Category Archives: Mets

The 2018 Mets Ranked By Perceived Metsiness


Carlos Beltran does not play for the 2018 Mets | Via Keith Allison

Carlos Beltran is a future Hall-of-Famer, a Gold Glove center fielder who hit 400 home runs, stole 300 bases, and hit .307/.412/.609 in the postseason. He might wear a Mets cap on his Cooperstown plaque. He played more games with the New York Mets than with any other team. He is objectively a great player.

And yet–would you be more comfortable talking to a stranger about Donald Trump or Carlos Beltran? If you took a Mets fan off the subway and asked them about Carlos Beltran, what would they say? Maybe they would talk about Adam Wainwright’s curveball and Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. Maybe they’d say it was a shame the Mets wasted so many of Beltran’s best years, surrounding him, David Wright, and Jose Reyes with mediocre players. Maybe they’d claim Beltran was a clubhouse cancer and #BlameBeltran. He is not universally beloved the way Mike Piazza or Tom Seaver or Mookie Wilson is universally beloved.

I have a new theory about this: Carlos Beltran’s problem was that he lacked an essential Mets-iness. He was, in a word, too competent.

For example, when Beltran had a bone bruise in his right knee in 2009, he ignored the Mets team doctor and had knee surgery, possibly without the team’s permission. The Mets threatened to void Beltran’s contract in a public spat.

Guess who was correct about Carlos Beltran’s knee?

Beltran was. He played eight more seasons on his surgically repaired knee. (Can you think of a better medical strategy than doing the opposite of whatever the Mets doctors tell you? You’d probably live forever.) Beltran knew better. He won Gold Gloves for a team that let Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda run around next to him in the outfield. He was a genius baseball player who loved to swipe third. He was a beloved teammate, but he didn’t always seem to enjoy playing for the Mets. That’s not a criticism. Beltran, wisely, rejected certain aspects of the Mets. There’s a reason the pairing never quite seemed to click.

You know who is a True Met? Ryan Church. He made the final out at Shea Stadium. Very Mets. His most famous moment was missing third base in a game against the Dodgers in 2009, taking the go-ahead run off the board. Very Mets. He suffered a concussion, let the Mets doctors fly him all over the country, and then he had to retire. The Mets! They ruined his career. Church embodied a certain period of Mets baseball. Carlos Beltran is objectively a better player, by a comical margin, but Ryan Church was more Mets. Would Carlos Beltran ever miss a base? Did Carlos Beltran trust the Mets medical staff?

Mike Piazza was objectively great, but he also dyed his hair blonde and once held a press conference to announce he identified as heterosexual. A Scottish band wrote a song about it. Of course he fit in. It goes beyond just talent.

The Mets’ franchise identity is a blend of lovable losers, comic ineptness, great pitching, humor, lost potential, an occasional dark streak, and soul-crushing meltdowns. Daniel Murphy was an excellent Met. Whenever he’d play well, it was amusing, because Murphy has a weirdly small torso and a dinosaur-arm batting stance and had no business playing second base. Johan Santana was objectively a great pitcher, but that worked because the Mets usually have objectively great pitchers–Tom Seaver is the greatest Met of all. Ed Kranepool was not an all-time great, but he is an all-time great Met. The Wilpons are objectively bad owners, because they were bilked out of millions in a Ponzi scheme that financially crippled the franchise for a half-decade, but they’re great Mets owners, because they were bilked out of millions in a Ponzi scheme that financially crippled the franchise for a half-decade. That’s a very Mets thing to happen.

See how this works?

And so, in that tradition, here is a scientific ranking of the Mets current roster, by how Mets each player feels, on a scale of 1-10, from least-to-most Mets. Again, this is scientific, so if you disagree, you are wrong.


Jose Reyes – 11/10: Once beloved. Now? Yuck. A useful bench player at this stage in his career, but this list isn’t about usefulness. It’s about Metsiness.

Tomas Nido – 12/10: Last September, Nido was thrown out trying to go second-to-home on an infield hit, for the final out of the game, with the Mets trailing by eight. He hasn’t played enough, but there’s lots of promise here. Lots of promise.

