With the All-Star Break behind us, we’re officially into the 2nd half of the 2014 MLB season. Over the break, I opened up a roundtable and invited some other MMO writers to chime in with their grades. How did the Mets do on their first-term report card? Keep reading to find out!
Lucas Duda, 1B: Duda won the 1st base competition over Ike Davis, leading to the trade of the latter to the Pirates. Lucas has been hitting pretty well, getting on base at a nice clip, and has shown off his power this season. He also plays a capable 1st base, a far cry from the debilitating defense we saw from him in the outfield earlier in his career. – Tommy R.
Daniel Murphy, 2B: Murphy has been the Mets’ most consistent hitter this season. His hot streaks last for weeks and his cold “streaks” only seem to plague him for a couple games. His defense is better than it used to be, but the slip-ups still come a bit too often, and he doesn’t hit for much power either. Overall, however, it has been a very nice season for Murphy. - Tommy R .
Ruben Tejada, SS: Tejada got off to a slow start this season after having a miserable 2013. However, Tejada has turned it on as of late, and is starting to look like 2011-2012 Ruben Tejada again. – Rob P.
David Wright, 3B: David hasn’t played up to his usual standards so far this season, but then again, those standards are very high. Wright has had a pretty solid last year, and 95% of the league would gladly take the numbers he has at this point. He is starting to pick it up a bit lately, and the power seems to be returning, so while it’s disappointing not to be getting an “A+” season out of the captain thus far, David probably deserves a bit more credit than he’s been getting. – Tommy R.
Travis d’Arnaud, C: As Rob’s grade reflects, it has been a tale of two seasons thus far for TDA. However, the first stretch, the part where he struggled mightily, took place over a much larger number of games than his hot streak has. Travis has really picked it up since getting demoted and recalled, and he’s starting to show why he has been traded for 2 different Cy Young winners. I always said it was foolish to give up on Travis, or any big prospect, so early. He’s starting to make me look right. But a few good weeks can’t fully erase his dreadful start, so it’s hard for me to give Travis a very good grade. – Tommy R.
Anthony Recker, C: Recker is a fine backup catcher, but that’s all he will ever be. He will park a few over the wall and isn’t a defensive liability. I expect him to perform about the same as he did in the second half that he did in the first. – Rob P.
Eric Campbell, 1B: Campbell has been a pleasant surprise for the Mets this year. He always seems to perform when we need him to, whether it be the occasional start or coming off the bench. Gotta love Soup! - Rob P.
Wilmer Flores, SS: The kid is so young, and Terry Collins has used him about as often as he has rested Carlos Torres. We have seen his offensive skill set so far in the minors, but it hasn’t translated to the majors. Maybe he hasn’t been challenged a lot defensively but I haven’t seen a crazy awful fielder like scouts have said. Yes he doesn’t have much range and will take some improvement. But Murph has come a long way and I would argue that Flores looks less clumsy in the field then Murph. - Avery D.
Curtis Granderson, RF: Grandy got off to a miserable start this season and Jason Bay-related nightmares haunted all of our dreams for about a month and a half. In May, Curtis started picking it up, making solid contact, showing better pitch selection, and driving the ball with authority. But games in April count too, and Curtis still falls into occasional slumps. A “B” is all I’m giving him for now, but I expect him to outperform that grade going forward. – Tommy R.
Juan Lagares, CF: Anybody who has read my recaps and articles this year knows I love to sing Lagares’ praises. Lagares has solid speed and a golden glove (I fully expect to be able to write “golden” with a capital “G” at year’s end). When he isn’t hitting, he is still a guy you can run out there. Fortunately, the bat hasn’t been a problem this year. He came out of the gate red-hot before landing on the DL, then returned and started hitting again before suffering another injury. Juan is back once more, and while he is no longer red-hot with the bat, it looks like he has developed into a pretty good hitter who will have his ups and downs at the plate. And as long as he keeps up the excellent work in center, I can live with that. – Tommy R.
Eric Young, LF: Yes, Young is fast. Yes, he is the reigning Stolen Base Champion. Yes, he makes the occasional outstanding catch in the outfield. He’s also hitting an underwhelming .236/.316/.310. I’m sure he will be dangled to other teams at the trade deadline, if not, he needs to be a fourth outfielder/pinch runner for us off the bench going forward. – Rob P.
