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June 20, 2006
  
Home Sweet Home?
by: Eric Simon on Jun 20, 2006 12:46 AM | Filed under: Articles

We all love going home. We’re comforted by the familiar faces and the home-cooked meals. All of your old friends are still there; your bedroom is just as you left it. You’re happy; you’re comfortable.

But then there’s the darker side of coming home. Two minutes in and your mom is nagging you about your haircut, your dad is regaling you with stories about his new online friend, the Nigerian prince, and your douchebag brother who still lives at home at age thirty-five punches you in the shoulder and wrestles you to the ground. Yea, you begin to wonder why you bothered coming home at all.

This is the dichotomy facing the Mets. Despite their otherwise-impressive record at home, the Mets have performed markedly poorer at Shea Stadium than away from it.

       Home     Away     Diff
ERA    4.03     3.65     9.4%
AVG    .243     .284    16.8%
OBP    .313     .351    12.1%
SLG    .426     .467     9.6%
RS/G   4.47     6.00    34.2% 

Based on current park factors, Shea is a 93 for runs and 94.6 for homeruns, where 100 is a neutral park and numbers lower than 100 represent parks that are favorable to pitchers. I suspect that the Mets’ collective struggles at home account for a lot of this slant, though it’s difficult to discern if the Mets are hitting more poorly at home because Shea is tougher to hit in this season or if Shea’s park factor is lower because the Mets have been underperforming at home. It’s the proverbial chicken and the egg.

Shea Stadium has had park factors of 99 in each of the past three seasons, so there’s definitely reason to believe that the Mets are just playing more poorly at home for some reason. There’s also the fact that their team ERA is almost a half-run worse at home than on the road. If Shea were simply depressing offense across the board you would expect to see some evidence in the team’s pitching performance. However, the Mets are scoring many fewer runs at home while allowing significantly more.

Let’s look at what the Mets’ individual hitters have done.

                       Home                Road
Jose Reyes        .260/.312/.452      .273/.358/.427
Paul Lo Duca      .295/.357/.400      .265/.294/.372
Carlos Beltran    .217/.344/.491      .358/.446/.743
Carlos Delgado    .216/.310/.456      .321/.392/.618
David Wright      .313/.372/.547      .346/.426/.602
Xavier Nady       .325/.398/.610      .214/.267/.369
Jose Valentin     .228/.286/.421      .303/.329/.500
Cliff Floyd       .244/.358/.478      .231/.301/.330

Unless Shea Stadium has some personal axe to grind with Puerto Ricans, it’s hard to imagine why Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and Jose Valentin have performed dramatically poorer at home than on the road. All three players are batting less than .230 at home while each is batting over .300 on the road. Despite the low batting average, Beltran has respectable discipline and power numbers at home, while his road numbers are historically good. Likewise Delgado, who has hit the hell out of the ball away from Shea.

Even David Wright, who has hit splendidly at home, shows a substantial improvement on the road. It should be noted that certain players, most notably Xavier Nady, have hit much better at home. Paul Lo Duca and Cliff Floyd have both fared better at Shea as well.

Collectively, though, the Mets have been a far more dominant team offensively when the are away from home. Whatever effect the ballpark has on this disparity, it likely can’t account for a 34% difference in runs scored.

It’s conceivable that the Mets perform better on the road because there is more pressure to perform at home. It’s no secret that there are high expectations of this ballclub. The Wilpon’s have invested $100 million this year and many more millions in the coming years with the expectation that the Mets will field a competitive team. To this point, they have done so in spades.

Yet, there is a very discernable difference in the atmosphere of playing at home. The fans — and there have been a lot of them this season — hang on every pitch. The fans sense when tension is growing in the game and they let it out in collective sighs. On the road, when a pitcher falls behind a batter, he has only to contend with the matter at hand. At home, he has that matter compounded by the aggregate groans of 50,000 fans. It’s easy to sit here and say that these ballplayers are being paid to handle the pressure, but it’s rarely that simple.

Despite their struggles offensively, the Mets’ won-loss record at home (20-13) isn’t much lower than their won-loss record on the road (23-12). A lot of this is due in large part to the inordinate number of walk-off victories the Mets have orchestrated at Shea. That type of win definitely builds team character, but it is also an indication of the paper-thin margin of error that separates winning from losing. A few bad breaks (or good breaks that didn’t happen) and the Mets are more like 17-16 at home, if not worse.

