NY Sports Day

Misleading Numbers, More Ways Than One

Sorry gang, apologies are on today’s menu.

On Opening Day, this observer of all things Mets noticed the number 988 in the official 2014 Mets Media Guide. The number signified the quantity of players who had actually played in at least one game for the franchise, and that inspired a column anticipating the event that would have suited up the 1000th player later this season.

That player turned out to be Taylor Teagarden, the 12th new player for the club this year, and doing that simple math – without a calculator, no less, kids – figured out that the new catcher was the 1000th player in Mets history.

Or so I thought.

When what could have been a quite notable moment in team history – at the very least, a memorable answer to a quirky trivia question – was brought up to the Mets PR Dept., they admitted a typo had found its way into the team guide. That 988 was really 968. Oops!

Turns out, adding embarrassment to the moment, Teagarden wasn’t even the 12th new player, he was the 13th new Met. Doing the calculations, the recent addition of Dana Eveland had been overlooked. Sorry, Dana.

So although Eveland might have been celebrated as Mr. 1000, he in fact, became no. 980. Teagarden checks in at 981.

Sorry. Typos happen. You’re supposed to trust the information provided by the team’s official Media Guide. But it certainly wasn’t the first time a number, or word, was incorrectly entered into something official.

A more accurate checklist of such matters can be found at baseball-reference.com. And likely on many of the other statistical oriented baseball websites.

By contrast, the Houston Astros, who were born on the exact same day as the Mets in 1962 (as the Houston Colt 45s), have now suited up 823 players.

Wow! That’s quite a contrast, and perhaps it says something about the organizations, although the Mets do lead the Astros in a more important category – World Series trophies, 2-0.

It could take the Astros another decade or more to reach 1000 players. The Mets likely will now reach that significant number next year. No later than 2016.

Two other teams with histories just a tad longer than the Mets find that the one-year older LA/CAL/ANAHEIM Angels have now charted 926 players in their boxscores, and the Texas Rangers, who began their existence as the second version of the Washington Senators back in 1961, have employed 996 players.

What does it all mean? Nothing, really. It’s just trivia. More importantly, the Mets probably wish some of their other current numbers also bore typos. Because most of their real numbers don’t look so hot.

Despite last night’s impressive win, when Teagarden made his Mets debut a memorable one with a Grand Slam to beat the Brewers, 6-2, their loss in the second game of the series means they’ve now lost seven of their last eight, and the record which appears to signify the downfall to the season is from May 1st.

After their game against the Phillies on April 29, the Mets were 15-11. They were rained out the next day, and they’ve been waterlogged ever since. They are now 14-25 since that date.

Other numbers of note include facts (found on the official mlb site, so we’ll presume any typos have been corrected) that the Mets are: tied for 14th in the National League in batting average, at .234, same as the Cubs; tied for 13th in home runs, 47, same as the Padres; 8th in runs scored (259); 7th in on-base percentage (.312); but first in walks – which usually lends itself to scoring more runs and a higher on-base percentage.

A real rally-killer is that the team is hitting just .175 with runners in scoring position in their last 21 games.

They are are 11th in hits, 11th in grounding into double plays (that’s a good thing), and first in number of pitches seen by their batters, 9836 going into Wednesday night’s game, which is more than a thousand more than the team that has watched or swung at the least amount of pitches, the Atlanta Braves, with 8777.

Mets pitchers are second in amount of pitches thrown in the NL, 9751 prior to Wednesday’s game. Only the Dodgers have thrown more, 9971. Both teams are in danger of wearing out their staffs quicker than others.

The Mets staff has the 11th highest WHIP (1.33), and are tenth in ERA (3.67). The bullpen is 12th in the majors with a 3.52 ERA. The pen has lost 16 games, most in the majors.

But as can be done in any statistical analysis, you can find numbers that are actually quite positive.

Um, well…there must be some. Typos! We need more typos!

Actually, credit Daniel Murphy as being tied with Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt for having the most hits in the NL (81). And since the start of the 2012 season, only one other National Leaguer (Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutcheon) has had more hits than Murph (452-435).

Curtis Granderson has now reached base in 23 consecutive games.

And Josh Edgin has retired all 13 batters he has faced this season.

So there’s always a positive spin somewhere, if you look hard enough.

And it pays to find the typos before you quote them. Sorry, again.


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