Honestly, in May, this was unthinkable. There were very real concerns about Baty. While the tools were there, he was hitting for zero power.
The big reason was he was a ground ball machine. Think J.D. Davis without the strikeouts. That and real promise.
Something clicked for Baty in June. He began hitting more line drives and for real power. That .409 SLG over the first two months of the season was a .604 from June 1 until his call-up.
We saw that power in Baty’s first career at-bat where he homered off of Jake Odorizzi:
It was an incredible moment. For a Mets fan, you think the third baseman of the future is now the third baseman of the present. He’s arrived and will be there for the next decade.
Baty followed with three good at-bats. He didn’t record another hit, but they were good at-bats with notably no strikeouts.
That’s a key. The moment wasn’t too big for him. He was ready, and he handled Major League pitching much like he did minor league pitching this year.
Left or right didn’t matter. He hit the ball hard. However, he hit it on the ground three times. That’s been the one thing that’s been a concern for Baty.
Of course, we see plenty of Major Leaguers ground out three times in a game. That doesn’t necessitate a rush to judgment. Rather, it’s just something to monitor.
In the field, he made the plays he was supposed to make. Nothing flashy or spectacular. There’s some debate whether he’ll stick, and to that, we saw him split time between third and left in his brief Syracuse stint.
With Baty, if he hits, the Mets will find the right spot. In his debut, there was room at third due to tut injuries, and he did hit. In fact, he hit a homer.
Ultimately, Mets fans should come away ver excited by this debut, and they are. That said, there is still room for Baty to grow and improve, which he will. Every fan should be ecstatic to see that happen.
When you think of the New York Mets offseason, you think Max Scherzer. How can anyone blame you. After all, he’s a future Hall of Famer, and he’s still pitching like he’s in his prime.
The other big move was Starling Marte. He’s possibly been even better than expected. He’s an All-Star and may find himself getting down ballot MVP votes.
These are two great moves which have helped the Mets be in first place. They’re phenomenal moves having the exact impact you’d hope. There were other decisions which have fallen short.
First and foremost is the DH disaster.
The Mets decision to go with Robinson Canó at the start was a mistake. Just ask the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves.
Stubbornly trying Canó shelved J.D Davis and Dominic Smith, neither on whom got going on the season. Davis flopped in his extended chance and was shipped out to replace him. Smith never got his shot, and now he’s injured.
While they’re useless against same side pitching, they’re absolutely lethal against opposite side pitching. That makes this platoon nearly unstoppable, and it seems platoon is the name of the game with the Mets.
One platoon move they made without a trade is at third base. That was forced by Eduardo Escobar’s play. After a strong first month, he’s stopped hitting right-handed pitching, and he has a -4 OAA at third.
There were indications signing him to play out of position was a bad idea, but the Mets proceeded anyway. To a certain extent, they’ve been bailed out by Luis Guillorme (and the organization finally being willing to give him a shot to play everyday).
What’s a surprise is the Mets thought they needed a platoon partner for Mark Canha. By all accounts, Canha was having a good season, and the Mets were finding a way to get the best of him.
Canha has a 121 wRC+ and a -1 OAA. The defense isn’t great, but it’s playable.
That said, we did see continued signs of regression. Canha hit but with no power. He got on base but with a reduced walk rate and high .321 BABIP (.290 career).
That was with Travis Jankowski as his caddy. Jankowski was the late inning replacement in the field and on the base paths. The issue was Jankowski got hurt and then stopped hitting.
Rather than be victims to regression, the Mets were proactive acquiring Tyler Naquin. In a sense it was necessary with the Canha risk, but in another, it was odd considering Canha has always hit right-handed pitching better than left-handed pitching.
For that matter, he’s a better hitter overall than Naquin regardless of the split. However, Naquin has power, and Canha doesn’t. Looking at all the moves, this is an area the Mets specifically targeted.
The offseason approach was players who put the ball in play. That worked over the first two months of the season as the Mets had the best offense in baseball.
