Poll: Adrian Gonzalez’ slow start

The Mets picked up former overall number-one pick and five-time All Star Adrian Gonzalez during the offseason. The idea was that Gonzalez would allow Dominic Smith to get more seasoning at Triple-A after Smith came up last year and did not overwhelm either at the plate or in the field. In an injury-plagued season in 2017, Gonzalez put up a .242/.287/.355 line in 252 PA. So far in 11 games and 33 Spring Training PA, he has a .167/.242/.200 line. He has the third-most ABs of anyone on the team heading into Wednesday’s game against the Marlins.

Are you worried about Adrian Gonzalez' poor Grapefruit League performance?

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40 comments for “Poll: Adrian Gonzalez’ slow start

  1. Chris F
    March 14, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Im just curious. I voted yes. But let me ask, dont you think this is bigger than Agon? This team is plaing a particularly lousy level of baseball from pitching to fundamentals on the field to hitting. Thats getting harder to ignore.

    OK, its spring. But this is not a great looking product right now.

    • March 14, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      I haven’t seen much action so it’s hard for me to say a lot about how it all looks. But it seems half the regulars – Nimmo, the catchers, Cespedes, Bruce, Rosario – are hitting and half aren’t, which is what I would expect. I’d say the pitching has been disappointing. Hopefully Matz’ last outing is what we’ll see more of going forward and Wheeler’s is the opposite.

  2. MC
    March 14, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Grab Adam Lind and admit your mistake, Sandy. It’s the right thing to do.

  3. Barry2016
    March 14, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Completely agree.

    In Spring Training, if you’re a few games above or below .500, then OK, you could be bad or great, or anything in-between.

    But if you’re really good in ST, you’re probably going to be a good team during the season. Not guaranteed, but I’d bet statistically it’s more likely. (Look at the Yankees and Houston ST records last year.)

    Same thing if you are really bad in ST. You’re not likely to be a good team.
    Again, I haven’t checked the stats going back to the ice age, but from 50 years of watching baseball, I just know it’s usually the case.

    The Mets are not only bad, they aren’t even competitive this ST.
    Very disappointing.

    • Name
      March 14, 2018 at 3:36 pm

      No. Here’s a study.

      https://www.vivaelbirdos.com/2018/2/15/17010592/do-spring-training-records-mean-anything-research-standard-deviations-regular-season-mlb-cardinals

      Key takeaway: The measly 0.048 r^2 value means only 4.8% of a club’s eventual regular season performance can be explained by how it played in spring training.

      If you want more evidence, just google “mlb spring training doesn’t matter” and you’ll find a million article disproving your gut feeling.

      • Barry2016
        March 14, 2018 at 4:48 pm

        It looks like that study correlated all teams–not just very bad (or very good) teams in Spring Training–to their regular season performance.

        The following shows how the worst teams in ST did in the regular season from 2006 to 2016. Only one team was above .500:

        https://www.reddit.com/r/baseball/comments/60c92p/how_the_teams_with_the_worst_spring_training/

        The Mets currently have the worst record in ST.

        • Name
          March 15, 2018 at 12:08 am

          So it does seem like there’s a strong correlation if you finish last in Spring Training an not hitting .500 in the regular season. But if you finish 2nd worst, you’ll find that the correlation disappears as plenty of those finished .500+ and in the playoffs.

          Luckily the Mets are only 1 game back of Cincy for last and 1.5 games back of Seattle and Texas with 10 games left so there’s still time to avoid the cellar.

          • Chris F
            March 15, 2018 at 4:25 pm

            Mets are en route to 5-15-2 in spring training.
            Spring training doesn’t count and results are what they are, but that’s the lowest percentage of any team in MLB.

          • Barry2016
            March 15, 2018 at 7:46 pm

            I just manually checked the teams that finished second-worst in ST during the same period (2006 – 2016). Six teams finished below .500 and five teams finished above .500 (with a couple of teams just two games over .500).

            So, these teams (second worst in ST) were statistically more likely to not be good teams. I had said that if you’re really bad in Spring Training, you’re not likely to be a good team. So far, I haven’t been proven wrong. Could third-worst turn it all around?
            I don’t know, but I’m not going to check.

            Worst and second-worst fits my definition of “Really bad” in ST.

            I’m just hoping the offense wakes up and the Mets can put a winning streak together the last few games of ST.
            Then I”l be ready for the season!

            • Name
              March 16, 2018 at 10:03 am

              Actually, if we expect no correlation, a 50/50 split is what we should see – and what you shown proves that.

              If you look at the first graph in the article i quoted (ST win% vs regular win%), you’ll see that the dots are pretty evenly distributed in the box. If you draw a straight line down on most parts of the graph, you’ll find that there are about the same number of teams over .500 vs below .500.

