Erica Lay – Jake, Thor, and Runs Scored


If you watch baseball at all, you know the goal of any team is to outscore their opponent.

The current MLB leader in runs scored are the Houston Astros with 409. They happen to be sitting in first place in their division with a 52 – 27 record. Houston led both leagues in this category in 2017, too, with 896. That year, they finished 101 – 61 and won the World Series. In 2016, the Boston Red Sox led MLB in runs scored with 878. They won 93 games, good for first place in the AL East. The Toronto Blue Jays scored 891 runs in 2015 to lead MLB. They closed out the regular season with 93 wins and made it to the ALCS where they were bested by the eventual World Series winners, the Kansas City Royals.

So, what does it all mean? It means if you score a lot, you tend to win a lot.

Unless…your pitching is so good, you’re able to overcome a mediocre offense.

In 2017, a year the Mets finished with 92 losses, they ranked 18th in MLB with 735 runs scored. In 2015, the Mets went 90 – 72, won their division and went to the World Series. They must’ve been an offensive juggernaut that year, right? Not so much. They finished 2015 with 683 runs scored, 17th in MLB.

So, what was the difference between 2015 and 2017? Simple. Their pitching.

In 2017, a beleaguered Mets staff that lost 4/5 of its rotation to injury, gave up 863 runs. In 2015, that number was a measly 613. For those keeping score, that’s a difference of 250 runs. 250!

This is why a case can be made for holding on to both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Yes, Noah has a lot to prove. He’s never thrown 200 innings in a season and he’s spent considerable time on the DL again this year. But, when healthy, Syndergaard has proven he’s already a solid #2, with the potential to be an ace. deGrom – what can you say about deGrom? He’s a beast; an ace; a proven winner. Yes, he’s 30. But he’s consistently shown he can pitch effectively without his best stuff. And (knock on wood, cross your fingers, say a prayer…) he’s managed to stay relatively healthy throughout his major league career.

Pitchers like these two are almost impossible to replace. Unless we get back talent that will allow this team to outhit the loss it’d take in the rotation, they’re better off keeping both deGrom and Syndergaard.

We have some legitimate young talent in Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. Amed Rosario hasn’t impressed but he’s still young enough to warrant some patience. Wilmer Flores could and should be an everyday player. He’s 26, clutch and would have great value as a second baseman. At least until Andres Gimenez is ready, at which point either Gimenez or Rosario would likely shift to 2B (assuming Roasario develops as expected). I’ve never been a fan of Dom Smith, but Peter Alonso seems primed to make a run at Queens. Devin Mesoraco may be 30, but I love the way he works with our staff. They should bring him back next year, if not as a starter, then as a backup who could work with our younger catchers.

Jeff McNeil was tearing things up in AA before his recent promotion to AAA (where he continues to rake). Hopefully, Jarred Kelenic can advance quickly through the system. He’s off to a good start. The point is, there’s some talent in this organization and we’re going to need solid pitching to compliment it. And pitching is the one thing we already have. Why start from scratch?

Rather than shipping out deGrom and/or Syndergaard, we should be clearing dead space (Frazier, Bruce, etc,) to make room for up and coming talent. The Mets seem to practice reverse age-ism. It’s time to let the kids play. Every. Day.

Follow me on Twitter: @EricaOutEast


Thomas Brennan said...

Sadly, dead space could include 5 very onerous sandbag contracts, 3 extending through 2019 (Frazier, Vargas, and Swarzak), and the other 2 through 2020 (Cespedes and Frazier).

Cespedes' first 2 of his 4 year contract, and Jay Bruce's 1st year of his 3 year contract, before they started getting older and perhaps beginning to decline, were to be the years that should have justified their overall contract. That looks like a worse bet by the day.

Vargas and Swarzak? Both aging vets started early 2018 injured and both have been differing shades of awful since returning.

That is a lot of albatross around this team's neck - how does anyone unload those 5 without eating a ton of contract? I dunno.

Keep Jake and Thor unless absolutely overwhelmed by the trading team. We get the better of the deal, or no deal.

Thomas Brennan said...

The others thru 2020 are Cespedes and Bruce - my mistake

Erica Lay said...

Yes, we'd need to dump a lot of salary in any deals which we know the Wilpons won't sign off on. I think we're stuck with Ces and Bruce no matter what. As for the rest - take what you can get and DFA the rest.

I'd trade either or both of deGrom/Syndergaard in the right deal, but that deal would need to be positively mind blowing.

Bob Gregory said...

Unfortunately there is simply not enough on the major league roster and in the upper minors to justify keeping Syndergaard and deGrom.

