MLB: All Star Game-Home Run Derby

The Way We Were: The First Half By The Numbers

The Mets were 47-42 going into the All-Star break last season, so in that regard they’re doing a  smidge better this go-around at 47-41. And while it feels like there’s plenty to be pessimistic about as we go forth into the great second-half unknown, I just wanted to take this All-Star pause to put some of the first half into a little bit of numerical, Mets-centric context. A lot of what transpired was really good, as evinced by the positive win/loss record! Some other things, not so much.

So grab your spreadsheets and let’s go back on the last three months:

122 dingers: That’s the most taters the Mets have ever mashed in the first half of a season, two more than the ill-fated 2006 team that was perhaps a curveball away from the World Series. More importantly, it’s 47 more than last year’s team had at the break. That’s a significant increase, and one the Mets will gladly take, thank you very much, but the worry here is that it’s not sustainable. To which you might reasonably respond: Maybe? No one knows how this trend plays out for the year, but it’s not an insane developement by any means. Asdrubal Cabrera (12) has shown 20-homer power in his career and has two All-Star selections to show for it. Yoenis Cespedes (21) had a career-high 35 last season and seems like a sure bet to eclipse that mark and even threaten the team record of 41. Neil Walker (15) maybe feels like the outlier here, with his career-high of 25 coming two years ago, but compared to what Daniel Murphy is doing just down the Acela line, it seems quaintly understated in some way. Point is, I don’t fear the Mets not hitting home runs at some point. I fear them not doing enough when they’re not hitting home runs.

335 runs: The Mets have played 88 games thus far, so they’re averaging 3.8 runs per game, which is Not Great. For comparison’s sake, the 1962 Mets scored 329 runs in their first half in six fewer games. That’s 4.01 runs per game. Thankfully, Mets pitching is just a tad more capable this year than that, but you see what I’m getting at. If the Mets don’t score more in the second half, it won’t matter how good the pitching stays.

18 steals: The National League average right now is 46 steals per team. The Mets are not even at 40 percent of that figure. When steals are this few and far between, it’s not that you’re a slow team so much as you are incredibly disinterested. Also, hitting more dingers means fewer opportunities to get on base and steal, but the Mets largely do not steal because they do not care to steal. (Then again, that they’re tied with Milwaukee for the fewest triples in the NL, they almost definitely the slowest team.) They’ve got an outside shot at beating the 1973 Mets (27) for the fewest swipes in a full season in team history. If David Wright remains the club leader this season—with a whopping three—then a new low benchmark is all but assured.

749 strikeouts: This year’s Dodgers actually had the most strikeouts (866) of any team ever in the first half. Dan Warthen’s staff wasn’t quite that electric but they did post the second-most of any first-half Mets team, and the franchise’s three highest first-half totals have come in the last three seasons. Assuming Zack Wheeler actually makes his way back to the rotation in the second half—and Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard’s respective arms don’t fall off—they should keep pace with Los Angeles and Washington in the whiff department. (It was, relatively speaking, the best first-half K/9 in team history and by a considerable margin.)

80 dingers allowed: Balls are flying out at a crazy pace as of late, but Mets pitchers (at least compared to the rest of the league) are holding their own, just two ahead of St. Louis for fewest allowed in the NL. Historically speaking, it’s still a pretty terrible result compared to Mets history—that 2003 staff giving up 109 in the first half, holy frijoles—but it’s about the same as the 1969 staff did in its first half, and so long as the Mets continue to successfully limit the number of runners that get on base, the damage inflicted by such taters will remain minimized.

3.329 strikeouts per walk: The eighth-best rate of any first half ever. Cool! Less cool: The Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers have all been even better this season.

1 Bartolo Colón: Yet again the undisputed league leader. And in that fact, there is hope.

Photo Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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