Amed Rosario – 13/10: The Mets all-time leaders in plate appearances by shortstops, via Fangraphs:

Jose Reyes: 5680 PA
Bud Harrelson: 5083 PA
Rey Ordonez: 3216 PA
Ruben Tejada: 2185 PA
Kevin Elster: 1765 PA

If you sort by WAR, Ruben Tejada jumps to (his rightful place as) the third-best shortstop in Mets history. Ruben Tejada! I love Ruben Tejada. But Ruben Tejada should not be the third-best anything for any franchise. Amed Rosario could grow into an All-Star shortstop, which would be great, but also that would not be a very Mets thing to become.

Robert Gsellman – 14/10: Gsellman is an aggressive gum-chewer, has tattoos, and once told reporters that he didn’t care what his GM thought. There’s bad boy potential here, albeit surly-teenager-in-a-pleather-jacket bad boy potential. He might be a good pitcher. If he went by “Bob,” he’d shoot up these rankings.

Seth Lugo – 14/10: He’s pitching with a partial tear in his UCL, which gives him plenty of Mets potential. Like his career twin Gsellman, too early to make a call.

Juan Lagares – 14/10: His development has stalled after various injuries, but Lagares would still rank near the top if this list were organized by “fun.” It’s not though! This scientific list is about Metsiness, and good fielding is anti-Mets.

Travis d’Arnaud (DL) – 14/10: Played too many games to be a failed prospect in the Fernando Martinez/Lastings Milledge type. The Mets have a long line of great catchers–or like three great catchers–and catchers sometimes bloom late, but time is running out for d’Arnaud.

Paul Sewald – 15/10: Sewald was almost traded for Jason Kipnis last winter, which means a bunch of dudes in the Cleveland front office had a professional meeting about Paul Sewald, the last man in the Mets bullpen, and came to a conclusion about his value. Think about that. How boring must it be to work in a front office?

A.J. Ramos – 15/10: Being traded from the Marlins puts Ramos in the Mets footsteps of Al Leiter, Mike Piazza, and Carlos Delgado. He’s also walked 16 in 25 innings with the Mets, but no one’s noticed because he hasn’t pitched in an important game yet. Lots of potential here.

Jay Bruce – 15/10: The Mets have spend the last three seasons trying to acquire or trade away Jay Bruce, and we’re one Brandon Nimmo hot streak away from that happening again. He has serious lunchpail potential though, because he’s white and looks unathletic most of the time.

Jason Vargas (DL) – 15/10: He was part of that awful J.J. Putz trade that should have barred Omar Minaya from rejoining the Mets ever again. And yet here they both are.

Matt Harvey – 15/10: Says he admires Derek Jeter, has a shoe collection that “a lot of women would be impressed by,” and doesn’t seem to like laughing at himself–these are very Yankee traits. “Mysterious” nosebleeds, arm injuries, and being unable to get out of his own way, however, are extremely Mets traits. Mixed bag here. Harvey seems to be in denial of his Metsiness, which may itself be Metsian? Hardest player to judge here.

Asdrubal Cabrera – 16/10: A useful player I have never once felt excited about. Gains a point for once frosting his tips, a Mets tradition like no other.

Zack Wheeler – 16/10: Arm injuries and a John-Maine-esque inability to put hitters away. Will he put it together? Will he vanish only to reemerge to pitch 30 mediocre relief innings for the Orioles in six years? Only time will tell.

Michael Conforto – 16/10: Nicknamed “Scooter.” No one, including Conforto, knows why. I can’t decide if that’s very Mets.

Noah Syndergaard – 17/10: Thor has the potential to be the best pitcher in baseball, which would be Metsian, but seems just as likely to suffer a career-ending back injury while deadlifting in an attempt to impress a girl, which is also very Mets. Participates in a running online joke about having a sexual relationship with Mrs. Met, who is a human-baseball hybrid married to Mr. Met. I would pay $20 from my own wallet to make that #content stop.

Jacob deGrom – 17/10: The Mets are the franchise of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Dwight Gooden, and I suspect Jacob deGrom will be on that list when his Mets days are done. (Among Mets pitchers, deGrom already ranks eighth in WAR, fourth in ERA, and first in strikeouts-per-nine-innings.) Being a great pitcher is very Mets. But the Mets are also funny and bad, so deGrom loses points for being neither.

