Mets By The Numbers: 2004 Predictions

There are many "hidden" stats that Mets' fans might not be aware of that give some insights on how to carefully project the performances of several of the Mets' hitters for the 2004 season. Take a look with Matt to see which stats to keep an eye on this season.

Mike Piazza

14 – The average number of at-bats between Piazza's home runs in 2001 - his last .300-30 HR-100 RBI season.

15 – The average number of at-bats between Piazza's home runs during games played in April and May of last season, before his groin injury and while surrounded in the lineup by former All-Stars.

30 - The average number of at-bats between Piazza's home runs during games played in August and September of last season, long after Roberto Alomar and Jeremy Burnitz were sent packing, and after Mo Vaughn, Jose Reyes and Cliff Floyd went down with injuries.

10 – The number of Major League seasons played by Johnny Bench prior to his last great year, in 1977.

12 – The number of seasons Piazza has played in the Major Leagues.

.318 – Piazza's batting average last season with runners on base.

.260 – Piazza's batting average last season with nobody on base.

Conclusion: As long as Cliff Floyd and Mike Cameron remain healthy, and one of either Kaz Matsui and Jose Reyes consistently get on base, there is no reason to believe, regardless of his age, that Mike Piazza can't match the hitting pace of his successful seasons from the last few years.

2004 Projections for Mike Piazza: .290 AVG – 30 HR - 90 RBI – 50 BB – 80 SO – 0 SB

Jason Phillips

.014 – The difference between Phillips' batting average against right-handed pitchers, .294, as opposed to left handed pitchers, .308.

.314 – Phillips' 2003 batting average in games played prior to September.

.217 – Phillips' 2003 batting average in September.

62 – Percentage of time that Phillips successfully drove in a runner from third with less than two outs.

Conclusion: Jason Phillips is a natural hitter - it's what he does. The long Major League season took a physical toll on him in 2003, much as it does with all rookies. Knowing he is the Mets' starting 1B entering the season, a full year under his belt, appropriate conditioning and a sense of familiarity with National League pitchers and his new position should all lead to a consistent and productive season for the man with the funky goggles.

2004 Projections for Jason Phillips: .290 AVG – 15 HR - 75 RBI – 40 BB – 60 SO – 0 SB

Jose Reyes

20 – The number of years Reyes has been alive - unreal!

.407 – Reyes' batting average during the seven games in 2003 that he played with both Mike Piazza and Cliff Floyd in the lineup, a week the Mets went 5-0.

3 – The number of times Reyes has injured his hamstring in the last year.

.367 – Reyes' batting average with runners on base during 2003.

.096 – Difference in points between Reyes' on base percentage against right handed pitchers, .363, versus left handed pitchers, .267.

Conclusion: The bad news is that Reyes will likely continue to struggle against left-handed pitching, as he has yet to show signs of keeping his shoulder in on his swing from the right side of the plate. The good news is that of the 20 starting pitchers between the Phillies, Expos, Braves and Marlins, only five are lefty, with only one on the Expos and Marlins combined. The biggest surprise to Reyes' offensive ability was the poise and productivity he showed with runners on base – with a speedy Matsui batting ahead of him, Reyes should have plenty of chances for RBI. The only barrier between a potential All-Star season and a tremendous disappointment for Reyes' first full season in the big leagues is the youngster's health.

2004 Projections for Jose Reyes: .280 AVG – 12 HR - 85 RBI – 30 BB – 90 SO – 30 SB

Kaz Matsui

10 – The percentage of plate appearances that Kaz struck out in Japan during the 2000 season.

13 – The percentage of plate appearances that Kaz struck out in Japan during the 2001 season.

17 – The percentage of plate appearances that Kaz struck out in Japan during the 2002 season.

18 – The percentage of plate appearances that Kaz struck out in Japan last season.

Conclusion: Kaz has speed. Kaz makes contact. Kaz swings at a lot of pitches, and can't seem to stop. So far this spring, Kaz has more strikeouts than hits. Therefore, it is safe to assume his increasing tendency to strikeout, which began four full seasons ago, will continue at Shea in 2004. Kaz will also need to adjust to hitting on grass, a surface he played on very rarely while in Japan – Kaz will play only ten games on turf with the Mets in 2004. Due to the strikeouts, lack of infield turf-seekers and his adjustment to MLB pitching, Kaz will likely have many games with a stat line reading: 0-3, 2 SO, SF, 1 RBI. Met fans may find themselves restless during Kaz's calibration to the United States, but they will see him contribute to run production in ways that would make Whitey Herzog quite proud, by rattling pitchers on the base paths, making brilliant defensive plays, slap sacrifice hits and overall spunkiness.

2004 Projections for Kaz Matsui: .280 AVG – 15 HR - 70 RBI – 40 BB – 130 SO – 20 SB

Ty Wigginton

1 – The number of months, out of eight, that Wigginton has hit over .300 during his Major League career.

5 – The number of minor league seasons that Wigginton hit more than 20 home runs.

4.62 – The average number of at-bats between strikeouts for Wigginton in 2003.

.188 – Wigginton's batting average after a 2-2 count.

31 – The number of men to play 3B for the Mets since 1995.

6 – The number of triples hit by Wigginton in 2003 - tied for first amongst all 3B.

.377 – Wigginton's on base percentage against left-handed pitchers.

.295 – Wigginton's on base percentage against right-handed pitchers.

Conclusion: Until Ty Wigginton learns to control his swing during at-bats when he falls behind deep in the count, and until he can improve his ability to hit right-handed pitching, which he will see significantly more of than left-handers, his offensive numbers will always remain average, something that may begin to weigh on Wigginton as David Wright continues to improve. In terms of production, however, his speed and aggressiveness on the bath paths will make him well worth his salt.

2004 Projections for Ty Wigginton: .265 AVG – 20HR - 70 RBI – 40 BB – 100 SO – 10 SB

Check out Matthew Cerrone's website at

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