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Definitive look at Sandy Alderson’s hitting philosophy

In a weekend report for Newsday, beat reporter Marc Carig writes the definitive look at Sandy Alderson’s organizational approach to hitting, as told to him by Alderson and his lieutenants, Terry Collins, Dick Scott and Paul DePodesta, as well as top soldiers David Wright and Brandon Nimmo.

In short, Carig explains:

  • The goal is to only swing at strikes and hit the ball with authority. It doesn’t matter if this happens on the first, 10th or 20th pitch, “so long as hitters swing only at pitches they can crush.”
  • “Taking a good pitch to hit and chasing a bad pitch out of the strike zone are equal sins.”
  • Taking pitches, running up pitch counts and drawing walks are simply a beneficial byproduct of ‘hunting strikes,’ they’re not the ultimate goal.
  • Strikeouts are a conspicuous byproduct of Alderson’s approach, which, when not executed properly, can make a hitter look helpless, passive and lost at the plate.
  • The hitter can only control what he does in the batter’s box, he has no control over what happens when he puts a ball in play, according to Alderson. However, a refined, disciplined approach at the plate will lead to more hard-hit balls, which have a better chance of falling for hits.
  • The Mets use plate discipline statistics to formulate salary bonuses for players who have yet to reach arbitration.
  • Alderson and DePodesta aim to draft players predisposed to their strategy, such as C Kevin Plawecki and OF Brandon Nimmo.
  • The Mets monitor their minor league hitters to make sure the approach is being learned and executed properly.

“The good teams in the major leagues have a combination of really good hitters and very selective hitters. It’s a lethal combination,” director of player development Dick Scott told Carig >> Read more in Newsday.




121 comments
cver
cver

So, I get it!  It's all about patience. The hitter's patience waiting for his pitch and Alderson and our patience with the fact that the team blows.


Lots of questions here, too many to even fathom.  Of course, if we doing extremely well, it would be easy to hail this philosophy.  As things are and from what we've seen these past few years, it's been pitiful to witness really.  First, I'm wondering about another statistic.  What are the percentage of good hitters that he's screwed up to bad hitters that have improved?  That's probably the biggest one. And another is - AFTER ALDERSON IS GONE, will the Wilpons keep one of his trusted guys to run the ship and will this philosophy continue, even if it hasn't succeeded yet?  Part B of that question is, if the Wilpons accept failure from this and go a different way in the front office, what happens to those little seedlings who have been indoctrinated from Day 1 as a Met, the 18 year olds??? Will they be told to abandon this philosophy and be even more thoroughly confused?  I guess I shouldn't get ahead of ourselves.  Maybe he'll actually make the much anticipated, but possibly never seen trade for an offensive piece that will vault us into the playoffs and we can all forget about the microcosms discussed here and just enjoy baseball.


Is he doing a study now about why this isn't working and how he can improve this team sooner rather than later?

So aside from being the most a n a l retentive gm of all time, a micro manager and a pencil pushing, chart toting and powerpoint obsessed long-time loser, SA is also managing to suck the fun out of the game. Managing athletes by stats alone is a one-dimensional approach that removes individualism and natural ability not to mention disregarding the intangibles that most pro athletes seem to have...ugh.

Jay Cross
Jay Cross

Sandy's philosophy is not the problem. The current MLB roster, which we're stuck with right now due to awful Wilpon finances, is the problem. If you look at our minor league teams, they are all crushing it night in and night out with players who exemplify this approach.

It's too late to convert MLB players to a hitting style they aren't used to. But it makes me happy to know that we're drafting players with the mindset to do this, and that by the time they come up here, they will be thoroughly versed in it and ready to deliver the results we all want.


Darrell Smith
Darrell Smith

Everybody blames Sandy and somtime's he deserves it others time not so. This is one of those "  not so " times. The way he is Rebuilding this team is from within , which is the right way for 2 reason's.

1....Omar had tradaed the farm systems top players away for the Quictk Fix and 2.......The Owners  have little money to spend on the parent club.


gpopper
gpopper

If this approach was successful, the results should be apparent on the field and in offensive statistics. Since Alderson has been GM, there have been few results to support this philosophy. If Alderson had played ball for 10 or 15 years, I might actually buy it. But, just ain't the case. I am old school and adhere to the "see the ball, hit the ball" concept. It's basically worked for 100 plus years. I am a firm believer Alderson is a film flam man. He's there to get the books right for Bud and the Wilpons. I have no idea if he's successful in that at all. All I know is the Mets have played poorly for a number of years and mainly on the offensive side of the house. I have been a fan since day 1, 1962 and I know pain. This has been the most painful of all those years. Clean house, top to bottom.