Right now we’re only talking about thirty-some-odd games. Yet, as the season wears on and the Mets position themselves for a run at the pennant, it will become increasingly important for them to have their hitting shoes on at home, in front of the paying fans. The Carlos’s especially need to kick it up a notch or two. The end result — wins and losses — are all that really matter, at least on a superficial level. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on some of these trends to see if they even out over the course of the season.


52 Responses to “Home Sweet Home?”

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  1. Comment posted by Teufel on June 20, 2006 at 1:11 am (#50065)

    You’d at least figure they would be a half run BETTER, not worse at home.

    However, take away the recent road trip and I doubt that the difference is so severe offensively

  2. Comment posted by Tom Ace / Tom in the QC on June 20, 2006 at 1:53 am (#50068)

    its cause the guys are out late the night before finding girls like these….

    http://www.myspace.com/lilstar918

    classic, im glad they are having fun.

    the one there basically said she boinked cliff floyd. at least hes getting some slumpbusters before he comes back.

  3. Comment posted by Emad on June 20, 2006 at 3:15 am (#50071)

    your dad is regaling you with stories about his new online friend, the Nigerian prince

    A vague reference to 419 scamming, in case anyone is wondering.

  4. Comment posted by Kevin in Toga on June 20, 2006 at 8:31 am (#50079)

    However, take away the recent road trip and I doubt that the difference is so severe offensively

    You cannot remove 10 games when there are only 35 road games total. Of course the difference would be lessened if you took out about a third of the highest scoring, successful games.

  5. Comment posted by Mike on June 20, 2006 at 8:33 am (#50080)

    Offensively, a lot of those fly balls that left the yard in the friendly confines of Citizens’ Bank & Chase Bank Fields (what the hell with all these bank ballparks) reach the warning track in Shea’s stagnant air. Wright, for instance, gets in the habit of lofting fly balls on the road. That won’t play in Shea. Never has, never will (ask Straw).

    The pitching numbers’ll even out as you’d expect (the numbers mean they’ve pitched poorly at Shea, thank you Mssrs. Zambrano, Lima, Julio, et al), but the split between road & home scoring is gonna continue. As I said a few days ago on my blog:

    They lead the majors in runs scored on the road, and are second in slugging and sixth in OBP out of the 30 teams in that specific category . . . I said a month-and-a-half ago that, “their middle-of-the-pack run total has been seriously deflated by the games in Shea and all the other pitcher’s parks. This team can rake,” before predicting that “come summer, they’re gonna put some scary numbers on the board in some of those road games.”

    Because the team is stronger in hitting than in pitching, I think they’ll continue to win more often on the road than at home. And, while Shea’s always taken its biggest toll on guys prone to the K, it’s not a great park for homers and it’s bad for doubles, in which the Mets lead the NL. It’s really not an ideal park for them, but they’re good so it’ll be ok.

    * * *

    By the way, Eric, big “LOL” for . . .

    Unless Shea Stadium has some personal axe to grind with Puerto Ricans

    With ‘Stache on our team? No Way!

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  7. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on June 20, 2006 at 8:49 am (#50082)

    Offensively, a lot of those fly balls that left the yard in the friendly confines of Citizens’ Bank & Chase Bank Fields (what the hell with all these bank ballparks) reach the warning track in Shea’s stagnant air.

    Can’t say I agree, Mike.

    Delgado, Wright and Beltran have all been hitting moon shots on the road that would easily go out in any park, even Shea. Remember Beltran’s upper deck blasts at RFK? Those would be half-way up the scoreboard in Flushing.

    I think the Mets clearly feel more pressure at home. IMHO, the lower stats have little to do with the confines of Shea.

  8. Comment posted by Mike on June 20, 2006 at 9:04 am (#50083)

    The balls that go 14 rows deep on the road aren’t the issue. They would clear the walls in Shea.

    The balls that barely escaped Phillie leather at Citzens’ Banks are the ones I’m thinking of. Weight had one. A few others I don’t rmemeber specifically, but I recall them without placing the hitter. At least three or four over the whole road trip.

    Unless you believe that Shea’s always caused hitting jitters (and pitchers with ice in their veins), 44 years of statistics don’t bear you out.

  9. Comment posted by Danny on June 20, 2006 at 9:27 am (#50086)

    But then there’s the darker side of coming home. Two minutes in and your mom is nagging you about your haircut, your dad is regaling you with stories about his new online friend, the Nigerian prince, and your douchebag brother who still lives at home at age thirty-five punches you in the shoulder and wrestles you to the ground. Yea, you begin to wonder why you bothered coming home at all.

    Eric, that was hysterical.