              I manually checked the top Spring team from 06-17. 8 were over .500, 6 below.
              It was 9 .500+ and 3 sub .500 for the 2nd highest record – looks like an anomaly that balances lowest record.
              But the pattern reverts back for the 3rd highest – 6 higher, 6 lower. I’d imagine the middle 25 records to be about 50% distribution as well.

              But for the extreme low end, we do see some correlation, which matches the data you provided on worst teams. In that graph, no team that had under a 30% ST win% finished above .500 in the regular season.
              But if you look at the 30-35% win range, i see about a 50/50 split again.

              So i see 2 takeaways from this exercise. Don’t finish dead last. Also, finish with better than a 30% Spring Training win%, both of which the Mets don’t have yet with about 2 weeks left to play. I understand if some want to start sounding the alarm, but for me i’m going to hold off another week.

              • March 16, 2018 at 10:40 am

                Interesting stuff! Thanks to Barry and Name for their illuminating discussion.

              • Barry2016
                March 16, 2018 at 3:54 pm

                We seem to have very different numbers for the second-worst teams in ST. You checked one more year (2017) than I did, but I had 6 teams under and 5 teams over from 2006 to 2016. And as I said, a couple of the teams over, were just a couple of games over; so an 82-80 team is still “not a good team”.

                So collectively, a substantial majority of the worst and second-worst ST teams were not good teams (defined by better than 82-80) in the regular season.

                I used this website:
                http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/standings/index.jsp?tcid=mm_mlb_standings#20171001

                • Name
                  March 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm

                  My numbers were for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd best Spring records.

                  I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove saying 82-80 isn’t a good team. If .500 is the dividing line you are looking at, then no correlation would mean 50% would be above and 50% are below and the data supports that.

                  If you are using some other standard like .550 then no correlation would be 45% above and 55% below. But a 10 year sample set isn’t going to pick up on that minute difference.

                  The last place record is statistically significant because there’s only 1 team that finished .500+ while 10 teams finished below .500 rather than the expected result of 5,6 split

                  • Barry2016
                    March 17, 2018 at 12:33 pm

                    My original comment was that if you’re really bad in ST, you’re not likely to be a good team.

                    That’s what I’m trying to prove. I only mentioned .500, in that being a little above or a little below means nothing in ST.

                    You later used over-.500 as a metric for “doing good”, and I sort of went with it when I checked the records for second-worst.

                    But when I was nearly finished checking, I noticed an over .500 team with only 82 wins. I believe there was at least one other team barely above .500. I think by anyone’s measure, an 82-win team is not a good team.

                    So there were more teams that were “not good” among the 2nd worst ST teams. Therefore, the majority were not good teams, and if you include the worst ST teams, then the overwhelming majority of really bad ST teams were not good teams. This means, as I said, that you’re not likely to be a good team.

                    The problem is we haven’t taken the time to define really bad and good teams, but again, my original comment was about extremely bad and extremely good teams in Spring Training, not the teams that fall in-between.

                    • Name
                      March 17, 2018 at 5:06 pm

                      I don’t think you’re understanding the meaning of no correlation.

                      The hypothesis i’m trying to prove is that your Spring Training record or placing (other than last place) does not affect your regular season standing/record.In other words, whether you finish 1st or 25th, you have about the same chance of finishing with 70 wins or 90 wins.

                      To prove this, we looked at 2 things. The first was looking at the chart in the first article. Besides the extreme right and left of the chart, you can see a fairly even distribution. Take the 35-40% Spring Training win% for example : You see a fairly even distribution of regular season win% from 40% to 60%. That means if you finish with a 35-40% spring win rate, you have the same chance of winning 70 games as 90 games.

                      The second thing we looked at was placement. For simplicity we just counted the number of teams that finished above .500 and below .500 because assuming no correlation , we would expect a 50% to finish above and 50% to finish below.

                      For last places teams in spring, in the regular season 10 finished below .500 and only to 1 finished above .500
                      For 2nd to last, we have 6 sub .500 and 5 over .500.
                      For 3rd to last, 6 sub .500 and 7 over .500
                      For the top team, 6 finished sub .500 and 8 over .500
                      For the second top team, 3 were sub .500 and 9 over .500
                      For the 3rd team, 6 teams were sub .500 and 6 were over .500.

                      Except for dead last and 2nd highest, all the other placements ended up with about a 50/50 split. Again, that means that it doesn’t matter if you finish 2nd to last, right in the middle, or 1st in Spring Training, you have about the same odds of finishing above .500 vs below .500 in the regular season

                      Thus we have 2 different ways that both end up with the same conclusion : Except for the extreme losing team or last place team, Spring Training has little to no affect on Regular seasonperformance.

