Five Under-Performers Hurting the Mets

The Mets got off to an historic start in 2018, going 12-2 in their first 14 games. However, since then they have been reeling, going 7-16.

There has been some positives to the team such as Asdrubal Cabrera‘s hot start, and Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler‘s improvement, but overall, the team has underperformed.

The team remains 4.5 games out of first place as of Tuesday, and they are going to need some of their core players to step up to get them back on the right track.

These are five members of the Mets who need to improve.

Jay Bruce

Jay Bruce signed a three-year deal this winter to return to the Mets, but early on, the results haven’t been there.

Last season, prior to his trade to Cleveland, Bruce launched 29 home runs and hit to a .256/.321/.520 clip over 448 plate appearances.

However, this season he has been dealing with plantar fasciitis, and has yet to look like the player he was last season.

Over 34 games in 2018, he has a -0.2 WAR, has hit just three home runs, driven in 14 runs and hit to a .233/.313/.383 clip. He has also logged a 92 wRC+ and .301 wOBA.

Bruce, along with Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes are supposed to be the core offensive threats on this team. Unfortunately, just Cespedes has been able to hit and provide the long ball to give the Mets some offense.

A move to first should be the solution for Bruce and might help him perform better. He won’t have to run as much and have his fasciitis flair up and it would also give Juan Lagares or Brandon Nimmo more playing time.

Regardless, Bruce has shown some flashes in the last couple weeks or so that he could be turning a corner, but he isn’t there yet.

Michael Conforto

Michael Conforto blasted the Mets to victory with a two-run ninth inning shot in Friday’s 3-1 victory over Philadelphia, but overall, it’s been a struggle for the former first rounder.

Conforto endured a devastating shoulder injury last August and was slated to come back at the earliest May 1 this year. However, he was ahead of schedule and returned in April.

Now, we wonder if he returned too early.

In 28 games, he has hit just .208/.342/.344 with three homers and nine RBI.

His on-base percentage is quality, but that slugging percentage is worrisome. He has also registered just a 92 wRC+ and .302 wOBA.

Hopefully, his blast on Saturday will be a step in the right direction, but Conforto could maybe even benefit from some time in the minors to get his swing back up and ready.

It’s an unfavorable opinion, but if he continues to struggle up in the bigs, it might be the right move.

Jason Vargas

To say Jason Vargas has been bad would be an understatement.

The Mets, comfortable with their pitching depth, brought Vargas in to act as an innings eater and to solidify the back end of the rotation.

Coming off an All-Star year where he recorded 17 wins, New York was hoping he could be a Bartolo Colon-esque addition to the rotation.

What we have seen has been reminiscent of Vargas’s second-half last year where he faced some correction and came back to earth.

Only, it’s been even worse.

He has started just three games and has a WAR of -0.8. He has logged just 12.1 innings and allowed 19 earned runs.

The Mets have skipped his most recent turn in the rotation, and with another off-day coming up this week, they may skip him again.

Vargas was injured in Spring Training and may have been rushed back as well, but if this is the pitcher he is anyway, the Mets are in trouble as they have him signed through 2019.

Catchers

Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki getting injured turned out to be a huge blow to the Mets.

Before the team traded for Devin Mesoraco last week, they rolled with Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido, two weak hitting catchers with subpar defense.

While Nido was the better defender, he still has a way to go before he will make an impact at the big league level.

Lobaton is currently backing Mesoraco up, but will likely be sent to Triple-A when Plawecki returns, which will give the team a boost.

Regardless, Mesoraco will likely be trotted out there everyday, and the Mets are hoping he will provide some pop like he did in Saturday’s win against the Phillies.

With a tandem of Mesoraco and Plawecki, the catching situation will be better than it has been, but even still, New York could benefit from getting a bonafide catcher at the trade deadline or even before then. I expect them to be in the market for one for sure.

Mickey Callaway

It’s not entirely fair to pin all the Mets recent struggles on the manager. The pitching has overall been good lately, but the team hasn’t won because they can’t score. Especially in hitters havens like Great American Ballpark and Citizens Bank Park.

Regardless, Mickey Callaway has not stacked up particularly well against fellow rookie managers such as Aaron Boone and Gabe Kapler.

In Cincinnati last week, he batted out of order, which has been the talk of the town and the butt of a bunch of jokes.

In Philadelphia on Sunday, he stuck with right-hander Paul Sewald with two on and the Mets up one instead of going to Jerry Blevins to face the lefty.

It back fired, Sewald let up a three-run bomb and New York lost the game.

Callaway seems like a great guy and a good communicator, but he has made some questionable in game decisions and needs to learn before the Mets season sinks.

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Which players do you think have underperformed and what do the Mets need to do to get back on the right track?

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About Rob Piersall 1106 Articles
Rob Piersall is a fourth-year student at SUNY New Paltz, studying journalism with a minor in communications. He is also the managing editor for his school's newspaper, The Oracle. A Mets fan since the age of six in 2001, Rob is senior editor here at MMO. His favorite thing is reporting breaking Mets news and transactions as well as writing columns. He is also ready to see what Mickey Callaway brings to the table in 2018. LGM! Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobPiersall.