Is the New York Mets' Offense in Trouble?
The New York Mets are currently on a five-game winning streak, which includes a sweep of the Chicago Cubs, having scored 40 runs during the streak (8.0 runs per game). I realize this makes the timing of an article on whether or not their offense is in trouble seem puzzling.
However, despite the recent resurgence, the Mets still have one of baseball's worst offenses.
They've only scored 316 runs for the season -- which includes two games of 10-plus runs against the Cubs -- which is the third-fewest in all of baseball. They got off to a decent start, scoring 107 runs in April, which was the 10th-most, but then the "true" offense decided to show up.
The Mets scored the third fewest runs in May with 87, and by scoring one fewer run in the month of June (86), they finished dead last by a wide margin. The next closest team scored 99 runs in June.
Those of you who remember the first half of the year for the Mets last season may not be concerned with a low run total through this point of 2016. The 2015 Mets finished the first half with just 310 runs scored, which was the third fewest, yet this club made it to the World Series, ultimately losing to the Kansas City Royals.
However, they were greatly helped by the mid-season addition of Yoenis Cespedes. He transformed an anemic offense and helped the Mets score 373 runs in the second half -- third-most -- on their way to the World Series.
Unfortunately for the 2016 Mets, Cespedes is already on the team, yet they are still struggling to score runs. This is despite their ability to hit the long ball.
The Mets currently have 111 home runs as a team, which is tied for the sixth-most in baseball, but they're too dependent on hitting taters. Check it:
|Team||HR||Runs||% of Runs that are HR||Runs Scored Rank|
Among the teams ranked in the top 10 for most long balls this season, the Mets have the highest percentage of runs that are home runs (35.13). Of these 11 teams (the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies are tied for the 10th-most homers), eight are in the top nine for total runs scored and only one other team ranks outside the top 25 besides the Mets.
Basically, besides the Mets and the Tampa Bay Rays, if a team is hitting a lot of home runs, they're also scoring a lot of runs. Unfortunately for the Mets, their offensive issues don't end with being reliant on moonshots.
Their team batting average of .240 is fifth-worst and their team Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) of .313 ranks 20th. These numbers get even worse when the Mets have a chance to drive in runs.
With runners in scoring position, their team batting average falls to .212 and their team wOBA drops to .263, both of which rank dead last among all 30 teams. They aren't doing a good job of simply putting the ball in play either, as their team strikeout percentage is 25.0, which is second worst in this scenario.
But good pitching is more important than good hitting, right?
Not so fast. The Mets do have good pitching -- their team 3.70 xFIP ranks fourth-best -- but the past 10 World Series winners have had good offenses.
|Year||Team||Runs Scored Rank|
Minus the 2010 San Francisco Giants, every World Series winner over the past 10 seasons has been in the top half of teams for the most runs scored. Even more telling, six of these teams have been in the top eight or higher in runs scored. This isn't to say you can bash your way to a World Series win, but having a strong offense appears to be important.
This is bad news for the Mets despite their recent uptick in scoring runs, something I don't anticipate lasting.
Below is a table of their current starters, with the inclusion of the newly signed Jose Reyes, who has yet to appear in a game for them. I listed the rest-of-year (ROY) wOBA of each player based on our projections.
For reference, the current league average wOBA is .319, which means we project the Mets to have just three hitters post an above-average wOBA over the remaining course of the season.
With projections like these, it becomes a bit more understandable how the Mets lost five-of-seven games to the Atlanta Braves -- the worst team in the National League -- last month.
Their impressive starting rotation might keep the Mets in the playoff hunt -- they currently hold the second wild card spot -- but unless their bats start to pick up, which our projections say they won't, this club might not even finish second place in their division, let alone make the postseason.