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Mickey Callaway Has Been Doing A Good Job

The Mets are currently four games under .500, and the season is slipping away. We see the press criticize the manager’s every move, and with each passing day, you get the sense the manager is going to be the fall guy for this Mets team. Overall, it seems to be a question of when not if. Still, when you weave your way through the narrative, you see Mickey Callaway has actually been doing a good job this year.

First and foremost, this team continues to play hard for him. Look at their recent games as an example. On Thursday night, the Mets had their hearts ripped from their chest. They had their hearts ripped from their chest twice on Friday and again on Sunday. Each time that happened, the Mets responded. They played competitive baseball with their team making comebacks.

The Mets losing these games is not a matter of the team not having fight or giving up. This team has fight, and not matter how many times they have a soul crushing loss, they are getting up off the mat, and they keep fighting. Last year, in a completely lost season, the Mets had the best second half in their division. No matter what the odds or the situation, Callaway’s players play hard for him.

The young players have played well and improved under his stewardship. Brandon Nimmo was regarded as a fourth outfielder entering last year, and he finished the season as the second best hitter in the National League. Pete Alonso was regarded universally as a defensive liability. He’s played to a 1 DRS at first base while also having the second most homers in the National League. Jeff McNeil went from just a second baseman to being a positive DRS at three different defensive positions while having a 131 wRC+. Amed Rosario remains frustrating, but he has made continual improvement in his pitch selection and power.

As impressive as that is, there’s Dominic Smith. Smith was being hailed as a bust. Well, that “bust” Callaway infamously benched last Spring Training has bought into a bench role, and he finally looks like the player the Mets drafted in the first round. This year, Smith has a team leading 172 wRC+ (albeit in part-time duty), and he has a 2 DRS at first and a 0 DRS in left.

Smith is an example of how Callaway’s players have improved during his tenure, and he’s also an example of how Callaway’s players have bought in and are willing to do whatever it takes to win games.

On the pitching front, we have seen Callaway and his pitching coach Dave Eiland work well with the starting pitchers. As we all know, they got career best seasons from Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler last year. More than that, we have seen them be able to keep their starting pitchers healthy. For example, Steven Matz made 30 starts last season, and this year, when the depth was so thin, this starting staff has yet to suffer a major injury.

One thing that has been impressive with their work with the pitching staff has been their ability to adapt. This year, Noah Syndergaard noted he cannot quite throw his slider with the new ball, so he’s had to adapt. As Syndergaard put it, “I’m still trying to find that slider, but it’s forcing me to continue to develop other pitches.” That’s meant more four seamers and curves. That’s not just for Syndergaard, but also for an entire starting staff who has turned things around as they have adapted.

When you look at this team, the real issue is the bullpen. Yes, Callaway and Eiland deserve some blame because they can’t seem to get through to pitchers like Jeurys Familia, and for some reason or another Edwin Diaz has regressed (as noted the new ball may be a factor). He did overwork Robert Gsellman to dangerous levels causing a total regression. That said, the bullpen has been an arm or two short even when everyone was healthy.

No manager can win with a bad bullpen. Sooner or later, a bad bullpen will always drag a team down. Even with Callaway’s and Eiland’s reputations as pitching gurus, you cannot make bad or Triple-A caliber pitchers good relievers by waving a magic wand.

Overall, when you cut through the narratives and actually look at the team, you see Callaway has been doing a good job as the Mets manager. Sure, you can pinpoint things here and there where he needs improvement. That’s the case with all managers. Still, when you have a manager who has players completely buying in and playing hard for him, and you have young players making improvements under his tutelage, you have a manager who is doing a good job.

And believe it or not, Mickey Callaway is actually doing a good job this year.

16 thoughts on “Mickey Callaway Has Been Doing A Good Job”

  1. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Callaway’s been doing a better job since he finally got real and stopped with the rose colored glasses pressers and is now honest about the poor play and increasing urgency.

    He’s also allowed his starting pitchers to pitch deeper which they’ve long needed.

    This team however sports the worst defense in the NL under his watch and the bullpen is a disaster. This team hasn’t found a way to W’s, to put the dagger into the opposition when leading and that’s on him when the talent is good enough to at least be a few games over .500.

    Brodie’s fault is in that horrible pen – not his fault that Avilan, Wilson, Drew Smith are on DL, Familia sucks, Diaz disappoints, Gsellman inconsistent. But it’s his responsibility for lacking better depth to ride out these struggles/injuries and not figuring out a way with his front office and field staff to improve the defense with the players they have.

    I give him credit for aggressive outside acquisitions and DFAing failed depth options like Santiago, Peterson, Sewald, and acquiring Pounders and Font, but the injuries, very poor defense, and inability to close the deal, game to game, is rapidly putting the season in doubt as we head toward the half way point and July trade deadline inches closer by the day.

    Next up I think should be the trade or DFA Lagares and find a serviceable CF somewhere, somehow who can provide better performance than Gomez and Lagares. We’re really hurting in Nimmo’s absence. No Nimmo perhaps for the season joining Cespedes.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Callaway’s pressers have absolutely nothing to do with his managerial ability.

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    JD Davis has developed well as big league hitter under this manager and hitting coach.

    Davis has now surpassed the Plate Appearance total he had in parts of two seasons with the Astros, well surpassed his offensive struggles there with a solid 2019 .275/..337/.474/.811in 187 PA’s, 8 homers, 8 doubles and a triple, 37 K’s, 15 BB.

    It’s his defense that needs work. And if he lowers his high 52% ground ball late, his offensive stats will get even better with the above average exit velocity he has.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      If Davis ever lowered that GB rate, I could buy into him. Until then, I can’t buy into him, especially with the myriad of other red flags which exist.

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