Part III of the Mets Merized Report Cards features the catcher position and the left field position. Today we’re basically going to talk about Paul Lo Duca, Ramon Castro, Moises Alou, and Endy Chavez. Two extremely positions, two grades, six writers. Here we go!
Catcher (Paul Lo Duca & Ramon Castro)
Ryan P. – Paul Lo Duca had an average year at the plate this year. I’m only saying this because he did not hit for average at all. Last season, Duke had an average above .300. This year, he had an average of .272. Well, he didn’t hit for average, but he did hit for power, according to his standards. He did have a great defensive year, working on his mechanics to throw out runners in Spring Training. Skills aside, he did have some outburst against the umpires this year, one that "sparked" the Mets, while the other hurt the Mets. The other catcher, Ramon Castro, had an amazing season off the bench. He had a great power season hitting 11 home runs, and all we some from him were hits after hits. A good season for the Catchers, if you ask me.
Joe D.- Although Paul Lo Duca did not put up the same offensive numbers as in 2006, Ramon Castro more than made up for the difference. Between the two of them, they combined to hit 20 homers, while driving in 85 runs and scoring 70 of them. Castro and Lo Duca ranked 3rd and 4th in batting average among all NL catchers with 50 or more at-bats. Both catchers proved to very good at calling games, and Lo Duca only had 2 passed balls all season, which was the best in the NL among catchers with 100 or more games played. The Mets could have done a lot worse at this position in 2007.
Andrew V. – Paulie Boy had an off year, coming on late. Ramon Castro played well when he could, and Alomar and DiFelice filled in defensively well for us. Lo Duca did not hit up to par at the beginning of the year, not being his clutch-like self, but still playing decently. Later in the year, after battling through injuries, he started to hit the long ball and all around hit the ball better. He battled through hand injuries and leg issues to try and carry this team late. Castro sure can hit. As long as he is healthy, he is the ultimate backup. I can’t see him taking over the starting job, because I don’t think his hitting can stay consistent. I’d like to see Paulie resigned for another year. I think he calls a good game, and will improve on this years totals.
Jon C. – I’m being generous with that grade. While Paul LoDuca battled against injury upon injury, there was just something not right with him when compared to his first season on the team. He lost some fire, and maybe it’s because of injuries or the fact he felt slighted he didn’t get a new contract or that the media gave him some trouble early on, but there was definitely something wrong. I feel like Paul really could take this team by the horns and lead them to a championship. He did the first year, he needs to next year if he’s back. Position-wise, a platoon of LoDuca and Castro could work better for ’08 especially considering Pudge is stuck in Detroit. Having Castro in the lineup more (when healthy obviously) could add some more pop to the lineup. He’s not a full-time catcher but he really did play well when he was in the lineup and not on the DL. Mike DiFelice looks like a cartoon character, but brought some leadership – he’s better suited though for a coaching job in the minor leagues. Sandy Alomar Jr. didn’t really register. If this were 1987, I’d be excited to have him on the team. Bottomline: It was an erratic year behind the plate from an offensive and defensive point.
Brian M. – Above all else Paul LoDuca was a leader of this 2007 Mets team. He wanted to win as bad if not more than anyone else. He played with heart and grit the entire year. While it may not have show in his stat line (.272/.311/.378), it showed in his desire to be on the field. Yet it wouldn’t be fair to grade him on that alone. After a scorching May when he hit .398 with a .411 OBP he slumped for the next 3 months and rebounded a bit in September when he hit .291. His defense hovered around his career norm and fluxuated from time to time but above all, he still called a good game.
Shawn L. – Our catcher’s played very well, and showed great leadership Paul LoDuca was most certainly a spark on this team. Between his arguments with umpires to his timely hitting (at certain times) Paul LoDuca in my opinion should DEFINITELY be re-signed for next year. He’s even said he wants to be a Met. In addition to LoDuca, I also believe that Ramon Castro should be re-signed as well. An excellent and proven backup catcher who stepped in well during LoDuca’s injuries, and suspensions. If it had not been for his bad back, his bat might’ve won us a few games during the DiFelice/Alomar Days while LoDuca was out with suspensions and injuries. On the subject of Alomar and DiFelice, it was nice to know that we had depth at a position for once this year, besides in the outfield. Although I liked having Alomar and DiFelice on the roster, they cannot be relied on as even first backup catchers because of their age, combined with the lack of free-agent catching talent, LoDuca AND/OR Castro need to be resigned. I love LoDuca’s temper and flare, but certain outbursts were unnecessary in my opinion, and lack of consistencty in hitting are what led to the grade I assigned the catchers position.
