Monday, June 2, 2008

Should Willie Randolph keep his job?

Willie Randolph has been in the news lately in regards to his job security. He even has said that a lot of it has to deal with race. Perhaps. But comparing yourself to the Isiah Thomas situation isn't a very good move.

But the question is, should Willie Randolph keep his job?

The Mets are projected to win 93 games. As of now, they are one game above .500 and in third place.

Based on projections, the Mets are underachieving. Certainly that has to do with the players performance. Carlos Delgado has been horrendous this year. He has been on the decline the last two years, but this year, he is well below average with an 82 OPS+. To add to that, he is not a good defensive first baseman. Even with the low OPS+, he only has eight homeruns and a .383 slugging percentage.

Here is how the Mets lineup looks:

1. Jose Reyes
2. Luis Castillo
3. David Wright
4. Carlos Beltran
5. Carlos Delgado
6. Ryan Church
7. Brian Schneider
8. Endy Chavez
9. Pitcher

Without looking at the stats, I can tell you that Carlos Delgado batting 5th is way too high. He really shouldn't be a major league starter, in all honesty, but I feel that him batting 5th is based on past reputation. But at least he isn't batting THIRD like Jeff Kent and his 72 OPS+ for the Dodgers.

David Wright and his team high .920 OPS is the best hitter, and he should bat third. Ryan Church is the second best hitter, yep, and has a .904 OPS. He should bat fourth. Luis Castillo has a .374 on base percentage and is a solid second hitter. Jose Reyes doesn't have an insanely high on base percentage, and perhaps shouldn't lead-off, I'm okay with him leading off because he does have a good OPS. His OPS is .823 with a .345 OBP. Carlos Beltran has a lower OPS, .815, and a higher OBP, .370, so based on the numbers, he should lead-off. But I will buy into the fact that Reyes is a better lead-off candidate.

So my order would be:

1. Jose Reyes
2. Luis Castillo
3. David Wright
4. Ryan Church
5. Carlos Beltran
6. Carlos Delgado
7. Brian Schneider
8. Endy Chavez
9. Pitcher

Really, his only big mistake is not batting Ryan Church higher. He certainly deserves it. And for as horrendous of a hitter Carlos Delgado has been, especially for a first baseman, batting him fifth isn't nearly as bad as it looks. He should be batting sixth, which doesn't make a huge difference.

So what does that mean?

GM Omar Minaya has given Randolph some really bad players. Reyes, Wright, Church, Beltran, and Castillo are all fine hitters. But Delgado, Schneider, and Chavez are horrendous. Delgado's 82 OPS+ makes him the sixth best hitter. That's just a tad below David Ecksteain.

Yikes. And to think, that Schneider and Chavez are worse than that.

Now, I don't feel that Randolph manages pitchers well. No starter has thrown a complete game, which means that a relief pitcher is used in EVERY single game. No breaks.

If you look at the list, the Mets have played 55 games. Seven relief pitchers have thrown in 20 games or more. Pedro Feliciano has thrown in 29 games. That's more than half of the games played!

Aaron Heilman has thrown 26 games, or the second most games pitched for the team. He has an ERA of 6.67, or an ERA+ of 61, which is well well below the average pitcher. He has a WHIP of 1.588. So for every inning he pitches, he gives up one and a half walks and hits per inning pitched. That is significant because if Randolph uses him during the middle of the inning with runners on base, Heilman is likely to give up a hit or two and possibly a run.

Johan Santana has an ERA+ of 127 and a WHIP of 1.200. Both are below his career numbers, but they are both very respectable. He is an ace pitcher.

John Maine has an ERA + of 111 and a WHIP of 1.313. On an elite team, those are probably worthy of a third best pitcher, but he is pitching well.

Oliver Perez has pitched really bad. He has an ERA+ of 84 and a WHIP of 1.525. His past numbers suggest an up and down career. He should be the fifth best pitcher despite below average numbers because he is capable of delivering gems.

Mike Pelfrey has pitched even worse. He has an ERA + of 81 and a WHIP of 1.696. That is horrendous. His past numbers are similar. He should not be a starting pitcher.

The real problem with the Mets is the moves made by Omar Minaya. Carlos Delgado is horrible defensively, and he is a below average hitter. His power numbers are down, and he isn't getting on base.

My only real complaint with Randolph is that Ryan Church isn't batting higher and he over uses Aaron Heilman. Johan Santana and John Maine should pitch deeper into games. Some of those relievers just need a break, and those two pitchers have pitched well. Perhaps Randolph doesn't deserve as much criticism, though he deserves some because the team was projected to win 93 games. However, Randolph really shouldn't have brought up Isiah Thomas when he talked about minority coaches in New York receiving bad treatment by the media.

EDIT: The lineup was written for the lineup as of yesterday. As of today, Randolph made a change and Delgado now bats seventh. Ryan Church bas been moved to fifth, which is much better.

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