The New York Mets find themselves playing inconsistent baseball all year. Different areas of the roster that Billy Eppler put together have been failing during these first few months of the season, but one stands out from the rest.
The Mets' offense has been the area of most concern and disappointment this season. After being one of the teams with the best batting percentage last year, the Mets are one of the worst offenses so far in 2023, and this is due more to a general approach than to an individual decision by the players.
The Mets need to fire hitting coach Jeremy Barnes
The Mets were one of the best offenses in MLB in 2022. Billy Eppler's roster focused on players with a high propensity for contact, which resulted in the team finishing in the top five in most batting ratio categories, such as AVG, SLG, and OPS.
Last year's approach was led by Mets hitting coach Eric Chavez. The philosophy used was consistent with the team's front office because it enhanced the value and capabilities of the roster that was built.
In 2023 the Mets promoted Chavez to bench coach and Jeremy Barnes to hitting coach. Under Barnes, the approach of the Mets' offense has changed.
In a baseball where the defensive shifting has been limited, an aggressive offense, with the ability to put the ball in play, would set itself apart from the rest. It was what was expected of the Mets' offense after seeing last year's results, but this has not been the case.
The reasons for this debacle are clear. After being a top team in BABIP in 2022, the Mets rank in the bottom five of the league in this category. This inability to put the ball in play is due to a team approach from the team in the batter's box.
The Mets have decreased their swing% in their quest to boost their on-base ability. In 2022 the Mets were the #13 team in the league in swing percentage, and this season they rank among the bottom three teams in all of MLB.
This lack of collective aggression at the plate creates devastating ripple effects for an offense designed to put the ball in play. The passivity of the Mets lineup has made them one of the teams with the highest percentage in outs via called strike (CStr%).
This change in the collective direction of the team is not due to the decision of one or two players. Barnes has established an inefficient and inconsistent system with the design of this roster diminishing its potential and limiting the value of a lineup that knew how to put the ball in play.
The Mets need to make a radical decision about their offense approach before it's too late. Jeremy Barnes is the one to blame for the results the offense is showing so far, and Eppler must make the necessary adjustments to replicate last year's model that paid off.