Carig talked to people at every level of the organization and ended up dispelling just about every myth about the system.
The fact of the matter is simple – while Dave Hudgens became the sacrificial lamb last week when he was relieved of his duties as the Mets hitting coach, his philosophy was not the reason for the Mets’ offensive woes.
The system was – and still is – not about being passive at the plate and just going to the plate looking to draw a walk. It is about swinging at pitches that you know that you can handle, and laying off those you can’t.
Don’t take my word, take Paul DePodestas.
“Walks are going to happen if you’re being selective,” said DePodesta to Carig. “But what we really want to happen is guys driving balls, hitting balls into gaps, hitting balls off of walls or over walls. These are even better than walks, you know?”
But often when the results are not there, the philosophy gets confused with one of passivity, and fans grow annoyed.
Part of this stems from the disconnect between the way most fans view the game, and the way that the front office does. Like Carig says, fans speak the language of results – home runs and RBIs – while the front office is more about the approach and the process.
To be sure there are fans who are more approach and process-minded, but they are the minority, even if they are an expanding one.
Two hitters with very different approaches at the plate – Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda – can both thrive, relatively speaking, within the system, even if one is aggressive early in the count and the other prefers to take a pitch or two.
Those who say that Murphy’s success is a byproduct of not adhering to the Mets organizational hitting philosophy either don’t understand the philosophy, or are looking for excuses to criticize it because they don’t like it.
Murphy rarely swings at a pitch that he can’t make contact with. He consistently posts well below average swinging strike rates, and makes contact with an impressively high percentage of pitches he swings at both in and out of the strike zone.
He swings at the pitches that he can handle – sounds a lot like the Mets organizational philosophy to me.
On the other hand, there are many pitches that Duda can’t handle that Murphy can, so he lays off of them. If Duda tried to swing at some of the balls that Murphy collects singles off of, he’d miss. Murphy is a better contact hitter than Duda, plain and simple.
But few hitters in the lineup are as proficient with the bat as Murphy is, and that is the real problem. The lack of talent on the team is what is really responsible for the team’s offensive woes – not the system. Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan have been replaced by the likes of Scott Hairston, Ruben Tejada and Andres Torres.
Don’t confuse the process with the results.
Joe Vasile is the voice of the Fayetteville SwampDogs.