W2W4: Second half keys at plate/in field

July, 12, 2012
7/12/12
11:21
AM ET

U.S. Presswire/Steve MitchellTerry Collins will need to keep a close eye on more than a few things these next couple of weeks.


A few stats to watch regarding the Mets at bat and in the field.

Wright’s Right Approach
One of the biggest factor’s in David Wright’s success so far this season is that he’s had a season of unprecedented success against right-handed pitchers.

Wright has almost always put up big numbers against lefties, but the fear he put into right-handers in 2006 and 2007 was not something he had been able to replicate since 2009.

But Wright has been very smart, and very good, against right-handed pitchers this season.

His numbers against righties are almost the same as his numbers against lefties, and the chart on the right shows the improvement he’s made in a number of areas against righties -- particularly in his chase rate (the rate at which he swings at pitches ... those furthest from the plate are labeled "non-competitive").

Keep an eye on this: Wright is 5-for-his-last-24 (with seven walks) against right-handed pitching. In that stretch he’s seen breaking balls at a much higher rate (40 percent) from righties than he had previously (27 percent). Wright had 10 hits against the first 105 sliders he saw this season from right-handers, but has none against the last 57.

Tejada’s batting average
Ruben Tejada was a statistical overachiever in the first half. He hit .325 -- a rate partly justifiable by his line-drive rate of 27 percent.

But Tejada also had 13 hits on his 41 ground balls. That’s a number similar to what Jose Reyes would do when he was at his best (see first half, 2011). But given Tejada’s lack of Reyes-like speed, and what he did in 2011 (when he hit .230 on his ground balls) it seems more likely that his next 41 grounders will produce nine or 10 hits, and not 13.

Keep an eye on this: Tejada has eight hits and 33 outs this season on pitches that were out of the strike zone. In 2011, his rate of outs to hits on pitches out of the strike zone was 11 to 62.

Murphy’s defense
Daniel Murphy hit .475 with three home runs and 15 RBIs in his last 11 games prior to the All-Star break. But perhaps just as important was his solid defense.

Baseball Info Solutions does video review to categorize 30 different types of Good Fielding Plays (GFPs), and 50 types of Defensive Misplays & Errors (DM&Es). Murphy made 29 Defensive Misplays & Errors in the first half, second-most in the National League to the Brewers' Rickie Weeks.

But in those last 11 games, in which he played 79 innings at second base, Murphy had five Good Fielding Plays and no DM&Es.

Keep an eye on this: Murphy turned 13 double plays in his first 30 opportunities as a second baseman (meaning he either fielded the ball, or was the pivot man, in a double-play situation). He’s successfully converted 20 of his last 36 (56 percent). The average second baseman converts about two-thirds of his chances.

Punch from the Catcher Position
When you line up the National League contenders, one of the common threads among them is that they get some offensive punch from the catching position.

The Mets' catchers have combined for a .299 slugging percentage -- second-worst in the NL, just ahead of the Padres. Their collective OPS is .603 -- better than only the Marlins, Cubs and Padres.

This issue becomes particularly evident when the Mets face a left-handed pitcher. The catchers' collective slugging percentage and OPS in those instances are .290 and .573 -- largely because Mike Nickeas, who splits playing time with Josh Thole against southpaws, has only two extra-base hits in 48 at-bats against lefties.

Keep an eye on this: That note above is why the Mets desire a player like Ramon Hernandez. Over the last three seasons (admittedly in offense-friendly Cincinnati), Hernandez has a .303/.374/.408 slashline against lefties (batting average/on-base/slugging).

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187