Ankiel was dreadful with Houston this year, hitting .194/.231/.484 with 35 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances before he was released last Thursday. Oh, small sample size you say? Sure, but no. His 90 OPS+ is actually higher than his full season total in 2011 or 2012.
Since the start of the 2009 season, covering his age 29-33 seasons, Ankiel has “hit” .232/.292/.388 with strikeouts in 28% of his plate appearances. Remarkably, that’s worse than the Mets’ cumulative 2013 outfield production of .223/.302/.392.
The last time Ankiel was an above average MLB hitter: 2008 when he hit .264/.337/.506 with 25 homers in 120 games for the Cardinals.
Ankiel can play the outfield a little bit, but a cumulative reading of the advanced metrics suggest he is below average. Total Zone puts him a few runs above average per 150 games for his career. That result seems driven by an improbable +14 overall and +21/150 games for Washington in centerfield in 2011. UZR has him -7.8 for his career and -2.7/150. Defensive runs saved has him -6 for his career in centerfield and -2/150 games.
Ankiel becomes the fourth left-handed hitting outfielder on the Mets, joining Lucas Duda, Mike Baxter, and Jordany Valdespin.
Adding Ankiel will take playing time away from left-handed hitting outfield options like Baxter, Valdespin and even Kirk Nieuwenhuis if he ever makes it back to Queens. This is bad. The idea should be to play the younger to see if they can you know, play.
So, why did the Mets just sign Rick Ankiel?