 IP this year. His 2013 xFIP would be at a SP6 rate. If the Mets go the dumpster diving route again for 2014, Matsuzaka should be under consideration, if he’ll sign a cheap one-year deal. He will have enough service time to be a free agent following the 2013 season.
WHAT TO DO WITH AARDVARK? Another player eligible for free agency at the end of the year is reliever David Aardsma. When he first came up, Aardsma did a fine job of stabilizing the bullpen. But he hit a rough patch in the middle that make his stats look very replaceable. Yet now Aardsma is finishing the season strong. Here is his season broken up in three consecutive periods:
A – 20 G, 21 IP, 2.14 ERA, 1.095 WHIP
B – 14 G, 11.2 IP, 10.03 ERA, 2.486 WHIP
C – 8 G, 6.2 IP, 1.35 ERA, 0.750 WHIP
Much like with Matsuzaka, if the Mets can get Aardsma on a cheap one-year deal it would seem to be a good idea to bring him back for 2014.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT DUDA? – Right now most people see Lucas Duda as failing in his “audition” for the first base job. Since his recall from the minors, Duda has a .195/.350/.366 slash line for a .716 OPS. It’s nothing to get excited about but it’s not as bad as most are making it out to be. Duda is getting eaten up with strikeouts, as he has a 29.1 K% in this stretch. Yet someone with a .350 OBP in the middle of a cold streak is still helping the team. It’s important to realize that Duda has a .245 BABIP since returning from Las Vegas. Lifetime in the majors, Duda has a .296 BABIP
DO YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT EY JR? – Meanwhile, almost nothing is being said about Eric Young Jr. who is doing much more to hurt the club over the same span. Young is the team’s leadoff hitter and in the month of September, he’s done a poor job. Despite a .321 BABIP, Young has only a .303 OBP this month, a poor number for anyone and a rotten one for a leadoff guy. In 25 games, he has only 11 runs scored. The knee jerk reaction is to say it’s all Duda’s fault that he doesn’t have more runs scored. While Duda has certainly played a part, he’s had plenty of company. Here’s the list of batters who stranded Young in scoring position so far this month:
10 – Duda
7 – Murphy
6 – Lagares
5 – Satin
4 – Wright
1 – d’Arnaud, Lutz, Turner, Flores, Brown, Baxter
Duda was 0-5 with four walks and a sacrifice fly (Young was on 2B) the 10 times he came up with Young in scoring position. Meanwhile, Lagares was 0-6.
WHO TO CHOOSE FOR LEADOFF? – Young’s struggles are indicative of the Mets’ issues with leadoff hitters this year. Just looking at the first PA of the game, Mets leadoff hitters have a .599 OPS and 18 Runs in 159 games, both figures ranking 14th in the 15-team National League. Meanwhile, in 140 games as the leadoff batter for the Reds, Shin-Soo Choo has a 1.057 OPS and 31 Runs in his first PA. Despite horrific defense, Choo has totaled 5.4 fWAR this season. A move to a corner OF position should help some and with Juan Lagares around, there’s no need for Choo to play CF in Queens, if the Wilpons actually have the money to invest in the free agent market this offseason.