Mets Left-Handed Issues Are Overstated

If you break down the Mets roster, especially the starting lineup, this is a team heavily dependent on left-handed hitters. As of the moment, the core of the Mets offense is Robinson Cano, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and even Jeff McNeil. Logically speaking, when you have so many left-handed hitters you are going to be very susceptible to left-handed pitching.

That was a theme throughout the 2018 season. The Mets batting average and strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers was the worst in the National League and second worst in the majors. Their 82 wRC+ was fifth worst in the majors. Breaking down all the of offseason stats, you will see the Mets at or near the bottom five in the majors in most categories.

Seeing how 2018 transpired coupled with the Mets biggest offensive addition to date being Cano, you would have to wonder if the Mets doubling down on left-handed hitters is going to be the team’s downfall. While it is a fair concern on the surface, the concerns may be overstated.

First and foremost, the National League East is very light on left-handed starting pitching. The Braves have Sean Newcomb who did dominate the Mets left-handed batters last year. The Nationals only left-handed starter is Patrick Corbin. Cano, Conforto, and Nimmo have excellent career numbers against him. As of the moment, the Phillies do not have a left-handed starter. Even if they were to sign J.A. Happ, Cano has hit .273/.342/.485 off of him.

Really, breaking it down, the Marlins are the team with the left-handed starters, and those are Wei-Yin Chen and Caleb Smith. While both had their moments against the Mets, neither are particularly imposing, especially with them playing in front of a terrible Marlins team.

There’s also the fact the Mets left-handed hitters actually hit well against left-handed pitching. Last year, Conforto hit .250/.332/.476 off left-handed pitching last year. In his career, Cano has hit .284/.334/.433 off left-handed pitching. While Nimmo has not had great numbers against left-handed pitching, he did have a .351 OBP against them last year. Moreover, McNeil hit .281/.339/.474 against left-handed pitching.

Now, it’s possible these numbers are skewed by short sample sizes and each one of these players could regress to the mean. It’s also true the Mets also have Todd Frazier, Travis d’Arnaud, and Juan Lagares. Each one of these players have had successful seasons against left-handed pitchers which each could repeat next year.

Of course, the composition of the roster does make the Mets susceptible to a LOOGY or powerful left-handed closer. To that end, it does seem a little curious why the Mets would non-tender Wilmer Flores with his ability to hit left-handed pitching and his ability to pinch hit. That said, there is still plenty of time to sign impact bench players who could hit left-handed pitchers well.

Overall, the Mets goal this offseason should be to fortify their staring lineup with the best players available whether they are right or left-handed. They should not push for a right-handed hitter like A.J. Pollock just because he’s a right-handed hitter. Instead, the Mets should get whoever is the best available player, and if need be, they can help offset any left-handed issues by signing right-handed hitters to fill out their bench.

11 thoughts on “Mets Left-Handed Issues Are Overstated”

  1. OldBackstop says:

    The righties penetrate even down another level…Plawecki, Cecchini, Cespedes, Nido, Rivera….

    I saw Brodie interviewed a few weeks ago about this. It is clearly on their mind.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      If it was on his mind, he doesn’t non-tender Flores

  2. Luis says:

    Poor logic. We play outside the division..

    1. metsdaddy says:

      46.9% of the Mets games come against the NL East. That’s nearly half of their games. That’s substantial.

  3. oldbackstop says:

    With Alonso and a blossoming of Lagares, this could be a May lineup:

    Nimmo L
    Lagares R (or Rosario)
    Cano L
    Frazier R
    Conforto L
    Alonso R
    D’Arnaud R
    Rosario R

    Once Alonso comes up (and my prayers for Lagares come true) we could have a very righty lineup with that, plus Cespedes second half (I hope)

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I don’t see Cespedes playing next year. I hope I’m wrong.

      1. oldbackstop says:

        Sadly I concur. Hopefully a September will be a replay of 2015 from Yo-C. Like to see him come up in June and rake, and then turn that into to trade bait.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          If he rakes, you need to keep him

  4. oldbackstop says:

    Sadly I concur. Hopefully a September will be a replay of 2015 from Yo-C. Like to see him come up in June and rake, and then turn that into to trade bait.

    1. OldBackstop says:

      Ok, we have Familia, back as the setup.

      Lets sign Grandal for three.

      The we need a solid vet pitcher to keep Gsellman and Lugi in the pen.

      and a solid 4-5 ofer who can play center

      And a utility IF type.

      And we are gtg! I think that is a ninety win team!

      1. metsdaddy says:

        We’re inching our way there, but it can all blow up on one trade

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