New York Mets: Hensley Meulens is helping the food bank of his native Curacao during the pandemic

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The current, ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown people’s true colors. Whereas some of them are acting irresponsibly by not respecting health recommendations and endangering others, the rest are wisely staying at home, donating and doing other altruistic initiatives. One person in the second group is New York Mets‘ bench coach Hensley Meulens.

The Curacao native is helping out the food bank daily, in order to provide families with groceries in times of need.
Meulens is a New York Mets representative in the Caribbean, specifically in Curacao. The organization has developed a fund to help employees in need, and it has secured some sort of payment to baseball operations staffers through the end of the originally scheduled season.

Curacao has a low number of confirmed cases as of Monday, with 16. However, the economy has been severely affected by quarantine measures and lots of families are struggling to put meals in their tables.

As a result, Meulens, who lives in Curacao, has been waking up very early to assist at the food bank to prepare and deliver meals and groceries to families in the island.

“We can’t cater to all of them,” Meulens told USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale (cited by SNY), “but we’re helping out the best we can. The food bank is doing a great job. We just have to make sure people take care of their health.”

The Mets’ coach is providing a valuable contribution

The New York Mets’ coach added that Curacao “never had a disaster or catastrophe that has wiped out the economy like this has.” For an island that feeds off tourism, the income has been severely hit with virtually no traveling. Cruises, hotels, flights, restaurants and related business are shut down for the time being.

As for his role with the Mets, Meulens said that he gets in touch with Mets’ front office and coaches about once a week.

“We keep in touch with the players, making sure we care about their well-being, and that they’re staying active. But the unknown is so tough on everyone.”

“Just like baseball, we are going to get through this. I know we will. We just have to do everything we can to help each other so that when we do come back, this will make us stronger than ever before.”

New York Mets: Five Possible Replacements for Carlos Beltran

New York Mets, Terry Collins

Over the last 48 hours, controversy and rumors of Carlos Beltran stepping down from his manager position have been surrounding the New York Mets. Should Beltran leave his job, who are the best candidates to jump in and take the reigns with less than a month until Spring Training starts?

Terry Collins

His name either brings back memories of happiness or causes other Mets fans to begin to gag. Collins would be a solid choice in a one-year role while the Mets try to figure out their manager for the following season. He has a good relationship with a majority of the roster and was a key figure of bringing the Mets out of their chaos from the early part of the last decade. Collins is the latest manager to bring the Mets to the World Series and already has direct experience with the job as Mets manager.

Hensley Meulens

Meulens is currently the bench coach for the Mets and has been involved in baseball since 1985 as a player. His experience and knowledge certainly qualifies him to become the manager. Meulens has managed the Netherlands multiple times in the Summer Olympics and World Baseball Classic. Since 2010, he spent time as the hitting coach and then bench coach under Bruce Bochy in the San Francisco Giants organization. Meulens has respect from players throughout the league and speaks five different languages.

Eduardo Perez

Perez was originally one of the few remaining candidates who lost out on the Mets job. He has experience managing in Puerto Rico along with various coaching roles in the earlier part of the 2010s. As much as Perez would like the opportunity to manage, it would be hard to see him jumping out of a multi-year deal he signed to remain as an analyst on ESPN. Despite the lack of time he would have to prepare, the talent the Mets have on their roster may be too much to pass on.

Buck Showalter

Much like Collins, Showalter would be with the Mets as a short term option. His resume speaks for itself and is the most polished out of anyones on the list. Showalter’s last job with the Orioles did not end as smoothly as he wanted, and his older style of managing could be what the Mets need to get eyes focused on the product on the field, not off it. The seven names surrounding Showalter on the all-time wins list are all in the hall of fame, so he is not a wrong choice to settle on.

David Wright

The chance of Wright taking the job has to be less than one percent, but you have to make the call to ask. With all the negativity surrounding the Mets, Wright is the joyful and hopeful face fans, and the organization can rally around. Wright represents the opposite approach the Mets could take when compared to Showalter. He knows the media, the clubhouse knows and respects him. Much like Beltran, Wright is a former player with a brilliant baseball mine and exceptional leadership qualities. With all the analytics and Brodie Van Wagenen involved, how much managing would he even need to do?

The New York Mets have built a Tactically Diverse Coaching Staff

New York Mets to interview Carlos Beltran.