    I wonder if this just couldn’t be the function of a streaky offense that has happened to hit their stride while on the road.

  10. Comment posted by Brian on June 20, 2006 at 9:56 am (#50088)

    Jose Valentin .228/.286/.421 .303/.329/.500

    This could be affected by the fact that Stache did not seem suited for pitch hit duties and since joining the starting lineup on a more or less fll time basis (sorry Mr. Woodward) the mets have played more games on the road - giving him more opprotunity to improve these numbers.

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  12. Comment posted by dptydwg420 on June 20, 2006 at 10:14 am (#50089)

    Unless you believe that Shea’s always caused hitting jitters (and pitchers with ice in their veins), 44 years of statistics don’t bear you out.

    Mike I think its only applicable to years in which the mets were expected to compete n get in the postseason. This group of players could be more vulnerable to pressure then say teams we had in 86 or 88 or even 2000. I’m not saying they are, but it could be.

    Pressure also affects hitters more than pitchers. When a pitcher tries to do too much, he loses his control and makes some bad pitches. He probably gets the extra adrenaline out of his system after an inning or two and settles down. When batters try to do too much they could easily struggle the entire game and pop everything straight up, they just dont have the same amount of time that the pitchers do to let the butterflies out.

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  14. Comment posted by dptydwg420 on June 20, 2006 at 10:15 am (#50090)

    while Shea’s always taken its biggest toll on guys prone to the K, it’s not a great park for homers and it’s bad for doubles, in which the Mets lead the NL.

    I always thought Shea favored gap hitters, which to me means doubles hitters…that’s what I always hear from ppl. Anyone?

  15. Comment posted by Brian on June 20, 2006 at 10:16 am (#50091)

    National League East
    Team W L Pct. GB L10 Strk
    N.Y. Mets 43 26 0.623 - 7-3 L 1
    Philadelphia 35 35 0.5 8½ 3-7 W 2
    Washington 32 40 0.444 12½ 3-7 L 1
    Florida 29 37 0.439 12½ 9-1 W 8
    Atlanta 30 40 0.429 13½ 1-9 L 7

    Beautiful, no? Florida & Atlanta, like ships passing in the night. Another ex-Yankee palyer and coach doing well in the NL East

  16. Comment posted by Kevin McReynolds on June 20, 2006 at 10:47 am (#50092)

    This is an odd time and place — being a Met fan and having literally nothing to complain about… but, I do wish that the geeks would update the organizational chart. Hope this doesn’t sound like a complaint — I love the outstanding info this site provides.

    Also — any chance that one of the geeks could do an article highlighting one of the greatest travesties in baseball — Mex not being in the hall of fame?

  17. Comment posted by Fastball on June 20, 2006 at 10:49 am (#50093)

    I always thought Shea favored gap hitters, which to me means doubles hitters…that’s what I always hear from ppl. Anyone?

    According to park factors on ESPN, Shea sometimes plays as a hitters park for doubles (including this year) and sometimes it favors pitchers, and sometimes it’s pretty neutral. IOW, there is no consistency in terms of doubles (while there is in terms of HRs and runs scored), and therefore it’s probably more a neutral park for doubles, if anything.

    What’s the cause of the big discrepancy in hitting this year between home and the road? I’m guessing it’s mainly what others have already pointed out — nerves/pressure and a streaky offense.

    While it’s true that in general Shea is a pitchers park, in the recent past Mets teams have had little difference between road and home OPS. Probably because most of the parks in the NL east tend to favor pitchers also. But this year, so far, it’s way different with a home/road OPS difference of .078. They are #2 in the entire major leagues in road OPS but just #23 in home OPS. They are #11 overall.

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  19. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on June 20, 2006 at 11:06 am (#50095)

    Well, guys….if Wright, Beltran and company are gonna be here for several years to come, don’t you think mgmt should make the new ballpark a little more hitter friendly than Shea? I propose a very short porch in right - many of Wright and Beltran’s bombs go that way. Just a thought….

  20. Comment posted by Wally Dykstra on June 20, 2006 at 11:10 am (#50096)

    I think it would be helpful to see how the road numbers are affected if the most recent road trip, when the team hit at a level far higher than it has at any other point in the year, is not included. My guess is that without those 10 games, the Mets’ away numbers are more pedestrian.

    I suspect Beltran’s disparity is the product of pressure. We all know how he felt abused by the fans’ expectations last year.