However, as the Mets hitting with runners on regressed to the mean, so did the offense. Over the past two months, this was an average to below average offense.
The Mets pitching, more specifically the starting pitching is too special to waste. Rather than wait for players to start hitting while hoping others didn’t stop, the Mets made a course correction.
Rather than be stubborn, the Mets acknowledged the limitations of their offseason plan. They made the necessary pivot. The end result is a far more dangerous team.
Whether this results in a World Series remains to be seen. What we can see is the Mets better positioned themselves to win because they acknowledged what wasn’t working and worked to fix it.
On the eve of the MLB trade deadline, the New York Mets put J.D. Davis into the lineup as the DH. Even better, he was batting fifth.
That was once true. It’s not any more. It may be in the reverse now. Including this game, he’s 1-for-8 with two GIDP, three strikeouts, and a walk.
Not only is that against a pitcher he’s owned, but it’s also against someone who is probably the worst pitcher in baseball right now. What exactly does that say about Davis?
To answer the rhetorical question, it means Davis cannot play anymore. Not for a team looking to win a World Series.
Credit Buck Showalter for removing Davis for Vogelbach when the Washington Nationals went to their bullpen. That decision should be for good.
The Mets simply have to do better. Davis strikes out over 30% of the time. He hits the ball into the ground half the time. We can go on and on and delve deeper and deeper, but it’s best summed up by his bring lifted and benched.
The sad part is that’s all Davis can do. He’s horrendous in left and at third. Even if you want to overblow that one game saving pick at first, you’re not playing him over Pete Alonso.
Davis has lived far too long off the fluke 2019 season fueled by a juiced ball and an unsustainable BABIP. There’s too much at stake now, and there are players available.
Maybe there’s a Wilmer Flores reunion where the Mets can undo that massive mistake of non-tendering him and trading for Davis. There’s other smaller options, and of course, the chance at J.D. Martinez.
Davis had two at-bats in the game ahead of the deadline. He’s entitled to no more. Not upgrading from him is too egregious to even ponder.
Overall, Davis has to have played his last game as a Met. Once he’s gone, we can then focus on a complete roster ready to win a World Series.
The line of demarcation for the New York Mets season seems to be June 1. Somehow, someway, it is always June for the Mets.
Entering June, the Mets had the best offense in baseball, and they were running away with the National League East. Since that time, the Mets offense has a 99 wRC+ which is 21st in the majors and seventh worst in the NL.
Keep in mind, the only teams with a worst offense are also-run teams with zero shot at making the postseason. What makes this worse is the Mets starting pitching has been phenomenal over this stretch. Their 3.45 ERA ranks sixth best in the majors and third best in the National League.
Keep in mind, much of that time was while the team had Trevor Williams in the rotation, Chris Bassitt was trying to get on the same page with Tomas Nido and Patrick Mazeika, and Carlos Carrasco was fighting fatigue. It was also a rotation without Max Scherzer for over a month.
Since Scherzer has been back, Mets starters have easily been the best in the majors with a 1.70 ERA. However, the Mets are only 9-7. Moreover, the Mets as a team are 25-20 since June 1 seeing their NL East lead dwindle from 10.5 games to 1.5 games.
Yes, part of the reason is the Atlanta Braves are on a historic tear. However, it has more to do with the Mets. Again, this team is not hitting. Morevoer, the bullpen has just been flat out bad.
Right now, Edwin Diaz is the only reliever the Mets can and will trust. The problem is he only throws one inning a night. The second best reliever on the team by ERA, Colin Holderman, was traded for Daniel Vogelbach. It’s at the point right now where the only set-up reliever the team can trust is Adam Ottavino.
Look at it another way. For the season, Mets relievers have a 3.53 ERA. On the surface, that is pretty good as it ranks as 10th best in the majors and fourth best in the NL.However, that includes Diaz and Holderman.
When you back out Diaz and Holderman, the Mets bullpen ERA rises to 3.90, which would rank 16th. That’s where the Mets bullpen is. They have a great closer, but they have a middling and unstable bridge to him. Arguably, they need a whole new bullpen.
That’s the thing. It’s not just getting players. It’s getting them to perform. Also, as we saw with 2015, the team got healthy and had help from the minors with Michael Conforto.
The Mets need to get a right-handed bat to push out J.D. Davis once and for all. They need a Francisco Alvarez or Mark Vientos to get called up to help at some point. Seeing the Mets catching situation, the Mets really need Alvarez to go on a tear in Triple-A to force a call-up.
Jacob deGrom needs to healthy. With him and the rest of three rotation going deep, it’ll lessen the burden and innings required from the bullpen.
Vogelbach needs to hit as does Davis’ eventual replacement. The ship has probably sailed on relying on Eduardo Escobar hitting leaving his replacement needing to hit.
Really, the Mets need a lot. We’ve previously seen it can be done. Maybe not by Billy Eppler judging from his Los Angeles Angels tenure, but it can be done.
The trade deadline is a little more than a week away. What the Mets do will likely determine whether they win the division and just how deep they’ll go in the postseason.
With the New York Mets potentially pursuing Juan Soto, the question becomes what the team does with their outfield alignment. Despite Soto being a poor outfielder, the Mets really aren’t going to get the 23 year old superstar to put him at DH.
If Soto was moved to left, where he belongs, this would force Mark Canha to DH. Really, when you look at it, the Mets should probably move Canha to DH as soon as the second half starts.
The predicate for such a decision is the Mets current options at DH have been a complete failure. J.D. Davis is a strikeout and ground ball machine. Dominic Smith has already been demoted once and is easily having the worst season of his career. Neither belong in the everyday lineup right now.
On that front, Luis Guillorme does belong in the everyday lineup. You can argue it’s for his defense alone, but he’s also been hitting this season. Of course, it’s hard to play him everyday.
Remember, Jeff McNeil was an All-Star second baseman. His defense has been good too with a 0 OAA. It’s not Guillorme good (2 OAA), but with his bat, you can more than justify playing him there.
That said, McNeil is versatile. In addition to being a good second baseman, he is a good left fielder (1 OAA). Actually, he is better in left than second.
On that front, Canha has not been good in left. In fact, he has a 0 OAA. Yes, it’s the same as McNeil at second, but across Major League Baseball, McNeil’s zero ranks higher than Canha’s.
At least from a defensive standpoint, it makes sense to put McNeil in left with Guillorme at second. The move makes further sense with McNeil battling a hamstring issue.
So, it makes sense defensively, and it makes sense offensively.
Guillorme (119 wRC+) has hit much better than Davis or Smith. However. However, he hasn’t hit better than Canha (124). The good news is this never needs to be an either/or calculation. It’s a both/and.
Defensively, Guillorme at second, McNeil in left, and Canha at DH. As it so happens, all three of these bats in the everyday lineup with Davis and Smith sitting is also the optimal batting order.
To a certain extent, this is and should be obvious. However, the Mets have not operated this way. Rather, they’ve flipped a coin and picked one of Davis or Smith to diminishing returns.
It’s one thing if the Mets were still invested in Davis or Smith, but they’re not. They’ve gone out of their way to say they’re upgrading the DH position to replace them.
The thing is the Mets may not actually need a DH. In the end, what they may need is to just optimize their lineup with the players already on the roster.
For some reason, the New York Mets just don’t want to give Dominic Smith a full time job. Worse yet, they don’t want him to earn it either.
Consider this, of all the players on the Opening Day roster, Smith is the only player who has not started at least four games in a row. Yes, that does mean Travis Jankowski has.
At the time, Smith was hitting .186/.287/.256. Again, when that’s your line, you put yourself in that position, especially when you have options.
However, Davis has similarly faltered. Since June 19, he’s hitting .162/.279/.297 striking out 16 times in 43 plate appearances (37.2%). That’s with a three hit game!
Nowhere will you find the Mets even contemplating sending down Davis. Again, he’s not hitting at all, and he can’t field any position. He’s literally useless to this Major League roster.
