From April 26 to May 1, the Mets played six home games and scored 15 runs. It’s a tough way to make a living and they might have been fortunate to win the two games they did in that stretch. Since then, the offense has scored five or more runs 12 times, yet they’ve gone just 5-7 in those games, as the pitching has been pretty dismal here recently.

It hasn’t been all sunshine for the offense, as it’s managed two runs or fewer nine times in this stretch, with six of those coming in the unfriendly confines of Citi Field. But the Mets have scored 15 runs in their last two home games. It’s too soon to tell if this means the offensive cloud at Citi Field is lifting or if it’s merely a case of exploiting the less-than-stellar bullpen of the D’Backs.

The boom-or-bust nature of the offense here in these last 28 games has led to 117 runs or an average of 4.18 runs per game, a touch below the 4.33 MLB average. In this same stretch, the pitching has allowed 163 runs or an average of 5.82 runs per game. While the lousiness of the pitching deserves a detailed look, the offense will be the focus here moving forward.

The Mets have a .691 OPS in this span, again a touch below the MLB average of .698 this year. But what jumps out to me is that there are a bunch of hitters doing very well and a bunch doing plain lousy. There’s not much of a middle class here. There are six players with a wRC+ of 117 or greater and six with a wRC+ of 82 or worse. The only one in between is Starling Marte with a 103. The good news is that two of the underperformers are no longer on the roster, as Brett Baty was sent to the minors and Omar Narvaez was kicked to the curb.

Whenever you look at a bunch of numbers like this, the reasonable question becomes: How does the team improve? Tomas Nido should see his playing time cut dramatically once Francisco Alvarez, now on a minor league rehab, returns to the club. After that, it gets dicey. The other underperformers are Jeff McNeil and DJ Stewart, who’s been bad, and Tyrone Taylor, who’s been worse. Stewart has a 65 wRC+ while Taylor has a 13.

My opinion is that Baty needs 200 consecutive PA in the minors. Yet the Mets have hinted that Baty’s stay will be limited, as the Mets will be facing a bunch of lefties here in the short term. But it’s not like Baty has been great against righties. He has a .657 OPS against RHP this year. That’s better than his mark against lefties but it’s still not good.

A brief stint in the minors last August didn’t help. He needs an extended stay there.

But just because something is clear to me doesn’t mean that’s what the Mets are going to do. And if their intent is to bring back Baty after a short stay – who goes? If it was a mistake not to have a backup middle infielder before, you’d think that Jose Iglesias would remain. Which means either Stewart (with an option) or Taylor would be the odd man out.

The easy thing to do would be to option Stewart. But Taylor has been so bad that we have to at least consider the possibility of moving on from him. His ability to play all three outfield positions is a plus. But there’s simply no way good defense can make up for a .163/.182/.209 line. My preference would be to leave the roster as is right now, outside of the impending Alvarez promotion. But neither Stewart nor Taylor should feel comfortable at this moment.

We can hope that McNeil starts hitting better and he’s at least shown some signs of life lately. But it would be foolish to put too many eggs in that basket. So, who else? It’s not unreasonable to expect more from Marte, as well as Nimmo. But everyone else is pretty close to the top – or above – what we can expect moving forward.

It’s not unusual in a sample of one month for a player to run an elevated BABIP. But just because he did it in a short stretch doesn’t mean it’s sustainable in the long run. J.D. Martinez has a .349 BABIP, Harrison Bader has a .357 and Mark Vientos has a .375 mark. We should expect all three of those to return to earth.

While not to the degree of the three players in the last graph, both Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor are above their lifetime marks in BABIP. Alonso’s last four hits have all been for extra-bases, which is nice to see. Hopefully it’s the start of a hot streak for him. But in the last month, he has a 128 wRC+, compared to a lifetime 133 mark in the category. We shouldn’t expect him to, say, post a 145 the remainder of the year or anything like that.

It might be easier to be optimistic with Lindor. He was so bad for so long at the start of the year that you feel he could improve. Yet he had a 122 wRC+ this past month, compared to a 118 lifetime mark, so how optimistic should we be that he’ll be better moving forward? His 1.037 OPS over his last 11 games has been a welcome sight. But that’s with a .471 BABIP.