Left Field (Moises Alou & Endy Chavez)
Ryan P. – Moises Alou came to the Mets to be the offensive juggernaut that we once was. He had a good April, got injured, then returned in freakin’ July. Well, if he didn’t get injured, he would’ve helped the Mets to a number of victories over that span. Let’s examine his numbers shall we? Alou hit .349, 13 home runs, 49 runs, and had a 30-game hitting streak. Amazing. I won’t be surprised if we bring him back next year. Endy Chavez, another man lost to injuries early. He was effective in the beginning of the season before going down in mid-June. It seems like whenever he gets hits, he gets hits in bundles. Good stuff for Endy.
Joe D. – Moises Alou was one of the best hitters on the team when he was healthy. He proved that he could still swing a potent bat and led the team in hitting with an impressive .345 batting average. His on-base percentage of .392 was second only to David Wright. He exhibited great patience at the plate and walked as many times as he struck out, while providing many key hits during the season. Defensively Alou held his own and he dispelled the notion that he was a liability. When Alou landed on the DL, Endy Chavez stepped it to play everyday, but soon fell to an injury and landed on the DL himself. Initially he wielded a hot bat, but lost some steam when he finally returned to the lineup. He ended the season with a solid .287 batting average 1n 150 at-bats. Overall, because of the injuries, the production did take a big hit.
Andrew V. – The ever revolving d
oor. Moises Alou is a hitter, there is no doubt about that. When he is healthy, which is rare, the man is one of the best hitters I’ve seen. Setting the Mets record for consecutive hits is pretty special. Obviously his field work is lacking a bit, but he always comes up with some plays I never think he can make. The occasional diving grab from Alou is alway fun to see. Endy Chavez and Carlos Gomez also factor into play here. Unfortunately we lost Endy for most of the year with his hamstring injury. I love Endy and his "scrappiness" and ability coming off the bench. Gomez played well before going down with a hand injury, it was nice to get him reps up in the big show for the future of this team. Alou back in left will be excellent next year, with Endy and/or Gomez coming in for defensive replacements late.
Jon C. – Moises Alou was unstoppable in September, but had he been healthy in June and July, he might’ve put the Mets in a position where they really distanced themselves in the standings. It didn’t happen. He was hurt and it’s clear his best days are ahead of him. Carlos Gomez, who scares me everytime he swings a bat (so hard, easy son easy), looks like a stud outfielder in limited playing time we’ve seen him, but my gut tells me he’s a better right fielder. As for Endy, no happy Endy this year. I’m all for him coming back next year. Bottomline: Alou can’t cover the outfield the way Gomez can. His injuries ultimately hurt the team more than he tried to help them in his historical September so I say… platoon Alou and Gomez in left next year. Alou could be a solid parttime player at his age.
Brian M. – When on the field Moises Alou produced with the likes of the top players in the game hitting .341/.392/.524 for 2007. At age 41 Moises showed an unhearlded ability to dominate when healthy hitting .349 in April and .403 in September. However, at age 41 Moises showed a realistic physical ability in the fact that he was hurt, for most of May, June, and July. I would give him an A+ if we were grading on when he played but his substitutes were also injured and slowed down the production in his abscense. Endy Chavez hit .287 and Carlos Gomez .232. So in total…
Shawn L. – Man, do I wish we had Endy and Moises all year. If they play the way they did all year, its possible that Endy could be up for a gold glove and Moises for either an MVP or batting title (I know, Farfetch’d). Bottomline is as much as I (Like many others) criticized the signing of Moises Alou, and I would like to apologize to Omar Minaya. At the beginning of the year, I would have preferred to have Endy in the lineup as the everyday left fielder, but I was 100% wrong. Alou’s 30+ game hitting streak, combined with his clutch hits, he was by far the catalyst of our offensive outburst the last month of the season. Sadly, we lost Endy for most of the season and never really got to experience the post "the-catch" days of Endy Chavez, but for the time he was in the lineup, he provided the lineup with great defense and speed off the bench. Carlos Gomez showed great potential, but is still young and has a lot of maturing to do. I just hope Omar doesn’t trade him, because I would much rather have Gomez than Milledge. As far as bringing Alou back…Does anyone think Gomez is ready to start next year?
..that’s it for today, good reviews for catching, good reviews for left field. We all felt like Moises Alou made the offense even stronger, Castro provied some pop, Lo Duca got some clutch hit, and Endy made some amazing plays on the field.
Done with today, we’re going Center Field and Right Field on Sunday. What do you think Met fans? Do you agree? Or disagree? Let us know!