Despite that, he continues to get at-bats at the expense of Smith. Even with Smith historically faring better against left-handed pitching, they’ll sit Smith for Davis.
You don’t do this if you’re invested in Smith. That goes double when Smith had a hot bat. The reason is the Mets, at least the Sandy Alderson directed Mets, have never been truly invested in Smith.
This goes back to 2017 and 2018.
Smith was given competition to Adrian Gonzalez, who was really signed to play. The Mets preference was made all the easier when Smith was late to pregame, and Mickey Callaway felt the need to display his authority.
This was before Smith’s sleep apnea was diagnosed and treated.
To make matters worse, Smith was used as a left fielder for a good portion of the time. This was a first round pick and top 100 prospect. A Mets team completely out of it thought the best course of action was to see what he had . . . in the outfield.
Keep in mind, Rosario struggled, and the Mets went out of their way to ensure he’s have no competition for the job. Better yet, the team sent down Luis Guillorme for a stretch leaving Rosario as the ONLY shortstop on the roster.
Between 2018 and the present, there’s a pattern, and the person at the helm has been Sandy Alderson. People can say he’s out of the loop, but he’s out there making statements the Mets need to address the DH position.
That was yet another shot at Smith, a player he didn’t want.
Remember, the Mets nearly traded Smith for Eric Hosmer (horrendous contract), Chris Paddack (injured pitcher with a 96 ERA+), and Emilio Pagan (81 ERA+ over last three seasons). That’s just how much they wanted rid of Smith.
They wanted to take on a ton of money to get worse. It’s no wonder Steve Cohen was reportedly forced to nix the deal.
That’s all well and good, but the front office response was just to not let Smith earn a job. On some level, that’s personal. There’s certainly a history backing it up.
Overall, the Mets didn’t want Smith. Alderson has a long track record of not giving him a fair shot. Now, the Mets are ready to move on without even so much as giving him a week of starts to try to earn a job.
The Atlanta Braves were surging and unbeatable. The New York Mets were falling apart. This is 2021 all over again.
The Mets have Max Scherzer and just phenomenal starting pitching across the board. When you have pitching like this, you’re the team to beat in the division, and Scherzer reminded everyone of that.
Through the first six, Robinson Cano was the only one able to get a hit off of him. Of course, it was Cano, who the Braves obtained right before this series.
This is cause for worry for mere mortals, but this is Scherzer. The future Hall of Famer, and one of the fiercest competitors in all of pro sports, struck out Eddie Rosario to end the jam.
In the end, the Braves had a run. Even with the recently sputtering Mets offense, that was a low hurdle to jump. They jumped it easily.
Luis Guillorme hit what could’ve been an inning ending double play. Instead, Guillorme buster it out of the box resulting in an RBI fielder’s choice giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.
It’s a good thing Guillorme delivered there because J.D. Davis was batting behind him. Davis had his usual terrible night at the plate marked by strikeouts, infield pop outs, and ground ball outs.
The Mets had Braves starter Max Fried on the ropes all night, but they couldn’t deliver the knockout punch. Ultimately, as a team, the Mets were 2-for-10 with RISP stranding 10.
It didn’t matter. Scherzer was just that good. So was the red hot Guillorme. In the eighth, he homered off Darren O’Day to increase the Mets lead to 3-1.
This marks his career high. Notably, half of Guillorme’s four homers have come against O’Day.
Guillorme was simply great. He was 2-for-3 with a run, double, homer, walk, and two RBI.
We saw the Mets add insurance runs. That made the job of the Mets bullpen that much easier.
It was a dance for Adam Ottavino, but he escaped the jam keeping the Mets ahead. After that, the Mets added an insurance run in the ninth.
With regards to that run, Nimmo and Francisco Lindor pulled off the rate hit-and-run. It was a good night at the plate for Lindor, who was 3-for-5. After an Alonso fielder’s choice, it was 4-1.
Faced with an interesting and potentially daunting option, Buck Showalter chose Edwin Diaz on a third straight night for the save. Diaz looked fully rested mowing down all three Braves he faces for his 19th save of the season.
