There’s this guy in New York that has been playing first base for about two weeks now. He struggled in his first few plate appearances (the first of which came on June 12th). Pinch hitting and showing up only late in the game, he had three straight plate appearances with nothing to show for it.
But he didn’t let that discourage himself. The next game he played in, he got the start. In five plate appearances, he went 1-3 with two walks. His next three games were all brief appearances in pinch hit/substitution situations, however he again had two hits and a walk in those three games, reaching base each time up.
From then on, Satin has started every game. On the season, he is .375/.500/.500. over 40 plate appearances. In addition, he is walking at a 20% rate. To put that in some sort of frame of reference, Joey Votto, debatably the best hitter in the league, with keener eyesight than a hawk, is walking at a 16.2% rate.
In only 14 games, Satin already has a WAR of .5, which is an incredible feat. One could argue that he is new and pitchers don’t know how to pitch him, and I’d believe you if Satin was pounding the ball every which way. The thing is though, it’ll probably only get tougher to pitch to him. He isn’t the kind of batter that gets figured out. He’ll continue to be a contact guy with a great eye at the plate. The reason he is walking in almost every game is because he controls his own strike zone, and won’t go out of his way fishing for bad pitches. This in turn makes pitchers throw better pitches to him, and that’s where his hits (along with four doubles) come from. He doesn’t swing for the fences. If the ball reaches the fence, it’s because he put some solid lumber on a good pitch to hit. Otherwise, he sits and waits making the pitcher do the work for him. That is why Satin has the potential to be a dangerous hitter. He control’s his plate.
Another thing to look at: in the 14 games Satin has played in, the Mets are 8-6. It certainly could be coincidence. But I’d have to disagree with that as well, for the simple reason that base runners = runs. That’s the driving factor behind the sabermetrics ideology, which is slowly gaining ground and taking over from the traditionalist theories. Simply put, the best way to put runs on the board is to have a runner on base, and when you’re getting on base at a .500 clip like Satin is, that’s going to correlate to runs.
Satin gets into the mix, he gets on base, he makes pitchers work harder than they’d like to, and he takes pitches causing him to get better pitches to hit. And he isn’t a defensive liability. Basically, he’s going to get the team in a good position to score runs, and that’s how you win games, and for that reason, the Mets should do what they can to keep him around, regardless of what happens when Duda is healthy again, and when Davis’ eventual call-up inevitably takes place.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Baron