Mets still hanging on despite inept offense

Michael Conforto's 2014 Bowman Draft baseball card

Is Michael Conforto the answer to the Mets’ offensive woes?

The New York Mets salvaged the final game of their weekend series with the St. Louis Cardinals and are continuing to tread water in both the National League East and wildcard races. In the former, they trail Washington by 2 games and have a chance to make up ground when they play the Nationals starting tonight. In the latter, they trail the Chicago Cubs by 2 games, with the San Francisco Giants in between them at 1 game back.

And though the standings say the Mets are very much in the race, another set of numbers paints a very different picture.

In yesterday’s 18-inning victory, the Mets tied a club record by stranding 25 runners on base. (The mark was originally set in 1974 during a 25-inning game.) Mets hitters went 1-for-26 with runners in scoring position and are 3-for-62 with runners in scoring position over their last 8 games. For the season, Mets batters have hit .227 with runners in scoring position and have driven in just 222 runs. Only the Seattle Mariners have been less productive.

Does anybody else see the flaw in Sandy Alderson‘s offensive philosophy that focuses on walks and home runs?

I watched the first six innings of Sunday’s game before I went to work. When I checked to see who won during my break and saw that they were still playing, I half-expected that the game would still be going on when I got home.

Fortunately, the Mets won and I was spared about four hours of frustrating baseball. Unfortunately, we’re looking at a team that could be very tough to watch if Alderson doesn’t do something to improve the offense soon – amazing starting pitching can only carry you so far.

And it looks like a not-very-deep lineup is only going to get worse. Michael Cuddyer is probably headed to the disabled list if the Mets trainers can’t help his balky knee with whatever secret treatment plan they’ve cooked up to try today. Cuddyer’s .250 / .300 / .380 slash line has been disappointing, but Kirk Nieuwenhuis and his .175 / .242 / .404 slash line will probably get the most playing time because of Cuddyer’s absence. And Darrell Ceciliani – the most likely call-up candidate – hit .206 / .270 / .279 during his first stint with the Mets.

There’s increasing pressure to promote top prospect Michael Conforto from Double-A Binghamton, where he’s hitting .325 with 5 home runs and 24 RBI in 41 games. But Conforto is a second-year pro with all of 570 plate appearances. A number of scouts believe he could succeed at the major league level despite his young age. And honestly, it would not be hard to offer more production than Nieuwenhuis, Ceciliani and John Mayberry Jr. (.180 / .250 /.354.)

But if Conforto gets promoted to the Mets this month, particularly in the absence of any significant trade deadline acquisitions, fans and media are going to look to him to carry an offense that looks dead on arrival most nights. If he’s not the second coming of Darryl Strawberry — or at least the 1988 version of Gregg Jefferies — things could get really ugly, really fast. I’d hate to see a kid get labeled as a bust if he doesn’t immediately succeed in a job he might not be ready for.

Conforto should see a promotion – to Triple-A, where he’ll face pitchers with some major league experience. But that’s really not going to help the 2015 Mets offense… I hope Alderson has something in mind that will.

About Paul

NY Mets enthusiast, toy collector, amateur gardener, Christian. I like to take pictures & write things.

Posted on July 20, 2015, in Baseball, New York Mets and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I know the Mets offense needs more than one player, but I still like a trade for Martin Prado who can play multiple positions (unfortunately, not at the same time.) He’s a career .290 hitter with some pop in his bat, and he’s still just 31-years old. He came off the D.L. yesterday and immediately went 2-4. I’d be willing to trade Rafael Montero for him. Montero is still a valuable young arm, but at some point, the Mets have to move someone. Montero does not obviously fit into their plans.
    I would also consider trading for the A’s C/1B/OF Stephen Vogt. He’s 30, he’s cheap, and the A’s are going nowhere, so he’s not necessarily part of their long-range future. I’d be willing to move the vastly overrated Brandon Nimmo to get him. Nimmo has no power, little speed, and is unlikely to stick as an MLB center-fielder. In his very best year, he’ll be Dave Magadan.
    But I doubt the Mets will do anything at all. They completely lack imagination.

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  2. hey buddy send me the conforto card also if hes in vegas when I go ill get it signed for you. you never know

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  3. For whatever it’s worth the Mets are one of the few clubs to face the Cardinals Devil Magic and survive in extra innings.

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  4. I still say:

    1) Pitching wins championships. Always has, always will. And we’ve got the best and deepest starting staff in all of baseball. Better than Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine Braves according to Smoltz himself.

    2) We are in second place and only a couple of games out in late July. Mets fans seem even more down on the team than when we weren’t so well placed and I find that disturbing. We were farther back later in the season in both ’69 and ’73 and, history rewriting memories aside, neither of those teams were offensive juggernauts.

    3) I predict Sandy will make a deal or two before the deadline. And, whatever he does, Mets fans will still bitch and moan about it because he couldn’t raise Babe Ruth from the dead and acquire him for table scraps.

    I’d personally rather leave Conforto on the farm until September. I look at Addison Russell in Chicago and wonder, given his poor play when he clearly wasn’t major league ready, whether he’ll ever be the player he could have been, now. And I do think we “broke” Akeel Morris. Generally, though, I favor babying pitchers and pushing hitters. So I wouldn’t, personally, second guess it if the Mets did promote him early. If they do promote him, though, they have to commit to him and play him every day–no matter what happens. Nothing worse for a young player than rotting away on the end of the bench.

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