Steven Matz – 18/10: From Long Island. Being from Long Island, New Jersey, or Whitestone earns you a minimum of 8.

Adrian Gonzalez – 18/10: Bobby Abreu. Daisuke Matsuzaka. Willie Mays. Duke Snider. Warren Spahn. Rickey Henderson. Roberto Alomar. Orlando Hernandez. I’m forgetting more, I’m sure, but the final stop in a long career? Welcome to the Mets, Adrian Gonzalez.

Yoenis Cespedes – 18/10: An underrated breed of Met: The weirdo. It’s not always obvious because Cespedes rarely gives interviews in English, but he’s in the Turk Wendell, Jimmy Piersall, R.A. Dickey mold. The cigarette-smoking, underhand-throwing, horse-riding, possibly-not-street-legal-car-driving, pig-slaughtering, neon-armband-wearing Yoenis Cespedes has thrived with the Mets precisely because he’s a weirdo. If you read that he bred prize-winning guinea pigs, or was arrested for running an illegal street-racing ring, or was once a professional opera singer, you’d believe it, right?

Jeurys Familia – 18/10: He’s not responsible for the 2015 World Series, when he was charged with three blown saves despite allowing only two runs (one earned), but he’s partially responsible for the 2016 Wild Card loss. A talented closer who makes you nervous in huge spots? He belongs.

Jose Lobaton – 19/10: A no-hit, all-glove third-string catcher is a very Mets thing to be. Anonymity is key for this role though, so the more games Lobaton plays, the lower his score will be. Currently has frosted tips.

Jerry Blevins – 19/10: “Jerry Blevins” is a very Mets name, and lefty-specialist is a very Mets role. He’d be equally at home on a garbage team or a good one, which is also very Mets. He’s also amusing.

Todd Frazier – 20/10: Did you know he’s from Toms River, New Jersey? More lunchpail potential here as well.

Anthony Swarzak (DL) – 20/10: A relief pitcher who may spend his entire Mets career on the DL with minor injuries? The Mets!

Kevin Plawecki (DL) – 20/10:plawecki-dildo

Brandon Nimmo – 20/10: Seems to have been dropped into this universe from a parallel one where everyone drinks milkshakes at the pharmacy counter, the only curse word is “golly gee,” and all citizens have perfect knowledge of the strike zone. A favorite to take the top spot.

Hansel Robles – 20/10: An eternal optimist who believes every fly ball can be caught as long as you point at it. A true Mets legend. Appreciate him while you can.

David Wright (DL) – 20/10: The Captain. Injuries are very Mets, but David Wright’s injuries are more sad than anything. He was on a Hall of Fame career arc through 2014 and, whether or not he ever escapes the bardo, is statistically the greatest position player in franchise history. He’s 35. No one, possibly including Wright, knows whether he can even throw a baseball after all the shoulder, neck, and back surgeries. If this is indeed a long goodbye, he deserved better–a sentiment that sums up his Mets career.

Wilmer Flores

Via Keith Allison

Wilmer Flores – 21/10: The current paragon of Metsiness. Best known for once being removed from a game because he couldn’t stop crying. Learned English from Friends. Terrible fielder. Wore David Wright’s jersey in an intra-squad game. Just a delight. Carlos Gomez’s failed physical in the summer of 2015 was clearly an act of divine intervention. Flores seems just as likely to miss a base as hit a game-winning home run. May Wilmer Flores play for the Mets forever.


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The Mets Hit too many Home Runs

14352685737_69810d7d92_oBaseball, if you haven’t heard, is in the middle of a fly-ball revolution. Seemingly all at once, hitters have realized that it’s easier to hit a home run with a fly ball than a ground ball. (It’s also much easier to hit a home run with a juiced ball). Never mind that Babe Ruth figured this out a century ago. Yonder Alonso already has 17 home runs for Oakland this season; his previous career high was nine. Justin Turner hit 27 home runs for the Dodgers last season. The Nationals’ Daniel Murphy accepted the fly ball into his heart and also hit 27 home runs last season, following up on his seven homers hit during the Mets 2015 postseason run. All the cool kids are doing it.

“There’s no slug on the ground,” say the Cubs.

“Your OPS is in the air,” says Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

“If I didn’t hit a ground ball all year, I’d be in good shape,” Jay Bruce told the New York Times earlier this season.

