New York Mets News

The Mets’ need for power and a leadoff hitter

By Rich Sparago

As the 2014 season winds down, the Mets have given fans some reason for optimism heading into 2015. The starting pitching has been solid, and with Matt Harvey set to return, the 2015 staff looks even stronger. The bullpen, a long-standing Achilles heel for the team, has rounded nicely into form.

Aug 23, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers short stop Erisbel Arruebarrena (11) reaches for the throwas New York Mets pinch runner Eric Young Jr. (22) steals second base in the seventh inning of the game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Consensus seems to be that the Mets need to add a bat or two this off-season to contend next year. The positions of left field and shortstop are generally seen as those most in need of an offensive upgrade. The Mets have struggled to find a lead off hitter this season, so it may behoove the team to have one of those imported hitters fill that spot.

Let’s take a look at some OBPs of players who have hit first for the Mets this year. The OBPs below reflect numbers achieved while in the lead off spot (minimum 50 plate appearances).

Juan Lagares– .329

Eric Young Junior .311

Curtis Granderson– .289

None of these players got on base at an acceptable rate for a lead off hitter (.350 is considered to be the starting point of acceptable). But the question is, will the Mets prefer to bring in power bats rather than a lead off hitter? Here’s a quick look at the highest ISO numbers on the 2014 Mets. Note that an ISO over .180 would indicate that the player has above average power (min 100 PAs).

Lucas Duda– .227

Kirk Nieuwenhuis– .212

Anthony Recker– .180

That’s it. Only these three players have above average power according to the ISO statistic.

So where should the Mets seek to invest (dollars and/or players in trade)? It’s not likely that the Mets will bring more than two significant offensive players. My guess is that Sandy Alderson and company will choose to bring in power. If that’s the case, how do they solve the lead off dilemma?

Lagares seems to be fair choice, especially since he has begun stealing some bases. However, he does not get on base proficiently, and he does strike out often (19.2& of the time).

How the should the Mets handle the simultaneous need for power and a lead off hitter?