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.