Kyle Gollins
Kyle Gollins

There is nothing controversial about this hitting philosophy.

MetsFan1962
MetsFan1962

Sandy, where in the Mets system is your hitting approach actually working? It does not in the major league where it counts most.

A Pocono View_
A Pocono View_

w/ the exception of 1st inning runs, haven't the Mets trailed in most hiiting categories over past few years...does he not read that spread sheet?

Tormented Mets Fan
Tormented Mets Fan

This philosophy is making guys like CY and Granderson change their approach. We should have signed a contact hitter, contact hitters would thrive with this philosophy, not swing and miss guys

Christopher Masiello
Christopher Masiello

"The Mets monitor their minor league hitters to make sure the approach is being learned and executed properly."

Yeah, how's that going? 

Zach Goeringer
Zach Goeringer

How about a philosophy of having a winning record. We haven't had that philosophy since the Mineya/Randolph era.

George Brezny
George Brezny

The Grandy and CY signings don't juxtapose with his hitting philosophy...period... I feel for this group of young pitchers that feel like they have to pitch a shut out each game.. Must be very frustrating..

kefhrny17
kefhrny17

Dear Sandy,


Your hitting philosophy sucks.


Thanks,

Fans

mets74
mets74

I'm not a genius like those in the FO so I'm confused by this statement: "hitters swing only at pitches they can crush.” What exactly does that mean?   

90wins
90wins

Lies Lies Lies. Why is it that the Mets are still not swinging on the first pitch. This article was put up in the Wilpon's paper just to refute the fact that the Mets have told their batters not to swing at first pitch. Times and times you'll see a 0-1, then 0-2 and finally strike out. It happened to Lagares, Wright, CY, Duda and Grandy.

Rimo Chaloney
Rimo Chaloney

Philosophers philosophize.

Hitters hit.  ha ha

Eric Raffle
Eric Raffle

Plawecki is a talented hitter. He has 7 Walks versus 159 Official P ab's.... I've been reading what appear to be "blind statements" that Plawecki was drafted as "their type of hitter"---that appears to have NO connection to reality.

blackwood1
blackwood1

If spending money is the issue then its time to swap prospects for prospects & get some position talent. While I would love for them to trade for a young talent like Mookie Betts (Just his name being Mookie lol) I think we can do a deal with the Cubs for the SS/2B Arismendy Alcantara from their Triple A team. He could be up for us later this yr but definitely next season & would be an upgrade for sure at SS. Batting .286 7HR's 10SB's in 50 games this yr & seeing as there #1 prospect plays the very same spot I can see a deal not being that hard to get done.

Vincent Santiago
Vincent Santiago

So take 10 years to build from the minors and bring up lights out pitching and no spine unclutch hitters.

theglider
theglider

So you're running the front office. Adding a big salary is not an option. Who do you trade and who are you getting in return?

jenkins
jenkins

It's fascinating to think Roberto Clemente wasn't good enough to play on  Sandy Alderson's team.

Zach Goeringer
Zach Goeringer

Only the Mets FO can take something as universally accepted as don't swing at pitches out of the zone and look for pitches to drive and spin it into their own personal philosophy and secret recipe for success.

C.K. Dexter Haven
C.K. Dexter Haven

I remember asking on here a little more than a month ago what ever happened to "see ball, hit ball".  I was told that the approach by and large was antiquated and that all teams are going with 'philosophies'. 

A. Sandy's philosophy seems to create/encourage a passivity in players that I would never want in a team i managed.  Hitting aggressively is about...BEING AGGRESSIVE.

B. Sandy, if you were going to enforce this philosophy so strenuously, why would you go out and sign guys like C. Young and C. Granderson as FAs?  

C.  Since when do we make hitters think this much in the batter's box?  

D. When does Sandy show some humility and admit that quite possibly this isn't the right philosophy for this collection of players?

theglider
theglider

The Mets play in a pitchers ballpark. So they've built a team that relies on pitching. It's that simple.

Now for all of you who want to trade for a bat, who are we giving up? Because we have very few assets unless you want to get rid of those top pitchers

xplr
xplr

I'm curious. What's the Rockies' hitting philosphy? It seems to be working a lot better than ours.

xplr
xplr

Here's all you need to know about Sandy's system: The Mets are near the bottom in pretty much every hitting category.


His system is broken. Time to fix it.



