This week in Mets baseball was just like any other: stagnant offense, average defense and bi-polar pitching. At the close of week two, it became apparent that more than one player was going to have to hit consistently for this team to experience constant success and reach that seemingly astronomical 90-win goal. However, despite the up and down pattern we have been seeing from this team, there are only a very small group of people who have heard cheers and not boos from the fans– our MMO Players of the Week!
OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: JUAN LAGARES
There was no need to keep these categories separate: Juan Lagares has once again stolen the show. Before I get into him, I would like to give a hefty nod to the Mets who had huge games: Eric Young Jr for his historical night on Tuesday and Anthony Recker and Omar Quintanilla on Saturday night who basically won the game for the Mets; however I could not give them any honors this week on account of they either did not start for the majority of the week or simply did not perform consistently enough to be considered.
Juan Lagares, however, is a completely different story. While he did not have a humongous week, he still not only recorded at least one hit in every game this week, but he still leads the team in RBIs at 7. When you compare his offense from last season into this season, the change is substantial: he is taking a marginally less amount of pitches and is developing an aggressive recognition of the strike zone and certain pitch types– a fantastic example of this was during Saturday night’s extra inning game when Lagares took a pitch that could not have been any closer to the strike zone without being called a strike. On the next pitch, he stroked a single into center field and would come around to score two batters later. His discipline has improved significantly and while in all seriousness it is not likely that he can keep this streak up, it’s refreshing to see that Lagares’ biggest question going into the season, is being thoroughly addressed. He’s learning and improving.
Now, onto the defensive side: the defense this week was just as it has been the last week: relatively consistent, but nothing overwhelming. David Wright has made a few flashy plays, but at this point that barehanded play is routine for him. Quintanilla had a good night on Saturday, but he has only made one start all season. That leaves one player: Juan Lagares. It may seem repetitive, but he is truly worth the recognition he is getting so far. On Wednesday night in Atlanta, Lagares made a beautiful leaping catch to rob Freddie Freeman of an extra base hit. Lagares’ defense has arguably been the most consistent so far this season. Unsurprisingly, this consistency is exactly why he seems to be the most exciting player to watch thus far. He has not just been having one great game a week, or having a night where he makes an array of good plays, but he has been playing all around solid baseball since Opening Day. Like I said last week, it is not at all far fetched to consider Lagares an early contender for the All Star game if he keeps up this level of play.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: JON NIESE
This honor was 100% about to go to Bartolo Colon… until yesterday’s game. With Colon getting absolutely hammered by the Angels and the rest of the starting pitching being relatively weak this week, the honor goes to Jon Niese. Our lone lefty in the rotation tossed a very respectable 7.1 innings, striking out five and only giving up three earned runs, two of them leaving the ballpark (but let’s be honest, which pitcher DIDN’T let up at least one home run this week?).
Early on, his curveball has looked as good at is has ever been and it is wonderful to see him starting to throw it a bit more. When his fastball was working for him, it was a spectacular weapon that even froze some Angel hitters. While he did make some mistakes that seemed costly at the time, it makes me feel so great to say that for once, the Mets offense actually bailed him out. Of course, I have to give a special mention to Bartolo Colon‘s start against the Braves at the beginning of the week, which was absolutely dominant. Shutting out a team with Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and the red hot Justin Upton is not an easy thing to do, but he did it, not allowing any Brave with the exception of Justin Upton to have a multi-hit game.
We all know what the Mets starters are capable of, and we all know what the offense can do as well… now it is just a matter of putting the pieces together and letting the chemistry unfold. We’ve got 85 wins until we hit 90!