Commentary: Can HoJo really have an impact?

HoJo: How effective can he be really?

HoJo: How effective can he be really?

Howard Johnson is back as Mets’ hitting coach, which is fine by me because I enjoy talking with him. However, I’m not so sure things will be any different next year, and I wonder whether it is because of the same hitting coach or the same players.

I’m thinking the latter.

I hitting coach can go over film and mechanics with a hitter, but once he’s in the box, that guy is on his own and he’d better know what to do.

Every situation calls for a specific fundamental approach.

-It begins with getting on base, and it doesn’t matter how. Take the damn walk. And, this includes everybody, not just Jose Reyes, who fails to work the count. When they win and the offense clicks, David Wright likes to say, “we kept the line moving.” Well …. ? Why don’t they have that approach all the time. The Mets wasted way too many at-bats last year, and that starts with the approach by the hitter, who should have learned what to do in high school.

-Runner on second, no outs, hit the ball to the right side of the infield.

-Runner on third, less than two outs, hit a fly ball.

This isn’t brain surgery, it’s baseball.

Reyes need to bunt more, increase his walks and decrease his strikeouts. He needs to hit the ball on the ground. … Carlos Delgado must discover left field more than he does. … By his own admission, Wright must learn to relax and not try to do it all when runners are in scoring position.

Johnson is there to remind the players and work with them on mechanics, but it’s up to the players to be thinking the right approach. Johnson can remind them, but it’s up to Jerry Manuel from Day One in spring training to harp on them what to do.

31 thoughts on “Commentary: Can HoJo really have an impact?

  1. Its all about the players. If they can change and play as a team.

    Can this group change and play team ball and not me ball? Its not all bad they did score the 2nd most runs in the NL. It seems that when it matters most they can’t get it done. Are they trying to do too much with one swing? With more production from RF,LF and 2nd are we even talking about the HC or clutch hitting ? Where did the Mets OF rank in production Ly?

  2. Lots of points Delcos. I agree with you The bottom line for HoJo is that the hitting coach works on a guy’s technique and helps him out of a slump by studying film and working with the guy. The smarts to move a runner along I don’t think its on any hitting coach at the MLB level.
    As for Reyes, indeed he needs to bunt more. That’s not on the hitting coach. Reyes knows how to bunt, he just refuses to do it. Working the count. He’s better then when he was a rookie but he seems to have stopped improving. Again this is on him.
    Delgado. He’s 37 Is a vet with a career of HRs going to change? Its on him, not the coach.
    Wright. Wright was a more fundamentally sound hitter a couple years ago. He has become pull happy and hits to right far less than he used to. I do agreee he presses and that mental outlook goes away if he returns to the attitude of hit the ball where pitched that he has lost. So why does he press? In theory you would think that last year when Delgado got hot, Wright would have stopped pressing but it didn’t happen. Is he trying to be the savior of the team? He needs much more than a hitting coach to help his mind set.

  3. The Mets have to stop playing for the big inning and just let big innings happen.

    Moving the runner over.. base hits.. situational hitting leads to big innings. When you’re in the box trying to pound home runs or triples to clear the bases, you’re not going to get things done.

    Singles, doubles, hit and runs and moving the runners over every inning is how you build big leads.

  4. The team, in less than two years, has gone from one that had power yet played small-ball to an Earl Weaver-like club.

    Sit and wait for the three-run homer. Where are all the hit and runs? Where’s the sacrificing from the no. 2 hitter or hitting to the the right side when Reyes is on 2B with no one out?

    Thankfully Manuel spoke about such things a few weeks ago, but this team needs to get back to FORCING THE ISSUE.

    The problem with this club since ’06 is they’ve just sat back and waited for it.

  5. JD- couldnt agree more… look at the rays last night
    2nd and 3rd no out,
    not only does pena do his job by just hitting a ground ball, he gets it to the right side moving the runner on 2nd to 3rd which allowed longora to drive in a run by getting another productive out

    “doing your job” hitting at its finest

  6. JD- i believe this will improve next yr for the mets…manuel seemed to think its a huge deal (which it is) and i see him getting in the players (and hojo’s) ear if it is not done early and often

  7. Some of it might also be a question of strategy.

    Case in point: how many times did Reyes get a single or a walk with less than 2 out, then get bunted over to 2nd & attempt to steal 3rd?

    I railed at this every time it happened. Why not let him steal 2nd, THEN bunt him to 3rd??????

  8. CharlieH (7): You’re inside my head, buddy. Every time I see that I just want to scream. If you’re going to give up an out for a base, make that base third whenever possible.-JD

  9. I’ll probably get torn apart for this, but I don’t see how the offense was a problem. Yes, we left some guys on base but comparing the numbers, both overall and the “clutch” splits, we were pretty much equal with Philadelphia across the board.

