By: Chris Blumenstetter

Can the Mets Break out of Offensive Slump? ‘Long’ Shot…


Five games in and the Mets are the worst offensive team in baseball…Here are some of the first weeks low-lights…

  •  The Mets .180 team batting average is the worst in baseball through the first week.
  • The 14 runs scored only tops the Angels and Twins
  • The club’s two home runs is good enough to be better than only the Angels (one).
  • OBP of .275 is third worst to Anaheim and Oakland
  • Mets are DEAD LAST in the MLB in total bases with 41.

 Sure, it is a 3% sample size of the season and they have played a quirky schedule with some frigid temperatures – But the schedule is strange at the beginning for all teams.  With the club’s offensive struggles for most of last season and the post season (Murphy Excluded), it is worth asking the question…Is this going to be something that can be fixed?

The 2016 has arrived with certain expectations for the New York Mets.  This is a stark contrast from the past few seasons where showing up, not spiking yourself, and being present talk to the media after getting your teeth kicked in was acceptable and lauded.  I am not pressing the ‘panic button’ just yet, but certain things this week have made me nervous.  Some include the lack of contact, hapless swings, and amount of hit-able pitches taken in favorable counts with men on base.

A lot has been made of the Mets’ batting approach over the years.  In 2014, even beloved booth presence Keith Hernandez ripped then hitting coach Dave Hudgens and the Mets for their propensity to take a lot of pitches and work counts by saying that he “vehemently disagrees with the strategy.”  Current hitting coach Kevin Long has continued to champion this organizational philosophy, but is it working?  Former Met and current Dodger Justin Turner says NO , maybe he and Keith are worth listening to? Lets break it down…

DONT-Da- Lucas Duda, currently batting .222, is 29th in pitches per plate appearance (P/PA) in Major League Baseball. He has taken a drive-able fastball in a position where he was ahead in the count multiple times already this year, and has drawn the ire of Keith and Mets fans everywhere for doing so.

Cespe-MISS- Slugger Yoenis Cespedes is ninth in the MLB in P/PA and is batting .200.  His homerun yesterday in a long at bat is a good sign, and hopefully ignites him.

Dar-NOOOOOO- Travis is tied with Duda for 29th in P/PA and is batting an embarrassing .083.  After quietly being dropped to the 8th spot in the lineup, he was mercifully replaced by Kevin Plawecki in the lineup Sunday, who went hittless.    

The team struggled offensively for a majority of the year last season ranking last in the majors in most offensive categories until they got healthy and acquired more talent.  But, what was their excuse when the bats went silent in the second week of September and never woke up (besides conveniently departed Daniel Murphy’s)?  The bats went cold with the weather in the playoffs, and even a warm spring in St. Lucie did not awaken them.

Are the Mets asking hitters to do something they are not comfortable with? Or, what could be even worse, doing something they are not capable of?  Can Duda be a consistent cleanup hitter in New York? Will Walker be as clutch as Murphy was in the regular season last year?

Much responsibility in 2016 rests on skipper Terry Collins which I wrote about last week here.  And if this unacceptable play continues, someone will have to be made accountable for the mess.  Terry, who inked a two year three million dollar deal after the World Series run in the fall, is too expensive to replace and has established clout by keeping the team together over the last couple of seasons.

Despite the face that there is an industry wide consensus that hitting coaches are overrated and have little impact at the Major League level, Mets hitting coach Kevin Long may be a  casualty if putrid, paltry plate practices continue.  Fair or not, someone will be held responsible.

About Chris Blumenstetter

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