    I’m not sure how to explain Delgado’s performance, since I don’t think that he would be affected by home pressure. Perhaps a combination of Beltran not getting on base in front of him and the random fact that his horrid May slump happened to fall during a period where the Mets played mostly home games? I ask because I haven’t checked what the home/away breakdown was during his slump, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    I don’t think Wright has been affected at all by whether he’s playing at home or away. His disparity is almost certainly the product of Beltran’s and Delgado’s struggles at home. With those guys not getting on base at home, pitchers can pitch Wright more carefully. Even so, he’s put up good numbers.

    Clearly Beltran’s and Delgado’s struggles at home are 95% of the problem, affecting not only themselves, but those that come behind them in the order. The good news is I can’t see them continuing to hit so poorly at home going forward, so the Mets should pick it up offensively.

    The Mets’ pitching woes at home are harder to explain. Shea’s a pitcher park, so they should perform better at home (though I am not sure whether they’ve played most of their away games at pitcher or batter friendly parks). Perhaps it’s just a product of the team’s offensive struggles at home? Lack of offense puts more pressure on the pitchers. Since the Mets’ pitchers are principally finesse pitchers, they naturally respond to close games by nibbling, and that leads to more walks.

  21. Comment posted by Wdwrkr35 on June 20, 2006 at 11:37 am (#50099)

    I propose a very short porch in right - many of Wright and Beltran’s bombs go that way. Just a thought….

    If you look on the Mets site right field is about the same dimensions but the 2nd deck hangs over the field by 10 ft if that helps.

  22. Comment posted by Wdwrkr35 on June 20, 2006 at 11:45 am (#50100)

    The righ field wall will be 330 ft with that porch hanging over 8 ft not 10

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  24. Comment posted by Eric Simon on June 20, 2006 at 12:20 pm (#50102)

    I do wish that the geeks would update the organizational chart

    Yea, that’s my fault. I’ll try to get that and the payroll spreadsheet updated pronto (and maintained on a semi-regular basis!).

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  26. Comment posted by Bryan in Albany on June 20, 2006 at 12:21 pm (#50103)

    It should be noted that certain players, most notably Xavier Nady, have hit much better at home.

    This may have been the reasoning behind Willie starting him last night as well as wanting to get him into the lineup quickly, but should it have been against one of the best RH pitchers in the NL?

    Prior to coming to the Mets, Nady was a platoon player for a reason. In addition, his timing is off because of his time on the DL. He looked completely lost last night and stranded a number of runners on base. Why not start Marrero in left/Chavez in right last night and wait until there is a more favorable match-up for Nady (like a rookie pitcher who is throwing tonight or a LH starter)? Am I the only one who is confused by this?

    Also — any chance that one of the geeks could do an article highlighting one of the greatest travesties in baseball — Mex not being in the hall of fame?

    You’re absolutely right that Mex should be in the Hall! It is ridiculous that Ozzie Smith, Bill Mazeroski and a number of other NO hit/all field players are in, but Keith who was an exceptional hitter and arguably the best defensive first baseman in history, has been overlooked!

    What are your thoughts Geeks on getting a report on this complete injustice?

  27. Comment posted by Danny on June 20, 2006 at 12:39 pm (#50105)

    Why not start Marrero in left/Chavez in right last night and wait until there is a more favorable match-up for Nady (like a rookie pitcher who is throwing tonight or a LH starter)?

    How about Lastings Milledge in left? Marrero is not that good. He is a useful bench player because he can catch or play the outfield. He should start very sporadically, at most.

    I have really soured on Nady. He’s just not a good fit for this lineup. He offers power potential, and little else. He has no outfield range, terrible speed and baserunning, and does a terrible job at situational hitting. This offense does not need more power, particularly when Floyd is in the lineup. The team would be better suited to play a right fielder with great range, a great arm, decent average, good situational hitting, occasional power, and lots of speed. I like Chavez as the extra outfielder much better. Okay, so I guess I am arguing that Milledge should be the everyday right fielder.

    I hope Omar and Willie are only playing Nady to showcase him and trade him for either a young arm or a second baseman. He should absolutely not be considered part of the “core”, as Omar likes to put it. Sorry, he is just not good enough.

  28. Comment posted by Matt M on June 20, 2006 at 12:47 pm (#50106)

    Even David Wright, who has hit splendidly at home, shows a substantial improvement on the road.

    Thirty-three points over 100+ at-bats per sample is “substantial improvement?”

    At home, David is 44 for 136 with 77 total bases and 13 walks.
    On the road, David is 46 for 133 with 80 total bases and 18 walks.

    I thought you guys were geeks.