Thinking long term, once Jacob deGrom comes back, the Mets pitching is unstoppable. It’s about seven innings from the top of this rotation with Diaz striking out the side in the ninth.
Really, that’s giving teams an inning or maybe two to score runs. The Mets offense can splutter all it wants, more often than not, they’re winning these games.
That’s what the Braves discovered. It’s what all of baseball was reminded of again.
The New York Mets just could not help themselves. Dominic Smith has been hitting, and he was looking more and more comfortable at the plate. It looked like he could be an answer for the DH position while splitting time at first with Pete Alonso.
In a play out of Terry Collins‘ book with Michael Conforto, Buck Showalter (or whichever analytical member of the Mets making the decision) shoe horned Davis into the lineup. After all, if a batter is left-handed, they can’t possibly hit left-handed pitching.
It doesn’t matter that since 2019 Smith has a 127 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, and Davis has a 117. Since 2020, Smith has a 126 wRC+ against left-handed pitching to Davis’ 102. Anyway you look at it, Smith hits left-handed pitching better than Davis.
If we’re being honest, as far as left-handed pitching goes, Davis only seems to hit Patrick Corbin well, and that seemed to be only before this season. This season, Davis has been bad, very bad.
Davis has a 97 wRC+. That is despite his being shielded from better pitching. He was given every opportunity to grab the DH job, and he has a 31.6% strikeout rate, 1.74 GB/FB, and he is among the worst players in all of the majors in whiff% and K%.
Looking deeper, since 2000, Smith has a 100 wRC+ to Davis’ 84. That’s against all pitching. Smith can actually play first base well, and with Alonso completely regressing defensively with a -5 OAA, you can argue the Mets need Smith at first. Alonso could also be the answer for the Mets DH woes. Those woes were created by Davis being terrible.
Despite everything, Davis was given the start. He rewarded the Mets faith in him by going 0-for-3 at the plate with two strikeouts. His one lone non-strikeout plate appearance was pop out to first baseman Mike Moustakas in foul territory. Simply put, when you put a player like Davis into the game for his offense, you deserve to be shutout, which the Mets were.
Simply put, Davis cannot hit. He cannot field. For some reason, he keeps getting at-bats from the DH spot. Smith struggled and was sent down to Triple-A. Davis is flat out bad, and the Mets go out of their way to find him more plate appearances.
Davis needs to be sent down now. If not that, he should be designated for assignment. That’s if you can’t foist him on a team who still thinks he can be good. Good luck with that. Whatever the case, Davis should be much closer to gone than ever being in the lineup again.
You can argue the New York Mets best options for DH are not currently on their roster. However, it does not appear the Mets are ready to head in those directions as of right now.
Mark Vientos is mashing, but the Mets seem to be scared enough by the 30.7% strikeout rate to keep him in Triple-A. Francisco Alvarez was just called up to Triple-A. He is not an answer for DH as he is being developed as a catcher, and the Mets do not want to find themselves in a Kyle Schwarber or Gary Sanchez situation.
As for a trade, you don’t normally see big trades like this until the end of this month. Certainly, you will not see anything until after the All-Star Break. Everything considered, it seems the Mets solution for DH is already on the roster, at least the short term solution.
Looking at the roster right now, you can only conclude Dominic Smith needs to get the job.
Yes, Smith struggled mightily to start the season. He was hot in Spring Training, and he cooled off considerably as the Mets first tried to see if Robinson Cano had anything left. He didn’t. At that point, the Mets appeared to decide they should go with J.D. Davis, and when the Mets felt a pitching crunch, they sent Smith to Triple-A.
Over that time period, we saw Davis again prove he can’t be a Major League DH. On the season, Davis has 101 wRC+, 31.0% strikeout rate, .099 ISO, 1.81 GB/FB, and ranks towards the very bottom in the majors in whiff% and K%. In sum, there is no way, shape, or form the Mets can justify playing him evreryday at any position.
That brings us to Smith.