“Just say NO to ground balls,” says Josh Donaldson.

Fly balls are in. Ground balls are out. The Bastille has been stormed. Vive la angle de lancer.

And do you know what team hits the ball in the air more than any other team? (This will be a toughie for people who don’t read headlines.)

Since 2015, it’s your New York Mets.

Thing is, I’m not sure it’s the best idea.

I don’t think this is the best idea because, as I suspect the Mets are learning, what works for one player might not work for an entire team. Because despite hitting a lot of home runs, the Mets haven’t scored that many runs.

Since the start of the 2015 season, when they more-or-less stopped rebuilding, the Mets have hit the lowest percentage of ground balls in the National League by a wide margin. They have also hit the most home runs. That’s the fly-ball revolution summarized: Hit the ball in the air, hit more home runs.

(They’ve also walked at an average rate and they’ve struck out at an average rate, relative to the National League.)

But the Mets also have the lowest batting average on balls in play over that period. That is, when the Mets put the ball in play and it doesn’t go over the fence, it turns into an out more often than it does for any other team. That’s the downside of the fly-ball revolution. Balls in the air turn into extra base hits more often than balls on the ground, but fly balls also turn into outs more often. The Mets pop the ball up more than any other team.

Despite a normal strikeout rate, normal walk rate, and a lot of home runs, the Mets still struggle to hit for average. That low batting average drags down their team on-base percentage, which reduces the number of runners on base when the Mets do manage to hit one over the fence, which leads to fewer runs.

The Mets, who again have hit the most home runs since 2015, rank ninth among the fifteen NL teams in runs scored during that same period. This is bad because in baseball, the hitting team wants to score runs. The Mets don’t score that many runs because they don’t get on base enough. Since 2015, they rank thirteen of fifteen in on-base percentage, with only the rebuilding Phillies and Padres trailing.

It gets worse with runners in scoring position. In those situations, the Mets maintain their approach but the power disappears: They walk and strike out at average rates, but their isolated slugging drops from second in the NL to eleventh, despite the Mets still hitting way, way more balls in the air than any other team. Basically those fly balls stop turning into homers with men on base. Maybe it’s bad luck. Maybe the Mets try to pull outside pitches and hit easy fly balls to center. Maybe they pop up too many pitches. It might be a fluke, but then again we’re talking about 3500 plate appearances over three seasons. I suspect something about their approach isn’t working for the Mets.

(They’re also a slow team, and so despite A. not having a ton of guys on base and B. not hitting the fewest ground balls, the Mets have still managed to ground into a normal number of double plays since 2015.)

This fly-ball lineup isn’t an accident. Sandy Alderson’s front office has favored home run hitters, maybe to the Mets own detriment. Alderson signed Curtis Granderson, who hit fly balls before it was cool. After the 2015 season, the Mets said goodbye to the double-play combo of Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada (a combined 17 home runs in 2015) and replaced them with Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera (a combined 46 home runs in 2016). The Mets also traded for Jay Bruce last year despite not having a place to play him. Lucas Duda, Bruce, Curtis Granderson, and Walker are extreme fly ball hitters. Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores, and Cabrera all hit the ball in the air as well.

And this Mets lineup has hit like you’d expect a lineup of extreme fly ball hitters to hit. They hit home runs, but also plenty of pop ups and catchable fly balls. Most of their home runs are solo shots. The team can score in bunches, but they hit for a low average and struggle with situational hitting.

Bruce, Granderson, Walker, Duda, Reyes, and potentially Cabrera can become free agents after this season. The Mets should think about replacing some of them with less extreme hitters. Help should also come from the farm system. Amed Rosario is a ground ball hitter, as are Gavin Cecchini and Brandon Nimmo. Who knows what the Mets major league hitting staff will tell them, and young players often realize hitting ground balls doesn’t always work on well-groomed major league infields and against major league infielders. But it’s not like the Mets minor league system is filled with Jay Bruce clones.

The Mets should aim for a better balanced lineup next season. This is not to suggest the Mets bring back Luis Castillo to slap the ball around the infield. Good fly-ball hitters are obviously preferable to bad ground-ball hitters. But maybe a more heterogenous mix of hitters would help the Mets take better advantage when they put men on base and when their fly balls do leave the park.

