The job of any offensive player, generally speaking, is to avoid making an out. This precludes the situation-specific jobs of getting the ball in the air with a runner on third, bunting a runner over late in the game, etc. But overall, the single-most important trait of a hitter is the frequency with which he comes to the plate and doesn't make an out (or, even worse, make two or three outs). Of course, certain non-out plate appearances are better than others (a home run is always better than a single), but that's not the brush we're painting with today.
The Mets have scored the third-most runs in the National League so far this year, and have scored just four fewer runs than the San Francisco Giants, the current runs-scored leader. At face value, this would indicate that the Mets are doing a terrific job offensively. But just how good are the Mets at not hitting into outs?
PA H BB HBP OUT OUT% Jose Reyes 126 34 2 1 89 70.1 Kaz Matsui 107 25 5 2 75 70.1 Carlos Beltran 128 33 11 0 84 65.6 Cliff Floyd 98 34 9 0 55 56.1 Mike Piazza 100 21 9 0 70 70.0 Doug Mientkiewicz 110 21 14 1 74 67.2 David Wright 110 25 17 1 67 60.9 Victor Diaz 96 22 18 1 55 57.3 Mets Team 1102 260 100 8 734 65.3 National League 1051 241 96 9 705 67.1As a team, the Mets have been outstanding at preventing outs. Their 65.3 OUT% is good for third in the league, trailing only the Giants (64.2) and the Dodgers (64.7). It's a little surprising that the Mets have done so well overall, considering they have four players below the National League average and three dramatically so.
Reyes, Matsui, and Piazza are all making outs 70% of the time or more. It's not so surprising that a team has three below-average hitters. What is surprising is that those three hitters are collecting more at-bats than almost everyone else on the team (Beltran is the exception). Two of the three best OUT% on the team are batting 7th and 8th. We all know that David Wright and Victor Diaz are being over-protected, but at what point will Willie realize that that safety blanket is costing the Mets runs? Let's hope that point comes soon.