Now, onto some performance-based reasons why the Mets didn’t make the playoffs in 2021.
734 — Francisco Lindor’s OPS
Yes, the Mets dealt with a mountain of injuries this season, but that was far from the only reason they missed the playoffs. Frankly, they just didn’t hit.
Lindor having the worst offensive season of his career was one of the main contributors to that issue. He hit .230/.322/.416 with 20 home runs in 524 plate appearances, all good for an OPS+ of 101 — so essentially league average. The issue is, Lindor isn’t paid to be above average. He’s paid to be one of the best in baseball.
He was still one of the team’s most valuable players in 2021 and should win the NL gold glove at short, maybe even the Platinum one. But he just didn’t hit nearly enough as the Mets needed him to in 2021.
384 — Michael Conforto’s slugging percentage
Speaking of not hitting enough, Conforto might be the most egregious case. After putting up a .927 OPS in the 60-game 2020 season and hitting 33 home runs in 2019, expectations were high heading into Conforto’s contract year.
Not only did he fall short, but he practically fell flat on his face. The only semi-redemable part of his season is that he still walked at an over 10% rate, but that’s pretty much it. His power seemingly disappeared, with his slugging percentage dropping below .400 for the first time in his career. His next-worst was .414 in 2016, the year he got sent-down mid-season.
Like Lindor, Conforto finished with an OPS+ of 101. Unlike Lindor, Conforto doesn’t bring gold-glove caliber fielding with him.
249 — Jeff McNeil’s batting average
Yes, batting average is by no means as important as it used to be. However, Jeff McNeil was supposed to be one of those players who makes his living on the back of that stat. From 2018-20, he actually had the highest batting average in baseball of players with at least 200 games played, with a .319.
Then 2021 came, and McNeil seemingly forgot how to hit. He didn’t hit for average. He didn’t hit for power. He just didn’t hit anything. He practically played himself out of a guaranteed starting spot in 2022, and maybe even out of Queens.
77 — James McCann’s OPS+
McCann was never brought in to be one of the top offensive catchers in baseball. He was brought in to be a rock behind the plate, something the Mets hadn’t had in years, and then hopefully about league average with the bat.
What the Mets got was statistically one of the worst offensive starting catchers in baseball. He was still fine defensively, but there was just no production coming from his bat virtually all season long. Again, he didn’t have to be great. The Mets just needed him to be average, and he couldn’t do it.
31 — extra-base hits from Dominic Smith
In the last installment of hitters who just didn’t show up, it’s Dom Smith. After a breakout 2020 season that even saw him receive some down-ballot MVP, many people expected great things from him in 2021. What followed was anything but great.
In 50 games and 199 plate appearances in 2020, Smith had 32 extra-base hits. In 145 games and 493 plate appearances in 2021, Smith had 31 extra-base hits. That really just speaks for itself. It’s a really unexplainable and insane fall off, and one that, like McNeil, might have booked him a ticket out of town.