Chris Young, LF: Don’t worry Chris, I won’t be too hard on you. You won’t get an “F” from me. Instead, I will blame the front office. We all knew that your best years were behind you and the Mets put you in a position where you would be demanded to perform in a starting role. I’m sorry Chris. You seem like a great guy. – Avery D.
That 7.5 million dollar contract is looking like more and more of a mistake as each day passes. Young has hit the occasional home run for us in the first half, but he’s hovered around the Mendoza line all year and has a .287 OBP. I don’t see him getting traded at the deadline because no one will want to take on that ridiculous contract. It’s not worth keeping him on the bench for that kind of money either. There’s nothing Young does that Kirk Nieuwenhuis can’t do, and do much better. – Rob P.
The fact that you’re not Nelson Cruz will always hang like an albatross around your neck, in my eyes. Sorry, Chris. – Tommy R.
Bobby Abreu, RF: -Not much to say about Abreu, he’s been good enough for us at his age, and is a fourth/fifth outfielder at this point. Don’t see him being any better in the second half than he was in the first, and that’s not a terrible thing. – Rob P.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF: Kirk has been solid for the Mets this year, but because he has spent so little time on the Major League club, it’s hard for me to give him a grade in the “A” range. Still he has a great glove, nice speed, and a decent bat with some pop. He could run away with the 3rd outfield job in the 2nd half. – Tommy R.
Jon Niese: Niese has been fantastic this year, and if not for a brief stint on the DL, I would give him an “A” and argue that he deserved a spot on the All-Star team. Jon has really stepped up in Matt Harvey’s absence, and will hopefully anchor the rotation for the rest of the way. – Tommy R.
Dillon Gee: Gee was off to a great start to the year after a strong campaign last season, but missed 2 months with what originally was expected to be a 2 week injury. Dillon’s work on the mound has been worthy of at least an “A-”, but he hasn’t spent enough time on the mound to garner that high of a grade, in my opinion. Anyway, now that he is back, he gives the Mets another solid arm at the top of their rotation. – Tommy R.
Zack Wheeler: Matt Harvey spoiled us last year, so a lot of us were really looking for Wheeler to come out and dominate the league this season. That hasn’t happened, but Zack has still been pretty good. When he is getting ahead in the count, he is fantastic. When he falls behind the opposing hitters, he gets himself into trouble. Wheeler has the stuff to be a great pitcher, so the only question is his command. It looks like he’s starting to figure it out, so let’s see if he can bump this grade up before year’s end. – Tommy R.
Bartolo Colon: Bartolo’s win-loss record is hampered by the fact that he is a Met, and his ERA is hampered by the fact that, despite being pretty solid nearly every time he takes the mound, he has had a few absolutely horrendous starts that really put a blemish on his stat line. Still, Bartolo has given us several good starts, a lot of innings, and, of course, a ton of laughs. The Mets will likely receive many offers for the big fella as the trade deadline approaches, so he might not be here in a couple weeks. Still, Colon has been pretty solid, albeit not great; a classic “B” performance in my book. – Tommy R.
Jacob deGrom: DeGrom has been maybe the single most pleasant surprise for the Mets in the 2014 season. Jacob’s 3-5 record doesn’t do him any justice, as he should have several more wins, but has been a victim of poor offense. In 10 of his 12 starts, deGrom has allowed 3 or fewer runs, and is pitching to a 3.18 ERA on the season. deGrom will most likely remain the rotation when Niese returns from the disabled list, so I’m excited to see what Jacob can do from here on out. – Rob P.
Daisuke Matsuzaka: Dice-K, you haven’t been spectacular. But you do everything and anything the Mets ask of you. You go to AAA, you come out of the pen, you close games, you start games. Not to mention, you stay healthy. No complaints here. - Avery D.
Carlos Torres: Torres has done everything we have asked of him this year. He owns a 4-4 record and 2.88 ERA over a span of 43 games. Torres is the kind of guy every team needs and has been quality for us since he joined us last season. I hope Terry doesn’t blow his arm out, however. - Rob P.
Jenrry Mejia: Our starter-turned-closer Mejia has learned to enjoy his new role on the Mets and has been a nice replacement to the injured Bobby Parnell. Mejia has ten saves in twelve chances, and will look to add on to his success as our closer in the second half. – Rob P.
Jeurys Familia: I’ll take Familia’s 2.06 ERA any day of the week. He still lacks control at times, but he’s still so young and will only get better over time. – Rob P.
