How many of you remember 1982? If you were a Mets fan, it was a season to forget, especially August, when they lost virtually every day. Regardless, 1982 is sort of significant today because of the season put up by Dave Kingman and how it relates to a player on the 2023 Mets. I’m going to post two stat lines and want to see if you can tell me which is Kingman’s in 1982 and which is Francisco Lindor’s here in 2023:

Player A – .204/.285/.432, 99 OPS+
Player B – .223/.294/.427, 98 OPS+

It’s hard to imagine what the response would have been if you told anyone who was a fan back in ’82 that one day in the distant future, the Mets would have someone like Kingman playing shortstop for the club. My guess is that we would have been happy, especially if you told us that he played Gold Glove-type defense at that key position. We didn’t think often of OBP back then and OPS+ didn’t exist. Instead, we would have been imagining the 37 HR and 99 RBIs Kingman had coming from a SS, rather than Ron Gardenhire’s 3 HR and 33 RBIs that the ’82 Mets had at the position.

But are we happy with Lindor’s season right now?

He’s been terrific in the field. At the plate he’s a member of the Mets’ not-very-exclusive Club 90, which is made up of six players who have an OPS+ in the 90s. Here they are, in descending order:

98 – Eduardo Escobar
97 – Mark Canha
97 – Tommy Pham
93 – Brett Baty
92 – Daniel Vogelbach

An OPS+ in the 90s is pretty solid for bench players Escobar and Pham. It’s not exactly what we want to see from four guys holding down starting spots. It’s even tougher for Lindor, whose sub-.300 OBP is found batting either second or third in every game.

Kingman batted fourth in 140 of his 143 starts in 1982 and batted third the other three times. That low-OBP, (relatively) high SLG should probably bat no higher than fifth in an ideal lineup. We saw Buck Showalter move Starling Marte, who is below the Galvis Line, with a sub-80 OPS+, down in the batting order to a spot more suitable for his skills. Will he do the same with Lindor?

Earlier in the season, we could say that it wasn’t happening, both because of the respect Showalter has for Lindor and for the fact that there wasn’t anyone who could realistically take his spot. But now, with the way that Francisco Alvarez is hitting, you could move him up and bat him anywhere from second to fifth and move Lindor down.

Now the question is: Do you want four Club 90 guys batting consecutively, or mixed in with sub Galvis Line Marte? It’s not an easy question to answer. We can hope for these guys to rebound closer to last year’s production. If we take a trip in the way-back machine to the faraway land of 2022, our Club 90 guys had the following OPS+ marks for the Mets:

138 – Vogelbach
124 – Lindor
121 – Canha
105 – Escobar

Life would be a lot easier for the Mets if the first three names on the above list would start performing like that again here in 2023. Perhaps Canha’s 4-RBI game last night propels him in that direction. It would be nice if Lindor joined him, too. Then we can forget that a comparison to Kingman was ever a thing.

Kingman was Player A and Lindor Player B.

2 comments on “Francisco Lindor and the Mets’ ‘Club 90’

  • Metsense

    It is hard for Showalter to make a competitive lineup when only three players (Nimmo, Alonso, Alvarez) are performing to their capabilites. All he can do is to hope that the other six will eventually right their season. Right now he writes the lineup for the players that he had relied on in the past with tweaks that are obvious like Alvarez second and Marte sixth. My suggestion would be McNeil third and Lindor fifth but it really doesn’t make a real difference. There are signs of awakening in the last two weeks for Escobar, Canna, Pham and Marte.

  • ChrisF

    Interesting to see this OPS+ based cohort. Pretty clearly we’d like to see everyone climb out of Club-90, which sounded pretty cool to start with. In a similar thought, I guess the “Mendoza Club” sounds pretty fun too until you realize…it wont be a great latin beat and street tacos.

    Cutting the pie a bit different and making a new cohort Im calling The WAR Room, there is some separation here.

    Lindor, one of the faces of the team presently has a 1.4 fWAR, which projects to a season total of 4.2. Maybe thats not what we’re hoping for, say 5+, but its also pretty strong. Lindor is clearly value added and is in the WAR Room.

    Canha and Baty are in the same boat, both with 0.4 fWAR as of today, projecting to slightly above average with a season end at 1.2. Just because the values are net positive, lets put them both in the WAR room. Canha seems good for 2 fWAR based on the past. However, Baty is still an unknown unknown (to steal from Donald Rumsfeld), but lets err on the good side of a kid that looks to have the skills to stay up most of the season.

    Unfortunately, the last 3 members of Club-90 are in a real pickle. Pham is sporting a pretty poor fWAR of 0.1, projecting to 0.3 by seasons end. Obviously, not good. Still, thats better than both Escobar and Vogelbach who are holders of exactly 0 WAR, projecting to 0 WAR. Its hard to polish a turd to make it look like chrome, and its clear all three of these folks are on the outside looking in, but the walls have no windows, so they ain’t seeing much. With roster decisions coming up, its reasonable to expect one of these folks not to survive. To me Vogelbach is easily the person to DFA because his only real upside is pounding the ball for doubles, but he aint doing that as his ISO of 0.095 indicates (I had to double check that). Both Pham and Escobar can play a defensive position for some extended games if required, but this group of three should be on the watch list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 100 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here