Series Preview: Messing with the Mets
Image courtesy of © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsBrief Overview:
Agent-turned-general manager Brodie Van Wagenen pulled off a blockbuster trade this offseason acquiring Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano from the Seattle Mariners. The expectation is that New York would challenge the Phillies, Braves, and Nationals in a competitive NL East. Unfortunately, they’ve fallen short of expectations and the trade now looks even worse than it did immediately.
It’s near certain the Mets will be sellers at the trade deadline, and Minnesota putting them more than 10 games below .500 would seem to cement that notion. The Twins will avoid both Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom in this set, and their four-five tandem of Pineda and Perez have held things down just fine on their own.
What They Do Well:
In short, the Mets are the embodiment of mediocrity. 15th in both hitting and pitching across baseball, they find themselves smack dab in the middle. Looking for a silver lining we can separate the hurlers into starters and relievers. Callaway’s crew led by deGrom and Syndergaard have the fifth best rotation in baseball (one spot behind Minnesota).
The group has compiled a 4.46 ERA with a 9.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. Obviously the two arms at the top are plenty impressive on their own, but the step forward from Zack Wheeler and the surprise performance of Jason Vargas has been helpful. Leading into what hasn’t gone right, it’s notable that the New York staff has both a FIP and xFIP below the surface numbers.
What They Do Not Do Well:
There are two key areas that New York is far less than Amazin’. First and foremost, the relief corps has been the worst in baseball. They give up a handful of walks, own a 5.55 ERA, and have been a revolving door of futility. Like the Twins of a few years ago, warm bodies have been cycled through at a rampant pace. 21 different arms have come out of the pen for Callaway.
The most glaring issue for New York has unquestionably been their defense. Ranking dead last in baseball this group has posted a -64 DRS mark. Certainly that’s bad on its own, but they have taken futility to new heights. Joined only by the Orioles and Mariners at -60 DRS or below, the 27th ranked Rangers are at -35 DRS. Chief among the problems has been Amed Rosario at shortstop (-14), Wilson Ramos behind the dish (-8), and Robinson Cano at second base (-6).
Individuals Of Note:
Given the pitching matchups for the two-game series, the notable offensive player here is a rookie first basemen. Pete Alonso is a 24-year-old former second-round pick from the University of Florida. In 92 games this season he’s posted a .987 OPS with 30 longballs. Right now, he’s tracking towards breaking Yankees Aaron Judge rookie record for homers, and he’d do so with a Home Run Derby title under his belt as well.
Alonso has played an above-average first base and owns a 3.5 fWAR on the season. His .403 wOBA, 156 wRC+, and .343 ISO are all elite numbers. Although the 44.4% hard hit rate doesn’t jump off the page there’s no sacrifice coming from a soft hit rate sitting at just 14.6%. Understanding the power of elevation, Alonso owns a ridiculous 30.9% HR/FB which is third in baseball behind just Christian Yelich and Franmil Reyes.
These two clubs played earlier this year at Citi Field splitting the two game set. Minnesota last hosted New York in 2013 but couldn’t take any of those games. They’ve never won a game against them at Target Field.
Rocco Baldelli’s club is coming off quite an emotional series against the Cleveland Indians. The Twins need to show up for this one mentally and not take a lackluster opponent lightly. Facing some stout opponents at home over the next week, the Mets provide the best opportunity for a sweep. If Minnesota can handle business here, they’ll set themselves up well for tilts against Oakland and the Yankees.
- David HK, Tom Froemming, Minny505 and 2 others like this