  29. Comment posted by Matt M on June 20, 2006 at 12:48 pm (#50107)

    Also, feel free to make fun of me for failing to end the blockquote.

  30. Comment posted by Ed in Westchester on June 20, 2006 at 1:01 pm (#50108)

    Also, feel free to make fun of me for failing to end the blockquote.

    Consider it done :)

    I agree, Wright has been fine at home. The issue is Beltran and Delgado. They need to heat up a bit. I’m not saying they should hit 300 at home, but 270 would be nice. Throw in a few extra base hits as well.

    I am getting concerned about Lo Duca. His average is down, and his throwing is off (granted, he is not Tony Pena but still). I also do not like the bunt early in games. I know Willie has said he does this on his own, but if that is the case, then he needs to be told not to.

    As for Nady, lets give him a little time shall we? He was hurting leading up to the appendectomy. If in another week or so he is still not up to par, then I think they need to take a serious look at keeping Lastings in the big’s.

    I like Edny Chavez, but he is not an everyday player. I like the glove, and he has had some big at-bats, but he is not someone who is going to cause a pitcher to think. While Milledge is young, the hype can help if a pitcher is thinking about him.

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  32. Comment posted by JK47 on June 20, 2006 at 1:29 pm (#50112)

    Milledge should be starting in RF so we can have Endy’s awesome skill set off the bench. Endy is an ideal bench player. Trade some of the flotsam and jetsam (Diaz, I’m looking in your direction) for Grudzy, so Valentin can also move to the bench. Then you’ve got this:

    1. Reyes
    2. Grudz
    3. Beltran
    4. Delgado
    5. Wright
    6. Floyd
    7. Milledge
    8. Lo Duca

    Bench: Chavez, Valentin, Woodward, Castro, Franco, Nady

    I too am not a big Nady fan. He’s a one-dimensional player. He should really continue to be what he has been his whole career: a fourth outfielder. Use him against certain lefties and as an occasional sub at 1B. As a starting RF I’m not sure he’s cutting it.

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  34. Comment posted by Bryan in Albany on June 20, 2006 at 1:37 pm (#50113)

    How about Lastings Milledge in left? Marrero is not that good. He is a useful bench player because he can catch or play the outfield. He should start very sporadically, at most.

    I heard/saw something that said they were concerned Milledge would be over anxious against the style of pitcher that Arroyo is and that is why I suggested Marrero. Either way, I think they should have waited to get Nady into a game that would have put him in a more favorable position.

    I am getting concerned about Lo Duca. His average is down, and his throwing is off (granted, he is not Tony Pena but still). I also do not like the bunt early in games. I know Willie has said he does this on his own, but if that is the case, then he needs to be told not to.

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this point! Castro should be getting more starts not only because he is much better defensively, but because LoDuca’s numbers have a history of falling off as the season wears on and he could use the rest.

    Also, the sac bunt in the first to get Reyes to third was ridiculous! The guy is already in scoring position! Why completely give up an out!? If it’s the ninth inning and the game is completely on the line, I can support the decision. But in the first! Absolutely ridiculous!

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  36. Comment posted by dptydwg420 on June 20, 2006 at 1:53 pm (#50117)

    I dont see why the bunt was so ridiculous yesterday. I agree its questionable but i dont see it as squarley being the wrong move in that situation. Beltran also grounded out and that scored a run. If Loduca doesnt advance him to 3rd, we dont score that inning.

    Without the bunt, and if Loduca doesnt get it done himself, you are relying on the 2 carlos’s who can’t seem to get hit at home right now to drive in the run.

    The one thing that really bothers me about it is that LoDuca can hit the ball to the right side on the ground so why not just do that?

    Considering how the offense has been anemic at home and how they looked for the next 8 innings, I even have less a problem with it.

  37. Comment posted by udamnwright on June 20, 2006 at 2:52 pm (#50120)

    If you are the mode for a laugh at what has become of Braves fans check this out.

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  39. Comment posted by Bryan in Albany on June 20, 2006 at 3:00 pm (#50123)

    The one thing that really bothers me about it is that LoDuca can hit the ball to the right side on the ground so why not just do that?

    Exactly! LoDuca rarely strikes out, so you can pretty much assume he’s putting the ball in play. I think the chances are pretty good that LoDuca gets him over with a ground out, or, even better, he gets a base hit, scores Reyes and there’s a guy on for Beltran! With LoDuca on first, the defense changes positions, the pitch selection may be different, who knows!

    All I’m saying is, why GIVE them an out in that situation?