There is simply not enough talent capable of producing and supporting a playoff team in the next 2 to 5 years.

Having Syndergaard and deGrom on the Mets roster will not produce more wins. Their fantastic performances will be wasted by inept offense and bullpens constantly stressed by overuse and lack of run support.

All-Star performances on a last place team are not worth passing up the opportunity to strengthen the team/organization as a whole.

Reese Kaplan said...

I'm with Bob and support the initial thesis of your argument -- he who scores the most wins. We don't score. We need hitters who produce. Remember the Big Red Machine? Their pitching staff did it with smoke and mirrors (after Don Gullett). Yet they were pretty much unstoppable.

Erica Lay said...

Hi Bob,

Whether we have the talent to compete over the next 2 - 5 years depends on a number of factors. There's talent in the system. If Kelenic comes along quickly (similar to Conforto in 2015), Alonso turns out to the real deal and Rosario turns a corner, then I think we can compete in a short time frame.

It's a lot of "ifs" but we don't have any pitchers that can quickly replace the production of deGrom or Syndergaard. So, we'd be short one way or another unless we got a huge haul that included legit pitching talent in addition to major league ready offensive production. I just don't see that happening.

Erica Lay said...

Haha, no Reese I don't remember them. The Big Red Machine was before my time.

But I know this - I don't want lose 8-7 any more than I want to lose 2-1.

If none of these guys (Alonso, Rosario, Kelenic, etc.) work out, we're up a creek for the short term no matter what. If we trade pitching for hitting, we're still short somewhere.

Unless we have pitching ready to step in for Jake and Thor, which I don't think we do. As I mentioned before - I'm all for trading either or both of these guys, but the return has to be franchise changing.

Mike Freire said...

Run differential is a telling and accurate stat, IMO.

You have to address both sides of the equation (as you stated), which is run creation AND run suppression.

If we could bump up our runs scored, I would love to keep both of them. I am not sure how we do that, however (as we may need to deal one of them to get the pieces needed to score more runs).

Chicken or the egg, right?

Thomas Brennan said...

We can opine all we want on how to fix this mess, but the failures due to injury of Cespedes and Bruce shows how injury-affected any fixes can be. The last 2 year's injuries have been staggering.

Erica Lay said...

Mike, exactly.

If you believe that Kelenic can move through the system quickly and get up here as soon as 2019 and that Alonso is the real deal and that both will be above average major league hitters, then that may be the bump we need. With Conforto and Nimmo in place, Flores getting regular playing time - it could turn around quicker than we may have been expecting. To me a big wild card is Rosario. Can he turn the corner and become a legitimate offensive threat?

If you don't believe in the guys mentioned above, then I can see trading deGrom and Syndergaard for the pieces to fix the offense. But, as you mentioned, then the issue becomes our lack of pitching.

Who are we replacing these guys with? Peterson? Dunn? Szapucki?

It just seems like we have more promising bats coming through the ranks right now than we do pitchers.

It's a hard call either way.

Erica Lay said...

Tom, so true. This same team - if healthy - could easily be at or over .500.

Thomas Brennan said...

I think a super-aggressive promotion to Queens for Kelenic would be mid-2020 at the earliest. More likely 2021.

Figure a promo to Brooklyn, and perhaps even Columbia, very late this season; Columbia and St Lucie in 2019; Binghamton and Syracuse (I like writing that) in 2020. Right now, he is stationed at the lowest of 3 rookie league levels. If Citifield is ground level, he is currently in the 6th sub-basement.

Unless, of course, he has Bryce Harper or Juan Soto offensive and toughness abilities to get him to the big leagues next year.

If the first 3 pro games for him are any indicator, he could be on an accelerated schedule.

Erica Lay said...

Tom, I'd sign up for mid-2020.

Unknown said...

let Rosario hit in a real hitting position in the lineup. Not everyone will bust out with the pitchers hitting behind them.

Robb said...

I still think the biggest problem with trading either degrom or thor is just that almost none other than the dodgers, astros and yankees have the requisite talent to make a trade worthwhile. Cashman has already said he wont trade torres, who you have to get if youre the mets its not just 1 pennant run its 2/3. The astros top pitching prospect was suspended for ped. And its not like they need starting pitching. which just leaves the dodgers, and they need to stay under the luxury tax.

So its not like the competing teams have the prospects the cubs or the red sox gave up for comparable players. Also the amount of control the degrom and thor have is really only relatable to Chris Sale and the red sox gave up 2 of the top 20 prospect in baseball or the cubs for quintana and the cubs gave up a top 5 prospect plus more.