Photo via phoca2004 on Flickr

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Today in nitpicking

The Mets have scored 10 runs in their last seven home games, and — surprise — they’ve lost all seven of those games. They also lost two of three to the Brewers on the road somewhere in the middle, putting the Mets at 1-9 over their last 10 games. Also with a 66-81 record, the Mets are guaranteed their fourth consecutive losing season with one more loss. We can go on — have you seen David Wright’s second half numbers? — but enough is enough at some point.

Anyway, the one remaining good thing in this season is that the Mets resemble a competitive baseball when R.A. Dickey pitches. Or, at least, they should. Here’s the lineup the Mets ran out last night against Cliff Lee:

SS — Ruben Tejada
2B — Daniel Murphy
3B — David Wright
RF — Scott Hairston
1B — Lucas Duda
LF — Jason Bay
CF — Andres Torres
C — Mike Nickeas
P — R.A. Dickey

Terry Collins’ lineup starts out well enough. Ruben Tejada is the Mets’ best shortstop, Daniel Murphy their best second baseman, Wright their best third baseman, Hairston their best outfielder against left-handed pitching . . . and then things get weird. I generally like Terry Collins, but the idea of him setting lineups for important October baseball games make me quiver in my boots. This is, if I were wearing boots that were a little loose.

Let’s start here: Lucas Duda played first base, while Ike Davis sat. If you ignore defense, you can sort of see why Terry Collins might have done this. Duda has a career .672 OPS against lefties, while Davis has a .633 OPS. Duda was 4-for-12 against Lee with a home run, Davis was 1-for-11 — after the game, Collins said he set his lineup based on career matchup numbers against Lee. Neither’s a great hitter against a tough lefty like Cliff Lee, but all the numbers, no matter how reliable, point towards Duda as the better option of the two platoon-split sluggers.

Only you can’t ignore defense. And while Duda looked surprisingly sure-handed at first, Davis is a superior defender at first base. This may or may not make up the 40-point game in OPS, but it certainly narrows it. But it’s not like Duda can only play first — he’s a not-unbearably terrible left fielder. If the goal is to win the game and the Mets lack good right-handed options, I think Davis is the better option at first base and Duda should be out in left field. Only left field was occupied last night by . . .

Jason Bay, who owns a .492 OPS against left-handed pitchers this season (not the thing Collins was looking at) and a 4-14 career mark against Lee (probably the thing Collins was looking at), with a home run against Lee earlier this season. Do Bay’s decent-ish numbers over Lee make up for his terrible numbers against left-handed pitching this season, and for his dramatic decline in general?* He’s also a better defender than Duda, but the gap may be similar to that between Duda and Davis at first.


So the question for Terry Collins wasn’t Duda vs. Davis, it was really Davis-and-Duda vs. Duda-and-Bay, and which pair gave the Mets the best chance to win Monday with R.A. Dickey on the mound. I’m not sure Duda-and-Bay was the right answer. Though Bay did make a nice catch on a ball in left that Duda probably doesn’t catch. So what do I know.

This brings us to Torres, who is probably the best option in center against a left-handed pitcher. Torres has an .807 OPS against lefties this season and a .754 mark for his career. He’s the best defensive option, etc. Torres should play against left-handed pitchers the rest of the way. Cool? Cool.

And then we get to the catcher’s spot. Mike Nickeas has a .490 career OPS and a .511 OPS against lefties. Kelly Shoppach has a .739 career OPS and a .878 OPS against lefties. Nickeas started against Lee. I don’t see this one, so let’s try to think like Terry Collins: Nickeas was 0-for-3 against Lee . . . Shoppach was 0-for-9 . . . Jimmy Leyland. Nope, that didn’t work either. Nickeas would have to be not just a little bit better defensively, but WAY WAY better defensively for this to make sense. As in, Nickeas would have to be a seven-foot-tall robot knuckleball-grabbing vacuum cleaner to justify playing him over the better-hitting Shoppach. At least in a game the Mets are trying to win for Dickey.

Anyway, Bay and Nickeas went 1-for-5 combined — Nickeas did score the Mets only run and dropped down a surprise bunt single — while Shoppach and Davis went 1-for-2 as pinch-hitters. The Mets scored one run against Lee and Jonathan Papelbon and lost 3-1.

