All hope for a postseason run rapidly declined after the All-Star break. Finishing the season anywhere above 2011’s 77-85 record would be an accomplishment. The Mets’ star power has faded, but there is too much potential in the lineup for fans to stop watching, or at least long for a glimmer of production.
Andres Torres could be a dynamic leadoff hitter. He is always a threat to steal, when he can reach. Torres’ speed is reminiscent of Jose Reyes; the World Series champion can score on a sacrifice fly ball that falls into shallow center field. His on-base percentage is a modest .353, but his batting average is low at .242. Imagine if Torres could average .300 plus, or even .290. The Mets’ would certainly have more runners in scoring position opportunities if he could make hitting adjustments, but that would also call on the top of the lineup to drive him in.
Scott Hairston demonstrated flashes of power prior to the All-Star break, but otherwise he is deadweight. His slugging percentage is .516 but Hairston has a mere .305 on-base percentage. His 62 strikeouts in only 94 games played this season explains his inaccuracy. Every strikeout evokes the imagination of how far gone the ball would be had he connected. His all or nothing approach, however, often leaves him empty-handed. Hairston needs to make adjustments to hit for singles and extra bases when necessary to avoid brief at-bats.
Jason Bay is lost in a desert and gives the fans every reason to boo him with passion at Citi Field. Ike Davis possesses great strength but since his average barely hovers above .200 it is only likely to emerge in spurts. Josh Thole is too weak to blast anything beyond the infield and far too slow to run out any close plays.
Asking for drastic improvements from the Mets’ most hopeless elements of the lineup would be unfair and only result in frustration. Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Ruben Tejada are all hitting above .300. With some minor and modest adjustments, and even just spontaneous bursts of competency from Jason Bay and Josh Thole, the Mets would undoubtedly win more games.