Zac Tindall
Zac Tindall

Abreu = prospect trade bait

Dice-k = bat trade bait

Montero= bat trade bait

I'm sure the trade we need is coming for who idk but I'm hoping it's a starlin Castro type and not a asdrubal Cabrera type

zoddie
zoddie

Almost every top hitter in baseball history controlled the strike zone and was not a "see ball, hit ball" guy. Ted Williams, Ruth, Bonds, etc. Guys like Valdimir Guererro are very rare.

kingman76
kingman76

In theory it sounds fine - it's the execution that has a lot to be desired.  Too many of these hitters are letting crushable pitches go by - that tells me the message is NOT being delivered properly - so there IS something wrong.

And let's not forget last month they sat Lagares for several games for remedial strike hunting training because he was chasing too many pitches.  That's called being punitive. Other players pick up on this and just get more tentative at the plate for fear of being docked points for swinging at a bad pitch - thus letting good pitches go by for fear of being criticized..

Lagares gets plenty of hits on pitches out of the zone - that's why having a cookie cutter approach for every hitter is not realistic.

Jay Cross
Jay Cross

@MetsFan1962 I believe all the Mets farm teams have (or recently had) the best W/L records and were in the top five in all or almost all offensive categories. 

zoddie
zoddie

Don't swing at balls out of the zone or YOUR zone.

ken1010
ken1010

@90wins That doesn't mean it's a lie.  If Met hitters are waiting for a ball down the middle they can crush, major league pitchers can throw one near the corners, and get ahead in the count.  That's why you see the Mets always batting behind in the count.

Even if the philosophy can work in the minors, where pitchers have poor control, it might not work in the majors with higher quality pitchers most often hitting their spots.

Christopher Masiello
Christopher Masiello

@theglider If you can unload what is SURE to be an albatross of a contract, dump David Wright NOW!

His value to expense ratio will NEVER be better than today. Never. That deal will look worse each year of diminishing returns and increasing dollars.

Get whatever young hitter(s) you can and unload as much cash as you can. NOW.

Dump Colon, Dice-K and anyone else over the age of 27 for legit hitters or pitchers. 

Then, take this young, lean team and spend all the money lopped off the payroll on difference makers.

TheJMan
TheJMan

@theglider


How about look to Pittsburgh and see if he can pry away Gregory Polanco--they have a crowded outfield and they need pitching for sure 


it's unlikely, sure, but wow 'em -- he's the GM, be creative -- excuses are like aholes, we all have them and they all stink




Zach Goeringer
Zach Goeringer

@theglider I don't blow half my money on a .220 hitter who is condusive to small ballparks like Curtis Granderson, that way I can unload some prospects and have salary room left to get a guy who can singlehandedly make a difference. But my philosophy doesn't really work for the Mets. Curtis Granderson may hit .210 this season but you better believe he will be hunting strikes while doing it!

zoddie
zoddie

He would just prefer Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle. Because they were better.

illnagas
illnagas

That doesn't justify this crappy hitting philosophy.

mingo
mingo

@ifti99 Not in the Minors.

This is part a problem of the system being broken for years and those who are now up have to adapt to it.

Doubleday
Doubleday

@Zac Tindall Who would you offer for Giancarlo Stanton?

Zach Goeringer
Zach Goeringer

@Zac Tindall Abreu and Dice-K have extremely little value on the trade market. No where near enough to get us anybody that will make a difference.

Zach Goeringer
Zach Goeringer

@Christopher Masiello @theglider We got David wright at a discount. A pretty comparable player offensively to David Wright is Robinson Cano. Cano hits more homers but Wright gets on base and steals more, thats the only glaring difference in stats. The other glaring difference is their salary. Cano is paid almost 10 mil more a year over a longer period of time. You want to nail David to the cross for his lack of power be my guest. But on big boy teams you have to pay people a pretty penny if you want results, a concept our franchise has conditioned our fans to often forget.

Zach Goeringer
Zach Goeringer

@TheJMan @theglider While Polanco looks like beyond the real deal, he's not established in the majors yet. We need a right away impact bat. Also Pitt isn't in rebuilding mode so we would have to put together a monster package to even make them flinch, and trading prospects for prospects is a dangerous game.

TheJMan
TheJMan

@Zach Goeringer @theglider


Granderson stinks and that one awful signing will hurt this team in so many ways.. not just in the lineup--going to affect who they can/can't sign too-- watch

Zach Goeringer
Zach Goeringer

@Doubleday Even if they continue to be productive they will not fetch us more than a couple of AAAA players. I'd start with a package of Syndergaard Degrom and Plawecki and go from there, but that probably wouldn't be close to enough.