A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More On The Batting Order

I know people think I am complaining about something small (thanks to Ryan at Always Amazin' for the link), so let me expound on my reasoning behind the batting order and why it just bothers me. Of course, I don't have any type of statistical analysis and I'm not saying those other people wrong, but it has to make some sort of difference.

While it has been said that the batting order is inconsequential, there is always a better option. It is not out of the real of possibilities to think that the batting order could possibly determine the outcome in a few games and that could be the difference between sitting home in October or playing for something.

I’ve been beating a dead horse on David Wright’s position in the batting order since last spring. I’m sick of reading my complaints about it. I’m sick of me thinking about it. I'm all around sick of it. However, Willie is flat out nuts and it is too hard for me to ignore. Paul LoDuca has made remarks that his sole job is move Reyes along and get him to third base with under two outs.

That is nice. Really, it is. But the problem I have is that leaves a guy that is going to aim to play small ball in the #2 spot and a guy who prefers to play small ball in the #3 spot. It has been no secret that Beltran likes the #2 hole better and judging by the amount of bunts he laid down in 2005 in certain spots that are very uncharacteristic of a third hitter, it seems the Mets have two guys who like small ball in the #2 and #3 hole. For me, that is not the most for the Mets money.

Furthermore, Wright is quite possibly the team’s best hitter. Better than Delgado and better than Beltran when you wrap into the equation plate discipline, ability to hit for average, power, and base stealing ability. It is also widely accepted and highly rational that you get your best hitter the most at-bats. That follows a line of logic I can follow. Even Felipe Alou has been toying with the idea of moving Barry Bonds into the two holed to get him to the plate more. That is how important some people view getting the best guys the most at-bats and fifth is a long way away in my opinion.

If Bonds can bat second, at the very least, Beltran can bat second, which he has done for a large part of his career. By the way, all of this is before I even touch LoDuca's and Reyes' allergy to walking, which is also a big part of it. To those people that say that the batting order has little outcome on the success of a team, I point them to a very important Bill James quote.

The largest variable determining how many runs a team will score is how many times they get their leadoff man on base.

So, it does matter at least a little bit, no? I would extend that statement to include the top of your order. The top two at the very least and the top three more realistically. If you are not getting on base for your big RBI men, then your team will live and die by the big homers they hit, which the Mets have seemingly done far to much over the past years.

Over the last two years, Reyes, Beltran, and Wright have combined for a .339 OBP while Reyes, LoDuca, and Beltran have combined for a .329 OBP. Take into account that David Wright's 2004 numbers only reflect his 69 games played and his rookie season of a .332 OBP. That .339 OBP should see substantial rise between Reyes, Wright, and Beltran because Wright is an on base machine and Beltran was well under his career on base percentage while LoDuca's was pretty much on for his career numbers.

With Beltran rebounding to about a .367 OBP in 2006, Reyes hovering around .300, and LoDuca staying the same, figure on about a .334 OBP. With Beltran rebounding, Reyes hovering around .300, and Wright nestled in the third spot, figure on about a .351 on base percentage. This also ignores three others huge factors. Pop in the two hole, speed at all three top spots, and stability.

LoDuca is a singles hitter. He topped thirty doubles once in the last three years and Reyes can score from first on doubles, but not singles. It gives the Mets legit power in the two through fifth and possibly sixth spots depending on who would slot in the fifth and sixth spots respectively. Without LoDuca in the two hole, the Mets can steal a lot more bases and have no cloggers on the base paths to slow anyone up like LoDuca would be doing in front of Beltran. LoDuca hits a lot of singles and if Beltran singles and gets him to second, he has no where to run. Reyes can go from first to third on singles with relative ease setting up a stolen base to get two into scoring position for the big dogs. Lastly, Ramon Castro stands to get a lot of playing time. At the minimum thirty games, maybe more. That leaves a hole in the two spot. We know Willie and we know that when someone sits out, he does not like the shake things up that much. When someone sat last year, Wright was not moved up for reasons unbeknown to sane people. God only knows who would be manning the two spot when LoDuca gets a breather.

This batting order with Reyes, Beltran and Wright in the top three spots makes so much sense on so many levels. I just hope nothing is set in stone until everyone gets to see how it all gels together this spring.

* * *

  • A rousing endorsement, no?

    A few readers suggest every year--and in our crazier moments we actually talk about it--that we shouldn't write up 30 prospects for each organization. Rather, we should write up the best 900 prospects in the minors, regardless of organization, so the best organizations would have more players in the book. That's just crazy on so many levels that I can't even begin to explain it, but I will say that if we did that this year, the Mets would not have had 30 players in the book.

    First, would they even have twenty? That's debatable, but judging prospects in the 500 through 900 range would be dicey to say the least. That would be an impossible test without some sort of arithmetic that derives these rankings, but as Mr. Lingo stated, that is just crazy on so many levels.

  • Another petition. Any chance to stick it to the man is a good one.

    Hey all, do me a favor and sign my petition. It will help many fans in CT be able watch the Mets this season. I’m hoping to get my local cable provider to consider reaching an agreement with SNY. Even if you don’t subscribe to Charter Digital Cable, do me a favor and sign it, because you will ultimately be helping support your team because you know a lot more people will be watching them on tv this season… only takes a second. Thanks everybody!

    http://www.petitiononline.com/NY...Y/ petition.html

    You will sign it and like it. Oh, check #9. Hopefully I start a trend..by hopefully I mean everyone put up Norris quotes.

  • Kevin Kernan thinks the Mets should take advantage of Manny's aloofness. The Red Sox are losing any leverage they have had with Manny, but he will still cost a lot and Lastings Milledge would be involved someway and in case anyone missed it, pitching should be more of a hot button topic at this point.

  • The metrosexual revolution has hit the St. Lucie complex.

    Bret Boone arrived at camp, his mind and body renewed, and his hair glaring with a platinum-dye job.

    He joked that the hair was a result of what he went through last year, but he is well aware that he has to do more than catch the Mets' eye with a bright-hued hairdo or bold words. It was only a few months ago that he was done, ready to give up on the game that had just given up on him.

  • "Speed is going to be important to us," said Randolph. "It's the game I like to play. And I think we have enough pop in the lineup."

    Exept in the two hole and three hole, right? Beltran cannot run past LoDuca.

  • Ryan McConnel from Always Amazin' had this tidbit yesterday.

    Victor Diaz, Rocket Arm?
    The Hardball Times' John Walsh researches who had the best right field throwing arm in the game last year and comes up with a surprising conclusion: Victor Diaz's arm saved the second most amount of runs in the league last year (per 200 chances)!

    That's just weird. Not taking anything away from Diaz's arm -- which seemed at least average to the naked eye -- but he wouldn't be the first person I'd list when thinking of good defensive players.

    This is something that Diaz takes a lot of criticism on. Firstly, Victor Diaz actually has a very good arm. It's not only at least average, it is above average. He is not a Vlad, Jose Guillen, or Hidalgo type cannon, but most certainly better than Cameron's arm and most outfielders. Secondly, while he does not have the greatest range from watching him, he seems to look somewhat comfortable and more than able to be a big league right fielder. He seems to have some problems tracking balls back into the alley and running long distances on balls with precision, but he wasn't bad enough to think he would not adjust to his new position and be at least average. There are bad ones out there and he will not win any gold gloves, but his arm is more than enough and his glove over the course of the year should improve with regular play. Let us all remember he has not been an outfielder for long in the big scheme of things.

  • I'm ignoring all of the Beltran articles.

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