NY Sports Dog: Shedding Optimism

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shedding Optimism

From Andy the Lawyer

Clearly, Jerry Manuel isn't a good tactical manager and he makes some outrageously dumb decisions (including at least 2 or 3 last night) but I still think the roster, as constructed by Omar/Wilpon, was simply never going to be a team of any quality. Doesn't mean Manuel shouldn't be fired (he should) but lets not delude ourselves into thinking Bobby V. would get this set of personnel to the playoffs.

There are a variety of ways to have a winning team in baseball, and the Mets right now aren't good at any of them. You can win with a huge offense (like the 2006 Mets did, and like the Phillies do now), or you can win with very good pitching (like the 2000 Mets did). The current Mets team, as constructed, has neither.

As to offense, I've posted this elsewhere, but people really fail to acknowledge that good offensive teams don't have just 1 or 2 good hitters, they have above-average major league hitters up and down the lineup. Here are the comparisons of the Mets PROJECTED (keep in mind, this is based on a lineup with Beltran back) #2 and #6 hitters - hardly the "core" of the team - compared to the big offensive clubs - based on career OPS:

Yankees: Johnson (.849 OPS), Posada (.862 OPS)
Boston: Pedrioa (.830 OPS), Beltre (.779 OPS)
Philly: Polanco (.765 OPS), Ibanez (.825 OPS).

Mets: Castillo (.722 OPS), Franceour (.749 OPS).

Just for comparison, in 2006 the Mets #2 and #6 hitters typcially (although that year alot of guys batted 6th) were:

Lo Duca (.746 OPS), Green (.850 OPS)

And in 2000 (when the Mets were carried by their pitching and had a below-average offense, not their offense) their #2 and #6 hitter typically were:

Derek Bell (.757 OPS), Todd Zeile (.769 OPS)

So even in a year when the Mets offense wasn't very good, they STILL had better depth in their lineup than they planned to have this year, even going into spring training.

Now, as to pitching, its much simpler. In both 2006 and 2000, the Mets starters were 3rd best in the NL in runs allowed, giving up only 4.51 and 4.56 runs per game respectively (can't find a way to isolate starters ERA compared to the rest of the league that year on Baseball Reference).

This year, we went into the season looking at a rotation that included a multiple Cy Young winner (Santana) and then 4 guys who can safely be considered the worst 2-5 of any team with a 100 million dollar payroll.

Maine's career ERA is about the NL league average, but when you factor in his injury history and his last 3 years, its hard to see how reasonable it was to expect to match that. Ollie Perez has been a below average MLB pitcher for his career, with an ERA over 5.00 in 6 of his 9 MLB seasons. Pelfrey had an ERA over 5.00 in 3 of his 4 MLB seasons. Neise is essentially a rookie given his lack of MLB experience.

In short, the Mets front office put together a team that focuses on its "highlights" (Santana, KRod, Wright, Beltran, Reyes) while surrounding those highlights with players who are signficantly below the league average. That's not how winning teams are built - they have depth in the lineup and the rotation, and they don't stop adding pieces just because they believe they have found an ace, a closer, and the 3-5 spots in the lineup.

The Mets "core" may still be good, but a baseball team is not assembled by finding 5 good players and surrounding them with crap.
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James said...

VERY well said.

Martin said...

Too bad they don't play with the passion that you display in your analysis.
That's my boy!

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