John From Albany - Regular Guys


One of baseball’s most popular sayings about hitting goes something like this: “Toughest things in all of sports is to hit a round baseball with a round bat, squarely…”  It has been proven that it is even tougher for players to do that when they do not play regularly.  Add that to a young player that is trying to get acclimated to the majors, and it can be downright impossible.

Many fans see a player struggle and say: “Get rid of them” or “He can’t hit”.  At times they can be correct but also it could be that the player is struggling with not playing regularly for the first time in their career while at the same time trying to make it in the Major Leagues.

Take a look at one Met, Tomas Nido, a solid to great defensive catcher.  He led the Florida State League in batting in 2016.  He was on the Mets in 2018, hit .167 in 12 games in March and April, .150 in May, and was sent back down to AA on May 30th.  When I saw him in June in Binghamton, he was still trying to get going with the bat.  When I saw him again in July, he was a different hitter and ended up hitting .274 for the Rumble Ponies before heading back to the bench at Citi Field on August 24th.  

This year it has been a lot of bench riding for him again as Wilson Ramos has provided solid offense for the Mets.   This last weekend against the Royals, he played Friday going 0 for 2 with a walk but playing Sunday, he went 2 for 4 with two doubles. 

Now look at Juan Lagares.  A career .255 hitter, Juan has had a very tough 2019 hitting just .219 so far.  Wait, it gets worse, up until recently, Juan was hitting under .200 for pretty much the entire year.  

What happened recently?  Injuries provided regular playing time.  In the last 7 games, Juan has hit .423.  Do I think he is a .423 hitter?  No, not even Tony Gwynn could hit .423 forever, but with regular playing time, Juan is better than sub-.200 and provides solid (if no longer great) defense in Center Field. 

Then there’s the case for Luis Guillorme.  

He hit .307 with 7 homers this year for Syracuse, .304 last year for Las Vegas but is struggling in the majors so far this year hitting just .209.  Another solid defender, Luis can be a valuable player.

So, what’s the answer?  Play players who hit under .200 until they hit .300?  I wish it was that easy.  All I am saying is that to fairly evaluate a player they need to play.  Who knows, imagine if there was a player that led the Pacific Coast League in hitting with a .342 average only to hit .175 in 103 at bats with the major league team.  The next thing you know is that he could be hitting .310 with 15 home runs for another team.  

Wait, that did happen to the Astros, and now the Mets are benefitting with that same player driving in the winning run in the 10th inning after a 9 pitch at-bat.  The Player?  J.D. Davis.   


Tom Brennan said...

Can any of imagine...

What the heck would have become of playing time this year for JD Davis and Jeff McNeil if Frazier and Lowrie weren't hurt for the first several weeks (or longer) and Nimmo hadn't gone down?

Remember JD started, as you suggest, a little on the struggle side - was it a 3 for 20 start for him? He has hit like blazes ever since.

McNeil and Davis combined this year?

703 at bats, .322/.388/.524, 47 doubles, 30 HRs, 112 runs, 99 RBIs. Doggone!

Guillorme - 5 for 17 since his return, with good D and some timely hits. Sadly for him, the armada of infielders is close to returning.

Lagares - man, did he hit like crap for the longest time. I often advocated for a change. But Nimmo, Broxton, and Altherr did him real favors, Nimmo by staying hurt, and the other 2 by hitting far worse than the Mets pitching staff. So he was a default choice. Last 30 games, .321/.397.429 (18 for 56, 7 walks). Add that to his above average D, and Nimmo should be coming off the bench BEHIND him until further notice. Or at least 50-50 split of time.

Nido - I remain unsold on his bat. Hit like Juan, and I will quickly change that.

John From Albany said...

Tom. Thanks for the great comment. I am on team Nido abd team Mazeika. Could be from watching them up close last year in Binghamton and seeing them deliver.

Reese Kaplan said...

I have another take on this topic tomorrow, though profiling a similar hitter and a different decision making path.

Mack Ade said...

Great column.

All the Mets cylinders are striking in proper order lately, especially from the guys you listed.

Ask for an all-star ballot to be filled out now on the results since the All-Star game and the first name I would fill in would be Davis.

Now, here's the 'good' problem...

What do we do with him when Nimmo, Lowrie, and McNeil return?

bill metsiac said...

Maz is barely hitting.250 in AA. Not nearly ready for Prime Time.

bill metsiac said...

That's a GREAT problem to have. My guess? Frazier sits, JDD or Squirrel to 3B.Nimmo platoons in CF, but if Lag stays hot Nimmo PH's.

Lowrie can't be counted on, after not even having a ST. He can be an asset off the bench.

Mack's Mets © 2012