Cohen is in his first season as Mets owner after purchasing the team from the Wilpon family last year. The billionaire made it clear he would do whatever was necessary to return the franchise to its former glory while also being open about the organization’s desires and operations on social media.
Indeed, Cohen is a popular Twitter follow and has been fairly transparent with respect to business and baseball all season. But he went to another level on Wednesday and publicly skewered the lineup.
The Mets have one of the worst offenses in baseball this season
Simply put: the Mets have one of the worst offenses in baseball.
New York fared decently in 2020, ranking in the top half of MLB in runs per game and actually leading the majors in OPS+. The lineup slugged and churned out runs with guys like Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, and Dominic Smith leading the way.
However, things have not been the same this year. Conforto and McNeil dealt with lengthy stints on the injured list (IL) and have struggled to get it going when healthy. Smith’s power has been zapped. The team’s high-priced offseason acquisitions — Francisco Lindor and James McCann — aren’t hitting, with Lindor currently on the IL.
The down years and injuries have resulted in abysmal offensive numbers. The Mets score just 3.78 runs per game. That ranks 28th out of 30 clubs. New York also ranks 24th in OPS.
Offensive ineptitude has been a big part of New York’s slide in the NL East standings. The Mets were four games up in the division heading into August. They came into Wednesday’s action 4.5 games back after suffering a fifth consecutive loss on Tuesday night.
Needless to say, Steve Cohen is not pleased with the recent skid.
Steve Cohen lashes out on Twitter but only has himself to blame
The Mets owner has had enough.
Steve Cohen’s frustrations boiled over on Wednesday morning following another anemic offensive performance in a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. He chastised the team’s hitters on Twitter.
“It’s hard to understand how professional hitters can be this unproductive,” Cohen tweeted. “The best teams have a more disciplined approach. The slugging and OPS numbers don’t lie.”
At first glance, Cohen’s assertion about discipline might seem unfounded. The Mets rank toward the bottom of baseball in strikeouts. However, they also rank below league average in walks and have the fifth-highest swing rate in MLB, per Baseball Savant.
Why does the swing rate matter? Because the batted ball metrics aren’t good. The Mets rank among the bottom 10 teams in hard-hit rate and average exit velocity, per Baseball Savant. So, Cohen might not be off base when he says his hitters could benefit from a more disciplined approach.
But here’s the thing: those words fall on deaf ears. Cohen and the Mets had an opportunity to make significant upgrades at the trade deadline. Instead, they traded for former Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez. The move filled a need with Lindor on the IL, but Baez has the third-highest swing rate in MLB, per FanGraphs.
So, you acquire one of the biggest free-swingers in baseball and then tweet about plate discipline. Seems slightly off, no?
It’s also worth pointing out the Mets were in on free agents like J.T. Realmuto and George Springer in free agency but ultimately opted to sign McCann as the new backstop and make Lindor the star acquisition. New York had an interest in Kris Bryant at the deadline but instead traded for Baez and mostly used price tags as a reason for not making bigger moves.
Players need to perform. But the Mets owner and his front office deserve some blame for the offensive struggles, especially when he fired former hitting coach Chili Davis in a surprising move earlier this season.
Can the Mets make up ground in the NL East standings?
The above question might as well ask, “Can the Mets score more runs?” New York needs to string together good offensive performances if it hopes to claw its way back in the NL East standings.
Things are getting ugly in a hurry. The pitching staff has regressed in August, as the Mets have given up over five runs per game this month, and the rotation is still without Jacob deGrom.
Steve Cohen’s tweet could mean major change is coming in the offseason if New York cannot right the ship in a hurry. But just as the Mets score at one of the worst rates in baseball, the Mets owner’s sentiment is unlikely to get a warm reception from the players.
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.