Mets Believe In Helping Their Pitchers Psychologically Until They Don’t

During Saturday’s game against the Phillies, Steve Gelbs did a segment to discuss why the Mets are one of the least shifting teams. When you boil it all down, the Mets believe the shifting has a negative impact on the Mets pitchers psychologically leading to them making mistakes:

It should be noted these conclusions aren’t because Fred Wilpon or someone else in the Mets front office being staunchly against the numbers and wanting to play the game the way it was played back in the Brooklyn Dodgers days. Rather, it is the result of the work of Russell Carlton, who literally wrote the book on the shift entitled The Shift: The Next Evolution in Basebal Thinking.

He would also write a piece on the topic for Baseball Prospectus. In his article, he would write about how the shift has correlated to an increase in walks and generally how “pitchers often talk about how The Shift made them uncomfortable.” His ultimate conclusion was there is much research left to be done with the shift, and ultimately, “The Shift should be used very cautiously.”

It should be noted the Mets hired Carlton this past year. What they haven’t done is hired someone who has written at length about the significance of the pitcher/catcher relationship. That was made abundantly clear yesterday.

In an exclusive article by Joel Sherman and Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, it was revealed how Noah Syndergaard has become increasingly frustrated by the Mets pairing him with Wilson Ramos instead of Tomas Nido or recently Rene Rivera.

When it comes to Syndergaard, the Mets apparently have little to no regard for his psyche. As noted in the article, “Van Wagenen’s front office believes the pitcher-catcher dynamic is overstated and favors the best offensive matchup against the opposing pitcher.”

As noted previously in an article on this site, the conclusions derived by the Van Wagenen front office are not factually sound. Rivera and Nido have excelled at framing the low pitches, which is an area where Syndergaard needs the calls to be effective. We’ve seen that play out recently with Syndergaard pitching seven shut out innings with no walks and 10 strikeouts sandwiched between complete and utter duds with Ramos behind the plate. This was after a stretch where Syndergaard pitched extremely well with Nido behind the plate.

Perhaps, this is nothing more than psychological with Syndergaard, and that despite all the data to the contrary, the Mets front office is right there is nothing really to personal catchers. That is all well and good, but it is really odd that the same front office which doesn’t shift much in response to the impact on the pitcher’s frame of mind completely disregards the impact a catcher has on a pitcher’s psyche.

In essence, the Mets front office believes there is more bearing on where the second baseman stands than who is standing behind the plate.

There is really no making sense of that. There is also no sense in weighing 3-4 at-bats Ramos will get in a game over the 20-30 batters Syndergaard or another Mets pitcher will face in a game. Essentially, the Mets think four at-bats from Ramos is more important than 20 from the opposition.

The best way to sum this up is the Mets believe in pitcher psychology until they don’t. They believe in the impact a shift has on a pitcher but not the impact framing and pitch calling has. They believe in doing all they can do to support Ramos but not Syndergaard.

16 thoughts on “Mets Believe In Helping Their Pitchers Psychologically Until They Don’t”

  1. Julian says:

    Good points. In my opinion, the Syndergaard-Ramos situation should have remained within the clubhouse. It shouldn’t have leaked to the media. I know there’s numbers to back up Syndergaard’s claims of performing better with a catcher who is not named Wilson Ramos, but could it just be Syndergaard makes excuses for pitching poorly? Is the sample size large enough?

    I think a quality pitcher should do well regardless of who’s at the plate. If you have a bad outing, own it, don’t point the finger at the catcher.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I don’t always think it’s always that simple. If you have a catcher who negates all you do well, it’s going to interfere with your ability to succeed.

  2. Julian says:

    Makes sense. I did a little more research and I didn’t realize Ramos’ pitch framing was ranked so low across the MLB.

    I’m not a saber metrics person, but it does seem that the Mets are in a tough position with keeping Ramos in the lineup for his offense and also having to deal with his poor defensive skills.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s something they should’ve thought of before signing him.

  3. Oldbackstop says:

    Thor is a jerk and a whiner and streaky as hell. Ramos is our number one catcher and if we get to the playoffs they have to be able to work together.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      If the Mets pair Syndergaard with Ramos, they’re not interested in getting the best out of Thor, nor are they interested in winning.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        Ramos is hitting .415 since August 1. Get a clue. Watch a game. Read the stats.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Considering I’ve done all those things I’m well aware of what I’m saying, and I’m able to substantiate it.

      2. Oldbackstop says:

        Oh, and he has a 1.92 OPS since Aug 1, and a positive dWAR on the year.

        Thor has to learn to hold runners on before he runs his mouth about defense.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          He’s a horrible pitch framer who has hurt Syndergaard and Wheeler.

  4. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    It’s incontrovertible that the difference through last week between Ramos and Rivera at the plate this year in any given game is in the neighborhood of 1/70th of one win.

    1/70th of 1 win. ~0.014 WAR. 1/7th of a run. ~0.14 of run. That’s it. It’s not magic. It’s easy to compute.

    So if the difference between Ramos and Rivera, for Syndergaard, is improving Syndergaard’s performance by just a single walk allowed, that alone outweighs Ramos’ superior hitting.

    Everything else is ignorant fandom and wild handwaving at facts. Add in that Syndergaard is a bit of a case with an expressed preference, and the value of his comfort is not insignificant. Not giving him the catcher he wants is patently absurd.

    That van Wagenen can’t even get this elementary statistical business right is pathetic. It’s one thing for the casual fan to prattle about Ramos’ this and that, but for a major league GM? Inexcusable.

    *You cannot reason people out of positions they didn’t reason themselves into.*

    1. metsdaddy says:

      That’s an interesting analysis.

      Well done.

    2. Oldbackstop says:

      Over the last WEEK…lol. well Todd Frazier is the greatest player in Mets history.

      Ramos’ WAR this year is 2.1….Rivera is .1. Career, Ramos is 15.4….Rivera is 2.0

      You can’t sit Ramos in important games. Period. Thor doesn’t get to pick his catcher, his shortstop or what uniform they we are wearing He needs to go being one of the worst pitchers in the game at turning a single into a double.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        You’re purposefully ignoring data and substituting your opinion for fact.

        When you boil it all down, Ramos neutralizes what Syndergaard does. As a result, the pitcher who is Cy Young caliber with Nido or Rivera becomes ordinary with someone who simply can’t catch behind the plate.

        1. Oldbackstop says:

          Thor has an excuse every year when his numbers are worse with one pitcher (which is statistically expected) Last year it was Plawecki. The year before it was Rivera. The year before that was Mesoraco.

          The difference is that Ramos, right now, is an impact bat. Thor needs to man up and work with Ramos.

          1. metsdaddy says:

            He blamed Plawecki? I’m sure you have proof of that accusation.

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