                    • Barry2016
                      March 18, 2018 at 1:25 pm

                      This is a reply to NAME’s last comment; there’s no “reply button”, I guess the replies nested too much.

                      Again, my original comment was that if you’re really bad in ST, you won’t be a good team.

                      You, however, are still defining a good team as any team above .500.

                      I would not be happy if the Mets won 82 games this year. That’s not a good team.
                      Wouldn’t be happy with 83 wins, either.

                      So what’s a good team?
                      Some people would only consider a playoff team a good team. I’m willing to go below that bar, but not by much.

                      When you say:

                      “[t]hat means that it doesn’t matter if you finish 2nd to last, right in the middle, or 1st in Spring Training, you have about the same odds of finishing above .500 vs below .500 in the regular season.”

                      …you’re answering a question that wasn’t asked. I didn’t say “if you’re bad in ST, you’re not likely to finish above .500”.

                      I said you’re not likely to be a good team.

                    • Name
                      March 18, 2018 at 2:15 pm

                      “f you’re really bad in ST, you won’t be a good team.”

                      I already agreed that yes, finishing last means you have low odds of being a good team.

                      But teams that finish 2nd to last have the roughly the same odds of being a – insert whatever term you want – as those who finish .500 who also have the same odds as those who finish as the winningest Spring Team.

  4. Pal88
    March 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    I’d be giving Bruce some 1B time now…when Conforto comes back put him in RF and give the CF job to Nimmo,,, denDecker and Lagares as 4th and 5th , unless we can unload Lagares in the meantime..then pick up someone from the release pile

    • Pal88
      March 14, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      I forgot Phil Evans..give him the 5 spot

  5. TJ
    March 14, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    I don’t have a great level of confidence that AGon will return to a reasonable comp to his past, but regardless of the ST stats, he will need a decent run of real games to make any reliable determination. With Wilmer getting time at 1B as well, and Dom Smith’s performance in AAA being part of the equation, it will likely play into May before actions are taken.

    At this time, I would not dump AGon for Lind, it would take a better player than that, but I also wouldn’t get too upset if they did.

  6. Metsense
    March 14, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    When Gonzales was signed I was unaware that he needed two hours of prep time for his back before he could play. Spring training stats are normally meaningless for a veteran player but in this case they may mean something. He may not physically be able to perform. Bruce needs to take some reps at first base because the fork can’t be ignored and neither can Nimmo’s surge.

    • TJ
      March 14, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      That two hours of prep is tricky. I’d be concerned too if he was stiff as a board and it took two hours to loosen up for each game, but nowadays a lot of this prep is in an effort to proactively avoid problems that have arisen in the past. I wouldn’t put him in a David Wright category just yet.

      We know he was clearly a gamble given age and injury, but I still think it is a worthwhile shot for a 4-6 week stretch of the regular season. They do have Wilmer and Dom Smith as insurance, and this is the 6th spot in the batting order in most cases.

      • Mike Walczak
        March 14, 2018 at 7:07 pm

        I think you all are in the right path. Agon will get 4-6 weeks to prove himself. If he is close to the Mendoza line, he will get dropped.

        Watch real possibility of Lagares getting traded. So, take a look, who needs a center fielder, who may have excess at first base? I am going to look.

  7. TexasGusCC
    March 14, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Agree with Chris and Metsense, but to put things in perspective about how Alderson once again fell victim to the clearance rack (not financially, but strategically), Fangraphs posted their rankings of the top 50 first basemen on their Rotographs section for Fantasy purposes. My buddy was number 50; Gonzalez wasn’t listed. There are only 30 teams.

    Too, when did Lind become such a necessity?

    Problem: Bruce was promised he would only play first base in emergencies. I’m not liking how this team does business.

  8. TexasGusCC
    March 14, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    From MLBTR this afternoon:

    Lind, 34, reportedly had an opt-out date in his minor league deal with the Yankees, but that wasn’t set to come until March 22. It’s not clear at this time whether he’ll quickly line up an arrangement with another organization or if he’ll have to explore the market for a few days before landing in a new spot. He went 3-for-15 (all singles) with five strikeouts and a walk in 16 plate appearances with the Yankees this spring.

    Jack Curry of the YES Network tweets that Lind candidly told him he didn’t see a path to 300+ plate appearances when asked yesterday, which indeed would’ve been tough to envision, barring injuries elsewhere on the roster. Greg Bird is slated to serve as the everyday first baseman in New York and, like Lind, is a left-handed hitter. Tyler Austin provides a right-handed-hitting complement to Bird, and newly signed Neil Walker could conceivably see some backup time at first base if needed. There’s no room for Lind in the Yankees outfield, either, with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury all on the 25-man roster.

