State of the Mets: The Weak Hitting First Baseman

There is a notion amongst baseball fans, particularly those who get the majority of their baseball knowledge from fantasy leagues and stats, that it is a requirement to have a strong offensive player at first base.  What they fail to realize is that this is simply a side-effect of the steroid era, when gigantic, muscle bound monsters that were unable to maneuver in the field were stashed at first for the sake of keeping their bats in the lineup.  The drawback to this was a bevy of poor play on the team’s infield.  In a park like Shea Stadium, where a home run is unlikely no matter who the hitter is, this theory makes even less sense.  Runs are way too valuable…

In Doug Mientkiewicz, the Mets have a guy that has saved significantly more runs in the field than he has cost the team at the plate.  As we all know, the Mets are short a few wins this season not because they need more home runs in the middle of their lineup, but because several players have hurt them on defense in critical spots.  Without Mientkiewicz, they’d have been hurt more…

Is Mientkiewicz the long-term solution at first base?  Probably not.  Could he be?  Well, they could do worse offensively, and can’t do better defensively.  How he affects the team as a whole will probably determine his future.  If he and David Wright, Jose Reyes and the team’s second baseman of the future gel, and form a cohesive unit that functions like clock work, what Mientkiewicz brings to the plate will be irrelevant.  A concrete infield is very underrated…

Until his offensive troubles become the reason the team loses, there is no reason why anyone should be talking about replacing Mientkiewicz on the Mets…