An article from the Wall Street Journal used data from Statsllc to compare the hitting and pitching statistics between the 1969 Amazin’ Mets and the 2015 edition of the Mets. These statistics are through June for both the 1969 Mets and 2015 Mets. In the pitching statistics that follow the top four starting pitchers in 1969 were Tom (Terrific) Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry and Jim McAndrew. In 2015 the top four starting pitchers are Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. The ranks of the 1969 Mets are based on 12 NL teams; the ranks for the 2015 Mets are based on 15 NL teams.
A look at these statistics shows in both these years the Mets possessed great young starting pitchers and anemic offenses. The statistics are based on the first 72 games in the 1969 season and the first 78 games in the 2015 season. We see the four young starters in 1969 and in 2015 are very similar in age, in ERA, in WHIP and Ks per 9 innings. Considering their entire pitching staffs the similarity extends to the opposition runs per game, 3.47 for the 1969 pitchers (rank 3 out of 12) and 3.73 for the 2015 pitchers (rank 4 out of 15).
The lack of runs scored by the Mets in 1969, 3.75 (rank 9 out of 12) and 3.58 (rank 14 out of 15) in 2015 can be attributed to each team’s next to last rank in the NL for the statistic OPS (on base plus slugging).For OPS the 1969 Mets ranked 11 out of 12 and the 2015 Mets ranked 14 out of 15. In fact before their July 5th game in 2015, the Mets had scored a grand total of 28 runs in their last 16 games. During this stretch of time the 2015 Mets also had a streak of 22 scoreless innings.
With great pitching and feeble hitting how did the 1969 Mets get into the playoffs and eventually win the World Series. Before the trading deadline they acquired Donn Clendenon for three good prospects and two other players. Clendenon, a big right handed hitting first baseman immediately energized the offense and went on to be named the MVP for the 1969 World Series. The 1969 Mets proceeded to win 37 of their last 48 games and win the Eastern Division by 8 games. They then defeated the Western Division champion Atlanta Braves and the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.
The 2015 Mets have an easier time making the playoffs. In 1969 you had to win your six-team division to make the playoffs; whereas, today you can make the playoffs either by winning your division or being one of the two wild card teams.
The Mets’ fans deserve better. Here is a team with pitching you can die for. They even have a successful closer in Jeurys Familia. They need to follow the example of the 1969 Mets and upgrade the offense. There are two ways this can happen. Either trade some of their best Minor League pitching prospects for another team’s elite young hitter, like the Cubs Kris Bryant or Anthony Russell, or open the wallet for an expensive veteran hitter another team is willing to shed.
For the sake of suffering Mets’ fans and for Joe Benigno, please Sandy Alderson, don’t stand pat and add that big bat. Yes, Met fans the playoffs are in reach.