    Last season with the Nationals, Lind slashed .303/.362/.512 with 14 homers in 301 plate appearances. That served as a nice rebound effort from a poor 2016 effort in Seattle and made that lone down year appear to be largely aberrational in nature. Lind has posted an OPS+ of 123 or better in four of the past five seasons, batting a combined .282/.348/.473 through 2142 plate appearances in that time. Of course, that production has come almost entirely against right-handed pitching, as Lind’s struggles against lefties has been a well-documented issue throughout his big league career.

    ————————————————-

    Um, TJ, I may have been wrong here concerning Lind…

  9. Mike Walczak
    March 14, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    How about Lagares and Matz to Detroit for Nick Castellanos. Frazier can move over to first.

    • TJ
      March 14, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      Castellanos is an absolute train wreck at 3B…makes Wilmer look like Mike Schmidt.

      Gus may have convinced me about Lind as part of a 1B platoon with Wilmer, but since I have no pull he’ll need to convince Sandy…

      • Mike Walczak
        March 14, 2018 at 9:53 pm

        Ok you convinced me. Let’s find somebody else.

  10. Eraff
    March 14, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    AG gets 10-20 games to look alive…Jay!—go take some reps at 1b!

    • Mike Walczak
      March 15, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      Jay at first is a good solution. Allows Nimmo to stay in the lineup when Conforto returns.

  11. Jim OMalley
    March 15, 2018 at 3:48 am

    Its a perfect scenario for Wilmer!!

  12. MattyMets
    March 15, 2018 at 10:14 am

    In previous discussions I think most of us were against signing AGon. In the event that he’s still batting .167 by March 28 and Dom is healthy and performing, FO has to release him. No big harm in that. If Dom struggles and AGon shows he can still hit a little, then we push that date out to May 1 and reconsider. Neither guy is going to play against lefties with Flores in the mix.

  13. Chris F
    March 15, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Ill tell ya, this team is playing a particularly lousy brand of baseball. Callaway cannot possibly be pleased. This is borderline embarrassing.

    • TexasGusCC
      March 15, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      Chris, there is a way to make sure Dom doesn’t look good: Don’t play him! It’s a great decision! That way, no matter how much Gonzalez Sucks!, with Dom Smith healthy since Sunday and not touching a bat, he can’t get a hit. So, Gonzalez will be at first base whether it helps the team or not, damn it!!!!

      I guess they can just gain momentum whenever they feel like.

  14. Chris F
    March 15, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Smith could not turn this boat around Gus.

    • TexasGusCC
      March 15, 2018 at 10:56 pm

      Wilmer!!!!!! You’d be surprised what someone who shows some heart can do! Find me someone else in this lineup that shows any emotion. They’re comatose, and it shows.

      Not saying Smith is a difference maker, just that he won’t be given a plate appearance, for some reason.

      • Chris F
        March 16, 2018 at 9:28 am

        You see something in Flores I don’t that’s for sure. Well Dom is clearly not mature enough, that’s obvious. On top of that, he’s not wow-ing the team with skills. I’m no A gon fan, but Smith needs to look in the mirror and grow up in a hurry. He hasnt earned ABs, and now starters need more as opening day rapidly approaches.

        • Geoffrey T
          March 18, 2018 at 5:20 pm

          Its hard to imagine what you don’t see in Flores. His performance has improved steadily each of the past two seasons, he’s eliminated his one main offensive weakness, hits HRs at a rate that would five him 25-28 over a full season while striking out only 15% of the time, and…. he’s just entering his prime only now. Take a look at Mike Moustakis’ offensive performanc(s) before and after his age- 26 season.

      • Geoffrey T
        March 18, 2018 at 5:15 pm

        I’m a big WIlmer fan and think he deserves a starting job. Given that 1B is the place that has an opening, give that to him.
        And its not just about heart. His actual performance, and the way his performance has been trending each of the last two seasons warrant the move.

  15. Geoffrey T
    March 18, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    As Ron darling once pointed out (and contrary to popular belief), not all decisions are made by the end of spring training. Teams always tinker with a couple of positions or roster spots for several weeks into the regular season, and that seems like the fate for the Mets and 1B.
    AGon looked terrible most of the spring. Ketih Hernandez mentioned a couple of days ago that AGon had asked to go to minor league camp to get some more ABs. His ABs have looked better the last couple of days, but the results are still not there.
    Frankly, Wilmer Flores has outplayed him and deserves the starting job right now. But there are still ten or so spring games left, and a few weeks into April for Gonzalez to get it together.

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