Will The 2013 Mets Outfield Out Do Some Past Mets Outfield Clunkers ?

As we wait and see if Michael Bourn will or won’t be the 2013 and beyond Mets centerfielder, a lot of the off season chatter amongst Mets fans has been the potential for the 2013 Mets outfield to be the worst in teams history. Well, for that to happen they would have to be piss poor of epic proportion.

I went on baseball reference to look at the various Mets outfields over the years. I decide to look at the four worst run scoring teams in Mets history to see what kind of production the outfielder supplied since two of the three spot in the outfield are where teams get their power numbers and in centerfield where you hope to find your offensive catalyst. I was a bit surprised by some of my findings.

The 1968 Mets scored the least amount of runs in franchise history. The 1968 team also had the lowest team ERA in franchise history. WHAT???  The offense scored a meager 473 runs for the season which averaged out to 2.9 per game. The pitching staff pitched to a stellar 2.72 team ERA in what was known as the Year of the Pitcher. The Bob Gibson led St. Louis Cardinals lead all of MLB with an astonishing 2.49 ERA.  The Mets outfield that season consisted of three of the most important players on next seasons World Champion New York Mets.

Cleon Jones played left field and had a line of .297/.341/.452 14 HR 55 RBI. Not a bad slash line and 14 HR is okay but 55 RBI is quite low but the teams collective OBP was a lifeless.281 so as well as Jones hit, most times he came up with the bags empty. Tommy Agee was downright awful. His line was .217/.255/.307 in 368 AB. The other CF’er on that team was Don Bosch who came over from the Pirates along with Don Cardwell for Dennis Ribrant who I was a big fan of for the sole reason that I  had a tumbler from the Sunocco gas station in our neighborhood that had his likeness on it (I also had a Rob Gardner and a Ron Swoboda tumbler as well) Bosh put up a line .171/.231/.261. , which for some reason the newly formed Montreal Expos were impressed by  so they purchased Bosh’ contract at the end of the 1968 season.  Ron Swoboda put 11 baseballs over the fence and drove in 59 runs to be the team leader. Let that sink in a bit Mets fans, 59 RBI led THE TEAM FOR THE SEASON!

The Mets of 1965 scored 495 runs and had the second worst win/loss record in team history at 50-112 second only of course to the 1962 team.  The outfield that year consisted of Ron Swoboda in his rookie season in RF, Jim Hickman in CF, Johnny Lewis in RF and Joe Christopher as the very active 4th outfielder spelling Swoboda and Lewis.  Swoboda had a career best 19 HR’s but put up an ugly slash line of .228/..291/.424.  Safe to say  Swoboda was no threat to Jim Lefevre and his run to Rookie of the Year. Jim Hickman hit 15 HR and drove in a paltry 40 runs he also put up an awful slash line of .236/.291/.407 If you look at Hickman’s page on baseball-reference his 1970 season leaps off the screen. If a player had a spike like that today, what do you think the scuttlebutt would be? Johnny Lewis also hit double digits in HR’s with 15 but he also had a tough time getting a Rib Eyed Steak with 45 runs batted in. The low number of RBI is attributed to an all-time Mets team record for worst OBP of .277 WOW!

The 1967 team just missed the 500 run scored mark falling short at 498 but this team had one the best players to come out of Brooklyn in Tommy Davis playing the outfield. The Dodgers sent Davis to the Mets for Ron Hunt and Jim Hickman. Davis was a star on those great Dodgers teams on the early 60’s but a broken ankle in 1965 seemed to affect Davis’ power although the power in his bat returned when he joined the Mets as he hit 16 HR in ’67.  Davis also drove in 73 runs to go with a .302 BA . Davis lasted just one season with the Mets as he was dealt to the White Sox for future major contributors to the ’69 World Championship Tommy Agee and Al Weiss.   The shame about Davis’ career was he looked like a sure superstar headed toward a trip to Cooperstown before the ankle injury but he became the definition of a journeyman playing for ten teams in his eighteen year career.  Cleon Jones struggled that year and part of the reason Davis was obtained was to work with Jones which would pay off a couple of season later but in ’67 Cleon’s line of .246/.282/.331 wasn’t good.  Ron Swoboda, who played on the top three worst run producing offenses in Mets history, had one of best years by hitting 13 HR and driving 53 runs which kept the Mets front office hoping that Swoboda would start to blossom into an consistent offensive player.

As bad as the 1963 Mets were when it came to scoring runs, just 501 on the season, the outfield made  up of Frank Thomas, Jim Hickman and back to New York for one season, 36 year old Duke Snider was not awful. Snider at the end of career, hit 14 HR but again something of a pattern with these bad offensive Mets teams, drove in just 45 runs due to a bad team OBP of .285. Slugger Frank Thomas hit 15 homers and drove in 60 runs which when you look at this overall team dismal effort is outstanding. Jim Hickman hit with power, 17 HR and drove in 51 runs but his OBP of .291 was head shaking bad.

So how bad can the Mets 2013 outfield be? Is Lucas Duda a modern day Jim Hickman? Can the right field platoon of Mike Baxter/Andrew Brown/Collin Cowgil produce better than a Ron Swoboda or an aging Duke Snider? Can a Kirk Nieuwenhuis/Marlon Byrd be as productive as Tommy Davis?