Vic Black: Black had the set-up role locked up going into 2014 and pitched himself out of a spot on the roster during the spring. Since being called up, however, Vic has been solid, and his strong performance, along with that of Dilson Herrera in the minors, makes the Marlon Byrd trade look better and better each day. If Black can keep working on his control, he can be a major piece in this bullpen. – Tommy R.
Josh Edgin: Coming into the year, I thought Josh Edgin was a bum. But it’s hard to argue with a 1.76 ERA, and Josh has performed to this high standard equally well against both lefties and righties. However, Terry Collins still mostly uses him as a LOOGY, and Edgin averages far less than an inning per outing, so I can’t put him in the “A” range just yet. – Tommy R.
Gonzalez Germen: Germen had an absolutely ridiculous start to the season, but then started to struggle, got hurt, and was ineffective upon his return. Gonzalez is now in the minors, and might not be back too soon. – Tommy R.
Dana Eveland: The second lefty out of the ‘pen has also been good for us so far. I’ll take his 2.63 ERA. He’s only pitched in 13 games so far, so let’s see what he’s got when being exposed a bit more. – Rob P.
Terry Collins, Manager: I’m not a big fan of Collins. I don’t particularly like how he manages the team during games. But you can only pin so much on a manager, and the team seems to play hard for him, if not always well. – Tommy R.
Sandy Alderson, General Manager: So how exactly do we grade the GM during the season? By looking at how his acquisitions have fared? Does the performance of a prospect he acquired back in 2011 have an impact on his grade in 2014? I’m not exactly sure. Anyway, I’m not a huge Alderson fan, as I think he lets far too many opportunities go by the wayside, but most of his moves (at least the ones that aren’t “flyers”) seem good, and it’s not like the Wilpons have given him the appropriate resources, so it’s hard to grade him too harshly. Alderson gets a C for his seemingly passive approach, but to give him a lower mark would be unjust, in my opinion. – Tommy R.
The Wilpons, Owners: Many Mets fans think that the team’s struggles begin and end with the Wilpon Family. My brother, who doesn’t watch baseball, noted how much of a shame it is that the Wilpons are in enough of a financial bind that they are unable to spend freely on the team, but aren’t in enough of a pinch that they have to sell the team. Sometimes, it feels like we are in limbo… permanent limbo. Still, teams have won with payrolls equal to or lower than the one the Mets currently have, so giving the Owners an “F” because the team doesn’t win very much isn’t something I’m prepared to do. They won’t earn anything much higher though, at least not out of me. – Tommy R.
Offense: Our offense has been middle-of-the-pack in terms of getting on base and scoring runs. But beware: those numbers are skewed by the occasional huge game at the plate. There have been far too many games where the bats have been completely impotent and the valiant efforts of our pitchers have gone to waste. Consistency is a must at the plate, and while the offense has been better of late, it hasn’t been consistent enough this season to earn a very high grade. – Tommy R.
Starting Pitching: We all knew that our rotation would be our main strength going into the season, and there have been no surprises on that part. Niese has been great, Gee has been great when healthy, deGrom has been great, Colon has been pretty steady, and Wheeler looks like he’s going to really turn a corner before too long. Matsuzaka has been solid when called into duty. I miss Harvey, and I hope Noah Syndergaard can pick it up in AAA and get his electric arm up to Flushing before too long, but I have no real complaints about the pitching thus far. – Tommy R.
Bullpen: Our bullpen looked weak coming into the year and things got even worse when Bobby Parnell’s season ended after just 1 game. However, Torres and the young guys like Mejia, Familia, Edgin, and Black have really stepped up to make this bullpen respectable, albeit still a bit more shaky than you’d like. Good teams usually need good bullpens, and while our pen isn’t great, it’s not the main culprit for our sub-500 record. – Tommy R.
Bench: The bench has been pretty disappointing in general this season, although some of the reserves have had their moments. Eric Campbell’s efforts salvage this unit from the “D” range. – Tommy R.
Defense: The defense has been decent, but nothing more. We have some solid speed in the outfield, which helps keep the number of extra-base hits down, but the fundamentals haven’t been pretty. How many times have our infielders failed to turn an easy double-play? I don’t even want to know the answer to that. – Tommy R.
Overall: The Mets have been alright this year. Alright, but not good. Mediocre, you could say. However, they are red-hot right now, and are slowly climbing back into the picture. If they can keep it up, maybe they can make this an exciting season. If not, it’s not like we have been trained to expect more, lately…
There have been some ups and downs this season. Let’s hope the Mets can make this a special year as we head into the second half! - Tommy R.