These are all minor points. But when the Mets are losing just about every game, that’s really all we have left: Minor points like rooting for R.A. Dickey to get more wins, a stat I don’t put much value in, so that maybe he’ll have a better shot at an award. But it’d be nice if Terry Collins ran out the Mets’ best lineups on the days R.A. Dickey is pitching. At the very least so the Mets could win a game now and then.

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So many links!

Let’s start over on Grantland, with Rany Jazayerli:

Major League Baseball before the turn of the century was like a highway with a speed limit of 80 mph. Baseball today has a speed limit of 55 mph, seat belts are mandated, and air bags are standard. What the Nationals are doing is lowering the speed limit to 40 mph and arguing that it will reduce car accidents further.

I don’t know enough about any of this to feel strongly one way or the other, but just to advocate for Satan . . . Isn’t it possible the Nationals do indeed know what they’re doing with Stephen Strasburg? (Note: I don’t actually believe this to be true. But it’s possible, right?)

It’s difficult to make compelling arguments either way about protecting pitchers because disabled list and injury data and pitch counts haven’t been tracked as closely as the regular ol’ baseball statistics. So while we can say with confidence that a pitcher with a low strikeout rate and a good ERA is likely to see his ERA rise — because we’ve seen so many pitchers over the years follow that pattern and we’ve got the numbers to prove it — we just don’t have the same amount of info about pitcher injuries.

At least, we, people of the internet, do not that much info. My guess is that if you had the time to dig through newspaper archives for a couple of weeks, months, you could make a decent historical injury database and learn a lot about what really correlates with busted arms. If you had the time and resources. And while I don’t, who’s to say teams like the Nationals aren’t having a couple of interns and a statistician dig through the archives and tape, and they come up with something a bit more conclusive?

Or they have no idea what they’re doing. That’s probably just as good a theory.

How about some critique of MLB’s TV policies?

So this sets up a strange mismatch between what MLB customers want, and what their revenues tell them to do. MLB fans want to watch their favorite team on whatever device they prefer. But MLB’s revenue stream is depending more and more on their customers NOT being able to watch their team over the internet, forcing them to watch on TV.

This all sounds logical, but I don’t actually know enough about how . . . buziness? Am I getting that right? Biz-nas? How money-for-stuff-on-a-big-scale works to comment. But it’s an interesting read about the internet and how it changes business models.

And finally this:

Oh, uh and . . . Mets. How about those Mets? Yeah, I know. I don’t know either.


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Mets at home, Mets on road

For the sake of discussion and disgust, the Mets hitting home/road splits:

Home 68 2488 2220 241 538 103 9 52 28 13 217 524 .242 .311 .367 .678
Away 72 2805 2507 336 650 151 9 65 38 19 230 565 .259 .326 .404 .730
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 9/10/2012.

and their pitching home/road splits; that is, how other teams hit in Citi Field vs. elsewhere against the Mets:

Home 267 2581 2333 288 561 112 9 72 37 11 191 542 2.84 .240 .301 .389 .689
Away 295 2687 2398 329 628 123 18 64 46 12 216 534 2.47 .262 .325 .408 .733
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 9/10/2012.

Things to note: The Mets have hit 13 fewer home runs at home than on the road, but their opponents have hit eight more home runs at Citi Field than in other parks while playing the Mets. But that’s not the weird one. In the most dramatic split, the Mets have hit 48 fewer doubles at home while their opponents have hit only nine fewer. Why don’t the Mets hit well in their home ballpark, especially doubles-wise, or at least see a less dramatic split?

Well let’s start here. The Mets have actually been one of the better offensive teams in the National League this season, but only on the road. They’re second in runs scored on the road, first in doubles, third in on-base percentage, fourth in OPS, fifth in slugging, and third in walks drawn. Take the Mets out of Citi Field, and they’re a top-three, top-five offensive team. Ike Davis is having an All-Star season (.259/.330/.563), but only as a road player.

