Let’s assess what we have here, shall we?
I wanted to keep this all about the players. So, while Mickey Callaway and Brodie van Wagenen are certainly deserving of criticism, they won’t be mentioned here.
Without further ado.
It’s impossible to construct a sentence which includes the terms “Mets” and “good,” without including Pete Alonso. Alonso is the frontrunner for NL Rookie of the Year, and is likely to break the Met rookie homerun record before the All-Star break.
His 38 extra base hits are a Mets franchise record through 69 games to start a season. He’s on pace for 53 homeruns. The prodigious power numbers are impressive as hell, but what about the defense? All we heard throughout his minor league career is how much of a butcher he was. Well, he’s been better than serviceable. He’s been a good defender.
That speaks to his work ethic and his overall character. Pete Alonso has to be on the short list for next Met captain, and I couldn’t be happier he’s on my team.
It would have been very easy for Dom Smith to fade into oblivion after a disappointing 2018 campaign. Coming into this season, it was clear Pete Alonso had cemented himself as the team’s first baseman. A lot of fans hoped he’d simply build some trade value in Syracuse.
Smith dedicated himself to his craft and hit the ground running this spring. He carved out a spot for himself this season as an invaluable member of the bench, and now regularly starts in left field.
Among hitters with at least 90 PA this season, Smith is:
9th in wRC+ (167)
4th in OBP (.434)
The 24 year old deserves all the credit in the world. It’s truly remarkable he is still relevant, let alone one of the league’s better hitters.
In an attempt to eliminate “ifs” by stockpiling infielders, Brodie almost buried a sure thing.
The Mets did not bring up McNeil last season because according to Mickey Callaway, “he’s strictly a second baseman.”
Jeff McNeil 2019 Defensive Runs Saved:
That’s just the icing on top. McNeil is easily our most consistent hitter.
THE STARTING ROTATION
You may want to include this rotation in the “ok” or “decent” category right now. They rank 12th in the majors with a 4.20 ERA.
We have to factor in the uncharacteristic rough patches from Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Also that includes starts from Wilmer Font and company when Steven Matz and Jason Vargas were on the Injured List. That also includes a wildly inconsistent 2019 season from Zack Wheeler.
The aforementioned deGrom and Syndergaard have seemingly put their struggles behind them. Jason Vargas has been tremendous. Steven Matz has seven quality starts so far and looks totally composed on the mound. If second half of 2018 Wheeler appears, we may have something here.
Sandy Alderson’s 2018 was a disaster in terms of immediate returns.
After a game in late April where Todd Frazier went 0-4 and the fan base called for his head, he has hit .321/.430/.548 with a 165 wRC+.
Since a lousy April start in Atlanta, Jason Vargas has pitched to a 1.85 ERA, throwing a complete game shutout along the way.
Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak are also having good years in 2019, but let’s change the subject.
Michael Conforto is on pace for 35 doubles, 35 HR and 87 RBI.
Seth Lugo has a 2.51 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 11.69 K/9, 1.95 BB/9, 0.96 WHIP this season.
In 69 games played, the Mets have committed 50 errors, most in the National League. They entered today with -53 Defensive Runs Saved, which is also the worst in the NL.
How is that possible? We talked above about how Alonso and McNeil have been pleasant surprises in the field. Even Smith has been a positive in the outfield.
Well, Wilson Ramos has some awful defensive metrics behind the plate. J.D Davis has been a butcher no matter where he’s played.
But the main culprit is..
Number one prospect. Aside from a few isolated flashes here and there, Rosario has been wildly disappointing.
As the Mets struggle to get back to .500, Amed Rosario is struggling to get to a positive WAR. He currently sits at -0.3. He has posted an underwhelming slash line of .246/.289/.412. He has a surprising amount of RBI’S (36) but once you factor in the abysmal defense, it’s really hard to defend Rosario anymore.
I’m starting to feel like his speed is just a myth. He has five stolen bases on the year, and doesn’t seem to be very interested in running anymore. Simply put, his speed doesn’t kill. He doesn’t get to balls in the hole. He doesn’t beat out ground balls for hits. It often appears like he has no instinct for the game.
Not to harp on the speed, but indulge me for a second. Take Jose Reyes in his prime. When he got on base it was an event. Everyone in the ballpark was buzzing. If he didn’t steal, whoever was hitting got good pitches to hit. Rosario hits seventh in this lineup. Does it matter if Juan Lagares gets a fastball to hit? There is just not a facet of the game that is affected by Rosario’s blazing speed, and it’s criminal.
I’ll keep waiting for the breakout. I’m just less confident than I was yesterday that it will happen.
Robinson Canó has been on the Injured List twice and has put up a -0.4 WAR for the year.
I know you’re tired of singing this tune, Mets fans. Seems like every year we are forced to deal with a horrendous bullpen.
The Mets have played 69 games this season. The Mets have blown 15 saves. 15! With a decent bullpen we would be in first place. Shit, with a bad bullpen we might be in first place.
This bullpen is atrocious.
Edwin Diaz in a vacuum has been good, but he’s the 2018 version we traded for. As mentioned above, Seth Lugo has been great. That’s it. Aside from Robert Gsellman, who has been inconsistent himself, there is literally no one else you can rely on right now. Mets relief pitchers have pitched to a 5.23 ERA which is fifth worst in the majors.
Jeurys Familia has been terrible, as evidenced by his 6.91 ERA. I write this the day after an epic Familia meltdown against the Cardinals. Edwin Diaz coughed up a lead against St. Louis the night before. Take those two games and the three games I mentioned above against NL pitching royalty, and we are two games out of first place.
Justin Wilson is due back next week. Chris Flexen has been called up and it looks like they want to convert him to a reliever. The Mets have acquired Brooks Pounders from the Indians for cash considerations.
Does the answer lie within? It’s doubtful. I do think that the return of a healthy Wilson will help, but the bullpen has been a collective dumpster fire.
This is a flawed team. But they are better than their record. We are 7 games out of first place. It’s not the best place to be, but far from a death sentence.
To a man, I love this team. They fight every night. A lineup which includes McNeil, Conforto, Alonso, Ramos, Frazier, and Smith is lengthy and fun to watch. I know the starting pitching can be great.
With that being said, we go on the road to play Atlanta and Philadelphia next. Then we come home to play, you guessed it, Atlanta and Philadelphia. The season could be, for all intents and purposes, over by July 1st, or we could be in for a fun summer. I’m hoping it’s the latter.