Monday, July 2, 2012
June's most valuable Mets
By Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information
Recapping the month in statistical noteworthiness for key Mets players.
Three stats in June that really astounded us:
1. We noted this in our recap of the Dodgers series, but it bears repeating. Dickey allowed five runs in a start, yet finished the month with an ERA below 1.00. As Elias noted, that’s never happened before in the 100-year history of earned-run tracking.
2. Dickey’s WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) was 0.60 in six starts. That beat the previous Mets record of 0.70 in a six-start month, set by Tom Seaver in September, 1971.
3. Dickey led the majors in WHIP for June. He also led the majors in opponents batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS, innings per start. His opponents OPS of .350 was 145 points lower than the next-best starting pitcher, Francisco Liriano.
On a completely different note, we’re pretty sure this one went unnoticed: Dickey was 3-for-14 as a hitter in June, and had a three-game hitting streak, part of an unusually good month for Mets pitchers with the bat. Dickey and the Mets other moundsmen combined to go 11-for-49 with four RBI.
Mets pitchers actually had more hits and RBIs in June than they did in April and May combined (when they had 10 hits and three RBI).
As an astute observer in the comments section noted a few days ago, Davis’ hot surge was set up by the stretch that immediately preceded it. In the first week of June, Davis went 2-for-21, but he did something important.
Rather than wildly flail at breaking pitches, Davis showed a bit of patience. He had been swinging at about half the breaking balls thrown to him, but for this week, he cut that rate back. That didn’t produce any hits, but it led to six walks, and it forced pitchers to come into the strike zone, at which point Davis got his timing down and began to thrive.
Wright hit .340 in June and reached base at least once in 27 of the 28 games he played. He continued to be smart in his choice of when to swing, missing on only 14 percent of his swings for the month, his best rate for any month this season.
But where Wright may have been most valuable was on the defensive end. In a month in which the Mets had their defensive ups-and-downs, Wright was pretty good.
Baseball Info Solutions does video review of every play in every game, categorizing plays into 30 categories of “Good Fielding Plays” and 50 categories of “Defensive Misplays & Errors.” Wright had 16 Good Fielding Plays, the most of any third baseman.
A typical third baseman’s ratio of Good Plays to Misplays is 1:1, but Wright finished the month with only six Defensive Misplays and Errors, giving him a 2.7-to-1 ratio that ranked second-best among everyday third basemen.
Young’s presence provided a major boost for the Mets in June, as it filled a significant hole in the starting rotation.
The best thing about Young’s starts was that he somehow managed to yield 54 fly balls without allowing a home run (a typical pitcher gives up a homer once every 10 fly balls.).
How unlikely is that? There were 92 pitchers who yielded at least 30 fly balls this month. The only ones not to allow a home run on their fly balls were Young and Travis Blackley of the Athletics (no home runs on 31 fly balls).
The first part of the month wasn’t particularly memorable for Parnell, though that was hardly of his own doing. But the latter part of the month was the reward for his efforts to improve. Opponents are 1-for-20 against Parnell in his last seven appearances.
The easiest explanation for this is that the Mets defense has been much better behind him. Parnell’s first 11 grounders this month yielded three hits and two costly errors. His next nine all resulted in outs.
Also of note: Parnell has been much less wild with his fastball. He was throwing it in the strike zone 43 percent of the time through the first half of the month, but the bump to a 52 percent rate seems to have paid dividends.