NY Sports Dog: Jerry has it Wrong on Power

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jerry has it Wrong on Power

The 2008 Mets finished close to the middle of the pack in Homeruns and Slugging %.

Of the 16 National League teams, the Mets were 6th in Homeruns and 7th in Slugging %. Moreover, they only finished 12th overall in Doubles.

Despite the occasional frustrating lack of pop, they did manage to finish 2nd in Runs, 4th in Hits and had the 4th highest team Batting Average in the league.

But the question still remains--do they lack power?

Jerry Manuel is emphasizing his version of small ball this year--let's call it Jerry Ball--and, as Marty Noble of MLB.com writes, he wants, "More Lemke, less McGwire."

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Among the defeats the Mets endured during their September slide last season was one that particularly distressed their manager, because he was certain that it could have been averted had his hitters not adhered to their routine practices.

That night, Jerry Manuel would have paid a princely sum for a swing that perhaps would have produced a foul ball to extend a critical at-bat. He would have been quite content with a ground ball to advance a runner rather than a perfect and mighty swing designed to create a hero.

For want of a small-ball component -- more contentious at-bats, a properly placed ground ball -- the Mets lost that night, prompting Manuel to lament during the postmortems: "There are things we can do to win games that we don't always try. ... There's more than one way to skin a cat."
But is this really accurate? Did the Mets need more "small ball" down the stretch, or was it the lack of big hits, power hits, that ultimately sealed their fate.

Let's look at the game logs in September and try to see if we can spot the flaws.

In the month of September the Mets his 29 homeruns. While that looks like a decent amount, of the 25 games they played, no homeruns were hit in 10.

The Mets went 3-7 in those games.

The Mets hit their third fewest amount of HRs in September. The worst month was March/April, followed by June.

Their record in those months?

14-12 in March/April
13-15 in June
13-12 in September.

On the season, the Mets hit 124 homeruns in wins, and only 48 homeruns in losses.

So while I applaud Jerry wanting his guys to use the whole field, move runners along, and keep the lineup rotating, there is something to be said for the good old fashioned 3-run bomb.

What the team really needs is to channel their inner Kingman.
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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good article.

My hope is that Church and Murphy can add in a bunch of extra base hits, and that Castillo has a high OBP.

We're probably not going to get more homeruns this year from Delgado, wright and Beltran that we got last year, so other players need to step up.

Anonymous said...

As far as the Jerry comments about "small ball" vs "swinging for the fences" at the end of the season...I don't think that he's looking to tone down the HRs; I think what he's getting at, is that sometimes when you need to focus on putting the ball in play in the right place; players tend to swing from their heels (striking out, popping up, etc) trying to be the hero instead of being productive...too many times, you see a taken 3rd strike in an important stage of a game, when the old adage is to protect the plate with 2 strikes and foul off close pitches that you don't like...

Anonymous said...

CAPSLOCK=DISABILITY ACCOMODATION
IT'S A WELL DOCUMENTED HISTORICAL STAT THAT SHEA PLAYED VERY 'BIG' IN COLDER MONTHS OF APRIL, MAY, SEPT. TBD IS HOW CITI WILL PLAY, THE GAPS ARE CERTAINLY DEEPER, THE WALLS HAVE MORE NUANCES SMALL BALL CERTAINLY PLAYS WELL REGARDLESS OF VENUE.

Dave Singer said...

I agree that it's going to be interesting to see how this all pans out.

My thought is that it's all good in Spring Training, but once the season gets underway players revert to the form that got them where they are.

Minor adjustments get made, perhaps a bit more opposite field hitting early, but at the end of the day, you dance with what brung ya.

kranepool society said...

Dave, it looks to me that J-Man is trying to change the mindset of his players in that they need to more savy as to what is needed to win. When Delgado sees the shift he needs to go the other way and now I know that's easier said than done but that's what spring training is for. You can tell by Manuel tone this spring he feels last years team were a selfish bunch and that has to change in order to be successful.

Dave Singer said...

Steve...that's a good point, but personally I don't as if the Mets were a selfish bunch.

Everyone has their prima donna moment, or a bad day, but on balance the club is made up of quality guys.

Regardless, I have a ton of faith in Jerry, and I hope he looks at the numbers as much as the personalities--both matter.

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