Erica Lay said...

Robb, dead on. I don't think the return will be enough to give them up - especially for deGrom, even though Syndergaard is younger.

If the return on either or both would truly be enough to turn this franchise around, then that's another story and you make the deal(s).

Bob Gregory said...

The Yankees wanting to keep Torres is to be expected.

Sure set him as a goal in a trade, but he is not necessary in a trade.

The Yankee system is full of talent. Andujar and Frazier are a reasonable alternative foundation in a deGrom trade.

Keeping deGrom and Syndergaard only makes since if the organization is going to spend like never before on major league talent and in the international arena.

Otherwise keeping both is a decision based on uncalled for hope and short sighted focus on being able to watch individual performances for 6 innings of a 9 inning game.

Add to that deGroms age of 30 and the Mets history of trading players too late.

Not trading deGrom and Syndergaard now is the same type of decision that will be looked back upon like the resigning of David Wright.

Erica Lay said...

Fair point about holding onto these guys past their prime - should've traded Harvey after 2015. As far as deGrom, he's already shown he can be effective without his best stuff, so there's reason to be optimistic that he'd age well. And, of course, he came to pitching late so he has less mileage on his arm. Syndergaard is only 25, so we haven't even seen his prime yet.

As far as the Yankees, I don't think they'll part with a package hefty enough to land either of these guys - especially not when you're talking about 2-3 years of control.

All that said, if the Yankees really do step up to the plate and offer an enormous return, then of course you have to take it. But you're still leaving yourself short on the pitching side. We have more viable hitting prospects close to MLB ready right now then we do pitching. Unless we're also getting an elite pitcher back, we're going to come up short there.

Bob Gregory said...

This year is toast. Next year would be most likely more of the same given the organization's current talent.
20th place or 31st place.... not much difference in acceptability.

However... clean house. Trade Syndergaard, deGrom, Wheeler, Familia, and Matz...

Now the system should be well stocked that in 2 years the talent that reaches the majors or used as future trade chips should create new excitement and hope for this organization.

Anonymous said...

Trade Supporters Are All Out In Full Today I See

I find their depth of understanding, well, maybe not so good really. May be just me, but I doubt it.

Okay Mets fans, young and old, a question for you.

Q: Can you name a better starting three than deGrom, Syndergaard, and Wheeler as Zachary is right now? Hmm, good question.

Let's do a little math...

A: 1986 Gooden, Darling, and Ojeda. (Correct Answer) Dwight was 17-6/2.84 ERA, Darling 15-6/2.81 ERA, and Ojeda 18-5/2.57 ERA although the game was totally different back 30 years ago.

What about the 1969 Mets starters Seaver, Koosman, Gentry? (Another Correct Answer) With Seaver 25-7/2.21 ERA, Koosman 17-9/2.28 ERA, and Gentry 13-12. But these three starters are pretty close to what the NY Mets have here right now. You could argue this either way of course, but at worst case scenario, the 2018 NY Mets starting three are no worse than the third best three starters this franchise has ever had assembled.

But there you have it, although it is arguably somewhat impossible to compare either the 1986 or 1969 top three starters to today's top three starters, because the game and the athletes conditioning has changed so very much since these two earlier on teams.

But you could argue that both these NY Mets rotations were better than the 2018 Mets starters. But then again too, neither Championship top three starters had a starter with a better ERA than the 2018 NY Mets' Jacob deGrom has right now. Neither one. And the batters are way more conditioned than they were in either 1969 or 1986.

So, you Trade Supporters want to break the crowning pieces of this 2018 rotation all up now? You think that by so doing this will overall help the 2019 NY Mets team become more successful?

Do you really think that from your trade bag of collectibles you will be able to find these three starters replacements? And then never miss a beat with deGrom, Syndergaard, and Wheeler actually gone?

[Oh boy]

And finally this...

Do you Trade Supporters really think that it would be totally impossible to bring back here (via maybe smarter trades using some of the veteran players that have been accumulated here over the past few seasons) the few pieces that this 2018 NY Mets team really needs in order to compete for the Playoff Rounds in 2019?

Anonymous said...

What type of three trade return players am I speaking of above?

Something maybe like a Manny Machado, a JT Realmuto, and a young left handed starter like Cleveland's Brady Aiken or maybe somehow Boston's Jalen Beeks, if actually attainable.

Bob Gregory said...

You are suffering under a misconception that 2019 with or without deGrom and Syndergaard will be competitive for the Mets.

Competitiveness with them will only be possible if the payroll reaches $200 million+

Mack's Mets © 2012