5 Alarming New York Mets Statistics so Far in 2014
Even with a 10-10 record, the New York Mets' 2014 season outlook looks far from hopeful.
In Dave Cameron's April 21st piece on Fangraphs regarding wOBA differential, he calculates the Mets to own the third-worst wOBA run differential—at minus-0.050—in the major leagues.
But while the Mets have seemingly been holding their ground in the competitive National League East, the team also boasts a variety of alarming statistics that must improve in the near future.
For instance, big offseason acquisition Curtis Granderson has failed to be the middle-of-the-order hitter the Mets thought they'd be receiving. In addition to a pathetic park-adjusted 28 OPS+, Granderson has also struck out 30.3 percent of the time.
Read on to see all five alarming New York Mets statistics so far in 2014.
Daniel Murphy's Low Walk Rate
Daniel Murphy has never been known to take many walks in his career. Spanning 2,439 plate appearances from 2008 to 2013, Murphy has walked at just a 6.0 percent clip.
In recent years, that metric has only fallen season-to-season:
That worrisome trend has only continued in 2014. The 29-year-old has posted a dismal 3.6 percent walk rate over his first 83 plate appearances.
Even though some fans are still pleased with his .291 batting average and stellar 89.3 percent contact rate, Murphy’s increasing penchant to swing away remains a negative quality in his already limited overall skill set.
Travis d'Arnaud's Lacking Extra-Base Hits
Travis d’Arnaud, who was acquired with Noah Syndergaard for R.A. Dickey in December 2012, was quickly named the starting catcher during spring training. Going into the season, Mets fans hoped the 25-year-old would produce like his career minor league .823 OPS suggested he could.
But while Mets nation was ready for a young, relatively “homegrown” catcher to suit up for the team in 2014, the results to date haven’t been pretty.
D’Arnaud has posted a .182 batting average, a park-adjusted 55 OPS+ and just one home run. Even though the California native is sporting a fruitful 9.8 percent walk rate, d’Arnaud has also collected just three extra-base hits over his 61 plate appearances.
In fact, his .091 ISO ranks 21st among catchers with at least 50 plate appearances.
Struggles aside, it’s far too early to call d’Arnaud a bust. But if the catcher continues to be severely overmatched through May, the Mets could conceivably option him to Triple-A.
The Bullpen’s Overall Hittability
Despite owning the fourth-worst FIP in 2013 (4.02), general manager Sandy Alderson did little to address his bullpen in the offseason. Alderson’s relief acquisitions featured has-beens like Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Valverde and Daisuke Matsuzaka. With an early season torn MCL in the elbow for Bobby Parnell, the Mets lost their best reliever for the season—in April.
The 2014 Mets relievers haven’t look much better than the 2013 bunch. Opposing hitters have owned a fourth-worst .265 batting-average against and fourth-worst eight home runs versus the Mets bullpen.
Mets relievers have also posted a combined 4.32 ERA and 4.06 FIP—ranking 21st and 19th in the major leagues, respectively.
Considering the Mets have already gone through two closers this season—and recently settled on Farnsworth—the bullpen outlook looks bleak for the rest of 2014 (barring a trade).
Scott Rice’s Batting-Average Against vs. Left-Handed Hitters
In addition to Marlon Byrd, Alderson’s other “diamond in the rough” was signing left-handed specialist Scott Rice to a minor-league deal.
Rice, 32, dominated his own kind to the tune of a .174 batting-average against and .223 slugging-percentage against in 2013. Considering teams spent a combined $44.3 million on left-handed relievers during the 2013 offseason, Rice’s $535,000 contract was a bargain.
But the left-hander’s achievements in 2013 have been a distant memory in 2014.
Rice has posted a .286 batting-average against in 16 plate appearances vs. left-handed hitters. His overall 7.71 ERA isn’t pretty, either.
If Rice continues to be this ineffective against left-handed hitters, the southpaw could easily find himself on the free-agent wire in the near future.
Curtis Granderson's High Strikeout Rate
Curtis Granderson has never been shy about swinging the bat.
In fact, Granderson owned a 26.2 percent strikeout rate from 2004 to 2013, but the left-handed hitter has also accompanied his high strikeout total with sizeable offensive damage. The 33-year-old owned a career park-adjusted 117 OPS+ and 217 homeruns over 5,044 plate appearances during that span.
Unless Granderson can quickly revert back to at least his 2012 numbers, it’ll be a long four seasons for the $60 million hitter (and for Mets fans, too).