The New York Mets have done a phenomenal job of filling their coaching staff with diverse skill sets.

When the New York Mets fired Mickey Callaway fans were desperate for an experienced manager who would know how to lead this team into the future. Instead, the Mets hired Carlos Beltran, a person with no coaching experience whatsoever.

That has some fans scared that Beltran won’t be any better than Callaway. Specifically, they worry about his understanding of in-game tactics and his ability to take control of a locker room, not a leader among his peers but as a boss.

Mets’ fans should feel at ease knowing that the Mets built a strong staff that should help aid Beltran in every weakness he has. They have done a terrific job of bringing in coaches from a variety of different backgrounds, all of whom have different strengths. Some of whom have completely opposite opinions of how to help their players.

Those diverse ideas and strengths should only help the team grow this season. Hopefully, it helps them get where they should have been in 2019, the Playoffs.

The Natural Talent – Carlos Beltran, Manager

Carlos Beltran was considered one of the rising star managerial prospects in baseball for a reason. His natural baseball IQ and his leadership abilities have been on display for years now.

It started with the Yankees where Beltran took on a veteran leadership role and helped mentor the Yankees young players, like fellow outfielder Aaron Judge who made his debut at the end of 2016.

Beltran continued that role in Houston with the Astros where the players referred to him as another coach in the building. Carlos Correa in particular, loved Carlos Beltran and believed that he would be a fantastic manager one day.

Beltran spent the last two years with the Yankees and learned the craft from a front office and coach role. While there he learned analytics and he developed his skills as an evaluator and communicator. For example, he helped James Paxton stop tipping pitches and fix his mechanics.

This is all to say that Beltran is a natural fit as a manager. His natural connection and understanding of the game makes him a perfect fit for this young New York Mets’ team.

The Communicator – Hensley Meulens, Bench Coach

Hensley Meulens is known for his communication skills. He has been praised for it every place he has been in his career. A large reason for that is the effort Meulens goes to making himself available to speak to his players. He is the only coach in all of baseball who can speak five languages, English, Japanese, Spanish, Papiamento, and Dutch.

Being able to speak to players in their native tongue goes a long way for them. It helps build trust and a connection between the players and the staff.

Meulens will likely take the role of the clubhouse communicator for Beltran early on. Beltran still has to learn how to communicate as a boss, not as a peer or mentor. It’s a different kind of communication. Something that Meulens has experience with.

He was the Giants bench coach for two years and was the Netherlands manager for the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017. He has the experience and knowledge that Beltran will need on how to run a clubhouse.

Bringing in Meulens to fill that role is a strong choice for the Mets and their coaching staff. It should make Beltran’s transition to manager easier from a clubhouse leader standpoint.

The Old-School Hitter – Chili Davis, Hitting Coach

Chili Davis will be returning to the Mets in 2020. After a successful run with the team in 2019, the Mets were able to reach a multi-year agreement with Davis.

This should be a good thing. Something about his approach seemed to resonate with the Mets last season as many players had career years, like Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario, and JD Davis.

Davis comes with an old-school approach. He dislikes the launch angle swing and he preaches putting the ball in play. For Davis a single is better than a walk. He thinks putting the ball on the ground is a sound strategy, and he wants his player to hit the other way as much as possible.

It’s an antiquated thought process, but one that seems to have resonated with the Mets. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened either. While with the Cubs Davis made a strong connection with Javy Baez who had an MVP caliber season, however his message didn’t mesh with Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant so Davis was fired.

With the league so focused on analytics it could be nice to have a guy who is focused on finding ways to beat analytical pitchers and shifting, rather than try to out-smart them with numbers.

The Analytic Pitcher – Jeremy Hefner, Pitching Coach

Jeremy Hefner is returning to the New York Mets, and he brings his analytic approach with him. Jeremy Hefner was considered a rising star for his unbelievable understand and implementation of analytics. With the Twins, Hefner did a fantastic job of translating analytics into real strategies for their pitchers.

It led to elite results. The Twins went from a bottom-five team in the AL in pitching WAR in 2018 to a top-5 in the AL in pitching WAR in 2019. A lot of that has to do with Hefner and his ability to help his pitchers game plan around hitters.

For example, the Twins found a way to beat Pete Alonso in 2019. Alonso hit just .188/.316/.750 against the Twins. They couldn’t keep Alonso from hitting the ball loud when he hit it, but they counteracted that by making it so he only got three hits in two series. They shut down Jeff McNeil as well in 2019. McNeil hit .235/.278/.294 against the Twins.

