The Mets have a lot to be satisfied with at this early point in the season, with the second-best batting average in baseball and an overall offense in the top third of the league. But behind those numbers are some very different stories -- some good and some not so good.
While it's still early to come to any conclusions, let's take a look at the trends emerging for the 2018 Mets...
The team has been preaching a thoughtful approach at the plate for a long time and so far, it's paying off. Their .384 on base percentage is best in baseball, as is their 8.3 percent swinging strike rate. They are swinging at very few bad pitches and when they do swing, they're making contact at a rate that leads the National League.
Perhaps the best sign for the Mets is that this isn't all on one or two players -- the team is getting on base and showing a good approach up and down the lineup. Ten different position players have a swinging strike rate below the league average of 10.9 percent, including some names you wouldn't expect, such as Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Lagares. Walk rates and other peripheral statistics stabilize early. So while this is still a small sample, it's a good sign going forward.
On the power side, the Mets are still struggling to get going. They've hit just three home runs so far and their isolated slugging (slugging percentage minus batting average, a measure of pure power) of .116 is sixth-worst in baseball. Five Mets position players have no extra base hits at all. And in a lineup that includes Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, and Todd Frazier, you really want to be seeing more.
A potential factor in this early lack of power is the weather. Citi Field, a moderate pitchers park on average, is very low on offense in the cold climate. And the early start to the season combined with unseasonably cool temperatures is killing balls at the warning track that could be homers or doubles off the wall a month from now. A trip to DC starting Thursday could trigger an awakening of the power stroke. And while the cavernous Marlins Park could quiet it afterwards, watch for improvement as the month starts to look more like April than February.
Maybe you can chalk this one up to getting into the rhythm of the season, but the Mets are making a mess of themselves on the basepaths early. A pickoff, two runners caught stealing, and an out taking an extra base and it's only the fifth game of the season.
If they were benefiting overall from an aggressive approach, it might be easier to take, but so far this hasn't been happening. Despite a roster that is more fleet-of-foot than any in recent years, with above average runners including Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario, Jose Reyes, and Lagares, only Bruce has successfully swiped a bag. They are taking extra bases at a rate below league average and are an overall net negative in baserunning.
One or two good games can turn this around at this point in the season, but it's an early warning sign. And with the Mets getting so many runners on, it's time to start bringing them home.
Maggie Wiggin (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Archive Posts) has been a Mets fan since birth and a MetsBlog contributor since 2013. She loves throwing hard and hitting hard and hates the DH. When baseball is out of season, she fills her days with data analysis and evaluation and patiently waits for Spring