Let’s look at three hitters on the Mets, comparing how they are performing with various metrics:

Player A: .282/.402/.388, 123 OPS+, 132 wRC+
Player B: .225/.319/.400, 100 OPS+, 98 wRC+
Player C: .256/.407/.372, 121 OPS+, 131 wRC+

Most people would view Players A & C as being essentially equal, with Player B significantly worse. You might bump up Player B a bit because he has the best ISO of the group but clearly not to the level of the other two players. If there were two outs in the ninth inning of a tie game or down by one run, you might want Player B up. In most other situations, you’d want A or C in the batter’s box.

Those who still view the world thru batting average would prefer Player A, with Player C next and Player B last. Those who look at the advanced stats should be indifferent to A or C. Player C trails in AVG but gets on base at a slightly better clip and has a slightly higher ISO.

So, if fans of any stripe were to actively call for one of these guys to be replaced, it would be Player B, right?

Yeah, um, no. The mystery players here are: A – Jeff McNeil; B – Tommy Pham and C – Daniel Vogelbach. Despite being at least 21% better in the batter’s box than Pham, many fans continue to undervalue Vogelbach, focusing on what he can’t do, rather than what he can.

Vogelbach is the slowest player on the team and you bend over backwards not to have him in the field or face a LHP. That limits his value. But most sane people would love to have an option at the plate that was 21% better than league average according to OPS+. And it’s even better when we use the more sophisticated wRC+.

People will complain that the Mets are getting below average production from the DH spot. And they’re absolutely right. But they need to take it a step further. Why are the Mets floundering at the DH spot? Here’s a hint – it’s not because of Vogelbach. Instead, it’s the failure of the people besides Vogelbach who hit in the spot. Let’s take a look:

Mark Canha – 20 PA, .550 OPS
Pham – 20 PA, .550 OPS
Brandon Nimmo – 4 PA, .000 OPS
Tim Locastro – 1 PA, .000 OPS

That’s 45 PA at DH that are terrible, compared to Vogelbach’s 52 PA.

The best solution at DH is to have one person who can fill the role for 150 games a year. With the possible exception of Eduardo Escobar, the Mets don’t have that option. The next best option is to have a platoon where both parties hit. This is what the Mets have tried to accomplish but it’s been a failure because the RHB – outside of Pete Alonso – just haven’t performed.

Finding someone to perform the righty part of a platoon should be easy. But, as the Mets have found out, that’s far from the case. Because it’s the short side of the platoon, teams don’t look to create that guy. Players who could fill this role, say, Nick Evans (.868 career OPS vs. LHP) are discarded because they can’t hit righties as a youngster. So, we’re left with old guys who once could hit pitching from both sides but now only thrive with the platoon advantage. That leads us to the Darin Rufs and Phams of the world. But the Mets are getting them on the clear downside of their career. Both players have done very well versus LHP in their career. But what they did at age 30 isn’t indicative of what they’re going to do at age 36.

The solution isn’t to get an old guy past his prime. The solution is to get a young guy who struggles against righties but who can hit lefties like Evans did. There’s a 26 year old on the Nationals who has a lifetime OPS 108 points higher versus LHP. With a lifetime 81 OPS+, he’s a disappointment. But he’d be a great guy to pair with Vogelbach. There’s a 29 year old on the Mariners with a 328-point advantage with the platoon. There’s a 24 year old on the Rays with a 169-point edge. These guys exist. You just need to focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t.

Maybe the Mets can trade for a guy in his 20s to fill the role of lefty masher. Or maybe they can create one of their own and promote Mark Vientos.

11 comments on “Wednesday catch-all thread (4/26/23)

  • JimO

    Just fyi, I was able to take in a AA game on Saturday night between the Yard Goats (Colorado) and the Rumble Ponies (Mets). The good news is that I saw Mike Vasil pitch but the bad news is that he didn’t impress too much. He started off rough giving up 4 runs in the first two innings before settling down and notching some strikeouts in the middle innings. The Mets eventually lost the game. None of the Mets offensive players really looked like sure things but out of all them, the one player who looked most like a future major leaguer was JT Schwartz who played first base.

  • JimmyP

    It’s a little discouraging that all the main clubs seem mediocre or a notch below.

    I guess I got spoiled by Lynchburg, 1984.

  • JimmyP

    So I’ve been quietly tracking this and it’s getting pretty interesting (to me, at least).

    Dom Smith is now at 83 PA without an XBH.

    Can he make it to 100? I mean, there should be a countdown once he reaches 90. The fans shouting out “ten,” or “five,” or “three,” as he gets close. It would be fun!

    Only 17 away from the magic mark.

    I wondered, too, about the historic value. For reference, Guillorme, in 2021, went 156 PA with 4 XBH. Pretty good.

    In the modern era — so long as we don’t talk about pitchers — Mark Grudzielanek went 119 PAs with 30 singles! No EBH.

    So Dom has some work to do. And when you consider how a batter can accidentally hit a 2B — roll something down the line, bloop a jam shot to the opposite field — well, it’s impressive. He’s in Otis Nixon territory, though Otis could run and had value once he got on base.

    In 1972, Catfish Hunter went 116 PA without any XBA. But I don’t think pitchers should count, do you? Dom needs 10 more games to get there. One blooper and we might be fuct. Tension! Excitement! Drama!

    In 1995, Mike Gallego went an astonishing 132 PA without an XBH. Remarkably, his .233 SLG is a perfect match for Dom.

    So I’ve come up with a new nickname for Dom Smith.

    The Inevitable Duck.


  • Brian Joura

    OK, this is old but I just saw it today for the first time and let’s just say – this wins the internet today.

    This is a two-page comic strip (click the little square to advance) that combines Bull Durham and Mark Grace wisdom/philosophy. Kelenic now has a .342/.395/.725 line.


    • JimO

      Looks like Robert Crumb is a fan.

    • Metsense

      Even Gina can’t get Dom Smith’s groove back !

      • Brian Joura

        Only those who’ve been with Gina can weigh in on that! Annie tells us in Bull Durham that everyone she’s been with has had a great year.

  • Metsense

    Vogelbach is a platoon DH , nothing else. I am glad that the Mets have him and have his 121 OPS+. Pham with his average 100 OPS+ is passable as a 4th outfielder but the Mets could do better with the platoon RH DH. If the Mets would promote Vientos as the RH DH , then demote Guillorme and used Escobar as the utility infielder and RH platoon 3B then they should be offensively better. Isn’t it much better to have a prospect get experience in the beginning of the season instead of an offensively challenge veteran? The same logic should be applied for Alvarez and Nido.

  • NYM6986

    Vogelbach is not a winner and should be released. Let Baty take the LH DH and play 3B the rest of the time. Look at his career stats and you will see it’s not likely to catch lightening in a bottle with him. Just read an article in the Atlantic on Kelenic and it seems he’s more than turned the corner. Still take a healthy Diaz from that lambasted trade that stuck us with an aging Cano and his huge salary. Great closers are a rare commodity. Hopefully Senga gets us back on track.

  • Woodrow

    Gluilorme has more value than Escobar. If I can’t trade Guilorme to a team that needs a shortstop I cut Escobar.

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