A Baseball Team Analysis: New York Mets

A Position by Position Breakdown of the 2007 Season

By Peter Schiller

C Paul Lo Duca, who is now a free agent, caught 119 games for the 2007 Mets and was ranked 14th among all major league catchers offensively. He is an average hitter, above average for a catcher & 2007 was no different. He may not be as highly regarded as some behind the plate, but some would say that his bat makes up for it. Due to his weak arm, he doesn’t throw out many runners. It’s a good thing that Reyes, who stole 78 bases, was on his team in 2007 & not on another NL East opponent. It looks as if the Mets want to go in another direction at the catcher position. They are closing a deal with former Colorado Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba who would be an upgrade defensively, especially when it comes to handling the younger Mets pitching staff, especially John Maine & Mike Pelfrey in the starting rotation. Torrealba is comparable to Lo Duca at the plate overall.

If this deal goes through, put the Mets down as improved at the catcher position going into 2008.

1B Carlos Delgado now 35, seems to be showing his age at the plate. His batting average, HR totals and RBIs all seem to have declined in 2007, but he still remained in the middle of the pack along with all major league first basemen offensively, ranking 15th. His 24 HRs are not bad, but they are down from his typical 35+ as is his RBI totals which are usually over 100. He has the biggest salary on the team at $14.5M, but if these numbers continue to fall in 2008, he will be considered extremely overpaid.

If I were them, I’d try to trade him to a team like the Yankees that can take on his salary & need a first baseman with some power. Delgado would likely hit more HRs in Yankee Stadium with their shorter Right Field fence. Just a thought Mr. Minaya.2B Jose Valentin, now 38 years old, was the opening day second baseman for the Mets until he first landed on the DL in late April/early May and didn’t return until June 7th. Next, the Mets went to Valentin’s back up Damion Easley (who is also 38) until he went down with an injury in mid-August. Up until his injury, he played 39 games at this position, hit .280 with 10 HRs and had an OBP of .358; furthermore, Easley has just been re-signed to a 1-year contract. Luckily, the Mets landed Luis Castillo from the Twins at the trading deadline.Castillo did steal 10 bases in his short time with the Mets while hitting .296 with an OBP of .371. Castillo, in his 49 games with the Mets also drew a walk in 10% (the only other Met to accomplish this in 2007 outside of Wright, Reyes and Beltran) of his at bats and was solid defensively. But, Castillo is now a free agent and does not seem to be in the Mets plans for 2008. As a filler at 2B for the Mets was the youngster Ruben Gotay who hit .295 with 4 HRs while sustaining an OBP of .351 in 37 games at the position. No Met second baseman reached 250 at bats this past year. Look for Easley and Gotay to play 2B for the Mets in 2008. They should do fine as long as they both stay healthy. The latest news is that the Mets are interested in signing and converting free agent SS David Eckstein into a second baseman.3B David Wright ranked 2nd out of all MLB third basemen next to A-Rod this past year and with the numbers A-Rod put together in 2007 no one would have beat him. Here are Wright’s numbers for this past year<:

# NAME AVG OBP 2B R HR RBI SB BB Rate VORP 5x5 Totals
2 David Wright 0.325 0.416 42 113 30 107 34 13% 81.1 284.325

In just his second year in the majors, Wright has established himself as one of the premier third basemen. As you can see from the table above, he hit over .300, had an OBP of over .400 while smacking 30 HRs, 42 doubles, scoring 113 times, knocked in 107 RBIs and swiped 34 bases at a rate of 87% (which was even higher than teammate Reyes by 8%). Not many third basemen outside of A-Rod can match that line! To top it off, he’s only 24 and has not even hit his prime yet. He’s still learning the game. He won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards in the NL at his position, too.

SS Jose Reyes ranked 3rd out of all MLB short stops just under the Phillie’s Jimmy Rollins & the Marlin’s Hanley Ramirez. Here are Reyes’ numbers from 2007:

# NAME AVG OBP 3B R HR RBI SB BB Rate VORP 5x5 Totals
3 Jose Reyes 0.280 0.354 12 119 12 57 78 10% 46.2 266.280

Reyes was 2007’s stolen base leader with 78! His BA was average at .280, but he had an OBP of .354. He scored 119 times while hitting 12 HRs and 12 triples, too.

LF Moises Alou, who is now 41, had a midseason injury slow him down or else he could have been in the top 10 leftfielders in the game this past year. Alou’s VORP was still above average even with the long time out due to injury. He did hit for a .341 average while keeping an OBP of .392.

Alou had his club option for 2008 picked up earlier this month and will again be the team’s left fielder in 2008. If he can stay healthy, which will be difficult given his age and history of injury, but should again be primed to be one of the top 10 players at his position!

CF Carlos Beltran ranked 1st among all MLB center fielders! Here are Beltran’s numbers from 2007:

# NAME AVG OBP R HR RBI SB SB% BB Rate VORP 5x5 Totals
1 Carlos Beltran 0.276 0.353 93 33 112 23 92.0 11% 51.1 261.276

Although his average was a little low at .276, Beltran had an OBP of .353, scored 93 times with 33 HRs while knocking in 112 RBIs & stealing 23 bases at a 92% success rate (that was 13% better than Reyes). Beltran would have even more impressive numbers had he not had a stint on the DL and been slowed down a bit due to the injury to his leg even upon his return from the DL. He won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards in the NL at CF, too.

RF Shawn Green, now 35, hit well for average, but was a disappointment with his power and production numbers. The questions again here is whether or not Green is starting to decline offensively now that he’s in his mid-30s.

As an aside, the Met’s big three were 3B DavidWright, SS Jose Reyes (both of whom played in 160 games for the Mets in 2007) and CF Carlos Beltran! These three were 100 points better than the next three everyday players on the Mets roster. Not only did they put up big numbers, but they also were the Met’s most patient hitters. They were the only players on the Mets (with a minimum of 250 at bats)to have a walk ratio in the double digits. Also Reyes & Beltran hit into the least amount of double plays on the team.

They are also aging before our eyes at 1B and in the corner OF positions. They do not have a foreseeable solution at 1B, but they do have some up and coming talent in the OF in Lastings Milledge (22) who can play all three OF positions and possibly Carlos Gomez who can play both corner OF positions to go along with 29 year old Endy Chavez in who can also play all three OF positions.

Correction: The Mets have signed a 4-year deal with second baseman Luis Castillo (32) worth around $25M. Also, the Mets have broken communications with free agent C Yorvit Torrealba. A deal with Torrealba now seems unlikely.

**Be on the lookout for my next post where I will be going over the Mets pitching staff.**

One Comment

  1. Paul DePodesta

    November 21, 2007 at 5:09 am

    Pete:

    Nice website you have going here. Keep up the good work.

    Don’t be afraid to put your analysis out there, your own spin. Let the numbers speak.

    Congrats.

    PD

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