Flushing, Queens—The New York Metropolitans did not have a very good 2018. In manager Mickey Callaway’s first season as Terry Collins successor, the Mets finished 4th in the AL East with a 77-85 record. The only true bright spot of 2018 was Jacob deGrom’s brilliance and well deserved Cy Young, but there’s reason to be optimistic. Jeff McNeil put up a 2.4 WAR in 225 at bats and hit .330 as a 26 year old rookie. Brandon Nimmo showed he was an above average outfielder and possessed legitimate middle-of-the-order power. Michael Conforto has hit 55 home runs over the past two seasons and no matter who they trade, their rotation has the potential to be one of the best in all of baseball. These are certainly reasons to be excited for 2019, but Bodie van Wagenen is most excited about what the 2018 Mets did as a team after drawing a walk.
The average MLB player took 7.8 seconds to reach first base after a walk. The 2018 Mets averaged 4.3 seconds from home to first on a walk, which led the NL and all of Major League Baseball. To put that number in prospective, Billy Hamilton averaged 3.69 seconds from home to first on a ground ball. “To lead the league by such a wide margin, I think it’s a sign of the hustle this team brought every day and a reason to be excited about 2019.” said van Wagenen. “We will absolutely be in contact with free agents who fit this mold. If you sprint to first after a walk, you’re in line for playing time with the New York Mets. It’s really that simple.” The 44 year old GM has already established a new section of their baseball analytics department dedicated to analyzing players speed, mechanics and path to first after a walk. “Our new method of evaluating players might not be widely accept today, but I’ll be steadfast in supporting this line of thinking because I deeply believe in its value.” van Wagenen said in an interview with The Eye Test on Tuesday. As far as solid data to back up his philosophy, he pointed to the Baltimore Orioles and their historically bad 2018 season. “We’re talking about a team who was the slowest in Major League Baseball from home to first after a walk. Oh, and they also lost 115 games. Not a coincidence. Sure, paying Chris Davis 23 million dollars to post a -2.4 WAR and hit .168 was a big problem, but Manny Machado’s average time from home to first on a walk sitting at 11.74 seconds is the only statistic I needed to see from the 2018 Baltimore Orioles. They were one of the worst baseball teams of all time and our analytics department has only furthered that notion.”