The Mets run differential this season is bad. Run differential is a simple baseball stat that gives a quick indication of the quality of a team. Run differential is just a matter of subtraction. Take the number of runs a team has scored, subtract the number of runs the team has allowed, and you get their run differential.
The run differential is positive if a team scores more runs than it allows, and negative if a team allows more runs than it scores. Early in the season, a blowout game, like the 23-5 loss to the Nationals on April 30th, can alter the predictive accuracy of run differential. But over the course of the season it can be a useful stat.
Mets Run Differential
As of September 1st, the Mets run differential ranks 11th out of the 15 teams in the National League with a -77. Last season the Mets run differential was +54, good for 6th best in the league. In 2015, when they went to the World Series, it was +70, 5th best.
Despite hitting the most home runs of any team in the National League, the Mets rank 10th out of 15 teams in total runs scored. This is just slightly better than last season, when they ranked 11th despite hitting the 2nd most home runs. We wrote back in February that the Mets needed to improve their run scoring. Hitting a bunch of solo home runs wouldn’t be enough.
They hit plenty of home runs again this season. But put simply, the Mets didn’t have enough table setters getting on base. They rank 13th in hits and 12th in on base percentage. Lacking speed for much of the season, they have had trouble manufacturing runs by taking an extra base or stealing a base. After finishing last season ranked 14th in stolen bases, this year they are dead last in the league.
Despite Jacob deGrom’s best efforts, the Mets pitching ranks near the bottom of the league in almost every category. It’s no secret that this team was built around pitching. The Mets would go only as far as the staff could carry it. The devastating injuries to the starting rotation and closer Jeurys Familia dramatically affected the season’s outcome.
How big a fall has it been? The Mets pitching is 13th in home runs given up. All those home runs weren’t solo shots either. Because the team pitching ranks 14th in hits allowed and 13th in walks issued. It all adds up, as the Mets rank next to last in total runs allowed. As a stark comparison, last year they ranked 3rd in runs allowed.
What Run Differential Means
When using run differential, sabermatricians have figured out that roughly 10 runs equals one win. A .500 season is 81 wins. So if a team wants to get to 91 wins they need to pick up another ten wins. Since one win is equivalent to 10 runs, then that team needs to be around the +100 mark for run differential (10 games times 10 runs).
It works the other way too. Take the run differential, divide it by 10, and add that number to a .500 win record. So take the Mets run differential of -77 and divide it by 10. That gives you -7.7, rounded to a -8. So the Mets final record should be 81 minus 8 which gives a final won-loss record of 73-89.
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