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:
When they discussed it I immediately checked for your take. pic.twitter.com/aC1M9OfNhE
— Roger Cormier (@yayroger) September 8, 2019
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.