New York Mets: The three most important statistics for 2021
By Keith Jacobs
The New York Mets have a great roster this year, and with that is going to come insane expectations. Original PECOTA projections for this upcoming season had the Mets winning 90+ games and running away with the NL East.
There are a few statistics that they need to have great numbers in for them to attain the 90 win mark this year, all three of which are very obvious talking points that Mets fans commonly have. Here now are those three stats.
Mets have to hit well with runners on base
A lot of people don’t realize this, but the Mets were one of the best offenses in baseball last year. Granted, 2020 was obviously a shortened season, but nonetheless, they could really swing it. They finished 1st in batting average (.272), 4th in slugging percentage (.459), 1st in on-base percentage (.348), and 3rd in on-base plus slugging (.807).
Yet, despite all of that, they finished 13 in the league in runs scored. Why? The Mets had a very rough time hitting with runners in scoring position, or with runners on base in general. Last year, the Mets left 3.77 runners in scoring position per game, which was the most in baseball. They also left 445 total runners on base last year, which was also the most in the league.
They must improve in this area if they want to be successful. The importance of hitting with runners on base was magnified no more so than in the final game of the three-game set with the Phillies. Aaron Nola was taken out after 4 innings and throwing 92 pitches, and yet he only allowed one run.
That’s because the Mets went 1-12 with runners in scoring position, and left 14 total runners on base. When you have one of the best pitchers in baseball struggling with a high pitch count and keeping runners off base, you MUST take advantage. This problem needs to be fixed and fixed quickly.
Mets bullpen ERA
Death, taxes, the Mets bullpen being terrible. It seems for as long as I can remember, outside of 2015, the bullpen has always been a major issue. Last year was no different, as the team finished 18th in bullpen ERA (4.60). Trevor May was the high-priced addition to the bullpen this year, with Edwin Diaz closing once again, and Seth Lugo set to come back sometime soon (he has begun throwing this week).
Outside of those three, I have no idea what to expect. I don’t think there’s any question that the starting rotation is going to be up to snuff, especially since it’s lead by the best pitcher in baseball. The guys behind them need to do their jobs as well, because a team with this much potential cannot have its bullpen constantly blowing leads.
Mets defense has to be up to snuff
I could’ve probably named a specific fielding stat, but let’s be honest, the defense just needs to be good. Acquiring Lindor and McCann makes things easier at two of the most important positions on the field. Looking at the team, it’s obvious to see where the “rough spots” are defensively, namely with Dominic Smith and JD Davis.
Yes, keeping them in the lineup is crucial because they are too good offensively to stay on the bench. But if we’re being honest, they’re shaky at best defensively, and that’s putting it nicely. Dominic doesn’t have much range and doesn’t have the best arm. Thankfully, left field doesn’t require as much ground to cover, but there’s going to be a lot of shallow hits and deep warning track balls that are going to fall in, simply because he lacks the normal range you’d expect out of an outfielder.
JD’s primary problem is his throwing accuracy. He’s got arm strength, and frankly his mobility at third base really isn’t that bad. He can be a bit all over the place throwing wise though, which could be a potential problem. Of course, how good he can be offensively will mostly offset that, and I’ll be fine even if he can just make the routine plays.
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Having the pitching staff that the Mets have, they simply need to be average to above-average defensively. Nobody necessarily needs to win a Gold Glove, although Lindor and McCann will put their names into the discussion.