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Sunday, March 4, 2007

New York Mets Hitter Analysis

Alright, I'm very sorry for the wait. I had some problems with my database today that took much longer than anticipated to correct. Finally, here we have it, a Sabermetrics analysis of the 2007 New York Mets Starting Lineup. I hope it was worth the wait.

Oh, and if you don't understand some of the stats or their relevance, we expect to be posting a lot about this sort of thing either later tonight or tomorrow afternoon. So without further ado, your 2007 New York Mets!

Jose Reyes
Reyes has been the poster child of the dispute between “baseball men” and sabermetricians for the past couple of years, but this year he has become quite a Sabermetrics-friendly player. He has an 84% Contact Rate and a 20% Line Drive Percentage, mixed with a pretty good Strikeout rate (12%) and this year he started to draw walks. His P/PA (Pitcher Per Plate Appearance) didn’t improve much so his spike in walks may be a fluke, but I’m certainly hoping its not. We intend to have a system to figure this type of thing out in the not so distant future, so stay tuned. Reyes also legs out his fair share of groundballs. We expect a .309 Batting Average out of Jose in addition to a boat load of steals. He hit 14 True Home Runs last year (this stat will be explained in a later post). Combine all of this and Reyes is a very good player. He is a great fantasy player.

Paul Lo Duca
Lo Duca is a pretty good player, but not really a great fantasy option unless your league uses two catchers. We expect a .303 Batting Average. This is a result of his high Contact Rate (90%) and high Line Drive Percentage (22%). He seldom strikes out (7.7%). His drawbacks as a hitter are that he isn’t great at taking walks. His P/PA dropped this year and his walks dropped lower than usual, but a bounce back is fairly likely. He also has little power, which is the main reason he is not a fantasy option. But as a catcher there are much worse options out there.

Carlos Beltran
One of the best player’s in the league, both real life and fantasy. He has an 82% Contact Rate – good but not great – and a 17% Line Drive Percentage (which is below average). His great power (33 True Home Runs) and great discipline (16% BB/TPA last year) makes up for this though. His strikeout rate isn’t great, but it is quite good for a guy with his power (17%). We expect a .305 Batting Average and .395 On-Base Percentage this year. Oh, and did we mention he is a great base stealer too? A top fantasy option and a top overall player.

Carlos Delgado
Delgado had a somewhat down year in 2006, even in his peripheral numbers. His Contact Rate remained steady (around 76%), but his Line Drive Percentage dropped to 18%. Only 28 of his 38 Home Runs were True HRs. Despite this though, he is still a very good player as a result of his great walking ability (.096 Isolated Discipline). He doesn’t run a lot, but if his Line Drive Percentage can even get back up to 20% we expect a .280 average out of Delgado. And while his power numbers aren’t what they used to be they are still quite good. There are better valued first baseman for fantasy leagues, but as a player Delgado is a good one.

David Wright
While David Wright is one of my favorite players, I am obligated to say that he is a somewhat overrated fantasy option. His 81% Contact Percentage isn’t great, but his 22% Line Drive Percentage is very good. It dropped to 19.5% last year, but we expect a bounce back as he had a 25% LD% in 2005. Only 17 of his 26 HRs last year were True Home Runs, but he hits a ton of 2Bs and 3Bs (although these are quite subjective). His power could certainly improve, especially for a player with the work ethic of Wright. While not blessed with great speed, he is a very effective basestealer. He also has very good discipline, taking 3.93 P/PA in 2006 and 3.98 P/PA in 2005. His BB/TPA is only about 12%, but there is a good chance this will improve. While all of these things combined make Wright a great player, the truth is there are better fantasy options out there. The good news is he has what it takes to one day become an elite option.

Moises Alou
One of my favorite fantasy sleepers this year, Alou was a fantastic pickup for the Mets. He meets almost all of the requirements for a great contact hitter. An 89% Contact Rate and 20% Line Drive Percentage, in coordination with his 11% K/AB and decent power (21 True Home Runs in limited Abs) makes Alou good for a .335 Batting Average. His decent Walk Rate also helps this, although his discipline declined in 2006. His P/PA dropped from 3.51 in 2004 to 3.28 in 2006, which is reflected in his BB/TPA dropping from 10.4% in 2004 to 7.9% in 2006. In a 12-team league, Alou should be a great pick in the middle teen rounds. He will be one of the better number 6 hitters in the league.

Shawn Green
Green isn’t the player he once was and isn’t much of a fantasy player, but he could still be useful for the Mets in the 7th spot. An 83% Contact Rate isn’t bad, but his 17% LD Percentage is below average. His BB rate seems like it will now stay around 9% or 10%, which isn’t ideal, but not terrible either. He isn’t much of a power threat anymore with only 13 True HRs last year, but his K/AB is a decent 16%. He still hits his share of 2Bs and 3Bs, so Green should be a good stopgap for the Mets until they hand the job over to Lastings Milledge. We see a .263 Batting Average and a .327 OBP.

Jose Valentin
While Valentin is a below average contact hitter, he makes up for it a little with his very good plate discipline. His P/PA dropped to 3.93 last year, but this is still a good number and he should see a small increase in walks this year. His 78% Contact Rate may or may not be inflated, but there is no being optimistic about his abysmal 14% LD Percentage. He strikes out a ton (24%) and doesn’t make up for it with his power (12 True HRs last year). All of this only translates to a .232 Batting Average and .306 On-Base Percentage for this year. Needless to say Valentin is not a fantasy option. I’m drooling over the possibility of Alex Rodriguez playing second for us next year, and I’m still upset we didn’t sign Mark Loretta (a good player but only an average fantasy option).

And there you have it! I would say that the Mets are in for a great offensive year, which they desperately need if they don't get a little lucky with their Starting Pitching. This is certainly a team capable of making the playoffs; I hope I get see a long-awaited Mets World Series victory in 2007.

Most stats and batted ball figures can be found at The Hardball Times.

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