Chris Young and Curtis Granderson keys to a winning season

Chris YoungIt has been a rough start to the season for two-thirds of Sandy Alderson’s “big” free agency acquisitions.  While Bartolo Colon has gotten off to a decent start, Chris Young and Curtis Granderson have stumbled somewhat in the early going.

Young’s struggles have been much less alarming than Grandersons, mostly because of the much smaller sample size involved, but also the presence of some kind of process.  Take his 11 pitch at bat Sunday against Tom Koehler for example.  Young laid off pitches outside of the zone, fouled off several others and it resulted in a long home run.

He is pretty much who we thought he is: a player who will hit for a low average (.194) and good power (.194 ISO) and play a better defense than Lucas Duda.  As the sample size grows, Young’s batting average should regress toward his career numbers somewhere in the .220 to .230 range, and if it does, he should have a solid season.

On the other hand, Granderson has a little bit of a larger sample to go by, and the results aren’t even as good as Young’s.  On the still young season, Granderson has hit just .192/.242/.212.  Just about the only redeeming thing about that line is that Granderson is taking his walks, but that is not exactly inspiring.

You can say that Granderson has gotten unlucky when he’s hit the ball hard this year, and you’d be right, but the problem lies in that he’s not hitting the ball with authority enough to say that luck has been the only factor – he has stunk.

It is nice to think that maybe the two walk-offs in the last week could do something to help get him going at the plate, and perhaps it will.  Since that hit on Friday night, however, Granderson is 0-9 with two walks and two runs scored – not exactly something that indicates he’s breaking out.

All of this isn’t to say, of course, that luck hasn’t played any kind of role in Granderson’s struggles this season – pretty much any time a non-pitcher has a BABIP of .175 there is some bad luck involved – but he’s not necessarily helping out his cause by striking out 28 percent of the time.

But like Young, that’s who Granderson is at this stage of his career.  When you’re going to strike out that much, whatever struggles you are having when the ball is put in play are only going to be amplified.  When that happens at the beginning of a season, it only looks even worse.

Yet despite the struggles from two of the new Mets, the team has found success in the early going thanks mostly to their strong starting pitching.  Despite an even run differential and a team wOBA of .277 (MLB average is .313), they’ve been able to scratch and claw out 14 wins in the first 25 games.

With peripheral stats such as the ones that the Mets have, the .560 pace that the Mets are on is unsustainable.  A lot of people may mention the 2007 Diamondbacks as a counter argument to this – the team had a Pythagorean record of 79-83, and a real record of 90-72 – but that team was an aberration.  Teams simply do not outperform their run differentials reliably enough.

If the Mets are to continue the success that they’ve had so far this year, they need to start hitting.  There’s no reason yet to worry about Travis d’Arnaud, who is starting to come around, though the power is not there yet, and the same can be said for David Wright.

The real concerns should be focused on Granderson and Young, because if they can get it going, the Mets might just make some noise in the National League this year.

Joe Vasile is the voice of the Fayetteville SwampDogs and a play-by-play announcer for NJ.org Varsity.


3 comments for “Chris Young and Curtis Granderson keys to a winning season

  1. Jerry Grote
    April 28, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Joe, when was the last time a single player accounted for 25% of a teams runs over the course of a month? Certainly never over a whole season.

    EYJ is the canary in the coal mine here. He’s begun his descent back to a .320 OBP and Lagares will be coming back not a minute too soon.

    Denver and PA will either disguise our issues, or be the kindling that lights up Granderson and Chris Young.

  2. Jerry Grote
    April 28, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I’ll repost this to David’s article later on today, but its worthwhile repeating …

    Today, each of the Mets top four affiliates will include at least one of the top four hitters in their division by OPS. Been awhile since we’ve had that kind of hitting in the organization.

    Dyskstra #1 in AAA
    Clark #1 in AA
    Nimmo and Rivera, 3 and 4 at St. Lucie
    McNeil #4 in Savannah

  3. jmhammer
    May 1, 2014 at 8:38 am

    The key here is pitching and defense, and this team has it. they are beginning to remind me of the 69 team, a .228 team batting ave. but a lot of strong starting pitching. Grandy and Young will come around , and even if its not up to expectations, this team may contend anyway.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if they make the playoffs, SF Giants did it with limited hitting. GO Mets, prove all the experts wrong !

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