The Mets have had a great run of late, but there are aspects of the team that could use shoring up. Those include the erratic bullpen and the occasionally sketchy defense. Today we are going to look specifically at the sub-par crew of pinch hitters the team has available most games.
When the Mets have their best offensive lineup on the field, that leaves very little in the way of talent for late-game pinch hitting. In the Sunday game against the Nats, the Mets had Michael Conforto in CF and Wilson Ramos catching, that is a lineup we have seen a lot of because it is the best hitting lineup the team has. However, in that very winnable Sunday game that was lost, manager Mickey Callaway had very little to work with in pinch hitting spots.
The hitters that were available to pinch hit were Luis Guillorme, whose slash line for the season is .176/.200/.294, with one memorable home run, which happens to be literally a one in his MLB career event, at least so far. Also available to hit were Juan Lagares, slashing .180/.254/.257, Aaron Altherr, at .074/.105/.167, and the slugger of the bunch, back-up catcher Tomas Nido, at .204/.232/.315.
This crew is not going to cut it in NL games where pinch hitting for pitchers late in the game is crucial. In that Sunday game mentioned earlier, Guillorme and Altherr were the chosen pinch hitters, and both were retired in a game the Mets could have won.
One reason the choices are so dismal is that Dominic Smith is out with an injury, he performed well as the primary pinch hitter earlier in the season. But Smith is not expected back anytime soon.
The Mets were blessed with some excellent pinch hitters in the past such as Rusty Staub and Lee Mazzilli. Matt Franco provided some key hits off the bench back in the ‘90s. Then there was the 2015 pennant-winning Mets team. That team, far too often, was sending up players like John Mayberry Jr., Matt Reynolds and Eric Campbell to pinch hit, at least early in the season. Then the FO made late-season acquisitions Kelly Johnson and Jose Uribe to call on when needed, and they performed.
There may be an answer to the problem within the organization. Veteran outfielder Rajai Davis is hitting 280/.329/.394 in Syracuse, and he looked pretty good earlier in the year when he was briefly on the big club. Despite being 38, Davis still has some speed, a plus for this team.
Waiver wires should be watched closely in case some veteran hitter should be released. If the Mets are in a tight situation late in a game and they have to rely on one of the current four to pinch hit, they are asking for trouble.