I guess its questions like these that have Sandy Alderson weighing the pros and cons of signing Michael Bourn compared to keeping the 11th pick in the entry draft and more importantly the slot money they’d lose as well. This not exactly an inspiring bunch of fly ball catchers. Every day we get closer to full squad workouts at St. Lonesome the tougher the decision is for the Mets GM.

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Observations From Opening Day at Citi Field

Observations from opening day at Citi Field:

I’ve been going to Mets games for 48 years, I was 6 years old in 1964 when I went to see Bob Gibson beat the Mets  on May 9 th, and as excited as I was back then I was just as excited yesterday to be at Citi Field for opening day.

Outside the ball park before the game there was a great positive energy that non-Mets fans just do not understand. I stood near the SNY broadcast area where Bobby Ojeda, Chris Carlin and the iconic Ralph Kiner conducted the pre-game show. There is a segment of younger generation Mets fans who really don’t appreciate Kiner and what he means to charter member Mets fans like me. Ralph, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson were a constant summer time companion on TV and radio. Nelson left in 1978 and that was shocking, but we still had Ralph and Murph. Murph left in 2003 and that was sad but through it all Ralph Kiner remained, albeit on a limited basis but Ralph always knew when to show up when you needed that boost of Mets elixir because when you’re a middle aged Mets fan the sight and sound of Ralph Kiner brings back memories of a simpler and great time of your life.

Lots and lots of CARTER 8 jersey’s and t-shirts on display yesterday along with signs and banners praising Carter and mourning the loss of Gary Carter. The Mets held a wonderful pre-game ceremony starting with the players, coaches and manager all wearing their warm up jerseys with CARTER 8 on the back and having Carter’ jersey hanging  up in the dugout.  It was also touching to see Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Ojeda and Mookie Wilson catch the first pitch from Carter’s wife and children along with the unveiling of the KID 8 patch on the outfield wall and video of Carters Mets career that would make even the most cynical Mets fan dab their eyes.

Seems the only people who are obsessed by the Mets attendance are the Mets Media Haters and Highlander fans.  The Mets Media Haters harp on this due to their lack of talent and originality, I mean how much talent does it take to answer a telephone for five hours a day while reading a newspaper and sucking down soda after soda or sit at a laptop staring lovingly at your Derek Jeter gift baskets while writing what a great GM Pee Wee Cashman is because he is so brilliant in having a $200 mil payroll to cover up his fuck ups. The Highlander fan knows that the first time the Mets show any success the Highlander reign of attention in this city will be over.

Citi Field was jammed packed yesterday, the line at the Shake Shack was a couple a hundred deep, the fans lined the Shea Bridge soaking up the sunshine which could explain for some of the empty seats you’ve seen. The crowd responded well to the player introductions, sure some folks felt it was a good time to boo Mike Pelfrey and Jason Bay but for most part the Mets faithful was happy to see their beloved team back in action.

I didn’t see any of the usual Highlander fan jerk offs who come to Citi Field wearing their Jeter jerseys and caps which is encouraging.

The Mets have made an upgrade on the main scoreboard to where it’s  setup like Gameday on MLB.com a virtual scorecard showing not only what the player has done in previous at bats but also showing you the location of balls put in play in those AB’s. The pitchers line as well as pitch count, pitch selection and pitch count are there as well as both lineups, the player at bat’s season stats and career numbers as well.

I have never bitched and moaned about the prices at the concession stands but $6.80 for a Nathans Hot Dog is ridiculous. Compare that to $11.50 for a turkey with mozzarella and gravy on a semolina hero at Mama’s of Corona, why would you go for the hot dog?

Nothing better than watching Johan Santana work. Frist two innings he had a bit of a command issue, which is to be expected as I’m sure his adrenaline was flowing like Niagara Falls but it was the 5th inning that really sent the message as to what a competitor he is and why Santana is one the best starting pitchers in baseball. He wanted badly to get 5 innings in today as his pitch count was limited to 80-85 so he knew this was his last frame of the day. Getting Freddy Freeman out on strikes to start the inning was big because Santana killer Matt Diaz doubled to left and you could see the finish line of this start was near.

After getting Jason Heyward to fly out to Bay, all Santana needed was one more out but he struggled against Tyler Pastornicky and Tommy Hanson walking both of them to load the bases for leadoff hitter Michael Bourn.  This was the at bat of the game. Santana fell behind Bourn 2-0 giving the crowd of Mets fans an uneasy feeling since it was September of 2010 when we last witnessed Santana pitch we forgot how much heart this man has on the mound. He got Bourn to hit a comebacker to him and with what adrenaline was left nearly threw the ball over Ike Davis head but Ike caught it stepped on first inning over with no Braves crossing home plate. Welcome back Johan.

Andres Torres pulled up lame in the 7th on Pastornick’s triple and while I hate to see anyone get hurt, I hope Torres takes all the time he needs to get that calf 100 % so we can get a good look at Kirk Nieuwenhuis as the everyday center fielder. Hopefully when Torres comes back it will be as the 4th outfielder,

Daniel Murphy 2 for 4 yup #ImWith28

 

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