NYM MIKE's Survival Guide to not Overreacting to the Mets Slow Start With RISP
Hi there, I’m NYM MIKE and I’m here to tell you that the Mets slow start offensively does not mean that the season is in ruins. I too am frustrated that this offense has scored just 56 runs in 16 games, and I did not enjoy watching the Mets leave 24 men on base last week against the Cubbies while going 3-20 with RISP in a series that left the North-siders sweeping the Mets out of town and back to .500. Your Metsies responded by winning 2 out of 3 against the Nats, but the hits with RISP were still hard to come by. With this being said, proven players like Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor are all hovering right around .200 or lower in the batting average department. Nobody believes this will persist throughout the full season so a progression to the mean is almost guaranteed to happen, but the Mets really need to put it all together at the same time.
Since 2015, the Mets have fielded a team seemingly ready to win, but for one reason or another things haven’t clicked. 2016 was never smooth, but is a forgotten strong season (and a good early comp for 2021), 2017/18 huge disappointments, 2019 a feel good year that came up short and 2020 another disappointment. Injuries and bullpen problems derailed the team in 2017, in 2018 (after an 11-1 start had Mets fans readying the World Series Parade route) and 2019; however fluky deficiencies with RISP put a damper on the 2020 season and almost kept the Mets out of the 2016 playoffs. 2016 and 2020 are important comps for the 2021 Mets for these reasons:
1. The 2016 Mets were a horrific “clutch team” batting .225 with RISP and .187 with 2 outs and RISP. Through the first half the Mets were on pace to shatter records that you don’t want to shatter but rebounded and snuck into the playoffs with 87 wins.
2. The 2020 Mets hit .245 with RISP and .224 with 2 outs and RISP, which compare favorably to the 2016 numbers, but these marks were well below their league-leading .272 team batting average and .807 OPS (3rd in NL). The Mets never had a chance to rebound in the “clutch categories” as they did in 2016 due to the 60-game Covid schedule.
The 2021 Mets have played all of 17 games but we are seeing similar obnoxious trends...189 with RISP and .143 with 2 outs and RISP. It would be quite easy to sit back and say that the Mets are simply not a clutch team-that they consistently struggle to drive in runs despite flooding the bases with traffic. To this point I’d say at least wait until guys like Conforto, McNeil and Lindor get it going. These are all proven hitters with track records to back up their credibility. There is no scenario where the Mets have a successful offensive season with their three best pure hitters all under .214 (unless Pete Alonso hits 85 homeruns) so let’s pump the breaks, get ready for Noah, Carrasco and Lugo to return and then bludgeon the rest of the league. The 2021 Mets are too talented to hover around mediocrity, they will follow the path of the 2016 Mets and put it all together when it matters most.