While everyone and their brother wants to blame the team’s foundation of being built on homers for its recent problems, the simple fact is that the only thing keeping the team alive right now is home runs. Because the singles have gone into hibernation. It seems like blaming home runs for the Mets’ problems is similar to blaming a team’s best player for its shortfalls. It’s easy, it’s convenient and everyone loves a scapegoat.
In April the Mets averaged 1.5 HR per game. In May, that number was 1.4 HR per game.
Meanwhile, the team went from a BABIP of .299 in April to .252 in May.
Is the problem that Curtis Granderson is trying to hit every ball out of the park or is it that a lifetime .299 BABIP hitter has a .222 mark this past month? Maybe he’s not the best example because at age 35 we should probably expect some decline here. But let’s not pretend he’s the only one. Here are some other BABIPs for May:
Only Asdrubal Cabrera (.320 BABIP) and Neil Walker (.316) had marks above league average among those who started regularly in May. Neither of them were above league average to the degree that Conforto, Duda and Granderson were below. And the middle infielders combined for seven homers in the month, so it’s not like they weren’t trying to hit the ball out of the park and that their success was due to some philosophy that the others didn’t share.
Matt Reynolds, Ty Kelly and James Loney were all added to the roster and no one will accuse them of being guys who think home run when they come to the bat. That trio has gone 4-36 so far. And to make matters worse, they’ve got nothing to fall back on when the singles don’t drop in.
We all like to blame one person or idea whenever possible and advocate for far-ranging changes at the drop of a hat. Sometimes, not regularly but sometimes, one person or idea is the correct target for scorn. My suggestion is that this time is not one of them.
June got off to a horrific start. Yet my expectation is that by the end of the month, the Mets will once again hit more singles and the BABIPs will regress towards normal. And if the homers can stay at the pace of the first two months, the offense will be just fine. Patience may be a boring solution but it can also be the correct one.