Today starts the first part of the Mets report cards. Six staff members for Mets Merized, including myself, each compiled a grade for each position and it’s respective player(s). Without futher ado, I present to you the Met Merized 2007 Report Cards.
The first part will feature First Base and Second Base.
First Base (Carlos Delgado and Jeff Conine)
Ryan P. – 2007 wasn’t the brightest spot for the Mets. The players just didn’t perform to their expectation. Carlos Delgado struggled all season. His goal was to pretty much get his average ABOVE .250. His power numbers were down, and so were his RBIs. Delgado wasn’t clutch at all, and didn’t provide that sure bat the Mets needed all season. When the Mets acquired Jeff Conine, they thought to have a solid bat coming off the bench. However, Conine, like Delgado, was not clutch. Conine never had the impact he made while he was with the Marlins.
GRADE – C
Joe D. – Carlos Delgado’s slump may not have been a slump at all, but instead the normal decline a power hitter goes through at age 35. He experienced severe drop-offs from his career norms across the board and missed 23 games with assorted injuries. This is a position where many teams are loaded with big time sluggers, but 19 other first basemen ranked higher than Delgado in slugging percentage. Backups Julio Franco, and later in the season, Jeff Conine, were both ineffective. At $20 million dollars, Delgado becomes the highest paid player on the Mets in 2008. Hopefully, the Mets will get a little better production with a healthier Delgado, but don’t bank on it.
GRADE – C
Andrew V. – Carlos Delgado had an off season, coupled with plenty of injuries, leads to this low grade for the First Base position. When Delgado was out, Shawn Green, Jeff Conine, and a few other players filled in. Green was the most productive of this group, while Conine never really did anything for the Mets. Delgado only hit .258, but still managed to hit 24 home runs and drive in 87 runs in only 139 games. I think that Delgado’s defense is very underrated, as he always comes off the bag to catch the errant throws from David Wright. Hopefully next year will be better.
GRADE – C
Jon C. – I can’t tell you how many times I saw Delgado strike out or ground out weakly in a big spot with runners on base this year. While his defense was better, his offense was weak. Jeff Conine didn’t bring much to the table when he was acquired in late August. I think he retired before he put on his Mets jersey. Shawn Green and Marlon Anderson were so-so playing first. Bottomline: Mets need a new first baseman but might as well wait to Texiera becomes a free agent in 2009.
GRADE – C
Shawn L. – The only thing that is keeping me from giving this position a failing grade is the fact that Delgado did bounce back to a certain extent, and towards the end of the year when he wasn’t hurt and in the lineup, this Mets team were winning. Shawn Green’s late season move to first base was a nice thing to see. He brought good defense, and a strong bat towards the end of the year which was something that Delgado could not give us on a consistent basis. However Jeff Conine was a HUGE disappointment, and ultimately could not come through in the clutch. Rumor is that the Mets are looking to acquire Miguel Cabrera to play first base according to WFAN, which would add some pop and fear to our lineup.
GRADE – C-
Brian M. – Carlos Delgado may have had the profile of Roberto Clemete off the field, yet in 2007 he certainly didn’t on the field. At his age 35 season, Carlos Delgado had his worst OBP% (.333), worst BA (.258), and worst SLG% (.448) since 1995. Yes he was banged up here and there and did miss time with injury but he had more at bats in ’07 than he did in his more productive ’05 and ’06 seasons. One factor that at least had a part in his decline was his inability to hold off from swining at the inside pitch down at his knees. Because he failed to adapt to that pitch, which he can no longer handle, he clearly suffered in 2007. Jeff Conine and his .195 average was even worse. Is it fair to say that Shawn Green had the best results at first base for the Mets in 2007?
GRADE – D
Second Base (Luis Castillo, Ruben Gotay, Jose Valentin)
Ryan P. – It was a sure thing in the beginning of 2007 that Jose Valentin was going to be the starting second baseman. However, he struggled early and got hurt. The Ruben Gotay period started. After hitting his first home run as a Met in San Francisco, he showed promising signs that he can easily be the second baseman for the Mets. He had clutch hitting, power hitting, and contact hitting. However, he did not have the best glove at second. To ensure a better defense, Omar went out to get Luis Castillo. He started off a little shaky, but he proved to be a legit number 2 hitter, a slot in which was the musical chairs for the Mets. Castillo proved why he was a former All-Star. Castillo was a great addition by the Mets, even though he couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield at some parts. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back next year!