The Mets may have won the season series against the Twins 3-1, but the Twins shut down the Mets’ big hitters. They forced everyone else in the lineup to beat them. That’s what Hefner brings to the table. The ability to help his pitchers figure out how to attack the most dangerous hitters in the opponents’ lineups and shut them down.

For a guy like Noah Syndergaard who has dominant stuff  but lacks in the mental parts of pitching, a guy like Hefner should be ideal. He can help Syndergaard build a gameplan and help him  attack batters in a smarter fashion.

Adding one of the leading analytic coaches in all of baseball is certainly a way to help your team in 2020. It should also help the New York Mets franchise in general catch up to the rest of the league in analytics. Something they have lacked for years.

New York Mets to Hire Hensley Meulens as Bench Coach

The New York Mets are set to make Hensley Meulens Carlos Beltran‘s right-hand man.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Mets are going to hire Hensley Meulens to fill their open bench coach position.

Meulens has spent his entire MLB coaching career under Bruce Bochy with the San Francisco Giants. He won three World Series with the Giants as their hitting coach. He took over as the team’s bench coach in 2018. When Bochy retired at the end of the 2019 season Meulens was not asked to return.

Rumors quickly swirled that Meulens was planning on joining the Miami Marlins’ staff. However, that didn’t work out as Meulens wanted to pursue bench coach options. He is now set to be the New York Mets’ bench coach for the 2020 season.

Meulens is praised for his ability to communicate with his players. He is the only coach in the MLB who can speak five languages, he speaks Spanish, English, Dutch, Japanese, and Papiamento.

Meulens has limited managerial experience. He was the manager of the Netherlands during the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics but has no managerial experience in full-season baseball.

Meulens worked with Carlos Beltran in 2011 during Beltran’s short time with the Giants. That familiarity likely played a large role in his being hired for this role. Meulens was the only bench coach option that was interviewed that had ever worked with Beltran at the MLB level.

Communication and comfort with you’re bench coach are key for a manager. The bench coach and the manager a tandem and work off of each other. They need to be in sync and they need to work well together.

A lot has been made about Beltran needing a bench coach who can teach him how to manage or be a coach. Meulens won’t be that guy, and he doesn’t need to be. What really matters is the dynamic that he and Beltran share.

Considering that Beltran and Meulens have a prior working relationship one should expect that they have that familiarity. Hopefully, this is a fruitful partnership for the Mets that leads this team into the future.

Hensley Meulens a “Strong Front-runner” for New York Mets Bench Coach

The New York Mets seem to have zeroed in on former Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens for the same role.

According to Andy Martino of SNY, Hensley Meulens is a strong front-runner to fill the Mets bench coach opening.

Hensley Meulens has spent his entire major league coaching career with the San Francisco Giants. He took over as the team’s hitting coach in 2010 and held that position through 2017. He was the Giants hitting coach during Mets’ manager Carlos Beltran‘s short Giants’ tenure in 2011. Prior to the 2018 season, Meulens was given a promotion to bench coach and kept the job for the last two seasons. He was not asked to return for 2020.

Meulens does have some managerial experience. He was the manager of the Netherlands for the World Baseball Classic in both 2013 and 2017. Despite having just five major league players on his roster in 2013, Meulens squad reached the finals but lost to the Dominican Republic. His team showed similar grit in 2017 when they lost to Puerto Rico in 11 innings in the semi-finals.

Meulens is the first player or coach from the small nation of Curacao. He’s also the only coach in the majors who speaks five languages, English, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Papiamento. He is often praised for his ability to communicate with every player he works with.

Meulens is an interesting choice for Beltran’s right hand man. He has no prior major league managerial experience, nor does he have experience with the managing a bullpen or double switching. The things that many NL managers often find difficult to manage, especially first time managers.

However, Meulens does have prior experience with Beltran and did work under future Hall-of-Fame manager Bruce Bochy for a decade. He won three World Series with the Giants as the team’s hitting coach.

What this role really comes down to is Beltran’s connection to the candidate. He needs a lieutenant who he connects with and feels comfortable with in every facet of the game. The manager and bench coach are a pair and need to work as such. If Beltran feels that connection with Meulens that’s all that really matters.