Mets Scapegoated Wrong Coach For Brodie Van Wagenen’s Failures

A night after the Mets blew a game partially because Gary Disarcina had an unfathomly bad send of J.D. Davis, the Mets decided to fire pitching coach Dave Eiland and bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez. Seeing Brodie Van Wagenen’s press conference where he refused to accept any personal responsibility, you could see this was nothing but a scapegoat decision to deflect from his failures as a General Manager. In typical Van Wagenen fashion, he scapegoated the wrong person because that’s what a terrible General Manager with no accountability does.

On the surface, you may want to pinpoint how the pitching has not lived up to its billing. After all, the Mets team 4.74 ERA is the 11th worst in baseball, and their 5.37 bullpen ERA is the third worst in baseball. Of course, there are some other considerations behind those numbers.

On the starter ERA front, the Mets top four starters have a 4.27 ERA. While not where you may not want it, it’s still a half a run lower than the staff ERA. That is because the rest of the staff including Corey Oswalt, Chris Flexen, and Wilmer Font have combined for a 7.19 ERA.

The bullpen ERA also needs to be put in perspective as well. That ERA comes from pitchers like Drew Gagnon (7.65 ERA), Tyler Bashlor (5.40 ERA), Luis Avilan (9.28 ERA), Hector Santiago (6.57 ERA), and Jacob Rhame (8.10 ERA). Say what you want about Eiland, but much of the team’s pitching struggles are related to the team not having Major League quality arms and having a complete lack of pitching depth.

Another factor is the Mets horrible defense. Their -55 DRS is the second worst in the Majors. That’s a year off of them being the second worst team in the National League with a -121 DRS. Their inability to field is part of the reason why the Mets pitching staff has a 4.27 FIP, which is 11th best in the majors. That includes a 3.99 FIP for their starters.

On that front, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler each have an FIP better than that mark with each of them in the top 30 among Major League starters meaning they are actually pitching like top of the rotation starters. Put another way, Eiland had the good pitchers on this staff actually pitching well, at least most of them.

Going back, what hasn’t been happening is the Mets playing well defensively. As noted by Mark Simon of The Athletic, the Mets are the worst shifting team in baseball. In fact, they are one of just a few teams whose shifting has cost the team runs. As noted by ESPN‘s Paul Hembekides, the Mets infield defense has an MLB worst 70 percent out rate on ground balls, .270 batting average on ground balls allowed, and 218 ground ball hits allowed.

That wasn’t the case back when Tim Teufel was the infield coach. No, he had the team where they needed to be, and in fact, back in 2015, when the Mets had Daniel Murphy at second, Wilmer Flores playing shortstop, and Eric Campbell playing more infield than anyone, the Mets had a positive 15 DRS.

No, things went real south when they hired Disarcina.

On the topic of Disarcina, we have not only seen Amed Rosario not fulfill his Gold Glove promise, but he has really struggled defensively. Part of that is the shifting, and part of that is Disarcina not doing the job he was hired to do. That is not too dissimilar from when he sent Davis home (another player he has not been able to help with his infield defense) among his other bad sends this year. It’s also not too dissimilar from when he failed to properly run quality control last year as the team’s bench coach last year leading to Jay Bruce batting out of order.

If you’re looking to scapegoat a coach, the Mets should have scapegoated the coach who has not performed well in his job. On that topic, Glenn Sherlock hasn’t performed well either. We have seen both Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki pick it up to the levels they were with Bob Geren, but that required them leaving the organization and getting competent coaching elsewhere. There’s also Chili Davis, who is the hitting coach for a team hitting ground balls 46.0 percent of the time and a hard hit rate of 35.3 percent (both bottom six in the majors) at a time when the juiced ball is flying out of ballparks.

If the Mets were looking to scapegoat a coach for the poor job Van Wagenen did to build this roster, he should have picked Disarcia, Sherlock, or Davis. Instead, he picked Eiland, a pitching coach with two World Series rings, a man who was actually doing his job well because he needed a scapegoat to hide from his complete failure to build necessary pitching depth.

