Mike Freire - Identifying A Plan For 2019


Good Morning, Mets' fans!

You may be tuning in this morning to read another edition of my award winning Fleeting Thoughts series and you are now wondering what is going on?  Joking aside, I like the format of "Fleeting Thoughts" because it allows me to introduce multiple topics for discussion purposes within the same piece, while keeping things relatively short.

Today, I actually have a bit more to say on a specific topic and figured it would suffice as a stand along article, if you will.   I want to take a quick look at one of the statistical models (Expected Win Total) that I have mentioned multiple times in the past.  Before anyone starts freaking out, this will not focus solely on statistics, I promise.

If you recall, you can take a team's runs scored (RS), along with their runs allowed (RA) and come up with a pretty accurate assessment of what their record looked like.  However, if you look at the individual parts, there is also some telling information to uncover and it relates to team building and how the Mets can fix their issues (maybe).

For the 2018 season, consider the the top ten teams in the listed categories;


***Only the Nationals failed to make the playoffs on this list.


***Only the Diamondbacks and Rays missed the playoffs, but both clubs were competitive.

Run Differential - HOU, BOS, LAD, NYY, CLE, OAK, CHI, ATL, MIL and WAS

***If you combine the first two, you get the third list.  On this list, you HAVE to notice that it is
littered with playoff teams.  Look at the top three and you have the teams that competed for the past two titles, along with the last two champions.

So, how did the Mets fare in 2018?  About as bad as you would have thought (see below).

RS - 23rd out of 30 teams with 676 runs scored (only 127 behind the average of the top ten teams).

RA - 16th out of 30 teams with 707 runs allowed (roughly 31 runs allowed behind the top ten teams).

RD - 17th out of 30 teams with a -31 differential (or 158 runs behind the top ten teams).

OK, so I haven't uncovered the Holy Grail, right?  It isn't a shock that scoring more runs then your opponent will lead to success.  But what you need to focus on his how this is getting done in the current MLB climate.

Unless you are exceptional in one category or the other, you need have BALANCE.  The days of clubbing teams to death are likely over, since short playoff series require a successful team to hit well, field well and get folks out.   

For example, the Astros had the best pitching staff in baseball, coupled with the sixth best offense and the top rated defensive club (not shown in this article, but accurate none the less).  It is not mystery why they were the defending champions coming into this year and they made nice run at another title, only getting interrupted by an amazing Red Sox squad.

For the Mets, it is the proverbial "good news and bad news" scenario.  The good news is that there is quite a bit of room for improvement, while the bad news is.....well, there is quite a bit of room for improvement, otherwise known as a LONG way to go.

IF the Mets can get the bullpen back under control, then the pitching staff and the associated runs allowed category should quickly become an asset since the team has a talented starting rotation and they were pretty much league average defensively last year.  That is my first priority, if I were in charge (the Rays were around 90 wins this year with a strong pitching staff and a weak offense, for example).  Significant improvement in our bullpen would make the team competitive in a balanced National League East.

Offensively, there is a LOT more work to do to even become "average".  Fortunately, if you look at the Red Sox model, they are scoring a bunch of runs with team speed, situational hitting and a few long balls thrown in for good measure.  It is something that the Mets should attempt to replicate, since we play in a ball park similar to the Grand Canyon.

I liked the way the Mets fought and scrapped for hits towards the end of the year, with players like Jeff McNeil exhibiting the type of hitting that can consistently win ballgames.  

Player acquisitions this off season should focus on that aspect (contact hitting, speed), which would add to the offense's ability to consistently score runs (as opposed to Sandy's infatuation with a "Beer League" softball approach that went out of style in the 1970's).

I guess this got a bit longer then I anticipated, but the point remains the same.  Good teams have balance nowadays that is a result of good fundamentals and roster depth.  By looking at the way successful teams are being built, it serves as a road map for our new GM to follow.


Tom Brennan said...

I think it is a mistake to look at the entire season and form too many conclusions. Early on, the Mets had shaky starting pitching, lousy relief pitching, and lots of injuries to hitters, leading to anemic offense.

In the final 56 games, a 33-23 record.

Much better offense as guys got healthier and Jeff McNeil vacuumed up sub-Mendoza Reyes at bats;

Terrific starting pitching;

Still lousy relief pitching.

Fix that relief pitching really well, and this could be a 90-95 win team with good health and NO other changes in 2019.

Of course, good health and Mets normally diverge - low correlation, as this team has many, and often bizarre, injuries - so you have to do some other deals to give a margin of error.

Mack Ade said...

For me, it's always RS.

Guys like Tom always call for more bats, but I believe that great teams have great pitching and excellent defense. Home runs are the bonus.

bill metsiac said...

I agree with that,Mack, which is why I don't understand why you are so down on Lagares. We're not going to get better D from any CFer that we can get, and he gives speed on the bases as well.

We have to expect Yo back in mid-year until we hear otherwise, and rather than looking elsewhere we should go with the current 4 OFers and only look for changes if they fail or get hurt.

Anonymous said...

Morning Fellas:

ARG Mack I was hoping the METS to be aggressive and go after Zunino
Anyhow pitching defense timely hitting,win.
The Mets team currently lacks team speed,and strong D
They need to sign a strong Defensive Catcher.
Up the middle if Lagares plays more in CF that should improve
Rosario is still learning at will improve at short
McNeil is a huge upgrade over Cabrera,not only defensively but hitting
Team speed isn't always about the SB, Id like to see more hit-n-runs and runners going 1st to 3rd
Adding to the BP Is a must and BP pitchers only cost 3/4 year deals


Anonymous said...

Cleveland is also looking at trades
How about I throw this one at you?
Bruce Matz Lugo and Pederson for kluber and Yan Gomes


Tom Brennan said...

Steve with the deal of the day!

Lagares has speed all right - fastest to the disabled list. Someone needs to give him a piece of chalk and a blackboard, and write 100 times a day, I will only do acrobatics in the outfield when the game is on the line. He is the perfect poster child for a clause to be added to all contracts that if you are on the DL for over x% of the season (say 20% or more) you get a 10% - 20% salary cut. It's great when he dives and catches a ball when we're 5 runs down, but when he tears ligaments in his hand doing it, the dive 5 runs down looks awful stupid.

Mack Ade said...

Steve -

Re: Zunino

Yes, he's a good defensive catcher, but he hit .201 last year in 373 at-bats.

You have to do better than that to earn my interest.

Mack Ade said...

Bill -

I always liked Lagares.

He just doesn't stay uninjured enough to take serious anymore.

And, his defensive stats have decreased since his Golden Glove year.

Yes, he would be part of my opening day 25-man, but, if Alonso is called up to play first, my center fielder would be Nimmo with Conforto and Bruce at the corners.

Reese Kaplan said...

Lagares is at best a 4th outfielder (and a 5th outfielder on a good team). As Mack said, you need to be able to rely on players being available. It's the same reason people are down on Travis d'Arnaud.

bgreg98180 said...

I can say that I am down on Lagares because he can never stay healthy.

He can not be counted on entering into a season to hold a position with regularity

Tom Brennan said...

Bob, I think Lagares was last seen filming an "I've fallen down and I can't get up" commercial. Side income is important.

bgreg98180 said...

Maybe he should be a spokesman for bubble wrap

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