As the New York Mets finish their 11-game road trip, a key factor in their success or failure is how their offense performs away from Queens.
While there is no arguing that the team’s offensive production on the road is a massive upgrade from their anemic effort at home, their success can’t merely be credited to leaving the spacious confines of Citi Field.
The middle of the Mets’ batting order (Chris Young, Lucas Duda, and Curtis Granderson), strike out significantly less often on the road than at home, and this has had a dramatic effect on team’s offensive splits.
|Player||Home K%||Away K%|
These numbers are striking, as Young, who has the largest split, is striking out 13.2 percent more at home than on the road, while Duda has struck out 8.7 percent more and Granderson 8.2 percent more.
Among all qualified hitters in Major League Baseball this season at home, Granderson and Duda are in the top 25 in highest strikeout rate, and if Young had enough plate appearances to qualify he would also. On the road, none are in the top 50.
As a team, the Mets strik eout 2.6 percent more at home then on the road. This is a dramatic difference compared to the league average, as MLB teams have struck out 0.8 percent more away from their home ballpark this season. So while the Mets generally strike out more at home than most major league teams, the middle of their order is striking out at a staggering clip.
The lower strikeout rates on the road are a factor in the team’s offensive success as a whole. The Mets score 4.8 runs per game on the road compared to 3.2 runs per game at home. At Citi Field the team as a whole has a batting average of .222, an on-base percentage of .303, and a Weighted Runs Created (wRC+) of 86, which latter is a measure that evaluates offensive production in terms of runs, adjusted to park and league average. On the road, the team has a batting average of .247, an on-base percentage of .323, and a Weighted Runs Created of 90.
The deleterious effect of increased strikeout rates at home has particularly afflicted three of the hitters who are supposed to carry the offense.
Hitting at home
Hitting on the road
Young, Duda, and Granderson are key pieces in the Mets’ batting order. All three perform better on the road—getting on base and creating more runs for the team—than they do at home, where their strikeout rates are out of control.
While the high strikeout rates from the middle of the lineup are far from the only reason the team is much better offensively away from Citi Field, the team’s lack of power forces them to rely more on getting on base and stringing hits together in order to score runs. This is especially important for the middle of the lineup, which naturally gets many opportunities with runners on base.
It remains to be seen what long-term effect the firing of hitting coach Dave Hudgens and the promotion of Lamar Johnson to fill his role will have on the Mets’ offense. However, Johnson should look closely at how to get the team as a whole and specifically Granderson, Duda, and Young to carry their road success back to Queens.