At some point in time, Brodie Van Wagenen is going to have to finally take some personal responsibility, something he refused to do yesterday, and admit he has done a very poor job. Maybe at that point, he can stop with the half measures and scapegoating and instead focus on making the changes needed to turn the Mets into they type of club he hyped them to be heading into the season.

8 Replies to “Mets Scapegoated Wrong Coach For Brodie Van Wagenen’s Failures”

  1. Metsvibes says:

    I totally agree with getting rid of Disarcina too many mental mistakes by Mickey mouse Calloway last year. Also get rid of Glenn Sherlock holmes was suppose to help catching crew but was a complete disaster.Chili Davis is on the clock.

  2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    “Another factor is the Mets horrible defense. Their -55 DRS is the second worst in the Majors. That’s a year off of them being the second worst team in the National League with a -121 DRS. Their inability to field is part of the reason why the Mets pitching staff has a 4.27 FIP, which is 11th best in the majors. That includes a 3.99 FIP for their starters.”

    Decades ago Bill James wrote, a lot of what we tend to think of as pitching, is really fielding. Being 55 runs worse than average on defense in around 75 games means the Mets are booting about 3/4 of a run each game on defense (~0.73, to be more precise). That’s not hard to visualize. Gomez breaks the wrong way and lets a double drop in. With no outs the run expectancy of that result, the double, putting a man on second, versus 1 out and no one on, is close to 8/10ths of a run. That’s all it takes. Or a man on second, no outs, and JD Davis bobbles a grounder. The batter’s safe, the runner remains on second. The RE differential is more than 7/10ths of a run.

    A lot of that gets credited to the pitcher. The official scorer rarely credits Gomez with an error in the situation described above. Davis will often get away without an E after his name if the ball was hard hit or took a bad hop, even if an average 3Bman would have made that play. Result? The pitcher gets docked for any runs scoring as a result of these misplays.

    The average ERA in the NL is 4.36. The average FIP is 4.35. The Mets FIP is 4.27. I hadn’t checked it in a while and was surprised to see their team FIP was better than average. Their RA/9 is 5.07, consistent with their FIP plus (or minus) poor fielding. Only San Diego and, of course, Colorado have a worse RA/9. That’s on the Mets defense. Based on what they’re saying, too, we’re going to see some lineups from here on out that have a below average defender at 7 of 8 positions, where to date, over 75 games, less than half a season, those lineups have cost more than 3 bWAR on defense. That’s brutal. Add it up over a season and their defense alone knocks an 88 win team in the postseason down to a .500 club. Or takes a .500 club and leaves it gasping at 74 wins.

    Fwiw at least 2/3rds of that is JD Davis and Rosario. Together they’ve been awful. The Mets have to think about upgrading at SS one of these years. Incredibly, Giminez is falling apart at the plate in AA just like he did in the AFL, while Rosario isn’t just not cutting it, he’s replacement level. Fangraphs had him as almost worth a lineup spot last year. I didn’t particularly buy it, but okay. This year, though, he’s a weak defender by any measure, one who can’t crack a .300 OBP for long–and he just had his 1000th AB the day before yesterday. What happened to teaching him patience? The Mets focused on that for all of 3 games in 2018, Rosario took 6 walks–then they and he forgot all about it.

    Weren’t we all thinking about how the Mets might deal with a surfeit of shortstops in the near future? Now I’m wondering if they have even one. Giminez will probably come around, but that’s not a sure thing, and he’s in one of the worst possible organizations for getting turned around.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Gimenez dealt with some injuries. That set his clock back, which is a shame because they could use him at SS and shift Rosario to CF.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        Thanks–just found a link to the recent HBP wrist injury:

        Good news:
        “The shortstop was fortunate to avoid any structural damage and looks like he’ll be ready to resume his usual everyday role for the Rumble Ponies now that he’s off the IL.”

  3. Peter Hyatt says:

    Excellent article.

    Coming in to the season, McNeil was a bright spot for us to cheer.

    Broadie’s ego brought in a 36 year old, 1 year post PED, cheater, prima donna , who is a bad influence on young players (Rosario) to replace McNeil.

    Broadie will be remembered not for Cano, nor Kelenic, but for his swarmy narcissistic psychobabble sentences that sound like Tony Robbins on steroids.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’m not even sure that went too far

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