As the New York Mets embark on a 10-game road trip Thursday in Atlanta, it’s important for baseball bettors to remember that this offense has a chance to be very good away from Citi Field in 2019.
It was true in 2018 despite a widespread national impression that the Mets couldn’t hit.
Mets 2018 Offensive Stats
Road: 4.96 runs/game, .331 on-base, .421 slugging
Home: 3.38 runs/game, .292 on-base, .354 slugging
Looking only at ROAD games for all 15 National League teams, the Mets finished third in runs, second in on-base percentage, and fourth in slugging. They were an ELITE offensive team when not stuck at home. (The Yankees finished 2018 with comparable road numbers of 4.91 runs/game, .314 on-base percentage, and a .430 slugging percentage, while using a designated hitter!)
Citi Field is a pitcher’s park. In 2018, it performed as an extreme pitcher’s park, reducing offense by 27%, doubles by 36%, triples by 24%, hits by 16%, and home runs by 11% according to the “MLB Park Factors” page at ESPN.com.
Playing 81 games in a tough scoring environment (relative to the rest of the Majors) can create illusions about offensive and pitching skill sets. VSiN reported on this angle for you often last season. It may be a hot topic through 2019 as well.
New York’s runs-per-game scoring from low to high through six road games this season: 2-5-6-6-7-11.
Only one bad game. An average of 6.17 runs per game with a median of six. That’s volume and consistency in Washington and Miami.
Obviously, there are some new faces in the lineup that might alter the dynamic. But three hitters who played the most games for the Mets in 2018 are still prominent. Note that shortstop Amed Rosario batted .303 on the road last season, right fielder Michael Conforto hit 17 road homers while slugging .514, and center fielder Brandon Nimmo hit .288 on the road while outslugging Conforto with a .522 mark.
There’s no way early road records of 5-1 straight up and 5-1 to the Over will hold up percentage-wise. But, smart handicappers will be looking for ways to exploit a dangerous Mets offense in neutral or good scoring conditions. And, if early reports about baseball construction turn out to be true (as discussed earlier this week), this Mets offense might consistently light up the scoreboard anywhere with “juiced” balls.
Something for you to monitor on this current trip. The Mets play four games in Atlanta through the weekend, then three in Philadelphia Monday through Wednesday, followed by three in St. Louis next weekend.
An unlucky break for the Mets in terms of the divisional race to play 15 of their first 21 games on the road. The hitters may not mind! For sports bettors, that quirky early schedule might limit the market window for this opportunity. If the Mets keep scoring six runs per road game, the betting market isn’t going to take several weeks to notice.