Tom Brennan - The Continuing Under Performing Non-Core Players of the Mets

As the Mets struggle valiantly to climb up further and snatch a Wild Card slot, let’s not forget a big reason that going into Sunday, the Mets were not 3 games up, but rather 3 games behind with 14 to play...here goes...

I wrote quite a bit last year about the underperformance in 2018 of non-core players.  And the need to strenuously avoid using such players if your true intention is to make the playoffs.

As I recall it, 20% of the all of Mets' non-pitcher at bats last year in 2018 were by non-core players, and resulted in a batting average under .200.  And more than a dozen borderline guys pitched with an ERA aggregating above 7.00.

Grade?  F

This year, the at bats are fewer from the non-core, but still substantial (through Tuesday):

Lagares (whose chances of making the team and of playing much if he did at season's opening was fairly low), Hecchavaria, Broxton, Altherr, Davis (Rajai), Gomez, Nido, and Tejada have totaled:

688 at bats this year, hitting .193 through Tuesday, with 16 homers and 204 strikeouts.  Again, pretty darned bad.

Pitchers? What about them, Tommy boy?

15 marginal non-core guys (too many names to list, but I am excluding core, struggling guys like Diaz and Familia) have thrown: 

223 innings, and allowed 163 earned runs, or a 6.58 ERA, and have gone 8-18.

Some will argue, "well, the team had all these injuries, what do you expect?"

I will respond, "the team ALWAYS has injuries.  Therefore, the goal should be to greatly reduce the volume of innings and at bats from such guys."

How?  By having more truly capable guys.  Sign a few more real arms in the off season, expecting injuries, and don't allow yourself the luxury of thinking you can rely on AAAA offensive guys to fill in.

Because collectively, the ones the Mets use are significant underperformers.

Remember, as of Wednesday AM, the Mets are just 3 games out of a Wild Card.

What would their record be if the management/owner group didn't cross their fingers and hope these collection of nearly 25 guys would somehow hit .230 and have a 5.00 ERA, a level which elite teams likely would be unhappy with, when they in fact (at least 2 years running) have performed much worse than .230 and 5.00?

They'd be leading the Wild Card race, that's where.

Do you disagree? 


Mack Ade said...


I truly believe one more clutch power hitting and two prime relievers would get us home here.

What about Rendon?

McNeil can move to the outfield and Lowrie can come off the bench?

Reese Kaplan said...

There's another variable you left out. Are these players you've identified used properly, or are they inserted into situations where they are either set up or destined to fail? And when that happens again and again, who is the idiot who keeps trotting them out there to repeat what happened last time? If you're going to dump the trash on the curb, remember it's not just the players at fault here.

Mike Freire said...

I would LOVE Rendon, if for no other reason then he is a notorious Met Killer.

Mickey's blunders have cost this team more then his "guidance" has helped, so replacing him
would be a net positive, IMO.

I know he is controversial, but if Joe Madden is available at season's end..........I wouldn't hate it, that's for sure.

John From Albany said...

Mickey, if he is making the calls, seems to manage not to lose and not be second guessed rather than managing to win.
Fonzie manages to win. He is always aggressive - sometimes too aggressive but he is by far the best Mets manager I have ever seen.

Tom Brennan said...

Reese, to answer your question - mostly trash to be dumped at the curb. There has been a huge underbelly of failure at the margins. In 2015, until we got Cespedes, Johnson, and Uribe, the subs hitters were flat out atrocious. In 2018 the hitters and pitchers subs were horrific.

This year, to a somewhat lesser degree than 2018, same deal.

Mack - get Rendon if at all possible.

Mickey is awful.

Dallas said...

Why does Lagares continue to go so many starts? Other than the 2 HR game (the only game I went to this year) he certainly hasnt done much. Nimmo should always start over him. This costs us games over time. Kind of like slotting Cano 3rd while he hit .200 hurt us. All these small decisions add up to a few wins over the year. You definitely have to minimize the playing of guys like Panik, Tejada, Lagares, Nido etc as much as possible. McNeil had his best game as a Met (2HR, double, HBP) and was on the bench in a must win game vs the D-Backs...just because we happen to win doesn't mean it was a good choice. All the injuries that happen to all teams are why you need guys that can step up and produce like Davis/Smith but trying to squeeze something out of DFA'd guys like Panik isn't going to give you the same value.

On a different note my friend (big data analtytics guy as a profession) has a theory that the best teams (Yankees, Stros, Dodgers) have taken analytics and AI to the next level. Like they can squeeze the value out of and determine which guys can produce better than anyone else. They know what pitch sequencing to give their pitchers to get out various batters based on the latest data their AI spits out. Same with giving batters what to expect from different pitchers. It all makes sense when you look at the teams with the top talent under the age of 24. The Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, Nationals, Sox and Stros control a massively greater % of these players than other teams. They simply don't seem to miss with their prospects even when they don't pick in the top 30. Additionally look at the injuries that have devastated the Yankees this year...they havent missed a beat. Their versions of scrubs they pick up (like the Mets version of Broxton) come in and produce at a high level virtually every time. The disparity in baseball this year has never seemed to stark. The number of teams that will be over 100 wins and the number of teams that will lose 100 games is going to set a record. Its going to be fascinating to see if things will balance out or if some of these top teams can hold on with their dominance.

Tom Brennan said...

Dallas, excellent points. The Mets want to go first class, like the big boys, but in ways you describe, they still fly in coach.

The Mets, to some degree, have overachieved...I doubt anyone on draft day thought Alonso would be doing this - and McNeil was I believe a 12th rounder and considering the time it took for him to get here, is a major surprise.

These other teams don't rely on major surprises. They pick brilliantly. Although the Dodgers did make one major mistake - trading Yordan Alvarez to Houston.

Gary Seagren said...

Well put and along with the ridiculous pairing of Ramos with Thor for reasons unknown which has created an avoidable mess and cost us games you have to ask who is really making these decisions and what is the plan this off season Brodie. To go with the theory that he can't do much worse than last off season is so Mets it hurts. Well in a few months we'll find out.