The New York Mets front office has done an excellent job filling the vacancies left by many free agents and building a competitive roster. The rotation may be the best in baseball, but the bullpen has been the area of most improvement this offseason. The lineup is still very talented, despite not making significant changes.
The Mets' pitching last year was great, but the hitting was unbelievable. The team ranked second in batting average and on-base percentage, sixth in runs and RBIs, and fourth in WAR. However, there is still one area of concern.
The Mets lineup continues to lack power
The lack of power in the Mets' lineup may not be an area that fans don't worry much about, because in the end, the team produced the runs needed to achieve 101 wins. However, it needs to be seing if the Mets' run production is sustainable without this power.
The Mets were 15th in home runruns in the entire MLB in 2022. Many people, experts, and players would argue that the Mets really were lucky to produce hits. Even Spencer Strider argued that the Mets were just lucky to put the ballballs in play in no man's land.
Strider's argument is not valid, Mets had no luck during the 162 games of 2022. His xBA (a stat that measures the likelihood that a batted ball will become a hit) was almost identical to the batting average which means that the team's hitting balls were not influence by external factors such as stadium, defensive alignment, or any other reason.
However, despite having a good SLG and OPS last year, the home runs were scarce due to several factors. The Mets' propensity to connect fly balls was low (35.5), which is why their HR/FB ratio was just 11.2%. Why is this relevant? If the Mets weren't flying the ball, their propensity for ground balls was high.
The team was number thirteen in ground ball hits. According to Fangraphs, the run/out ratio for a ground ball hit is just 0.05 against 0.13 for fly balls and 1.26 for line drives. Additionally, the Mets' hard-hit contact was the fifth lowest in the league. Generating weaker ground balls can lead to fewer hits and, as a result, a decrease in runs scored.
It is highly likely that the Mets' lineup changed its approach in 2022 due to the team's conception since they do not have many power hitters. Let's hope this approach continues to generate good results for the team like last year since the front office couldn't add a power hitter to the lineup for 2023. If the power presents itself as an issue early in the season, Eppler will have to be very active at the trade deadline to try to fill this need.
It is good to remember that among the ten teams that connected the most home runs last year and generated the most power contact, seven qualified for the playoffs, including the two opponents in the World Series. Power does not necessarily win championships, but without a doubt, elevated hard-hit balls generate a greater probability of being hits, hits help you generate more runs and runs are what ultimately win games.