Mets Best Starters by Decade

To win a baseball game, a team needs to outscore its opponents. To do that, it needs to prevent the other team from scoring as many runs as it does. The leader of the prevention part is the pitcher.

No batter leads the offense the same way that a pitcher leads the defense. He — and the catcher — are involved in the most plays in a game, but the pitcher plays a bigger role because what he does initiates the majority of a game’s plays.

A measure of a pitcher’s success in limiting other teams’ run scoring is the RE24 stat. An RE24 of zero means the player is average. On some websites, the higher a pitcher’s RE24, AKA run value, the better the pitcher performed, so a value of +24 would be much better than -24.

Sites that express it that way are Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, and Stathead with Baseball Reference now calling the RE24 for pitchers “Base-Out Runs Saved“; whereas, on other sites, such as Baseball Savant, it is the opposite: the lower a pitcher’s run value, the better. A value of -24 would be much better than +24.

Further, the complexity of the RE24 calculation has increased substantially since its early days when it was based on just base/out states and outs. For example, today on Baseball Savant, there is a Pitch Arsenal Stats Leaderboard giving a pitcher’s run value based on pitch type (e.g., changeup) “and on the runners on base, out, [and] ball and strike count,” and a Swing & Take Leaderboard giving for a pitcher a run value based on a pitch’s “outcome (ball, strike, home run, etc).”

In the chart below, the Mets top two starters in each decade based upon their RE24 totals (base-out state) in that decade are shown. The decade leaders are Tom Seaver (twice), Dwight Gooden, Rick Reed, Al Leiter, and (so far in this decade) Jacob deGrom (twice). Those five would make a starting rotation that few Mets fans would complain about.

The second-place finishers include Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Sid Fernandez, Bret Saberhagen, Johan Santana, R. A. Dickey, and Marcus Stroman. Further, Matlack had a higher RE24 than did the first-place finisher in two other full decades: the 1990s and 2000s. Even the second-place finishers would make a strong starting rotation.

One pitcher yet to throw a pitch for the Mets, but who is now a member of the team, Max Scherzer, has in his 14 years in Major League Baseball accumulated an RE24 of 318.5. In that timespan, only two other pitchers have accumulated a higher RE24: Justin Verlander is at 327.22, and Clayton Kershaw is at 431.64.

And in the decade from 2010 to 2019, Scherzer remains in third place with Jacob deGrom in eighth and Carlos Carrasco 33rd.

Three More Mets Minor League First Basemen

Previously, I looked at first basemen in the Mets three lowest Minor League teams. Today, I’ll look at first basemen playing for the Savannah Sand Gnats, St. Lucie Mets, and Binghamton Mets.

At Savannah, 24-year-old Sam Honeck’s been the primary first baseman. Currently, he’s on the 7-day DL. In his third season of pro ball, he’s hitting only .227 with a slugging average of .346, not the numbers you’d like to see from a first baseman. The Mets selected Honeck in the 11th round of the 2009 MLB Draft.

At St. Lucie, Stefan Welch plays first base. He’s been in the Mets organization since 2007, signed out of Australia. This season he’s hitting .267 with a .433 slugging average. Of his 29 extra base hits, 10 are homers. In the 10-game span from July 11-21, the 22-year-old hit .429 with a slugging average of .543.

Manning first base for the Binghamton Mets is 24-year-old Allan Dykstra, one of the season’s most pleasant surprises. Traded for Eddie Kunz, the Padres 2008 first-round draft choice is hitting .270 with 13 homers and 51 RBIs. He’s been particularly effective batting with runners on base, hitting .300 in those situations.

The three first basemen discussed in today’s post coupled with the three discussed in a previous post indicate that the Mets are well-positioned at first base from their Rookie League teams through Double-A.

A Look at Three First Basemen Drafted in 2011

The Mets drafted three first basemen in 2011: Ryan Hutson (Rd 36), Tant Shepherd (Rd 24), and Cole Frenzel (Rd 7). All three are currently playing for Mets farm teams.

In his last 10 games with the GCL Mets beginning with the July 7 game, Ryan Huston has been swinging the bat much batter. In that span he’s hit .310 with nine hits in 29 at bats. Five of those were extra base hits, which gave him a slugging average during that period of .552. As a result, he’s upped his average by 45 points. Before July 7, it was .205; now, it’s .250. His OPS is .778.

Surprisingly, the right-handed batter is hitting righties much better than lefties. Against righties he’s hitting .269; against lefties, .188.

Tant Shepherd, who played first base for the University of Texas, has been switched to third base by the Kingsport Mets. The move has not helped his bat. He’s currently hitting only .167 in 42 at bats with only two extra base hits, both doubles, and one RBI. In contrast, in his final season at Texas, he hit .303. The Mets might want to consider returning him to first base. His OPS is .514.

In Brooklyn, Cole Frenzel is manning first base. Frenzel is hitting .297. In 37 at bats, he has seven RBIs but only two extra base hits, a double and a triple. The left-handed batter is hitting well against both righties (.294) and lefties (.333). His OPS is .765.

Though Shepherd is not currently playing first base and is in a batting slump, those three draftees seem to have improved substantially the Mets farm system’s future at first base.

Mazzoni to Pitch Soon for the Cyclones

According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin,

N.C. State right-hander Cory Mazzoni, the Mets’ second-round pick earlier this month, should appear in a game with Brooklyn within a week, although his innings counts will be severely restricted.

Mazzoni, drafted this year by the Mets in the second round, has a fastball that has reached 96 mph. It’s one of four pitches he throws.