Mets beat reporter Anthony DiComo recently introduced Mets fans to Bases Per Out (BPO), a statistic used within the Mets organization to help guide their offensive approach at the plate >> Read more at MLB.com.
Maggie Wiggin, Contributor
We don’t know the exact formula, but BPO is likely similar to OPS – doubles weighted more than singles or walks, triples more than doubles, etc. with penalties for outs. This season, according to DiComo, the team is explicitly tying this metric to bonuses, so players receive higher bonuses the more bases they collect with decreases for making outs.
The ultimate goal is to move beyond “swing at strikes, not at balls,” he explains, and take it one step further: swing at good strikes, the ones you can hit with authority, which should result in better contact.
David Wright and Lucas Duda are worth looking at when trying to understand the team’s approach at the plate, Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens told MetsBlog.
“I haven’t received the totals for the month yet, but those two exemplify the approach,” he said.
Looking at some statistics, we can see that Duda and Wright both swing at a below-average number of pitches outside the zone.
Wright has a higher contact rate than Duda, because he’s an exceptionally good hitter, but both make hard contact. Since the start of 2013, they have the highest OBP of any Mets regular position players, as well as some of the highest ISOs (isolated power), suggesting that this is a successful approach for them.
As for the rest of the team, it’s harder to pinpoint how well the organizational philosophy is sinking on. On one hand, going back to 2013, they have league-average rates of swinging at pitches in — as opposed to out of — the strike zone, as well as about league-average contact rates, which would suggest this isn’t having much of an impact. On the other hand, the team has fielded an arguably below-average collection of players, so it may be that this approach is making them better than they would be otherwise.
It’s also important to look at what is happening in the minor leagues, where players are still developing and potentially more capable of learning new habits. Hitters in the minors are scored on a simple point-based system that rewards good pitch recognition.
It’s unlikely that the organization’s technique is radically different from the 29 other teams, all of whom are looking for good pitches to hit, and ultimately all approaches are limited by the inherent skill of the players available. But this inside look into the team’s values, philosophies, and practical applications is a unique opportunity to understand not just what the team wants, but how they intend to get it.