Before "Bunting" Begins:

A few things are clear: 

The Mets picked a good time to face the Reds, a 2018 version of the 1962 Mets.

PJ Conlon may not have been dominant, but we need a staff full of guys born in Belfast - we'd then go 162-0 with the Luck o' the Irish.

If we played the Reds 162 times, we might go 162-0.

Adrian Gonzalez is clearly the Mets' MVP and best hitter.

Now back to my Bunting Article:

Not all that many years past, Brett Butler compiled a startling 42 bunt base hits in a single season.  And 185 in his career.

What a drag, you might say, but not me...I love bunting.   

I hang bunting around at Christmas, too, for just that reason. 

Mostly a non-Met, Butler played one partial season - very well - for the Mets in 1995, all of 90 games, hitting .311/.382/.393 and stealing 21 bases.  16 BUNT BASE HITS IN 90 GAMES! 

Whenever he bunted for a base hit, I loved to say: 


Somehow, however, the bunt has fallen into disfavor generally - but that does not mean that an individual speedster can't expand the bunt-for-a-hit approach in their games.   

Bunting has 3 benefits for the super-speedy: 1) I read it usually has about a 40% success rate for a skilled speedster, while also raising the bunter's batting average, 2) pulling the infield in, making it easier to sneak grounders through the infield, and 3) making a hitter's high strikeout rate look better.

Bunting is macho, too: 

Heck, I read Mickey Mantle bunted for a hit 87 times!!

From what I recall, he had a bunt triple once!!

Butler was a speedster who also sacrificed guys over and stole a whole lot.  558 steals, caught 257 (68%), and 147 sac bunts.  The man sure used his speed to maximum advantage.

Buddy Harrelson: a Mets lightweight who used his legs for steals and bunt hits plenty of times; he maxed his skills. too.

I don't know how much the following Mets guys bunt, but who're guys in the Mets minors who I think should bunt a lot?

CHAMP STUART: career .204 hitter in AA who has stolen 153 of 175 attempts (87%).  The bunt could be a real difference maker for the super-speedster if he is not using it enough.

PATRICK BIONDI: career .235 above A ball, but 134 of 180 in steals in his career (74%).  

TONY DIMINO: 528 career ABs, .311, 25-35 in steals (72%)

JACOB ZANON: 503 career ABs, .225, 56-66 in steals (85%).

GENE CONE: 617 career ABs, .234, 19 of 26 in steals (73%).

All 5 have demonstrated little power, and only Dimino has hit well (although he is off to a slow start in 2018)...so one equalizer seems to be frequent bunting for base hits.  The equalizer to make the difference between a big league career and never making it.



Thomas Brennan said...

Adrian Gonzalez has a .463 slug % and 19 RBIs in 82 at bats.

The last season Gonzalez had exactly a .463 slug % was 2012 - he had 108 RBIs that year.

I wonder how back-challenged Gonzalez will do now that the frigid part of the schedule is over. My guess is he will do very well.

Dom Smith slug %?? A lower .407. Draw your own conclusions.

Alonso is .383/.500/.713 in 27 games.

I did not get to see Conlon last night - anyone see what his top velocity pitch was?

Reese Kaplan said...

Methinks Tommy is hitting the Bushmill's a might early if he thinks Gonzalez is the Mets' best hitter. La Potencia might have some words to say about that.

Thomas Brennan said...

La Potencia needs to go on a tear - and I mean with the bat, not the quad.

Thomas Brennan said...

Let's be glad Matt Harvey while with the Mets never got to Homer Bailey salary status.

Bailey is under contract from 2014-19 for $105 million, $21 million this year.

He had 23 good starts in 2014, in which he went 9-5.

In 2015-18, he has gone just 8-18, 6.18, with 116 runs in just 169 IP - he'd probably be worse but has allowed only 5 unearned runs.

He is making $21 million this year, and my guess is, next year too.


So don't get too excited over the Mets offensive surge last night - it was against one of the majors' worst starters.

Mike Freire said...

Just when you think AG is finished, he pulls you back in! Damnit.....well, if he can come close to his 2012 production, it will give the Mets time to see which prospect will take over 1B in 2019 (my money is on The Pounder).

I think Conlon will be an effective LOOGY......he was fine the first time through the lineup last night, but then he tried to do it again and it didn't go so well.

Oh and I agree.....the Reds are pretty much the only team we can push around right now (despite the attempt at letting them come from behind last night). We almost seized defeat from the jaws of victory (or something like that).

Thomas Brennan said...

Apparently Conlon jammed his thumb when he was batting and it affected his pitching. So he began well and that was a very good sign.

Met Monkey said...

88 mph, tom.

Mack's Mets © 2012