This week in Mets baseball started out fairly well. Despite dropping the last two games of a four game set in San Diego, the Mets made the most of their make up game in Minnesota with a 6-1 win and, the following day, put up a performance that seemed to be a promising sign: scoring four unanswered runs off of Brandon Beachy, one of the Braves’ most promising young pitching arms. Unfortunately, the Mets’ bats suddenly went to sleep (as they usually end up doing), scoring a combined total of only five runs in their next four games combined. Of course, as always, in the midst of a 4-game losing streak and the roller-coaster going down again, there were definitely some very bright spots — or, as we like to call it on this blog– the Players of the Week!
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: MARLON BYRD
The word is RBIs. Not only did Marlon Byrd match his career high home run total of 20 on Monday, he broke his personal record, blasting a very crucial two run shot in Tuesday’s 5-3 win over the Braves. In addition, he drove in the only Met run in Friday’s loss to the Tigers. His unappealing line of .267/.267/.615 for the week is a very rude example of just how dismal the Mets offense can get at times; but while the Mets as a whole may be having an ugly year at the plate, Marlon is just the opposite. Batting .285 with a career high 21 homers so far, Marlon is making a very strong case for NL Comeback Player of the Year. He’s 9th in the league in home runs, 6th in SLG (!!!), 10th in RBIs and 14th in OPS. Nobody would have ever guessed! When the bats are awake, Marlon’s is the loudest; he continues to play strong and consistent. So strong, in fact, that some people have even suggested bringing him back next year!
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: IKE DAVIS
Not Juan Lagares this time! While the search party is still out looking for Ike Davis‘s power at the plate, he is distracting us from all that by flashing the leather. Two sparkling plays on Monday– including a very pretty double play in which he tagged first base and slung the ball over to second, getting the force out on Mauer before the runner at third crossed home plate. Consistent work with the glove throughout the week shows that you don’t need to be a human highlight reel to be an elite defender; or earn the DPOTW honors.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: JON NIESE
Ignore the fact that Jon Niese drilled Jason Heyward in the jaw and you’ve got a spectacular outing. He may have gotten Harvey’d (meaning getting no run support), but that did nothing to stop him from tossing 7 strong innings of 5 hit ball. Despite his rough 6th inning, he came back for the 7th, working around a lead off walk and a single by grounding out BJ Upton and striking out the final two batters to escape a bases loaded jam, putting the capper on a 9 strikeout performance. As the only left hander in the rotation, it is crucial for Niese to be giving us these kinds of outings each time around; especially with a bullpen that has been struggling the past week or so. If he continues to perform like this every start, it will give us Mets fans very good hope for a guy we hope to see as a strong middle of the rotation guy for years to come.
Zack Wheeler is really starting to pick up the pace. With his innings limit looming, Wheeler is giving it everything he’s got. He went 6 2/3 innings, having departed with the bases loaded and ultimately getting charged with 3 earned runs when Carlos Torres gave up a 3 run double to Andrelton Simmons. His fastball command is obviously still shaky, but he is beginning to locating it in very good spots (such as throwing it inside to tie up hitters and throwing it out of the zone to make hitters chase); which is a vast improvement from previous starts. He is getting more confident in his breaking and off speed pitches, throwing his sharp slider for strikes and getting hitters to chase change-ups. Zack is really emerging as a potential ace, a 1-A to Harvey, and could very well be the number two starter in the rotation next year.
I discussed before how human highlight reels may not get a player the DPOTW all the time, but it IS good enough to get Eric Young Jr into the honorable mentions. His two great diving plays (one on Tuesday and one on Friday) continue to remind us of that spark that he gives us in left that Duda never did. Believe me, I appreciate Duda just as much as the next guy, but the reality is that the balls that EYJ are getting to would have never been caught by Duda. I probably repeat this statement every week, but having EY in left is just an immense joy to watch each and every day.