    The difference? When the Phillies scored their runs, their bullpen held it. When we did, they blew it.

    I’m glad HoJo is back and I don’t think anything from last year was really his doing…

  10. The Mets played yankee ball under willie and it’s going to take some time to de- program them from stationary base to base look for the one big hit.

    i agree they all looked to be a hero with a homerun, but they also weren’t forced to push the issue….

    The fund. hitting is what bothered me and I question bringing hojo back: no one could bunt, hit behind the runner or lift the ball for a fly ball RBI…

  11. Bryan (9):

    I agree w/you. Even though the Mets seemed to have a problem producing runs late in the game, they were second to the Cubs in runs scored. (stat from

    It’s all about pitching for the Mets.

    I’m in the minority on this, but I think both Sanchez and Heilman will be better next year. I’d also like to see Kunz and Parnell get chances early in the season.

  12. stationary Mets?? didn’t the stationary Randolph Mets lead the league in stolen bases.
    2007 NY METS 200 SBs, first in ML
    2006 NY METS 144 first in NL, 2nd in ML.
    2005 NY METS 153 first in NL, 2nd in ML

    Yankee ball,,,hardly… You may hate Willie but don’t make things up that just aren’t so.

  13. Harry,

    not making it up it’s an opinion there were no facts…..But with the speed they have on this team they weren’t stealing like they should have aside from Jose…. But I was more talking about small ball like the Angels play aggressivness on the base path and in the batters box….i dont hate Willie but I disliked the way he ran the offense….

  14. Bunting, first to third, stealing third, hit and run, trying for second constant pressure on the pithcer alot of things Jerry said the team got away from and that he was going to instill in spring training…..Stealing bases isn’t the only thing that differs an american league style stationary team from a traditional national league small ball ( although the Angels play it well)

  15. As with everything baseball it is the whole deal.

    The players need to produce. the coaches need to drill fundamentals and implement strategy.

    i hope jerry stresses fundamental skills in the offseason and spring.

    i hope the team gets a bench. if the players give it up in the field or the plate someone who will work the plan should play in his place.

    it worked for delgado last year..

    there is no competition on this team in part because of injuries and in part because of the one dimensional players who litter the bench.

    can i also list one of my pet peaves and say the pen needs to include guys who can pitch to more than one hitter?

  16. Bryan in CA got it right. No doubt they struggled some in big spots, but they scored enough runs this season, period. It’s all on the pen, plain and simple.

    Next year, however, you have to worry about Delgado. I don’t think he can do it again. Keep in mind he hit .204, .229, .248, and .258 for 4 months of the season. He proved me wrong by being this team’s MVP in my opinion; I hope he can do it again, but I’m skeptical.

  17. With the Holliday rumors, what are the chances we bring him in? Who do you think it would take? I think he’d take a lot of pressure off of D-Wright and, in a lot of ways, they’re similar players. We sometimes don’t think about the fact that Wright was really the only serious right hander in our lineup – that’s quite a bit of pressure when we face off against lefties.

    What about something like Niese, Murphy/F-Mart, heilman? Would that be enough?

    I think we need to think about the fact that Tatis and Delgado of 2009 will not be Tatis and Delgado of 2008, so if we want our offense to stay the same, we need to make some big additions.

  18. We do will not get rid of Murphy, please NOOOO. Holliday is great but is a free agent after next year so I say just give the FMART and Parnell.

  19. Seriously I think if the Mets get Holliday the payroll will be so high, because we will only trade for him if we get a contract done. This would hurt us in getting the pieces we need in the bullpen and Starting rotation.

  20. Seriously, who cares about payroll? I mean, really, I have no idea why we fans give a crap. But, even so, we have 35-40MM coming off the books this year, Wagner and Delgado will be another 23MM coming off next year, we can afford to pick up Holliday and give him an extension. We can also afford to pick up some bullpen and starting pitching.

  21. Holliday would be great but the farm system is thin and it makes no sense to trade for a guy ( agent Scott Boras ) who you have no chance to sign to an extension.

    As far as payroll goes. The Mets do have a budget. It is a lot bigger than KC or Tampa but this is not fantasy baseball.
    So I understand why fans talk about payroll.

  22. I don’t usually agree with Scott from Pelham but Scott Boras does not give extensions with any of his clients. The Boras game is to wait until free agency and let the bidding begin.
    And besides that, this team has proven that it has no depth and needs to build a farm syatem to be able to have guys ready when there are injuries. A move to get an outfielder and further deplete this farm would be a huge mistake. And if having Beltran and Delgado behind Wright doesn’t take off the pressure adding someone else won’t do it either.

  23. It’s a different story when a trade is involved – the Mets wouldn’t make the trade unless the negotiating window is a part of it.

  24. That would mean nobody would then trade for Holliday because no way does Boras let him sign an extension w/o hitting the market.