If You Pound the Strikezone…By: Brendan Bilko
This home stand has been great. I’m sure most Mets fans would have laughed in my face if I told them the team would be in this position at the end of April. Hell I would have turned around and laughed in my own face if physically possible. In the end though it is April 28 and not September 28. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
The Mets have been fortunate enough to face three teams that are playing some really mediocre to poor baseball over the last couple of weeks. They have gotten a pretty good break in that regard. Such is really what this has been – a solid break and some good fortune for the Mets. Not to be the downer on this party, but eventually good things come to an end.
I’m referring in particular to the Mets’ sterling ERA. Over the last two weeks, the pitching staff has produced an ERA of 2.34 – good for tops in the National League and all of Major League Baseball. Overall their ERA stands at 3.11, which is good for third in the majors. How is this possible? Well according to the NY Posts Kevin Kernan, it is because the Mets have been pounding strike zone. I guess this could be farther from the truth, but it certainly isn’t accurate. While leading baseball in strikeouts with 170, the Mets also lead MLB with 106 walks – good for a K/BB ratio of 1.6 or fifth worst in the bigs.
The Mets are letting a lot of runners get on base. If you’ve been watching, I’m sure you don’t need any numbers to tell you that. Their LOB% is a completely unsustainable 80.1% (third best in MLB). League average is 70-72%. The team HR/FB ratio is tops in the majors at 5.2% League average is normally around 10.5%, about double that figure. See where we’re going with this? Yup, xFIP.
xFIP is a great statistic. It’s calibrated to ERA so it’s easy enough to understand if you don’t want to do the math. It’s also has the highest correlation to future ERA of any of the advanced pitching metrics. Right now our team xFIP is at 4.55 – 21st in the majors and 13th in the NL.
So what is this number telling us? Essentially it means Jason Bay isn’t always going to make circus catches to save Ollie, Jeff Francoeur isn’t always going to gun runners out at the plate, and Luis Castillo will make Mike Pelfrey upset. Eventually all these walks and base runners are going to catch up with this team. Thankfully it seems as though the offense is heating up a bit and maybe we’ll be able to get away with the start of the downward trend for the pitching staff.
Editors Note: All the team statistics were taken from FanGraphs.