For one weekend, the Mets’ offense worked
Last weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Mets hit 9 home runs in the 3-game series. They scored all of their runs in the series via the home run. This type of offense is close to the model Sandy Alderson envisioned when he assembled the 2015 Mets.
While Alderson recognizes the value of a diversified offense, he has made it abundantly clear that he prefers a team that can knock the ball over the wall. In fact, at one point, he quipped “Chicks dig the long ball, and so do I.” The Earl Weaver “good pitching and a three-run home run” philosophy is great-when it works.
The problem is that is does not always work. The Mets are coming off of a 7-game losing streak, during which they hit few home runs, and consequently scored very few runs. They did not go yard in a recent 3-game series against the Cubs, and lost all 3 games.
The bigger question is whether or not building an offense around the home run makes sense in current-day baseball. Offense throughout baseball is down. Below is a look at the current division leaders, and where they stand among the 30 teams in home runs.
The disparate rankings above indicate that while home runs certainly help, they do not necessarily predict success. The Mets are 19th in MLB in home runs. The problem is that they lack in other offensive categories. Here are some examples of where the Mets rank among the 30 MLB teams:
Batting Average- 30th
Stolen Bases- 26th
Seemingly the Mets have predicated their offense on the home run, and it simply hasn’t panned out so far. Certainly the injury to David Wright has not helped (nor have the sub par performances of Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer), but the inability to score runs in other ways is an indictment of the construction of the roster.
The Alderson model can work, as it did against the Diamondbacks. When it does, the results are spectacular. However, having all of the offensive eggs in one basket will produce inconsistent results. The Mets have seen that throughout the first half.
Little can be done before the trade deadline to add new dimensions to the offense. Perhaps the addition of a player such as Jean Segura can add some speed to the lineup. However, the Mets will largely be riding the team that they have through September. If the home run hitters start to produce, it can be a fun ride. However, if they continue to struggle, the one-dimensional offense will sputter.
In my opinion, building a baseball offense is exactly like building a stock portfolio. Diversity is the best strategy. I’d like to see the Mets add some base stealers, and some players who can hit-and-run. However, at times it seems that Alderson functions as if the steroid era is still here, and he intends to win with modern versions of the Bash Brothers.
The Mets don’t have players like that.
It shows in their results.