Part 27 in the series analyzes the New York Mets
Simulations on baseballreference.com show the Mets sitting on 27-24, with a three-game winning streak, as they prepare to play Friday in Atlanta.
Pete Alonso already has 20 homers this season. 2.50 ERA Rick Porcello was the lowest among the team’s initial pitchers. Jed Lowrie received playing time from the bench and hit 0.333 in limited action.
On the other hand, Robinson Cano only received 28 bats – was he hurt? – and posted min.2ule .286 OPS. Dellin Betances’ 9.18 ERA in 23 appearances was a disaster for the bullpen who had performed at a largely respectable level.
The simulation does not and cannot show the level of performance of Luis Rojas in his first season as a major league manager.
38-year-old Rojas is still adjusting to his new job when the Grapefruit League season closes in March because of the 19th COVID outbreak. During the layoffs, Rojas and his staff continued to communicate with the players, receiving updates about their health and training routines.
One advantage Rojas has over the last new manager to guide the Mets into a season, Mickey Callaway, is instant credibility in the organization. Spending 13 years in the organization, eight of them as minor league managers, can have that effect. Rojas spent last season as a Mets quality control coach.
“I think he has very good knowledge about the game, but he is calm,” said former Mets manager Terry Collins. “I watched him run his team and run matches in the minor leagues and he has control over his players, but he has control over himself. He just slowed down the game for himself, he didn’t make hasty decisions and today’s match in the small league is difficult, because your lineup is dictated today, but his players all love it and they all play hard for him.
Send your Mets questions here to be answered in a future Post mail bag
“I saw him pulling people out of the game when they were not in a hurry and they didn’t make a big deal about that. I think his attitude would be good for people in New York because basically he has a few veterans’ clubs and one thing veterans don’t want, they don’t want someone so intense and so on every move. You have to let them play a little and I think Louie is a great example of that. “
See a list of High-A St. Lucie Mets from 2015 showed Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario and Michael Conforto among the players who received significant action. The manager is Rojas, who guides the team to fifth in the Florida State League. The following year he brought St. Lucie went to the playoffs, before guiding Double-A Binghamton to the postseason place in 2017. Four years earlier he led Low-A Savannah to the South Atlantic League championship.
Collins, who served as minor league field coordinator for the Mets in 2010 before being hired to replace Jerry Manuel as manager, can appreciate the path Rojas has taken.
“That means a lot because you look down at the people who will be called, [Rojas] will know those people, he will know their personalities, “Collins said. “But the other thing that happens is, when you bring in a player and he doesn’t know you well, because he’s not around you, a veteran man, they will ask the youth, ‘Tell me about this manager. ‘They will draw their own conclusions, but you have people there who say,’ Hey, look, he’s good to play. ‘”
During spring training, Rojas often spoke with Collins (he served as a consultant to the Mets) and asked many questions.
“I just told him what I was doing, but I also wanted him to make sure he knew he had to do it his way,” Collins said. “I used to call Jim Leyland and Joe Torre and Tony La Russa about various things that happened, but in the end it must be your path, because in the end the players will know if that is not who you are. They feel it. If you become someone unusual you will feel it. “