How surging Mets renewed their focus and approach since closed-door team meeting

Pete Alonso has kept a journal about his baseball exploits since his days at the University of Florida.

Alonso's notes began on flashcards as a member of the Gators between 2014 and 2016. These days, the Mets first baseman seeks out a writing surface to scrawl his thoughts following games. At Citi Field, Alonso stations himself on the ping-pong table adjacent to his locker.

Lately, the once-solitary writing session has sometimes morphed into what Alonso calls a "Socratic seminar" about hitting. Francisco Lindor helps lead the sessions.

"It's something that we’re trying to establish to have more conversations," Lindor said. "Talk about the game, talk about the routine, talk about different things, how the game went, how we wish we would attack certain pitches differently and make the adjustments, win or lose."

Jun 14, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) at bat against the San Diego Padres during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 14, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) at bat against the San Diego Padres during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a steady stream of dialogue between the Mets' hitters and coaching staff since the team hit rock bottom following a three-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers on May 29. As the Mets dropped to 22-33, Lindor called a closed-door team meeting, opening the floor for discussion. Members of the team preached the need to assess each of their owned processes and hold each other accountable.

"I know there's a lot of analytics and numbers and stuff, but I think for us players it's a bunch of guys just really dedicated to their craft having different perspective and different skillsets," Alonso said. "It's really nice to hear feedback and have that different perspective in order to help get to the common goal, which is play well individually and collectively so we can so we can get wins."

Changes in process

Jun 12, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) reacts after hitting a solo home run during the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins on June 12, 2024, at Citi Field.
Jun 12, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) reacts after hitting a solo home run during the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins on June 12, 2024, at Citi Field.

More than three weeks since the team voiced their intentions, there has been a greater attention to detail across the team, hitting coach Jeremy Barnes said.

The Mets are 13-4 since their team meeting, including their latest seven-game win streak which continued following a dramatic 7-6 comeback win over the Rangers on Tuesday. They've averaged 5.7 runs per game in those games. By comparison, the Orioles led Major League Baseball with 5.1 runs per game.

"We’re trying to go around and vocalize what it is that we're going to do," Barnes said. "And making sure that we're saying out loud what it is that we want to do. We're putting it out there, letting everyone know, so that way, if I say 'I'm only going to swing it curveballs,' then I go swing at fastballs all night, everyone knows what you've already said."

For the last two seasons, Nimmo has been meeting with Barnes on a near-monthly basis to discuss areas of offense where the Mets outfielder wants to improve and things that have been working. Those are more conversations that will be had throughout the team moving forward.

"We don't want to be too reactive after like a couple of days or weeks," Barnes said. "Things need to kind of like build in hitting. And so yeah, we try to sit down at least once a month and really make sure that everything's moving in the right direction."

The results that have followed

New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo (9) reacts after hitting a single against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning on June 16, 2024, at Citi Field.
New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo (9) reacts after hitting a single against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning on June 16, 2024, at Citi Field.

The Mets' care has helped set the tone for the offense in recent weeks.

Since being moved to the top of the lineup, Lindor is slashing .315/.384/.541 with five home runs, 15 RBI, 10 doubles and 21 runs. In the month of June, he has a .937 OPS with three home runs and seven RBI. For Barnes, he's seen better timing and fluidity.

"Your body doesn’t feel the same every single day, so yeah, there's adjustments to be made throughout the season," Lindor said. "Every single day you got to make adjustments. Just so happened I got hot at the time that they put me in a lead off, it’s part of it. I’ve just got to continue to do my job, get on base and score runs."

Since snapping out of a 2-for-37 stretch with a multi-hit game on May 6, Alonso is slashing .271/.340/.507 with seven home runs, 23 RBI, 13 doubles and 20 runs. Barnes said Alonso has worked on being more direct to the ball. He belted the go-ahead RBI double in Tuesday's win.

The metrics suggest a stronger season than Nimmo has seen to this point. He is in the top seven percent in expected weighted on-base average and his 48.6 hard-hit rate in the top 14 percent of MLB. Nimmo closed the opening two months with a .214 batting average and .728 OPS. In the month of June, the Mets outfielder is posting a .861 OPS with one home run, three doubles, 10 RBI and 10 runs.

Nearly one month ago, the Mets collectively preached the process offensively. Now, they are beginning to see results.

"You've seen definitely, I think, better all-around at-bats and better just team approach, as far as just keep pressing on 'em, keep pressing on 'em until that dam finally breaks," Nimmo said. "It's been good to see the tangible difference. But we know it's a long season and there's a lot of ups and downs that come along with the offense, but been happy with how we've gone since that point."

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NY Mets team meeting: New approach key to lineup's success

Advertisement