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Dickey is a Mets F.I.R.S.T.

5/21/2010

R.A. Dickey may not be the first knuckleball pitcher in Mets history, but he does bear one distinction.

Those who like trivia (and I attended a Mets fan gathering yesterday of those who do) will appreciate that R.A. Dickey will be the first starting pitcher in Mets history who uses his initials for reference instead of his first name.

A full check of the Mets roster finds that the Mets have previously employed four players referred to by initials -- outfielder D.J. Dozier, catcher J.C. Martin, and relievers C.J. Nitkowski and J.J. Putz.

Of course, as the Mets fan can tell you, none of those set a particularly impressive precedent for Dickey to follow, save for Martin whose famous bunt (and run inside the baseline) led to an error that helped the Mets to a walk-off win in Game 4 of the 1969 World Series.

Speaking of game-ending errors, David Wright's was the third by a third baseman in Mets history. The others were by Hubie Brooks against the Giants in 1984 and current hitting coach Howard Johnson (also a throwing error) in a torturous 16-inning loss to the Dodgers on September 6, 1987.

Wright, now on pace for 223 strikeouts at the quarter-point of the season, had a stat-wrecking kind of game Tuesday, with three whiffs, the last in a huge spot in the ninth inning.

Up until that at-bat, Wright had been the Mets leader in the stat Win Probability Added (WPA), but not any more.

Win Probability Added measures situational performance, crediting a player for something that puts his team in greater position to win (ie: hitting a tiebreaking home run in the ninth inning), and debiting a player for doing something that hurts their chances of winning (striking out with a runner on third and one out in a tie game in the ninth inning).

The stat (written about from another angle here) sums your credits and debits through the season, producing a number that measures contribution to victory for both hitters and pitchers.

Right now, the Mets "most valuable" hitter, via Fangraphs, is Luis Castillo (WPA of 0.45), tied for 71st among the 222 major league hitters with at least 100 plate appearances. That any stat would rank Castillo as the Mets best bat should tell you what the state of the team's offense is right now.