The biggest issue with Smith is we only saw him healthy and hitting in one season. That was the pandemic shortened season when he actually received MVP votes despite the Mets being terrible. With that season, you thought he would be a permanent fixture for the Mets. However, he battled an injured shoulder in 2021, and he had the aforementioned nightmare start this season.
Well, after he was recalled Smith has started hitting again. Over the past nine games, Smith is hitting .333/.333/.524 with four doubles and two RBI. Smith came up as a pinch hitter on Saturday hitting a double. After that, he started the following two games. Over this three game stretch, Smith is 4-for-9 with three doubles and 2 RBI.
Simply put, he’s hitting well. With the way the Mets are hitting now, if anyone is hitting well, they simply need to be in the lineup. Does this small sample size seem like grasping at straws? Perhaps, but then again, that’s where the Mets are.
Consider, the Mets 84 wRC+ from the DH position is the second worst in the National League. Since June 1, the entire team has a 99 wRC+, which ranks as tied for seventh worst in the National League. That’s a precipitous drop for one of the best offenses in all of baseball over the first two months of the season.
Now, DH is the only issue. We have seen Mark Canha, Luis Guillorme, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo fall into bad slumps. Only recently did Eduardo Escobar and Francisco Lindor battle out of very bad slumps. The team has gotten absolutely nothing from the catcher position. Taking everything into account, the team needs players who are hitting well in their lineup.
Right now, that’s Smith. He’s hitting right now. As a result, he needs to be in the lineup now either at first or DH. Give him a few weeks. If he falters, he can be traded for the needed relief help. If he succeeds, the Mets assets can be directed to fill real needs. Whatever the case, the Mets need Smith, and for Smith, this should be his last opportunity.
The New York Mets played the Houston Astros four times over the past week, and it just didn’t go well for the Mets. Not only did the Astros sweep all four games, but they also dominated them.
We saw that with Taijuan Walker’s start. He was again brilliant shutting the Astros out over 7.1 innings. Edwin Diaz finished that inning, but Drew Smith couldn’t keep it scoreless allowing a two run homer to Jason Castro.
Even with the homer from the backup catcher hitting .095, it was just two runs. When your pitchers all two runs, that’s a winnable game. When you’re at home, you need to win those games.
The excuse will be it was Justin Verlander. Fine, he’s a future Hall of Famer, and he leads the AL in wins. He was great. However, that doesn’t explain one run scored over two games and six over four games against the Astros.
Come up with your reasons. Once you cycle through them, there’s one simple answer – the Astros are just better. That’s a big problem.
If the Mets want to win a World Series, the Astros are a potential roadblock. If not them, the New York Yankees, who are having a historically great season.
Before that, there’s the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and really, the seeming randomness of the postseason.
For the Mets, they need to admit their problems and find solutions. Really, they’re pretty obvious.
Whatever the Mets decide, they can’t play Davis anymore. He’s been a disaster. Sure, people will run to say the same about Smith, but whatever. Point is, DH is a black hole for the Mets.
The Mets need to try to give someone a look there before they can make a trade. While we’re on that subject, Chasen Shreve can’t pitch for this team again.
Shreve hasn’t performed for two months now, and he’s getting worse. The Mets need to find his replacement ASAP. While they’re at it, it couldn’t hurt to add another reliever for the late innings.
There’s some other areas to address. However, Jeff McNeil’s versatility and Luis Guillorme’s glove answers many of those problems.
There’s more from there, but those potential problem areas may be overstated. Overall, we see against better pitching and fielding teams, the put the ball in plat approach fails. That’s been very true for the Mets.
None of this is an overreaction. The Mets are great and can win a World Series. However, that doesn’t change the facts. The Astros are in a different class than the Mets.
That’s with or without deGrom and Scherzer. Yes. deGrom and Scherzer can lead the Mets to a World Series. They can also lose due to the inability to score runs against good pitching and defense teams.
With each day, the Mets issues become more apparent. Fortunately, there’s still time to address them. Hopefully, the Mets admit them now and become incredibly pro-active.