Carlos Gomez and the Mets’ aggressive batting approach

Long throughout the time of sports, fans have loved the story of their homegrown talent contributing at the major league level. Pepper that storyline with a dash of trade deadline dramatics and a pinch of minor league promotion and you have Carlos Gomez, the outgoing center fielder for the New York Mets. Gomez has historically been known for his pop and his glove, never as a particularly patient hitter; historically he owns a 6.1% walk rate which is 2.1% below the league average. This year, Gomez is also amongst the leaders of Mets batters in terms of O-Swing%, also known as swing rate of pitches outside of the zone. Gomez, who owns a 38.8% rate is not alone in this regard as the rest of the club is poor at this statistic. Only three Mets batters are below the 30% league average in this category: Michael Conforto, and you guessed it, Todd Frazier and J.D. Davis.

In the beginning of the season, Met fans shouted their praises for Chili Davis and his teachings of a new offensive approach. Much of his influence has been dispelled since then, but the increase of general swing rate across the club leaves us to wonder if that is his doing, or part of young team’s learning curve (again only Conforto and Frazier are below the league mark in total swing rate, while Gomez swings at an astounding 59% of total pitches). Other offenders of poor O-Swing% are Tomas Nido, Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. Of course, this could all be forgiven if their O-Contact% was improved, however most of the club is just about average at making fair contact at pitches outside the zone. As expected, the poor approach and plate discipline at the plate has led to a decreased contact rate. Jeff McNeil and Wilson Ramos are the lone Mets who makes contact above the league average.

It is difficult to assume what is going on behind the scenes of the Met’s dugout and locker room. However a review of this data suggests that the Mets have altered their overall approach at the plate to be more aggressive. It’s interesting to note that the Mets are notoriously known for their lack of analytics based investments. The inverse of this? Look no further than 2017 World Series Champs, the Houston Astros. In fact, former Astro J.D. Davis had high praise for his former club with regards to their daily preparation; “I just try to be prepared. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned coming over from the Astros, with how those guys prep,” said J.D. Davis.

Davis goes on to explain that during his time in Houston, he would show up to the ballpark each day and there would be a bespoke preparation packet for each batter with scouting reports, charts, ballpark conditions, etc. This commitment to excellence is most certainly a cog in the Astros development machine, something that the Met’s seem to be poor at. Of course, an improvement in this area would require a fresh new perspective and an investment in technology and staff. We shall see if this aggressive approach pays off for the Mets, however I’d wager that simply flailing at more pitches will not result in more wins.

6 comments for “Carlos Gomez and the Mets’ aggressive batting approach

  1. June 12, 2019 at 11:12 am

    McNeill and Ramos have high Swing Rates, but they do not feature all or nothing Swings. Both are more level and inherhently situational as Hitters… don’t get the same swing from them at 0-2 as you do 3-1.

    The best Coaches ( Hitting Coaches) help players find and use their own strengths…. small changes…slow adaptation…a tighter focus for the things a specific player can do…Can Do.

  2. June 12, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Few things bug me as much as looking at strikes and swinging at balls.

    I don’t have any problem with being aggressive and attacking the first pitch. You know, as long as that pitch is a strike.

    Look at the leaderboards and the guys who have the lowest O-Swing% are some of the best players in the game – McCutchen, Trout, Betts. The guys with the highest O-Swing% are Kevin Pillar, Tim Anderson and Yadier Molina.

    It should be an organizational goal to be in the first group.

    • Mike Walczak
      June 12, 2019 at 2:57 pm

      That’s why Votto has such a high on base percentage. Knows the strike zone.

      The one that bugs me is when they strike out on high hard ones that are out if the zone.

    • Chris B
      June 12, 2019 at 7:45 pm

      I can see Nimmo, Conforto and eventually Alonso as leaders of this category in the future. But they’ll be guided by their coaches, which we can only hope is a positive influence.

      I always thought that Beltran had an amazing read of the strike zone. Everyone knows the story of how he used a machine to fire 150 mph tennis balls to the plate. Beltran credited this for his improved eye.

  3. Pete from NJ
    June 12, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Maybe it’s my internal bias but it seems like Met hitters swing at pitches out of the zone.
    When our pitchers are on the mound, especial Wheeler/Syndagaard the opposing hitters let every off the plate pitch go by.

    So our staff let their pitches travel the zone and the batter hits it. ERA away.

    • Name
      June 13, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      There’s a lot of these internal biases.

      Like on Tuesday against the Yankees when multiple people in the chatter were bemoaning the fact that the Mets “missed” DPs and complaining about how some players lack this skill and concentration yada dada…And then when the Yankees missed an even easier DP an inning later no one seemed to have those same choice words for the opponents.

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