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Mets’ hitting improving after hiring new coaches

Mets' hitting improving after hiring new coaches

Patience, patience, patience.

One week into the regime of new hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum and assistant Kevin Howard, the Mets are focused on swinging at strikes. And if that approach happens to create walks, the players will take them.

Though the offense is still largely waiting to break out, there is no arguing with the five-game winning streak the Mets will take into Tuesday’s game against the Orioles at Citi Field. During the winning streak, the Mets have averaged 4.8 runs.

“Overall, the big thing that Hugh and Kevin brought to our attention was we were one of the top teams in chase and swinging outside the zone,” Michael Conforto said. “That was one of the big things, they came in saying, ‘Let’s just shrink the zone a little bit, let’s make sure we’re getting out on pitches that are in the zone or we’re getting hits, swinging the bat on pitches that are in the zone.’ ”

The by-product has been walks. The Mets have averaged 6.6 during the winning streak, a surge from their 3.33 per game previously.

Last week, the team fired hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant Tom Slater, with acting general manager Zack Scott citing a need to improve the process and preparation for the hitters.

“The quality of the at-bats has been a little more consistent, you can say that, but it’s been a point of focus since Day 1,” manager Luis Rojas said. “We have been real good offensively in the last two years, but to see the chase rate high was a little bit concerning, because the guys are not like that. And then along with that, it was the swing and miss percentage, it was also high.”

Conforto was quick to caution that Davis and Slater were aware of the team’s chase rate, even if it wasn’t necessarily a front-burner issue.

New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto #30 doubles during the fourth inning
Michael Conforto and the Mets are seeing some payoff after a change in hitting coaches.
Robert Sabo

“But I would say that is the only thing I could probably say [Quattlebaum and Howard] really brought in,” Conforto said. “Other than that, these guys are here to work. They are here to help us every single day. They are doing a great job coming into the early part of the season. We miss our guys, Chili and Slate, but this is baseball. The change was made and we have got to move forward. I think we’re starting to swing the bats a little bit better.”

Conforto is among the Mets players showing recent life at the plate. But others, such as Francisco Lindor, James McCann and Jeff McNeil, are still waiting to get on track offensively. Two other key lineup components, Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis, are on the injured list.

“No one has really hit that hot streak that we know each of our guys is capable of,” Conforto said. “Maybe Nimmo in the very early part of the season, he was locked in. We expect him to come back and do the same things he was doing when he was healthy, but top to bottom all our guys have the ability to change the game, to go 4-for-4, to hit a couple of homers.

“Those are the kinds of things we are looking forward to seeing and we feel it can be any one of our nine guys out there. I think that time is coming, but we just haven’t gotten there yet.”

About the author

Evan Lewis

With a knack for storytelling, Evan started News Brig about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the Sports,, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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