Before Tuesday night’s game, the New York Mets had struck out 61 times in six games, an average of more than 10 times per game.
That is an alarming rate for any team, but the concern for the Mets is that their team isn’t built to break out of it. Their team is full of players with high strikeout rates. In the offseason, the Mets went out and signed Curtis Granderson to bring a power bat to the middle of their lineup. He will have his fair share of home runs and RBIs, but he will also have his fair share of strikeouts. In his last two full seasons with the New York Yankees, he struck out 364 times. In 2012 alone, he struck out 195 times. He strikes out more than a quarter of the time. That’s not an ideal recipe for a successful, efficient offense.
But that’s not it for the Mets. Ike Davis also strikes out 24 percent of the time. This statistic alone might be a reason why the Mets were having such a difficult time trading him in the winter. Lucas Duda, the starting first baseman for the Mets, isn’t much of an upgrade in that department. He has a strikeout rate of 23.7 percent.
Striking out makes it easy on the defense. While errors at the MLB level are often hard to come by, there is still a chance that an error could happen. Strikeouts also kill momentum. Nothing deflates a crowd like seeing the cleanup hitter strike out with multiple men in scoring position. They also have an effect on a team’s on-base percentage, which is vital for a team to score runs.
The Mets should focus on putting the ball in play whenever possible because only good things can happen. They also need to be more selective at the plate. The Mets need to attack the fastball when it’s there, no matter what count and they also need to adjust as the opposing pitcher adjusts. That’s how they are going to win.
For the Mets, it starts at the top. Eric Young Jr. was a bit of a spark plug for the Mets last year, and it is because he got on base. Young is currently batting .105 and has nine strikeouts, which leads the team. That’s not exactly what a team is looking for out of its leadoff hitter.
Last year, the Mets struck out 1384 times, which is 8.5 strikeouts per game. They are well on their way to surpassing that mark this season. If the Mets have any hopes of achieving the 90 wins that the Mets’ general manager Sandy Alderson so bravely suggested, they need to start putting the ball in play instead of looking back at the umpire and slowly walking back to the dugout.