Cincinnati Reds v New York MetsSpring Training is winding down and we approach the regular season with, despite the sprinklings of bad news, what amounts to the most optimism in Queens in what seems like forever. Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom are dominating hitters, David Wright looks to be getting back to his old self, and the signing of Michael Cuddyer is looking like a solid move so far. Things are looking pretty good for the Mets heading into the season’s opening series. Indeed, we’re only an oblique injury or two from it really feeling like the opening of another season of Mets baseball (kidding).

Acknowledging the normal caveat that Spring Training stats are essentially meaningless, there is one statistic for the team that jumps out: home runs. As of this writing, the Mets are third in the MLB with 31 of them. They haven’t wrapped up a Spring Training in the top ten in home runs since 2010. A comparison to that team is obviously not a glowing endorsement and we’ll get back to that later, but for now let’s focus on what’s happening in Port St. Lucie.

The leader of the pack is Cuddyer with five home runs. There isn’t total agreement on what the Mets will get from him after signing him to a two-year deal last winter, but it’s clear they’re hoping to get the 20-plus home run pop from him that he’s shown he’s capable of in the middle of their lineup. He’s looking healthy and hitting the ball extremely well.

Second place is a four-way tie between Wright, Juan Lagares, John Mayberry Jr., and Johnny Monell with three each. Mayberry is a bench player, Monell won’t make the team out of Spring Training, and Lagares will not be a source a major power barring some unbelievable turn of events. That leaves Wright as the lone member of this group displaying power at a rate that should generally translate into the season. The rest of the pack is sprinkled with starters, bench players, and those destined for Triple-A.

Let’s take a look back at that 2010 team. It was a team with a younger David Wright looking to prove his power outage in 2009 was a fluke (it was, mostly). It included Jason Bay, fresh off of a monster year in Boston and not yet an abject failure in orange and blue. It also included the rookie Ike Davis on the cusp of displaying his prominent power stroke, however brief that period lasted.

Of course, that team ended up in the bottom half of the league in home runs by the end of the year and well out of the playoffs. That was due, in no small part, to the failures of a recovering Carlos Beltran‘s knees and Bay’s baseball abilities. Additionally, that Spring Training home run total was buoyed by the likes of Chris Carter and Mike Jacobs, the 2010 versions of Monell and Mayberry in this context.

Will 2015 be a repeat of 2010? Will Curtis Granderson‘s abilities fall off of a cliff like Bay’s did? Will Cuddyer’s health severely impact his ability to contribute to the team like Beltran? Will Lucas Duda‘s power breakout prove just a fluke like Davis? Those are obviously imperfect comparisons both in terms of time frame and circumstances, but they are legitimate concerns for a team that can’t afford to suffer large setbacks in their offense.

The main difference between the two rosters is home run potential. The Mets’ 2010 roster had the potential for just enough pop to maybe make them dangerous. Missing Beltran for the first half of the season and the disastrous season Bay had essentially squashed that potential. The 2015 team has more power potential spread throughout the roster than even the most optimistic predictions of that 2010 squad.

Does this all mean that the team is on course to hit for more power than in years past? It could be that the power displayed this spring by the Mets portends a finish in the first half of the league in home runs for the first time since 2008. That would go a long way towards vaulting the team into the playoffs for the first time since 2006. You can’t trust what you see in spring, though, and things like the parks they play in and the competition they face factor into this in a big way. After all, in Spring Training anyone can be a hero.

4 comments on “The Mets and spring training home runs

  • Metsense

    Your comparison to 2010 and the parallels to the players is quite chilling. Granderson/Bay, Cuddyer/Beltran, Duda/Davis and Monell-Mayberry/ Carter-Jacobs are astute comparison. Some look through rose colored glasses and others look into a rear view mirror. To ignore the rear view mirror is reckless but to believe objects that appear in it are closer to home is be too timid. Your correct conclusion that the 2015 lineup has more power potential throughout the lineup should make the Mets a better offensive team. Nice article Rob.

    • Rob Rogan

      Thanks, Metsense! As I said, the parallels are a bit imperfect but close enough that they’re pretty interesting. The other thing is that 2010 was at the head of this current descent into mediocrity, whereas 2015 is (hopefully) at the head of a Mets resurgence. Here’s to hoping.

  • Patrick Albanesius

    Agreed, great article. You touch on both the positives and the negatives of this team, while staying pretty objective. Granderson has been looking phenomenal, though, and the home runs look like easy power coming from he, Cuddyer and Wright. To quote Simon Pegg’s Scotty, “I like this ship. It’s exCITING.”

    • Rob Rogan

      Yeah I’m really liking what I’m seeing from those three. Assuming Duda’s struggles are the result of his initial injury and he can build on last season, this team actually could have the makings of a pretty formidable lineup. Of course, as we’ve seen so often, everything could fall apart so quickly…

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