This week in Mets baseball: not too shabby! Barely scraping out a win with 4 runs in the 9th, the Mets avoided what would have been a sweep against San Francisco to start the week. Determined to end divisional play on a positive note, they promptly swept the Phillies in three games (thanks in part to the rain) to regain the slightest lead for third place. As the season dwindles down to its final days, it is the final chance for every player to give the Mets organization a reason why he should be on the Opening Day roster in 2014. The players who give the most production not only rank the highest with the Mets, but they also rank high on the highest on the Players of the Week list!
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: DANIEL MURPHY
Daniel Murphy may be one of the most interesting cases this offseason, but while he is still here, he’s giving it everything he’s got. He collected eight hits and three RBI while scoring six runs, raising his RBI total to a career high 73, his home run total to 12 and his total runs scored to 91. Many fans have expressed desire to trade Murphy to make room for Flores, who is supposed to have the better bat. I for one am not opposed to the idea of keeping Murphy around for a little longer while Flores still tries to figure himself out. His ankle injury had really put him back, and attempting to slate him as the every day second baseman may be risky without a solid backup or potential replacement (Justin Turner would be the only other option, but he is not an every day player). Murphy has come a very long way with the glove and has a fantastic work ethic that could really improve his streaky hitting tendencies. Of course, his .318 OBP is below par, but seeing the ball better to draw more walks is something that can be worked on. He is not the biggest power hitter but he can hit one out from time to time and it is not a huge concern; his .729 is about league average. The most important thing for Murphy to focus on in the offseason? Work on that pitch recognition. Not only will it help him draw more walks and get on base more, but it will help him avoid his long slumps that tend to happen. Murphy could be a .300 hitter if he improves his all around game at the plate.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: ERIC YOUNG JR
Time for a change of pace… The speedster, Eric Young Jr. played a very constant left field all week, topping it all off with a fantastic, full out, diving grab on Sunday to retire the leadoff man in the 8th inning. Young may not have the best arm, but his speed, attitude and his tendency for those nice diving grabs will most likely land him a roster spot in 2014 as a 4th outfielder. The Mets and Sandy Alderson have already expressed much delight in Young Jr’s game, so his potential return it is not much of a controversial subject. He would be cheap to bring back and he would actually be a very nice 4th OF to have. He would also make for a very good pinch runner in late and tight situations, as not only his speed but his smart baserunning could change the game in a flash. His tendency to make the clutch diving catch is also not a bad thing to bring back either.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: JON NIESE
Another stellar start for the lefty Jon Niese! Despite taking the loss (because his darn team could only muster a run behind him), he went 7 innings, striking out four while only walking two on seven hits. His cutter looked as good as it has all year, expertly painting the outside corner against righties. His kept his fastball high and kept his curveball, for the most part, low. He has been using the curveball a little more than in previous starts, but he should be using it much more often. Once he can master his cutter and learn to consistently place it, I believe he will start experimenting with the curveball more. It is a wonderful put-away pitch that can really freeze a hitter if located perfectly. Niese’s status as the lone lefty on the staff is of great importance, and there is no doubt that he can become a solid starter for this staff. If he can minimize the injuries and work hard on consistency, the Niese we saw on Thursday can be the Niese we see almost every day.
HONORABLE MENTION: LATROY HAWKINS
Congrats to LaTroy Hawkins who notched his 100th career save on Sunday! Ever since Parnell hit the DL, LaTroy has really stepped up and made the closer role his own. He has now thrown 12 straight scoreless innings and is 12-for-15 in save situations. He has conveyed much desire to return to pitching in 2014, whether it be for the Mets or not. Raise your hand if you would like to see Hawkins return to the Mets bullpen in 2014!