PORT ST. LUCIE: Home runs have been at a premium for the New York Mets this spring.
After finishing third in the majors with 39 spring training home runs in 2015, the Mets have hit only 12 this March. Only the Miami Marlins (nine) have hit fewer.
“You kind of have to gauge it on what kind of conditions we’re playing in,” Mets hitting coach Kevin Long said. “If the wind is blowing out, we should hit some homers. If its blowing in, we probably shouldn’t. I think it’s probably about where it should be.
“I like where we’re at. I think we’ve had some pretty good at-bats throughout the spring. I’ve really liked our plate discipline. We could probably be a little better with guys in scoring position, but that comes with at-bats and just getting back into it. I think everybody feels comfortable and ready to go.”
With the Mets playing their final Grapefruit League game of the spring Wednesday against the Washington Nationals, Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud have yet to hit a home run.
Michael Conforto leads the Mets with two home runs. David Wright, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker and Juan Lagares each have hit one.
Granderson said he’s not worried about his power numbers during the spring.
“My first spring, in ‘06, I hit like (five) home runs and I was like, ‘Oh man!’ I knew I wasn’t going to do that in the season,” Granderson said. “I think I hit maybe 19 during the season. That’s’ the only spring training) I remember because (Grapefruit League games were) new and exciting.
“I do remember my first spring with the Yankees (in 2010). I didn’t hit a home run and guys were asking, ‘Who’s this guy we got? I thought he could hit home runs.’ But then I homered in my first at-bat against the Boston Red Sox and everybody said, ‘That’s what we were looking for.’
“It’s more of a feel (for me),” Granderson said. “Am I swinging at strikes? Am I able to put what I feel is my ‘A’ swing on the ball? Am I getting good contact? After that, I don’t care. I’m pretty sure if you asked everyone what their numbers are, I’m sure they wouldn’t know.”
D’Arnaud, who hit .268 with 12 home runs last season, has no clue what his spring statistics are. For that matter, he doesn’t check his numbers once the regular season starts either.
“I take it day-by-day and try to have a good at-bat every at-bat,” d’Arnaud said. “You waste one at-bat a week, that’s 40 at-bats you waste (a year). If you waste two, that’s 80. I’m just trying to minimize wasting at-bats and take care of every at-bat.”
The New York Mets hitters ranked among the best the majors in most offensive categories in 2015. This spring they rank near the bottom.
Category 2015 to 2016
Batting average .281 (sixth) .264 (24th)
Home runs 39 (third) 12 (29th)
Runs 181 (fourth) 120 (25th)
Hits 319 (fourth) 238 (21st)
Slugging percentage .468 (second) .363 (29th).