Mack’s Morning Report – 5-17-16 – The Shift, Hitting Weirdness, Dilson Herrera, Steven Matz


Good morning.

Did any of you catch that fight in Texas? Boy, the Mets could use one of these right about now.

This is a good article on the Mets woes right now http://isportsweb.com/2016/05/15/new-york-mets-slight-adjustments/ which points out the weakness the Mets have in hitting through the shift –

Secondly, the Mets have to learn to hit against the shift. Curt, while hitting the ball hard, hit right into the shift four times in the 7-4 loss against the Rockies. If he’s gonna be a leadoff hitter, then he needs to learn to push bunt and utilize his theoretical speed to beat those out. Every time he goes up there, he’s just playing into the other team’s hands. Sticking with batting, the Mets have to seriously address their problems with situational hitting. They’re averaging 7.06 runners left on base per game (23rd in the league) and have one of the lowest team batting averages in the league with RISP.

Mack – Look, the Mets bat just simply suck right now and we can basically go up and down the lineup and pick holes. These things happen to good teams, but all this woe is also happening at the same time that the ‘dream team’ rotation is having a hard time getting through six innings without giving up three or more runs.

However, let’s put this in perspective…

The Mets have the same record through 37 games as they did last year, but they've scored 8 more runs and allowed 3 fewer.

Another article on  Baseball Essential had some more interesting stat breakouts –

                  The Mets are second in the majors with 51 home runs, and eighth in wRC+ with 102, both of which are above average, and very good. Conversely, their team average of .236 is 21st in the MLB, and their 23.2 strikeout percentage is seventh highest.

The ups and downs do not stop there; in fact, it is like that almost across the board. The team’s 9.3 walk percentage is eighth, but the .317 on-base percentage is 17th. Their .426 slugging percentage is eighth highest, and their ISO is second at .190.

Their BABIP (batting average on balls in play; the league average is around .300) is a paltry .275. BABIP is not solely luck and defense based, but it is important. If a dribbler or a bloop falls in for a single, that raises a batter’s BABIP, but he got lucky. If the next batter gets a home run robbed from him, it lowers his BABIP.

Mack – I had an old boss that used to call stuff like this ‘analysis paralysis’.

All the Mets need is a good old fashioned home stand streak to get them out of this funk. Hopefully, it’s just around the corner.

The  Las Vegas Review-Journal had a great story on Dilson Herrera

                             Come September, Wally Backman is confident his team’s home run leader will be right fielder Travis Taijeron.
But in the early going, it’s speedy leadoff hitter Dilson Herrera, who added another to his total on Sunday.

“I know that’s not my game but I’m making good contact so that’s going to happen when I make good contact,” Herrera said after hitting two homers in Friday’s game against El Paso.

Herrrera leads the team with seven. Taijeron and Marc Krauss are tied for second with five.

Backman has said time and time again that he thinks Herrera can be an All-Star second baseman on a championship team. And he thinks his power will translate to the next level, too.

Mack – As I said in a comment yesterday, there simply is no room on the Mets 25-man this season for Herrera until either 1) there is an injury to Neil Walker or 2) when the rosters expand in September.
          2017 will be Herrera’s year.

          By the way, he had a lead off homer last night, his 8th           of the season

“I think when his time comes, he’s a legitimate 15 to 20 home run hitter in the major leagues,” Backman said.

In the ‘good news bad news’ news… it was determined late yesterday afternoon.. in New York… that Steven Matz does NOT have ligament damage.

                             My question is simple…

                             Why wasn’t Matz sent back to New York earlier in this road trip?

                             This makes no sense to me


Tom Brennan said...

I'd still like them to outlaw the shift...two guys on each side of the IF until the pitch is released.

With our pitchers, we don't need any brawls and a guy getting seriously hurt - but some players could use more fight.
Hey, check out the Willis Reed fight against the Lakers...Reed was a bulldozer thru everybody. Clip can be googled.

Matz will get true medical clearance when he successfully pitches and feels OK afterward.

Bob Sugar said...

We brought Reynolds batting 245 when infielders Ty Kelly is batting 400 and TJ Rivera is batting 345. All because he is on the 40 man roster and the others are not. Tricky stuff for Mgt maybe but for me as a fan I want to see the other two guys.

Tom Brennan said...

T J Rivera in particular is getting screwed, Bob. He is having a great year offensively, and can play all 4 infield positions. He definitely deserves the call up over Reynolds. Another stupid baseball rule keeping (trapping) a deserving guy in the minors.

Anonymous said...

Nothing personal Tom, but I think the idea of "outlawing the shift" is preposterous.

The shift will create better hitters, and better coaches, and better strategies, as offenses adapt.

Who was it? Wee WIllie Keeler? Hit 'em where they ain't. Too many players today have no bat control. Too many only have one swing, regardless of situation. Moving forward, more complete hitters will be rewarded for their talents. When you throw BP, the young hitter should go oppo for ten swings, up the middle for ten, and pull for ten.

If a team shifts, they leave themselves exposed and vulnerable. Offenses simply have to make the adjustment. Teams, too. For example, let's pretend for a moment that Dom Smith will actually realize his potential and become a major league hitter with his current profile of good contact, good average, an ability to hit to the opposite field, and moderate power. Meanwhile the Mets have two guys, Granderson and Duda, who can only hit one way -- but they can hit the ball over the wall with more regularity. It could be that teams will begin to SELECT and therefore REWARD the Smith-type hitter.

The game evolves. The idea of "outlawing" where and how teams choose to place their defenders to me is just an appalling notion. They should do whatever they want, so long as the pitcher stays 60 feet, 6 inches away.

The fix to this so-called problem is readily available. The game is good, the game is wise. It can regulate itself and the better players, as always, will find a way.

Jimmy P

Dallas said...

What is the risk of taking Reynolds off the 40 man? Does anyone think this would actually be a big loss if another team picked him up(which seems unlikely)? Why not play with your best players especially going into the Nats series?

Feels like Harvey is the biggest thing that can get us going again. Right now he is almost an automatic loss, if he turns it around I think it gives the team a major boost.

I have to think that having one of the lowest averages with runners on base has to swing back in our favor at some point. We won/tied 8 straight series until we ran into some bad playing and bad umping in Denver.

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

I never liked the restrictions of the 40 man roster. Never.

Mack Ade said...

Jimmy P

I agree about the shift.

I never played professional bAseball but I never had a problem changing my stance and weight balance in the batting box,then choking up and wrist hitting to the opposite field.

Tom Brennan said...

James and Mack, I respect your opinions on the shift. Sometimes sports do restrict positioning (e.g., basketball 3 point lane) but I agree james that one man's disadvantage is another's advantage. Point well taken.

I agree on the 40 man - I'd much rather see Rivera up to pinch hit than Reynolds. Reynolds in May is 8 for 53 with just 2 walks and 21 K's. Ice cold, and striking out a ton.

Rivera is .333 in May with 17 RBIs in 16 games, and just 7 Ks.

Metsiac said...

Carlos Delgado overcame the shift in the best way possible---- line drives to LF, some over the wall there. Most others do or can not do this.

Einstein's definition of insanit: doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting a different result. Yet so many ML hitters keep hitting directly into the shift, when a decent bunt will become a sure hit.

Metsiac said...

Still no word on who's leaving to make room for Reynolds? My money's on Verrett.

Metsiac said...

Still no word on who's leaving to make room for Reynolds? My money's on Verrett.

Metsiac said...

Carlos Delgado overcame the shift in the best way possible---- line drives to LF, some over the wall there. Most others do or can not do this.

Einstein's definition of insanit: doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting a different result. Yet so many ML hitters keep hitting directly into the shift, when a decent bunt will become a sure hit.

Anonymous said...

Hitting the opposite way against the best pitchers in the world is not easy, by any means. Some guys can't do it, largely because it is a skill -- a skill that has not been developed.

There is also an outmoded idea of "manliness" at play here. We saw it when Cespedes broke up a no-hitter by going to the opposite field. He was forced to explain that he wasn't trying to do it, as if beating the shift was somehow not sporting.

Jimmy P

Reese Kaplan said...

@Mack -- you mean THE Logan Verrett? The one and only spot starter instead of Sean Gilmartin who spent an entire year pitching to a sub 3.00 ERA in an unaccustomed role and then sub 2.00 as a starter in AAA? The Logan Verrett that the Skipper felt was the best choice to start in place of Matz? No, say it ain't so :)

It would be justice if Gilmartin got to stay. But I wouldn't bank on it.

Hobie said...

Agree with JP about the shift...

It's a dopey idea to start, but the legislation would make the Affordable Care Act look like the 5th Commandment:
A simple "2 IF on either side of 2B" won't do it. (CF plays deep 2B, LF--> CF, very deep SS = LF)

The DH is bad enough, a grid stenciled on the field to restrict defensive deployment is an an abomination.

Metsiac said...

I was the one who mentioned Verrett. And it's NOT a question of "justice". It's about WINNING. Sandy, with input, will decide who is best equipped to help the team WIN.

Reese Kaplan said...

So the best chance of winning is LV?

4-3. 3.64 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in the majors. 7 Ks per 9 IP -- not bad at all.


3-2, 2.45 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in the majors. 8.5 Ks per 9 IP Better.

Verrett's and Gilmartin's minor league numbers are close but the edge again goes to Gilmartin.

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