We all know that the bullpen is horrific and Buck Showalter’s unwillingness to push his starting pitchers to give more only slightly better. But as Woodrow says over and over again, the offense leaves an awful lot to be desired, too. In the last 14 games, the Mets have scored 49 runs, an average of 3.5 runs per game. And it’s only that high due to a three-game stretch within those 14 games where they plated 24 runs.

The offense teases us with these occasional outbursts. But they’ve been shut out 14 times this year, have scored just one run 14 more times and have exploded for two runs a whopping 23 times. In those 51 times where they’ve scored two runs or fewer, the Mets are 8-43. If anything, the fact that they’ve won eight times in these games is kind of impressive. But my preference would be to be impressed by the times they put up seven runs or more, a feat they’ve accomplished just 34 times this year.

At first, the offensive struggles were due to guys who performed well last year under-performing, specifically Starling Marte and Jeff McNeil. This was the theme until the trade deadline. And then it became a team with four Quad-A guys in it, with none of them performing up to the Galvis Line. And now, as much as none of us want to say it out loud, it’s the Baby Mets rarely getting the job done.

In Friday night’s game, all four of the Baby Mets played and they combined to go 0-13 with 6 Ks on the night. Now, it’s not always this bad. Ronny Mauricio went hitless last night, breaking a streak where he had gotten a hit in his first five games, including three multi-hit games. Mark Vientos had been on a mini hot streak, with a 1.105 OPS in his previous seven games. But Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty have been struggling for a while.

Alvarez got off to a terrific start, with an .807 OPS thru his first 80 games. Since then, he has a .139/.261/.203 line in his last 92 PA. If you had said after his first two weeks in the majors that come September, his biggest strength would be drawing walks – you would have been looked at like you had two heads. No one looks good with a .172 BABIP and Alvarez has just three extra-base hits in this span. Showalter has been giving him plenty of days off in this span. It’s just that nothing seems to help.

Baty, too, got off to a strong start when he was first recalled. The problem was that his good streak was much shorter than Alvarez’. In his first 13 games with the Mets this year, Baty had a .915 OPS. He then proceeded to produce just a .568 OPS over his next 265 PA, which earned him a trip back to the minors. In the Gut Reaction on 8/6, in the comments section, my take was that sending Baty to the minors now was a good thing. Additionally, the hope was that he would go down, experience success and return on 9/1. ChrisF pushed back, saying that Baty had too many issues to fix in just three weeks. This was my reply to Chris:

I look at it not a whole lot different from a guy coming back from an injury. You want him to return before the end of the year and experience some success so he knows he’s past the injury. Maybe 9/1 isn’t the date. Maybe it’s 9/5 or 9/12. But I hope Baty gets right in the minors, experiences success there, then is able to come up and experience some in the majors this year, too.

And the Mets did, indeed, bring back Baty on 9/1. Did he experience success? In 17 games and 79 PA for Syracuse after the demotion, Baty put up a .246/.329/.493 line. That .822 OPS was a big improvement over what he was doing in the majors. Of course, it’s easier to hit in the minors. And there’s also the fact that the Syracuse team this year has a .797 OPS. So, Baty was not significantly better than team average.

While my initial hope was to return him for 9/1, given what he was producing, he would have stayed in the minors a bit longer at this rate if my title was GM. Since he returned, Baty has gone 4-19 with a .421 OPS. The one positive thing is that his defense has looked much better here in September than it did before he was sent down. He’s made multiple good defensive plays since he’s returned, with throws to first base looking markedly better.

It all boils down to that every single one of us wants to see the Baby Mets rather than the Quad-A guys. And we’re not expecting the youngsters to duplicate in the majors what they did in Syracuse in April. But we’d like to see more than what we’re getting now.

My wish is that we could somehow glimpse behind the curtain and see what the Great and Powerful Oz has as adjustments for each of the Baby Mets. Surely, there must be a plan, a goal for each of the four kids here in the final 22 games of the year.

To my eye, Alvarez seems to have a good approach at the plate. What do the Mets want him to do to get back to the hitter he was earlier in the season? Baty has a really good-looking swing yet there seem to be giant holes that pitchers are exploiting. What does the brass have him doing to combat that? Mauricio has looked okay at 2B. Yet at his height, he looks a bit like a fish out of water at the position, from a pure aesthetic point of view. Is there any talk of getting him a look in the OF? And how can Vientos keep falling behind 0-2 and 1-2 so often?

Without a doubt, the Mets don’t owe us a public pronouncement here. Yet as someone invested in the team and still watching these hideous games, it would be nice to know if these four were progressing in the areas the club deems important, even if it doesn’t immediately show up in the numbers.

3 comments on “Living and (mostly) dying with the Baby Mets

  • Footballhead

    Mr. broken record here…..This organization needs savvy talent evaluator and coaches to correct the flaws of not just the ‘baby Mets’, but all of the hitters problems and tendenccies that seems so evident to the (casual) fan. Just promoting and ‘hoping for the best’, isn’t the road for success for these youngsters and the team.

  • Woodrow1

    The. Mets need 3-4 of their prospect to be solid ML player in 2025 or they will be in trouble,70 win seasons. Alvarez looks like a good shot to be one. Baty has been a disappointment but the Phillies infielders were pretty bad their first season and are playing well now. So the jury is out on Baty. I’ve always thought Mauriciowould be a solid offensive player. Vientos I don’t think will make it and the Mets don’t seem to think so either. Parada,Williams,Acuña, Gilbert,can two of them be solid MLers in two years? And then the four starters. Can on one of them be a solid ML starter,maybe a #3 guy.

  • Metsense

    In 2024, third basemen will be a problem. Baty hasn’t adjusted to major league pitching and Vientos looks like a Quad A player. Both should start in the minors next year and Vientos should get a first baseman glove. The internal option is to let Mauricio play third base. Sign two free agent , veteran outfielders for a one or two year deal contract as a bandaid.
    Alvarez is the starting catcher. In now, an .726 OPS with power and good defense is a much more improvement than previous years at the catching position. We all hope that he will improve and there are positive signs that he will.

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