Before yesterday’s game, the Mets announced they were cutting Gary Sanchez and activating Tomas Nido from the IL. The entire Sanchez experiment, from beginning to end, made no sense to me. There really wasn’t room for him in the organization and then they really didn’t give him a chance. He had 7 PA in the majors before being cut. You can say that was seven more than he should have received. Instead, let’s play the “what if” game. Sanchez went 1-6 with a SF. What if he had gone 4-6 with 2 HR, instead?

What would the Mets have done?

If the extent of Sanchez’ shot was going to be seven trips to the plate, what was the point in even engaging in this circus side show? Why not give the playing time to Michael Perez, instead? He was already here and had a 4-hit game, too. Yesterday, we discussed in this space judging the decisions of non-players in the organization. Whoever came up with the Sanchez idea, along with the ones who greenlighted the process, need to be given demerits. And my opinion is that these are not small demerits, either.

And in the bigger picture, if the organization can make decisions on roster worthiness in 7 PA for Sanchez, why can’t they make similar-type decisions with Tommy Pham in 94 PA or Daniel Vogelbach in 121 PA or Mark Canha in 165 PA or Starling Marte in 178 PA?

During last night’s game, Gary Cohen was mentioning the under-performing four guys currently on the team, along with the production of Ronny Mauricio in Triple-A. Cohen made it out to be such a tremendously difficult situation that the club was in. He made it sound like those four players had sacred cow status because they had been in the majors previously.

Pham has been on the Mets for 51 games. What on earth makes 51 games so unbelievably important that we can’t move on from someone not playing well? And before you dig in your pocket for the small sample card, in the three seasons before joining the Mets, Pham had a 92 OPS+ and now he sits with an 82 mark. We’re supposed to be overwhelmed with the prospect that he might produce enough with a rebound to get back to an already sub-par mark?

Methinks part of the issue is that we have a perception problem with OPS and OPS+. On one hand, we know what’s a good mark and what isn’t. But at the same time, we don’t have the same level of preciseness with an awful OPS+ like we do with AVG. What’s the Mendoza Line for OPS+, the kind where we can openly ridicule a player?

When Mario Mendoza posted a .198 AVG in 401 PA in 1979, we knew instinctively how awful that was. There were 219 players in 1979 to amass at least 350 PA and Mendoza’s .198 AVG was the worst of the lot. In 2022, there were 246 players to amass at least 350 PA. Here are certain percentiles for OPS+:

10th percentile (25th-worst) – 79
25th percentile (62nd worst) – 90
50th percentile (123rd worst) – 105

While OPS+ is calculated so that 100 is an average MLB player, it’s going to be higher for those who’ve amassed 350 PA. Hopefully, you’re not giving that much playing time to guys who are terrible. You know, because you cut their playing time significantly (or permanently) once they stink for 125 or so PA.

Perhaps we can declare that a mark of 80 is to OPS+ as .200 is to AVG. And if so, we have the poster child for this new level of awfulness – The Galvis Line. Freddy Galvis put up a 79 OPS+ in 2015, a 78 in 2016 and an 81 in 2017, having enough PA to qualify for the batting title in each of those three seasons.

So, Marte (70 OPS+) is under the Galvis Line, while Canha (84) and Pham (82) are flirting heavily with it. The Galvis Line – our new level for awfulness, production not to be tolerated. Learn it, use it and mock people for it. Just like you do with the Mendoza Line.

*****

Finally, Metsense made a good point in a comment earlier today. Essentially, he said if the veterans are too holy to consider removing from the roster, why not send down Mark Vientos to get Mauricio in the majors? It’s easier to create playing time for Mauricio right now than it is for Vientos.

9 comments on “The hard to fathom Gary Sanchez experience with the Mets and its implications

  • Metsense

    Sanchez got a $1.5m salary to boot, the same as Vogelbach! Talk about spending money like a drunk sailor on shore leave. If I were Vogelbach I would be worried.
    Comparing bWar: Pham -0.1, Marte -0.1, Escobar-0.1, Vogelbach 0.1, Canha 0.2,
    Comparing fWAR: Pham -0.3, Canha -0.1, Marte 0.0, Vogelbach 0.1, Escobar 0.3
    Even the one dimensional Vogelbach has more value than Pham. If I were Pham I would be packing my bags now.

  • ChrisF

    There’s plenty to be disappointed with, but somehow insulating Vogelbach from this would be wrong. He’s underperfoming at DH – providing upside for the one metric the team doesnt need (OBP). Once he gets on base, he’s moored to the bag like a cruise liner. He simply refuses to swing the bat, giving him about 50% of his Ks just looking at the ball go by. He’s a part of the problem. Vogelback is basically a forgettable DH on a .500 team — wait — maybe he’s perfectly suited for the Mets.

    • Brian Joura

      Who’s insulating? He was one of four players specifically called out for under-performing in the fourth paragraph.

  • T.J.

    Agree 100% on the OPS+ line not getting enough attention. On top of that, given that OPS+ is an offensive stat, it is even more egregious when players that offer little to no defensive value are hovering around the Galvis line (love it!).

    I may be in the minority but I don’t find the Sanchez experiment to be such a big deal. Weird, sure. My understanding is that the $1.5 million is salary while on the big league roster…which would be very similar to minor league deals with other veteran players. Also, it may not be over, he could wind up in AAA. Unlike the Ruf trainwreck deal, the Mets gave up nothing in assets. With all due respect to Perez, and his 4 hits, the diminished Sanchez is likely still better.

    Anyhow, this is more of a distraction. Mauricio (and Vientos) handling is way more important.

  • NYM6986

    So they need to install Vientos as the DH for ten games and see what happens. If he has such a strong bat then let’s get him in there. We have one dimensional DH’s who can only bat against a righty or a lefty. That would be great if anyone we had at that position would actually contribute to the lineup. If you are not going to play him, send him down. Baty and Alvarez have really contributed, so let’s see what the hottest batter at AAA can do up here. It’s not original but #Mauricio.

  • NYM6986

    Sorry it was #SaveMauricio

  • Mike W

    The Sanchez experiment was bizarre. The problem is there are four players at or below the Galvis line and they all are getting playing time. Bringing Mauricio up and putting McNeil in left field makes so much sense. I think Eppler is afraid to add another rookie to the lineup, because one may fail and he will be blamed. But, he is the one responsible for not one, not two, not three, but yes, four Galvises! Wow, in poker, that’s four of a kind, but in baseball, it is a formula for mediocrity and losing.

  • Mike W

    Mendoza alert, with an oh for four collar tonight, Pham is now hitting .200.

    • Brian Joura

      And with a 73 OPS+, he’s below the Galvis Line, too

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