The Mets are in a serious rut, only one game over .500, after scoring just six runs over their last four games. In 11 games this month, they are averaging 2.4 runs per game -- by far the worst rate in baseball -- and gone 2-9 in that span.
There is talent, if not much depth, in the Mets lineup. Yoenis Cespedes, Todd Frazier, and Asdrubal Cabrera are all strong hitters, with Brandon Nimmo showing signs of a real breakout, and Adrian Gonzalez seemingly rescuing his career from the brink. So why has a team that showed a solidly average offensive ability for the first five weeks of the season suddenly fallen off a cliff?
To begin with, they simply are not making solid contact at all this month. Their hard hit rate is under 32 percent -- dead last in MLB -- and their soft hit rate is over 21 percent -- also dead last. They are not using the whole field, which makes them vulnerable to the shift, and are hitting more pop-ups than any other team. In light of this kind of a batted ball profile, their .269 batting average on balls in play for the month of May might even be considered overperforming.
With power outages from key players like Michael Conforto, you'd hope to see a different approach from light hitters to scrape out extra runs, but that's not happening either. Despite fleet-footed Jose Reyes, Amed Rosario, and Brandon Nimmo on the roster, the Mets have just 17 infield hits all season -- the worst in the league -- and are below average in stolen bases, stolen base success rate, and reaching on errors.
The one silver lining to the Mets' performance at the plate this season has been their 6th-ranked walk rate, but even that is beginning to slide. And their rate for the month of May is fourth-worst. They have seen their team on base percentage slide almost 20 points and it's no surprise that more than half of their 11 home runs this month, tied for fourth-worst in baseball, have been solo shots. With so few baserunners and so few big hits, offensive outbursts are few and far between. This is the kind of hitting that leads to a team scoring three or fewer runs in more than half of their games. And that's not a winning formula.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers for the Mets right now.
Devin Mesoraco offers an incremental improvement over Tomas Nido, at best, and other opportunities for acquisitions are highly unlikely to present themselves within the next four-to-six weeks. Cutting bait with Reyes's dead weight would offer the bench a small boost, but not enough to rescue such an anemic offense. And the team has always been reluctant to let go of players who are making relatively significant amounts.
Instead, the pressure falls primarily on Conforto and Jay Bruce, both producing at a below league average level to make adjustments and to drive the ball like they are capable of. This outfield has the ability to be one of the stronger ones in the National League, but with all three starters in various stages of injury recovery, they're not getting it done. That might mean one or more of them needs a stint on the disabled list (recall Bruce's ongoing battle with plantar fasciitis), or a few days on the bench while the highly-capable Nimmo and Juan Lagares offer a fresh look.
With the cushion the team built for itself in April all but gone, time is running out for this atrocious offense to get itself in order. It's not too late for some overdue breakouts to change the narrative, but if it doesn't happen soon, the Mets will find themselves in the trade market come July, and not to buy.
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