GRADE – B+
Joe D. – Jose Valentin started the season at second, but never achieved the success he had in 2006, and would later succumb to a season ending injury. He finished his season with a BA of .241 and an OBP of only .302, brutal numbers to say the least. Despite having Ruben Gotay on hand to take over, the Mets reached out and grabbed Luis Castillo to take over full time and he proved to be a big step up. Castillo brought a steady influence and professionalism at the top of the order and proved to be a great doubleplay partner for Jose Reyes. He hit .296 as a Met in 200 at-bats with 10 stolen bases, 37 runs scored, and a few key RBI’s.
GRADE – B+
Andrew V. – The cursed position. Jose Valentin injured, Damion Easley injured, Ruben Gotay loses starting job, forgets how to hit, and then we just have Luis Castillo. The ever-revolving door at second base was riddled with injuries, just like most of the Mets positions all year. Valentin was not having the magical season that he put together at the end of last year, so he pulled the grade down. Damion was a huge spark with pinch hitting and key to the early season success of the team, then cooled off before his injury. Ruben Gotay brought a super hot bat to the plate, but when he was replaced by one of the best defensive second basemen I’ve seen, Luis Castillo, his bat disappeared in PH roles. Castillo helped the Mets a lot when he was acquired from the Twins. I hope he gets resigned because I love his skills in the field, and he sets up nicely in the number 2 hole, with the ability to get on base and to sacrifice if need be.
GRADE – B
Jon C. - I actually thought second base was one of the stronger positions this y
ear for the Mets. Gotay probably deserved to win the second base job – he was a hitting machine, but acquiring Castillo – for a month anyway – really helped the Mets. Castillo played flawlessly defensively and complimented Reyes in the lineup. When you factored in Easley and Valentin – the Mets were stacked with quality players throughout the season when – they weren’t injured that is. The Mets choked this season and rumors have it Castillo may have had a bad relationship with Reyes – but who knows. Bum knee and all, I’d welcome Castillo back or have Gotay platoon with another second baseman who the Mets can acquire in the offseason.
GRADE – B+
Shawn L. - We got a good performance from second base all year, the only problem was nobody could stay healthy. Jose Valentin played well until he broke his shin, and Damion Easley played well until tearing a ligament in his ankle. Ruben Gotay played well, but his defensive woes ultimately led to his demise. Willie never really had faith in Gotay which was because of his defense. I believe he’s our second baseman of the future, however he needs to stop switch hitting because I think everyone knows he can’t hit right handed. The acquiring of Luis Castillo was a positive one, but his knees are what held him back. Last week on WFAN they spoke with Omar Minaya about the rumor of Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes having late party nights, which led to Reyes complete fall-off. If this is true, that grade is an F because of an immaturity factor, but nothing has been proven yet.
GRADE – B-
Brian M. – For the gondola that was at second base things weren’t all that bad. Jose Valentin’s sophomore year with the Mets was nowhere close to 2006. While his defense continued to be dependable, he hit .241 over 51 games before ending his season July 20th with a fractured tibia. Damion Easley stepped in and produced an unexpected, yet very welcome, .280/.358/.466 in 76 games before ending his season with a left ankle sprain on August 18th. Subbing and starting at various time was Ruben Gotay, who batted .295 in 190 AB’s, however, his defense was suspect. Omar Minaya traded for Luis Castillo at the trade deadline and killed two birds with one stone, attaining a starting second baseman with superior defensive skills and a perfect #2 hitter in the Mets line-up. With the Mets he hit .291 with a .371 OBP and his defense was spectacular. However, since the Mets final game the rumors have swelled regarding his negative influence on Jose Reyes off the field.
GRADE – B-
In summary, we all thought that First Base was one of our worst positions for the year. Struggling offense and a not so great defense proved to be problem. With an average grade of C, I don’t think you need an explanation. With Delgado getting older, he needs to step up, or make way for another player.
Second Base, in our opinions, was one of the strong positions. Good backups and great hitting helped us forget the injured Jose Valentin and look towards the future of Gotay and Castillo. Although there were some errors here and there, a little bit of spark from the offense made some of it up.
On Wednesday, we will be grading Shortstop and Third Base. Pretty much, we’re grading Jose Reyes and David Wright. Stay tuned for more!