Which brings us to Nimmo.

He started off May with a bang but here lately, he’s been scuffling. In his last 17 games, Nimmo has just a .510 OPS. That’s bad all by itself but he also has struck out 25 times in 71 PA, for a 35.2 K%. If the move to leadoff has helped Lindor, it’s hurt Nimmo. It might be coincidental in both cases. But one of the reasons for making the move was Nimmo was leading the team in RBIs hitting out of the leadoff spot. The thought was that if he dropped in the order, he’d do even better. But in 13 games in the three-hole, Nimmo has just 2 RBIs.

There’s always been some strikeouts as part of Nimmo’s game. But his 24.6 K% is his highest since 2019. And his power slump here recently has his ISO down to .161 for the year. That’s not enough power to justify the strikeouts. Maybe it’s just your run-of-the-mill slump. It’s just that we’re not used to seeing numbers like this without Nimmo playing thru an injury.

It’s tough under normal circumstances to judge an offense and what might happen in the future with all of the moving parts. But it’s even tougher this year with the Mets and with how Citi Field has depressed scoring. On the road, the Mets have averaged 5.2 runs per game while at home it’s been a 3.5 mark. Maybe the traditional wRC+ and BABIP numbers don’t mean as much projecting forward. Perhaps we just need to keep up with how many road games are upcoming to see how the Mets will do in a particular time frame.

For what it’s worth, the Mets have played 33 home games and 25 road games. And one of their upcoming “home” games will be in London. After today’s home game, 12 of the next 18 ones will be away from Citi Field. So, it would be a good time for the offense to make hay. And few will be happier than McNeil and Nimmo to hit the road. McNeil has a road OPS+ of 141 while Nimmo’s mark is a 172.

4 comments on “A look at the Mets’ hitters over their recent 9-19 stretch

  • TexasGusCC

    You glossed over the pitching, but as we saw in today’s game, the pitching needs to carry its weight. Too, the decisions on how to manage pitchers seems to be head scratching. I would love to see Nolan Ryan as a pitching coach: “what do you mean you’re tired? You’ve only pitch five innings and you don’t even throw 95!” Quintana is running on fumes, and needs a break. This team has missed Diaz so much.

    But, per the article, the hitting needs to be evaluated and I really believe Marte leading off and Nimmo behind him would be great for this team. Nimmo takes alot of pitches and Marte will have stolen base chances. I would hate to put Nimmo at leadoff because he has worked hard to expand his game and I don’t want that to be lost via this slump. Martinez, Lindor, Alonso should follow in that order. How to order Bader, Alvarez, Vientos and McNeil, I don’t know.

    In an interview Lindor gave after the 4-4 game, he said something I found very interesting: He said that the two hitting coaches do a great job of preparing the hitters for the pitchers they are probable to face. The hitting coaches are constantly talking to them and giving them information about pitchers warming up or in the game. Wow! Can you imagine the headache of playing in MLB with today’s technology craze? I like Taylor for his game and control and Stewart for his possibilities and left handedness. If I had to pick one or the other, I would take Taylor: he can play center, he has speed, and he has some promise. In 165 plate appearances last year after the all-star break, Taylor put up a .269/.309/.545/.854 slash line. With the defense and the speed, that’s what I see. I know that Taylor has a .128/.150/.154/.304 over the last 28 days, but when Mendoza goes on the record and says that Taylor is perfect for his role, meaning getting just 40 plate appearances in 28 days, or one a day, that’s going to be a problem for someone to have his timing. Stewart over that same 28 days has a slash of .171/.292/.220/.511 in 48 plate appearances, so neither is really getting much time.

    • Brian Joura

      So, an article entitled “A look at the Mets’ hitters over their recent 9-19 stretch” and the first thing you say is that I glossed over the pitchers?!?!?!?!?!?

      • TexasGusCC

        I spent over 100 words on the hitting but the 20 that I used on the pitching bothered you? I happen to think that lately, the pitching has been the bigger issue. That’s all.

        By the way, Baty with two homeruns today probably cannot learn much in Syracuse, he needs to conquer the majors – and Acuna stole his 20th. I won’t say anything about Sproat’s pitching.

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