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  41. Comment posted by dptydwg420 on June 20, 2006 at 3:13 pm (#50126)

    Fair point Bryan in Albany. I don’t disagree.

    Maybe LoDuca did it because he knows he struggling and doesnt believe right now in his ability to control where he hits the ball.

  42. Comment posted by Bill W on June 20, 2006 at 3:18 pm (#50127)

    I agree entirely with Bryan … playing for one run in the early innings drives me CRAZY. As Earl Weaver said, if you play for one, that’s all you’ll get. With no out and Reyes on 2nd, swing away!

    Beltran also grounded out and that scored a run. If Loduca doesnt advance him to 3rd, we dont score that inning.

    Ah, the Fallacy of the Predetermined Groundout!

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  44. Comment posted by dptydwg420 on June 20, 2006 at 3:36 pm (#50128)

    No its not predetermined, but close….Beltran has struggled mightily at home this year. Thus this thread.

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  46. Comment posted by dptydwg420 on June 20, 2006 at 3:41 pm (#50129)

    And LoDuca did swing away in later innings, and hit into a rally-killing DP. Which was right before Beltran’s HR in the 9th. (the pre-determined HR) ;)

    I just don’t think you have to swing away every time in the 1st inning, especially when facing a tough pitcher and your offense is hibernating at home.

  47. Comment posted by Mike on June 20, 2006 at 3:42 pm (#50130)

    1. Much though I love Keith, he’s no Hall of Famer. He was a very good (but not great) hitter for less than 10 years, and was, along with Power, Parker & a few others, one of the great gloves at a hitters’ position. Good? Of course. Great? Sure. But when he was never even the best player at his own position during his career (Murray 1st; Keith, Mattingly, Brett for a year or two, Schmidt in ‘85 & others all battling for second), I just can’t give him the nod.

    2. LoDuca — Not pleased right now. His OPS is barely over 700 & we’re still a month from the break . . . when his troubles usually begin.

    3. Nady — Not pleased with him last winter when they traded. Less pleased now. Whatever arguable advantage he may have over Millavez (if any) it doesn’t make up for his defense & baseruning which is inferior. Plus, is it just me, or does he look really dumb? Does he need to swing at *every* ball in the dirt? Is that in his contract?

    4. Reyes get better every game. I cannot describe how psyched I am about him. Check out his career numbers. In 3+ seasons, he’s significantly better in July & August than any other months.

  48. Comment posted by Mike on June 20, 2006 at 3:44 pm (#50131)

    Forgot to link to Jose’s stats:

    [I don't know how to embed links]

  49. Comment posted by Kevin McReynolds on June 20, 2006 at 3:54 pm (#50132)

    I would need to research the facts to support my Keith in the Hall (clever…) initiative but — I believe he won something like 11 consecutive gold gloves at 1B. I would agree that as a hitter his numbers are not HOF worthy — but when you add in the plus of the gold gloves — I think he really belongs there (as much as the Wizard of Oz does, at least). I am not even going to mention his stache — which on its own may deserve a place in Cooperstown.

    Anyone with me on this?

  50. Comment posted by Brian on June 20, 2006 at 4:01 pm (#50133)

    From ESPN’s transaction listing

    Signed outfielder Will Vogl

    Who’s Will Vogl? A draft pick?

  51. Comment posted by sweetlew on June 20, 2006 at 4:03 pm (#50135)

    4. Reyes get better every game. I cannot describe how psyched I am about him. Check out his career numbers. In 3+ seasons, he’s significantly better in July & August than any other months.

    This kid is really turning into a ballplayer!

    I thought Wright would break the team 2B record (currently at 44), he still might, but Reyes with 17 in 69 games has a shot too. And since he has hit 8 so far in June, it seems he might be the one to break the record, especially as Wright’s power increases.

  52. Comment posted by udamnwright on June 20, 2006 at 4:08 pm (#50136)

    I thought Wright would break the team 2B record (currently at 44), he still might, but Reyes with 17 in 69 games has a shot too. And since he has hit 8 so far in June, it seems he might be the one to break the record, especially as Wright’s power increases.

    The only problem is Jose turns alot of doubles into triples. If I had to pick one of the young 3. I would actually pick Milledge since I don’t think he has Wright’s power, and he doesn’t have Jose’s speed but he has enough to turn some long singles into doubles.

  53. Comment posted by sweetlew on June 20, 2006 at 4:15 pm (#50137)

    I would need to research the facts to support my Keith in the Hall (clever…) initiative but — I believe he won something like 11 consecutive gold gloves at 1B. I would agree that as a hitter his numbers are not HOF worthy — but when you add in the plus of the gold gloves — I think he really belongs there (as much as the Wizard of Oz does, at least).