Stick the Mets in Citi Field, and that all goes away. They’re dead-last in the NL in runs scored at home. They’re 15th in on-base percentage, 15th in OPS, 13th in slugging, 14th in doubles and 12th in home runs. David Wright, Daniel Murphy, and Lucas Duda have been above-average hitters at home . . . and then the six other Mets with 100 plate appearances at home have sub-.700 OPS marks.

So how do the same group of players show up as a top-three offensive team in one group of ballparks, and then a bottom-three team in their home ballpark?

That’s a serious question. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on with the Mets, or how a team can hit so well on the road and also be this awful at home. The simplest answer is that Citi Field suppresses run scoring in ways that go beyond the distance of the outfield walls. Maybe it’s wind patterns caused by the design of the park. Maybe they caught an unfair number of aces at home this season. I honestly don’t have a better answer, and I’m not sure the Mets do either.


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No play for Mr. Gray?

The result is visible: with each passing Mets broadcast on SNY, the mustache has grown considerably grayer. Sometimes the mustache is more interesting than the game.

“I’m not totally happy with the gray,” he said. “It’s something I have to get used to. I have more people, on the female side, who tell me they prefer it gray.”

So, he must have surmised, there would be some play for Mr. Gray.

The first and probably only time a sentence in the New York Times caused me to laugh out loud. Via the Internet.

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The Mets are poor but wealthy where it counts, or something

They may have lost out to Magic Johnson and his faceless financial-services wonderfriends in the race to create a domestic version of Manchester City, but they also don’t owe nearly $200 million to a corner outfield comprising one badly injured speed merchant (Carl Crawford) and one should-be platooned should-be first baseman (Andre Ethier), both aging. For next year, the Mets are a small bit of luck away from being better than the Dodgers; after next year they will owe nothing to anyone, and will have so many good young players making so little money that they’ll be able to light cash on fire and still go head up with the fake Sheikh Mansour in a bidding war.

Excellent stuff in the Wall Street Journal from Tim Marchman on the Mets, their money, and fan apathy.

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Live! Blog: Matt Harvey start

I haven’t done one of these in a while — I’ll be watching tonight’s game FROM MY COUCH. Why don’t you join me? Well not on my couch. But on the internet. I’ll be live blogging — live web logging? liwoggin? libogging?– tonight’s Mets-Phillies game starting at 7:05ish. And we’re live! Continue reading


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What’s wrong with the Johan?

So maybe you’ve noticed, dear readers, that Johan Santana hasn’t been all that sharp recently. And maybe this is alarming. But I’m going to posit that maybe it’s not.

See most of you probably know that Johan Santana was one of baseball’s best pitchers in the 2000s and the early 2010s. Over eight seasons with the Twins, Santana posted a 3.22 ERA and a 141 ERA+ — that is, his ERA was 41% better than an average pitcher working in the same home ballpark. He was just about as good during his first three seasons with the Mets, when Santana posted a 2.85 ERA and a 143 ERA+. And then he was even better his first 11 starts this season coming off shoulder surgery. Santana posted a 2.38 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 68 innings, capping that run with a no-hitter June 1. Santana was consistently excellent for about for 10 1/2 years. Continue reading


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Edgin towards a better bullpen

But Edgin has impressed in his first 14.0 innings with the Mets. He already has 22 strikeouts — that’s 14.1 K/9 — and a 3.31 FIP and 2.27 xFIP that suggest he’s been significantly better than his ERA. Glen Perkins was in a similar spot early in his 2012 season. Edgin’s track record is, of course, not anywhere near as long as Perkins’s, but his ability to strike out opponents is more likely than not to make him stick as a viable late-inning option in the big leagues.

– Chris McShane, Amazin’ Avenue

I could write a lot more about this, but basically: Relievers who strike out ton of dudes tend to be good. For example: Bobby Parnell strikes out about a batter per inning and has a 3.26 ERA over the last three seasons. Between 2007 and 2012, there were 20 relievers who struck out more than a batter per inning and had below-average ERAs, and 71 who struck out a batter per inning and had above-average ERAs. So strikeout rate alone doesn’t get it done, but it’s a pretty good indicator that a pitcher may be successful. Plus our man Edgin struck out more than a batter per inning in the minors, so he’s not striking out guys at a rate way over his head. If Edgin can strikeout more than a batter per inning (maybe) and be left-handed (yes), the Mets have another useful reliever. Giving them, like, two.

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