The New York Mets have transformed into one of baseball’s scariest teams in one month.
On July 24, the Mets were 49-48, three games behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East.
While the Mets’ pitching had been dominant, almost single-handedly keeping them competitive, their offence was anemic, ranking 27th in wOBA (weighted on-base average) through the first half of the season.
On July 24, the Mets completed a trade for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, two solid hitters that could modestly help their offence.
Since the trade deadline, the Mets are one of baseball’s hottest teams, and amazingly, one of the most explosive offenses. They have a 20-8 record since July 24 and hold a five-and-a-half-game lead on the Nationals for first in the NL East.
The transformation on offence has been truly stunning. Here’s a look at their numbers in the last 30 days (via Fangraphs):
- 47 home runs, first in MLB
- 153 runs scored, second in MLB
- 69 doubles, second in MLB
- .491 slugging percentage, first in MLB
- .817 OPS, third in MLB
- .349 wOBA, third in MLB
This, coming from a team that was averaging only 3.5 runs per game through the end of July — a number that may have been buoyed by a strong finish to the month.
The Mets additions have provided some needed offence in the past 30 days. Cespedes has been the star of the show, hitting seven home runs with 20 RBIs while batting .306 with a .346 OBP and .582 SLG; Uribe has chipped in five home runs and 10 RBIs; Conforto has three home runs, eight RBIs, and a .456 SLG.
Moreover, the trades seem to have rejuvenated the rest of the Mets. Folk-hero Wilmer Flores (who was nearly traded at the deadline) has been on a tear, hitting .325/.358/.571 with four homers and 14 RBIs. Curtis Granderson has begun to look like he did with the Yankees, cranking out eight home runs with 24 RBIs in the last 30 days.
In the last seven days, this hot hitting culminated in an offensive explosion as the Mets have totaled 17 home runs and 59 total runs. The slugfest reached its peak Monday when the Mets hit eight home runs in a 16-7 win over the Phillies.
Even David Wright, who was making his first at-bat since April, caught the fever, smacking a 400-foot home run on his second pitch back:
The Mets have also benefited from an easy schedule, which only gets easier as the season goes on. As Grantland’s Jonah Keri notes, the average win percentage of the Mets remaining opponents is just .440 — the easiest schedule in MLB.
That’s a scary sign for a Mets team that is gaining confidence, familiarity, and physical health rounding into the end of the regular season. Their pitching has slowed down slightly in the last 30 days, with their WAR sliding down to 11th in the league, compared to eighth in July and fourth pre-All-Star break.
Nonetheless, somewhere in between this massive offensive explosion and minor pitching slump are the real Mets — a team with a devastatingly good starting pitching rotation and just enough offence to get by — that nobody will want to see in October.
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