    There would be a very good debate for Keith in the Hall of Fame if not for one thing….DRUGS. For those of you too young to remember, the drug fiasco of the 80’s was the equivalent of the steroid issue today. For those guys who are fringe HOF candidates, the taint of drug abuse will destroy their chances at the HOF. I am not saying this is fair, but it is the reality of the situation.

    Hernandez is a fringe HOF candidate, at the best. He was a very good hitter with limited power. He was the best defensive firstbaseman EVER, but first is not a key defensive position like SS (but Ozzie Smith doesn’t belong in the HOF either, but that’s another story), heck Keith even has an MVP, league batting title and WS ring on his resume. But, his career was too short to compile the counting stats he would need.

    He really has no one to blame but himself because he didn’t keep himself in shape (he smoked like a chimeny) and his career basically ended after his age 33 season (never played a full season after that). The last three years he played his average dropped below .300. Plus, he didn’t even break 2200 career hits. For that matter, for the gifted hitter he was, he only got 200 hits in one season.

    IF (big IF) he had stayed healthy for even the last three years he did play, and presume he hit around his career average during those three seasons, he would have finished with a +.300 career average and over 2500 hits, he would have had a good shot at the HOF.

    But, since he is marginal, and because he was a pretty big and very public cocaine addict (he was subpeonaed to testify in a drug trial in Pittsburgh in 85 or 86), his chances of making the HOF are non-existent.

  54. Comment posted by sweetlew on June 20, 2006 at 4:20 pm (#50138)

    Also on the Hernandez HOF front:

    His most similar batters (according to BB Ref) - Mark Grace, Wally Joyner, and Hal McRae. All good players, not a HOF candidate in the bunch.

    And, his HOF standards — 32. 50 is the average for a HOFer.
    His HOF monitor — 86. 100 is average for a HOFer.

    Like I said, he would have needed about 3 more solid seasons to make himself a viable HOFer.

  55. Comment posted by Karl Weber on June 20, 2006 at 4:21 pm (#50139)

    I would suggest that the sample of home/road games for 2006 is too small to be terribly meaningful–heavily skewed by a couple of chance streaks, especially the recent hot streak on the road.

    As for Keith in the Hall of Fame, I would love to see it–but objectively I think he falls short on the offensive side. And being the best-fielding first baseman of his era is a far cry in significance from being the best-fielding shortstop (Ozzie). It’s not quite on a par with being the fastest-running catcher, but . . .

  56. Comment posted by Kevin McReynolds on June 20, 2006 at 4:30 pm (#50140)

    Sweetlew –

    You are a wise poster to this excellent site, and you raise many solid points. I think we will agree to disagree on the defensive aspect. I was a kid during K-Hern’s (can I call him that?) heyday — but — it seems to me that he revolutionized the position. Moreover, when I think of the dominant 1B-men of the 80’s - it is him and Mattingly that come to mind as well as Murray. I need the facts to back it up - but to me it is the consecutive gold gloves that make the difference. For one person to dominate a position that many years in a row is really special. And, I agree there is a taint around K-Hern do to the drug use…

    One could argue that for those years the male modeling industry was dominated by one man and 4 syllables.

  57. Gravatar
  58. Comment posted by Bryan in Albany on June 20, 2006 at 4:33 pm (#50141)

    I would need to research the facts to support my Keith in the Hall (clever…) initiative but — I believe he won something like 11 consecutive gold gloves at 1B. I would agree that as a hitter his numbers are not HOF worthy — but when you add in the plus of the gold gloves — I think he really belongs there (as much as the Wizard of Oz does, at least). I am not even going to mention his stache — which on its own may deserve a place in Cooperstown.

    Here is all the information you’ll ever need on both Mex and the Wiz

    Clearly, Hernandez is the better hitter and only two Gold Gloves shy of Ozzie.

    I understand the argument that Keith was at a power position, but in the 80s, no one was really hitting home runs. The guy has one MVP, one batting title and the best hair in the business!

  59. Comment posted by sweetlew on June 20, 2006 at 4:42 pm (#50142)

    And being the best-fielding first baseman of his era is a far cry in significance from being the best-fielding shortstop (Ozzie).

    I would not say Hernandez was the best fielding firstbaseman of his era, I would say he was the best fielding firstbasemen EVER. He did revolutionize the position to a degree and won 11 straight gold gloves.

