The Mets newcomers have helped sparked the rest of their lineup
Without question, the Mets had remarkable series against the Rockies this past weekend at Coors Field. They feasted on the hitter-friendly environment, pounding out 45 hits – 21 of which were extra-bases – and 33 runs over the three games in their sweep of Colorado.
In seven games against the Rockies, the Mets scored 56 runs, or 11.6 percent of their entire output for the season.
While it’s certainly easy to conclude their output at Coors Field was an aberration due to the conditions – which they very likely were – it serves as an extension to a very successful month for the Mets at the plate.
Dating back to July 25 against the Dodgers – or the day after Sandy Alderson promoted Michael Conforto and acquired both Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson – the Mets have a .264 average (fifth-best in the National League), a .330 on-base percentage (fourth-best), a league-high .475 slugging percentage and 122 weighted runs created.
They’ve scored the most runs with 149, and have the second-most home runs with 42.
But the stars of the show for the Mets have not been all of the new acquisitions, at least at the plate.
In fact, Uribe and Johnson has struggled at the plate despite coming up with some huge hits since joining the club. They’ve combined to hit only .191 between them since being acquired.
Yes, Yoenis Cespedes has been fantastic, especially after a monumental weekend at Coors Field in which he had his best game as a big leaguer on Friday with a five-hit, three-homer night. And, Michael Conforto has proven he belongs playing at this level with his .858 OPS, three home runs and 11 RBI in the 20 games he’s played for the club.
But it’s been the players who were already here who have come to life over the last month, and a big reason why the club has out-slugged the competition over the last month.
Curtis Granderson has a team-high 24 RBI in his last 26 games. He is second on the team in that span with eight home runs, and leads the team with 1.4 WAR since July 25. He has embraced the role as a leadoff hitter throughout the 2015 season while bringing power and production to the top of the order.
Daniel Murphy has filled the role as a table setter behind Granderson, hitting a team-high .327 with 143 weighted runs created in August.
Then there’s Lucas Duda, who had an incredible run earlier this month to help lead the team with nine home runs in August. He’s tied with Murphy with 18 RBI and leads the club with an 1.138 OPS in 19 games during that span. He will now be absent until at least early September, but he has made his presence felt after his bat went on hiatus for the better part of two months in the middle of the season.
Of course there’s Wilmer Flores, the new folk issue in Flushing, hitting .324/.361/.500 with nine RBI in 21 games, two of which have won games for the club during gather span.
Simply put, Uribe, Johnson and Conforto have all helped lengthen the lineup and increase their depth on the bench. The installment of Cespedes on an everyday basis has deepened their lineup and moved people into more comfortable roles in the lineup.
But the added depth has helped protect the weaknesses of a lot of their hitters.
For instance, Murphy has struggled against left-handed pitching this season. So, Collins now limits his exposure against southpaws by playing either Uribe or Johnson over him.
Lagares has struggled against right-handed pitching this season. So, he primarily plays against left-handed pitching.
The depth has created pseudo platoons at three or four positions and the club has been able to make those positions more productive as a result.
And, many these players have become more productive with less playing time thanks to this new depth. and the whole team has benefitted from the system.
With David Wright coming back on Monday, perhaps the Mets will be able to get more out of Juan Uribe in what will be a more limited role for the veteran third baseman. He’ll play every three or four days to spell Wright down the stretch of the season, and can serve as a quality bat with pop off the bench from the right side the rest of the way.
All of this creates a lot of good problems for Collins as he attempts to maximize the strength of his roster, and win games down the stretch.
Competition indeed has it’s merits.