What do I love more than the Mets? The Mets when they win. And boy, did they win this week. After failing to take advantage of the weak schedule very early on, they got right back on track with two series wins in Cleveland and Philadelphia, and a sweep in Atlanta to close out the road trip. It was definitely the most successful stretch that the Mets have had thus far, and they are finally looking like a formidable foe against these weaker teams. After the power display they put on in almost every game, I can confirm that chicks do indeed dig the long ball. Here are my picks for the MMO Players of the Week.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: NEIL WALKER
“Daniel Murphy is batting .397!” “Murphy has reached base safely in 16 of his last 17 games!” “How could the Mets ever let Murph walk?” Well, have you seen Neil Walker yet? He is absolutely mashing. This past week, he batted .400 with three home runs, four RBI and five runs scored. Looking at the lineup from top to bottom, it’s stacked with quality hitters who can all put together good at-bats, and Walker is certainly no exception. Him hitting sixth might be the perfect spot, because not only does it give him ample opportunities to drive in runs, but it forces pitchers to pitch to Lucas Duda, because they won’t be intentionally walking him to get to Walker. He provides a great kind of bat that has the power to hit one out, but also the consistency to hit, say, four singles in a game. Sorry to all the fans who were with 28, but… Murph who?
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: YOENIS CESPEDES
This category sucks. As in, it’s hard to pick a different guy every week because rarely does any player “explode defensively” like they do on offense. Nonetheless, I don’t really want to keep shoeing in a guy like Asdrubal Cabrera every week; I like having some diversity around here. So, enter Yoenis Cespedes. He made that awesome throw on Friday night that traveled at 93.5 miles per hour, per MLB StatCast. It came in a really important time in the game too, with runners on first and second during a 5-2 ballgame in the bottom of the fifth. If the run had scored, it would have been 5-3 with a runner on second and Kelly Johnson at the plate as the tying run against the struggling Matt Harvey. Basically, the throw was cool, so he gets the honor this week. Deal with it.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: NOAH SYNDERGAARD
“But Steph, you just said before that you like to have diversity in your category picks! So how come you’re choosing Noah Syndergaard for pitcher of the week again???” Sorry, but Thor is kind of the exception to everything ever. I was going to choose Steven Matz because he’s been pitching really, really well, but Syndergaard is basically a video game character with all the settings turned up to 10 out of 10 (I wasn’t the one to come up with this analogy… but I’m in love with it). He was locked in a pleasantly surprising pitcher’s duel with Philadelphia’s Jerad Eickhoff, who (please don’t kill me) might have a nastier curve than Syndergaard. But that shouldn’t take anything away from Noah, because his sinker literally hits 100 mph and his offspeed stuff is absolutely filthy. He continues to make his case as the best pitcher in all of baseball– an argument that would be a lot easier to make if Jake Arrieta would stop throwing no-hitters.
As stated above, Steven Matz had another brilliant start on Saturday, striking out eight and going 6.1 innings. While allowing nine hits is not ideal, he only gave up two earned runs, which is really all that matters. As he continues to find his groove in a rotation stacked with aces, we are witnessing another ace in the making. Matz has an incredible amount of potential to keep churning out quality starts, which is all that we can ask for. I don’t care if he gives up 25 hits a game as long as his ERA keeps coming down.
Michael Conforto. He needs no savvy introduction. According to Brian Mangan on Twitter, Conforto leads the majors with a 52.4% hard hit ball rate. His 8.3% swinging strike rate and 20% rate of swinging at balls are both above average, in addition to a 12.3% walk rate and a 20% strikeout rate. What does this mean? It means that this kid is already one of the best and most disciplined hitters in the majors… and he’s only 23. Just like we’re witnessing the construction of an ace in Matz, we are also witnessing the start of one of the best potential position players in Mets history. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of wood to go knock on.
Here you can see the Mets Minors Players of the Week.