Sunday, July 15, 2012

N.Y. Mets ~ Lack of Power is a Small Problem for Terry's Kids

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS:   Amazins' Bats Sending Sandy Alderson a Message - We Don't Need Any Help.  Get Pitching!

Despite two consecutive losses to the Braves, the Mets' bats are making a strong case for Sandy Alderson to address other areas of the team, rather than looking for another bat to enhance the Mets' line-up, and possibly upgrade their lack of power.

For the sake of this post, let's still call this the half-way point and project the numbers forward.  After eighty-eight games played this season, and with Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy beginning to peculate, the Mets can potentially have four batters breaking the ninety RBI mark, and can possibly have three players break one-hundred RBI this season.  That may be generous of me to say.  But the chances none-the-less exist.

Daniel Murphy appeared to be coming out his malaise prior to the break.  The hope is he can pick up where he left off.  But in the first two games back, he is batting one for ten.  As the trade deadline approaches, his production will warrant monitoring.  But there's still an awful lot of upside to his bat.  With only three home runs to his credit, he remarkably has driven in forty-three runs on the strength of twenty-three doubles, and a current .289 batting average; which is up from a low of .271 not too long ago.  If his batting average climbs back up to his standard, his RBI should accumulate commensurately.

Lucas Duda's biggest problem is he doesn't have a right-handed bat protecting him in the line-up.  Otherwise, he's quite adept at stroking the ball the other way against lefties, and pulling the righties.  He is struggling with a .246 batting average because pitchers have no reason to give him anything to hit.  Lucas has still clubbed twelve home runs this season, with forty-four RBI so far.  We shouldn't get too down on Lucas.  A bat behind him would help his game immeasurably.  If Jason Bay comes back and at least represents himself, Lucas will benefit.  And lest we forget he's a first baseman playing right field.  So defensively, I cut him a little more slack.

The power switch on Ike Davis has been flicked on.  After struggling horribly below the Mario Mendoza line, and faced with potentially being sent down to Buffalo during the Spring months, Ike Davis has finally tapped into his home run swing, and is having a robust summer.  He is now the second Mets player to reach fifty RBI this season, and currently leads the team in home runs with thirteen.  His .207 average at the moment, is fast becoming a phantom stat.  Ike is on the rise.

And then there is the Mets MVP candidate; David Wright.  He batted above the .400 mark for a substantial portion of the early season.  He currently sits at .347 because he went 0 for 5 Saturday.  Otherwise, he entered the game against the Braves with a .353 average.  He is actually fourth on the team with eleven home runs.  But he is number one on the Mets with fifty-nine RBI, which also ties him for fifth in the National League.

If this all doesn't seem earth shattering to you, then consider this.  For all the talk of the Mets' lack of power, they still produce runs at a surprising clip.  As a matter of fact, the Mets top four run producers drive in more runs than the top four RBI men of all their division rivals.

In Washington, the top four RBI men are Adam LaRoche (53); Ian Desmond (52); Ryan Zimmerman (42); and Bryce Harper with 25 RBI.  That's a total of 172 RBI.

In Atlanta, the top four RBI men are Freddie Freeman (51); Brian McCann (46); Dan Uggla (46); and Jason Heyward with 43 RBI.  That's a total of 186 RBI.

In Miami, the top four RBI men are Giancarlo Stanton (50); Hanley Ramirez (44); Logan Morrison (36); and Omar Infante with 30 RBI.

The book is out on Philadelphia because of lengthy injuries to Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard.

Here are the Mets' numbers:

Daniel Murphy - 86 games; 23 doubles; 3 home runs; 43 rbi.
David Wright - 84 games; 28 doubles; 11 home runs; 59 rbi.
Ike Davis - 83 games; 15 doubles; 13 home runs; 50 rbi.
Lucas Duda - 85 games; 9 doubles; 12 home runs; 44 rbi.

The Mets top four RBI men have driven in 196 runs this season, for tops in the division.  Like Atlanta, they have four players above forty.  But the Mets are the only team with two players above fifty RBI.

Of the blocs of four players mentioned, the Marlins have totalled seventy-four doubles; Washington seventy-seven doubles; and Atlanta sixty doubles.  The Mets big four come in at sixty-seven doubles.  However, the Mets rank number three overall in the National League.  While the Mets still lack significant power, and only rank twelfth in the senior circuit, they are #1 in walks; #4 in total hits; #3 in OBP; and sport the National League's #7 team batting average.

These are things to consider as the trade deadline draws closer.  Perhaps when prioritizing the Mets' needs, a right-handed hitter should, or could, be lower on the list.  The Mets bats seem very capable of holding their own, all be it in their own special way.  But a right-handed bat, like I said, would benefit Lucas Duda most.

With a lack of power/slugging seemingly, and somewhat dispelled, I'd make acquiring pitching the Mets priority moving forward.  If Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, and Jon Niese, can combine to form a formidable trio over the next two weeks, then for sure, the Mets top priority should be to address the bullpen as the trade deadline approaches.  For now though, the club waits on Frank Francisco, and Jenrry Mejia for reinforcement.


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