    Their are a couple of HUGE differences between a glove-god at SS and a glove-god at 1B. First, first base is a key offensive position (just think of Doug Eyechart if you disagree) and during the 70’s and 80’s, any offense from SS was considered an unexpected plus. Second, SS is a much more key defensive position than first base. A good shortstop takes away more hits than even an excellent firstbasemen. So, a great defensive SS is worth more than a great defensive firstbaseman. That being said, Ozzie Smith does not belong in the HOF.

    As far as Hernandez, let’s make a comparision with someone whose career overlapped the last two years of Hernandez’s and also played firstbase. Player B played about the same length of time (and in a better hitter’s era to be sure), and player B has:

    1) A higher career batting average
    2) More HRs
    3) More RBIs
    4) 300 more hits
    5) a handful of gold gloves (4 to Hernandez’s 11)

    And, no one in their right mind would call Mark Grace a HOFer. Yes, he played in a better offensive era, and he was not quite a good with the glove as Hernandez, but they were very, very similar players. Which is really ironic because Grace wore #17 because he grew up idolizing Hernandez.

    I grew up with the 1980’s Mets and I loved Hernandez (I was a left-handed firstbaseman and wore #17). But, he is not a HOFer.

  60. Comment posted by sweetlew on June 20, 2006 at 4:49 pm (#50143)

    Here is one for everybody….

    while looking up Hernandez’s information, I found out the Julio Franco won five silver sluggers in his career:

    1 as a DH, and (drum roll please) 4 as a second baseman!

    So, I guess we can plug him in a 2nd in all else fails! HA!

  61. Comment posted by Ed in Westchester on June 20, 2006 at 5:00 pm (#50144)

    So, I guess we can plug him in a 2nd in all else fails! HA!

    The Mets would be in deep deep doo-doo if it ever came to Franco playing second.
    Let’s all take a moment and pray that this never occurs.

    As for Keith, alas, no HOF for him. Tis sad really. I think as Met fans, we tend to lean toward our guy getting in (and that is true of most teams).
    I think the best Keith can hope for is a retired number. Memo to Mr. Wilpon, what the heck are you waiting for in that regard? Lima Time! gets to wear # 17? Have you no shame at all?

    meh, let’s go Mets.

    Don’t forget guys (not to overlook the Reds), those thieving bastards in Toronto are up this weekend. I for one hope the bats heat up and knock the snot out of them, followed by someone ripping down any banner that says “You Gotta Believe” and bringing it back to Shea.

  62. Comment posted by Ed in Westchester on June 20, 2006 at 5:02 pm (#50145)

    Don’t forget guys (

    forgot “and gals”. We have at least one female fan here these days.

  63. Comment posted by Mike on June 20, 2006 at 5:24 pm (#50146)

    I think the best Keith can hope for is a retired number. Memo to Mr. Wilpon, what the heck are you waiting for in that regard? Lima Time! gets to wear # 17? Have you no shame at all?

    Right on, Ed! Good one. Some day I hope 17 joins 5 on the OF wall.

  64. Gravatar
  65. Comment posted by dptydwg420 on June 20, 2006 at 6:05 pm (#50149)

    Keith’s # should definitely be retired by the mets. Great point. It was an insult to the man that they allowed LimaTime to wear that #17.

    Today’s lineup has been posted:

    Reyes
    LoDuca
    Beltran
    Delgado
    Wright
    Valentin
    Nady
    Milledge
    Trachsel

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  67. Comment posted by Alex Nelson on June 20, 2006 at 6:14 pm (#50150)

    I didn’t see this mentioned anywhere, but I think a big difference for Valentin, Beltran, and Delgado’s subpar numbers at Shea are simple streaks. Each of those three had prolonged slumps during some of the longer homestands of the season. Beltran and Valentin started the season ice cold (excluding Beltran’s discipline), and Delgado had a rough May, and all three had successful road trips following.

    It’s a little early to be making too much out of any of them, especially considering none of them are in danger of losing their jobs. In a month or two, we’ll have a better idea of whether Shea is the problem or just the way their luck turned out.

  68. Comment posted by sweetlew on June 20, 2006 at 6:18 pm (#50151)

    Each of those three had prolonged slumps during some of the longer homestands of the season. Beltran and Valentin started the season ice cold (excluding Beltran’s discipline), and Delgado had a rough May, and all three had successful road trips following.

    great point Alex. Beltran’s average was about .220 for most of April and there were a lot of April home games. He seems to have been hitting well the past few games as well.

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