Amidst the expensive December fireworks being set off by Andrew Friedman and Theo Epstein, the cash-strapped New York Mets quietly took another step towards correcting a major 2014 deficiency with the addition of John Mayberry for $1.45 million.
Removing the historically bad hitting performance of their pitching staff (they started the season with a major league record 0-for-64), the often maligned Mets lineup actually generated a respectable 104 wRC+ against right-handed pitching in 2014, good enough for 5th best in the National League.
Their offense vs. left-handed pitching was another story however as an 89 wRC+ (14th NL) and 22 HR (MLB worst) left the Mets scrapping to find runs in the late innings of games against deep lefty-heavy bullpens. Leading the struggles vs lefties were Eric Young Jr (84 PA, 60 wRC+), Lucas Duda (125 PA, 54 wRC+), and Chris Young (83 PA, 51 wRC+).
I prepared for this first FanGraphs Community article of mine by studying Mayberry a little closer. As a fan who has witnessed plenty of NL East action over the years, I was well aware of Mayberry’s established platoon splits. What I wasn’t aware of was the massive amount of growth he had in 2014.
John Mayberry Splits vs LH Pitching
2011 – 6.7 BB%, 15.0 K%, 0.44 BB/K, .288 ISO, .306 BABIP, 157 wRC+
2012 – 5.6 BB%, 17.8 K%, 0.32 BB/K, .223 ISO, .289 BABIP, 116 wRC+
2013 – 7.4 BB%, 15.7 K%, 0.47 BB/K, .220 ISO, .244 BABIP, 106 wRC+
2014 – 13.4 BB%, 12.2 K%, 1.10 BB/K, .329 ISO, .214 BABIP, 151 wRC+
After 3 seasons with respectable peripherals, Mayberry took his platoon game to another level in 2014 with career-best numbers across the board except for an inexplicable .214 BABIP. Over 534 career plate appearances against LHP, Mayberry carries a .269/.324/.533, 30 HR, 130 wRC+.
In addition to Mayberry is the aggressively acquired Michael Cuddyer (career 132 wRC+ vs LHP), and the Mets are now in position to be significantly strengthened vs. left-handed pitching without making headlines or gutting their very deep farm system.