The Mets fans have officially entered “Panic City” after dropping 2 of 3 to the Sox and going 4-6 on the last home stand. The Mets currently sit 29-23, 3 games behind the Nationals. Outside of Harvey, and take away the last week of bullpen meltdown, the Mets pitching has been everything as advertised. Thor/Matz have shown signs of being future (if not already) number 1 and number 2 starters for the Mets for year’s to come. DeGrom has been back to normal the last two starts, after funky spring schedule, baby being born and maybe some 2015 innings hangover. Bartolo has been Bartolo, solid beer league pitcher who just gets it done with a bad game thrown in here and there. So why are we 29-23 and in “Panic City”. Well the hitting has been a problem as it was for 2/3 of the 2015 season. This is a Little League Lineup, and no not because the players should be in little league.
I had the pleasure of coaching my two boys in little league this season at the 1st and 2nd grade coach pitch level. Our team was made up of 11 kids, with 5-6 kids who can hit and 4-5 that we clap after the third strike or the week ground ball to SS or Pitcher. The Mets lineup currently is in the “little league” state of disrepair. There are 4-5 who can hit, then the 3-4 who are batting about .200… If I had a dollar every time Plawecki hit a bouncer to 3B I would be writing this blog from a tropical beach and not an office. If I had a dollar every time I hear “Campbell hits the ball hard and makes hard outs” I wouldn’t need to win the Powerball jackpot. The Mets started the year with depth. a 5th outfielder who could have been a 3rd or 4th outfielder on many teams, a utility infielder who hit 16 home runs in 2015, and a backup catcher who was once a top organizational prospect. Well now we find ourselves back to July 2015 with guys like Campbell, Kelly, Plawecki and Rivera getting too much playing time.
What can be done? Yes, Duda, Wright and Travis are hurt, the trade market is yet to really form and the minors are empty of MLB ready prospects… Well the first thing is to shift the lineup around. Back to my little league reference, myself and my other coach always wrestled with how we set the order. Do we stack the top, hope for big innings and let the 4-5 “little guys” strike out every other inning? Do we mix and match the good with the bad, will that kill a rally… Well the Mets are currently stacking the order but not getting the big inning. Maybe it is time with this roster to try option B, mix and match. Terry has never been one to make changes in the order besides little tinkering here and there. But what about a big change, shake it up a bit and move some guys around. Put guys in different situations. Heck, why not, the team sits 28th in avg and bottom tier in runs scored. So if this was my little league roster I would put the following line-up out there this weekend and see what happens. Hey it is worth a shot:
- Asdrubal – He has been getting hits, doesn’t walk much but better .avg and OBP
- Loney – Solid contact guy, good spray hitter, doesn’t strike out much
- Conforto – He will hit again, too good not to
- Cespedes – Yup he is 4th hitter
- Walker – Been very good behind Cespedes
- Curtis – We need his pop lower in the order to help for big innings
- Flores – He needs to play everyday at 3B, get AB’s as hit 16 bombs in 2015
- Plawecki/Rivera – Well someone has to bat there and they combined under .200