Throughout the last two regular seasons, the topic of the Injured List (formerly the Disabled List), has been discussed more than anything else surrounding the Mets. Each season, they have appeared second overall in Roster Effect Rating, which measures the amount of value lost due to injury according to Roster Resource. While the ratings are dependent on a player’s pre-season projection, there’s something to be said about the Mets appearing at the top of the list, with 28 total IL stints, each of the last two years.
Last offseason, the club finally made a move away from longtime head trainer Ray Ramirez, who at times was an unfortunate scapegoat for the cause of injuries. They also hired Jim Cavallini, former United States Army Command, to lead their Performance and Sports Science division. The results were clearly unfavorable, as the club spent most of the year with AAAA and reclamation projects starting games.
The club was mostly impacted by the injuries of core pieces such as Yoenis Cespedes, A.J. Ramos, Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud and Anthony Swarzak who all spent at least 100 days on the IL. This year, they can already expect to miss time from Cespedes; and who knows what oft injured Wilson Ramos, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Lagares and d’Arnaud will produce? Last year, Mets360 identified that the Dodgers had also been victims of a poor Roster Effect Rating but were able to overcome it with pitching depth, a breakout performance from an unexpected source (Max Muncy) and the high profile acquisition of Manny Machado.
Instead of relying on the Mets to hit on all of these points, perhaps they can find success by satisfying two of the three while also getting healthier. Progressing to the mean of the leagues Roster Effect Rating, which last year was 8.63, coupled with improved roster depth and a big mid-season splash, should easily keep the club competing for a playoff spot. For context, the Mets were 13.35 last year in this regard while six playoff teams were below the league average and the Braves were .24 away from the mark.
This writer would like to see the Mets add another quality starter to the roster as the presently constructed starting rotation spent 151 days on the Injured List last year. There was certainly a lot of difficult baseball to watch in 2018 due to injuries. But perhaps it was a residual effect from the last tenure as Cavallini only had 22 days from the time he was on boarded until pitchers and catchers reported. How much structure could he have set into place in that amount of time?
We’ve seen it take years to change a culture within a club. We can only hope that with another year of processes, data compilation and execution that Cavallini and the team will take their first step towards injury normality. The Mets have surely fortified their infield depth and added some quality utility players along with a high-profile bullpen arm. With some good injury fortune the club is one influential point away from competing at a high level. Met fans can hope that Peter Alonso will fill that role. Let’s also hope that the Rockies are sellers come the trade deadline – Nolan Arenado sure would look good in orange and blue.