As this day draws to a close please allow me share some thoughts on this season & beyond. The Mets are now a season low 2 games below .500 and it couldn’t have come at a worst time with them going 1-9 to start the 2nd half. As expected whenever the Mets lose who to blame soon follows and historically it usually is the FO more directly the GM.
Overall the Mets have up until 11 games ago played better than my original thought which was that of a .500 team due in large part to good starting pitching followed by David Wright’s All-Star Silver Slugger type season.
That being said, my issues/concerns with the FO this season have mostly been in the areas of why they were unable to sign 21 of their 42 draftees this season, roster management in particular Quintanilla, the decision to go with Pelfrey despite the innings he had been accumulating on his arm and going with the backup options they did at catcher to start the season. Now I’ve seen it discussed how the FO should have done more but considering what was already here outside of better luck in relief pitcher signings I don’t feel a lot more could of been expected to be done.
Look at Right Field:
After the Beltran trade the Mets played Duda everyday in RF the rest of the season and he produced very well hitting .304/BA, 9/HR, 36/RBI over the final 52 games as the everyday right fielder. So coming into 2012 he would get the shot as the everyday Right Fielder with the idea that his bat could make up where his glove lacked defensively. Over the 1st 60 games while his batting average was a bit low (.266/BA) he had 10 HR’s & 37 RBI’s and was on pace for 27 HR 100 RBI season. But over the next 29 games he was hitting only .190/BA with 2 HR’s & 7 RBI’s. That combined with his lack of defense and speed along with the emergence of Valdespin the Mets made the move to send him down to AAA so he can try to get back to hitting the way they believe he could.
Look at 1st Base:
The Mets believed that Ike Davis could be their 1st baseman of the future. Yet Ike got off to a poor start hitting .162/BA, 5/HR, 21/RBI over his 1st 57 games. Yet despite rumblings internally & pleas by fans and media alike that maybe he needed to go down to AAA the Mets stuck with him in part probably because defensively he was their best 1st baseman and also the team still having a winning record (which probably was what cost Duda his demotion) but he responded by hitting .276/BA, 10/HR, 34/RBI over his last 34 games.
Look at 2nd Base:
Daniel Murphy coming off a 2011 that saw him and Reyes among the top 10 in the NL in hitting before going down to injuries. The Mets trying to find a place for his bat put him at 2nd base this season and despite justified concerns about his glove defensively at 2nd base he has not hurt the Mets at 2b as much as it was feared and has actually been decent. Among MLB 2B Murphy coming into today is tied for 4th in RBI’s (46) with the Rangers Ian Kinsler, the Braves Uggla and the Pirates Neil Walker and is 2nd in batting average (.308/BA) to the Yankees Robinson Cano.
Look at Shortstop:
Anyone that followed the Mets last season knew that the backup plan if the Mets were unable to sign Jose Reyes was going with Ruben Tejada at SS. Coming into today Tejada is 0.7 plate appearances per game behind to qualify being ranked among the leaders at his position in batting. Cause if he was his .318/BA would be among the top at his position and his play at SS has been solid to say the least.
Look at 3rd Base:
Wright coming off injuries in 2011 and a poor showing offensively when he did play was not most likely going to be traded especially after the departure of Reyes. How has he responded? By having as I said above an All-Star Silver Slugger type season and playing as good a 3rd base as I have seen in quite some time.
Look at Catcher:
Thole came into 2012 not being that impressive defensively behind the plate and just awful at throwing out baserunners. While he has improved somewhat behind the plate he still leaves a lot to be desired and still just is unable to throw runners out. He has at least not been an automatic out at the plate hitting .274/BA overall and of late he is hitting .303/BA over his last 21 games.
Look at Left Field:
Jason Bay continues to be just horrid at LF but with $16M due him in 2012 & 2013 the Mets had nothing they could do but play him this season since no team would take on that contract and cross their fingers they could get some type of return on their investment this year at least.
Look at Center Field:
When this past off season began much was said about trying to upgrade on Pagan at CF. The thought was that Andres Torres would be an upgrade defensively at CF while the prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis developed at AAA as he recovered from an injury with the hope he could eventually take over the position at some point especially if Torres struggled. Well not only has Torres struggled for the most part hitting .221/BA on the season he has not been that much better than Pagan was defensively and has been guilty of similar base running mistakes that Pagan was. He has only been serviceable when used against left handed pitching where he is hitting .289/BA overall which is tied for 9th among NL Center Fielders.
The good thing was that Torres early DL stint allowed for the emergence of Nieuwenhuis who gave the Mets a spark hitting .298/BA, 5/HR, 23/RBI and 37/R over his 1st 62 games. Despite his struggle to adjust to the league adjusting to him where he is mired in a slump over his last 25 games that finds him hitting .145/BA over that stretch and a high strikeout rate his numbers rank comparably well to what Pagan has provided the Giants this year.
- View Full Screen
Look at the Starting Pitching:
You had R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese & Dillon Gee penciled in already to be starters in 2012 and coming off the season that had 3 had they deserved the opportunity. You had Johan Santana returning from rehab after surgery as a starter that you was not going to move coming into the season because of it and you had to leave open a spot for him if indeed he was going to be able to pitch in 2012. That left 1 spot really in question where there was some choices available. The Mets decided to offer arbitration to Mike Pelfrey putting value on his ability to give them innings. That decision didn’t pay off as Pelfrey was gone for the season after 3 starts. The fill in’s in the meantime as Chris Young worked his way back into the rotation was the likes of Batista, Hefner and Schwinden.
Once Young arrived he has been a good back of the rotation starter outside of 1 start vs the Braves July 13th.
Now though with Gee & Santana going on the dl the Mets find themselves without 3/5th of their rotation to start the season which is not something easily overcome. They have decided to fill one of the starts with the highly touted prospect Matt Harvey and the other looks to be filled in with Jeremy Hefner until Santana can return which is hopefully in a few weeks.
Look at the Relief Pitching:
The Mets pen has been the worst or among the wost in MLB. They currently have 5.16/ERA which is last in the NL. The Opening Day pen consisted of Manny Acosta, Tim Byrdak, Miguel Batista, Frank Francisco, Bobby Parnell, Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch. They have since seen during the season with the exception of R.A. Dickey & Rob Johnson 9 different additional pitchers pitch out of the pen. Out of all of these relievers the only one with a signed MLB contract into next year is Frank Francisco ($6.5M/2013).
When looking at the team overall the areas where I would argue the FO could of done better is at at catcher both with Thole and/or his backup, Going a different route other than Pelfrey and the pen.
I understand that Torres has not been as good as expected but he was the stop gap for Nieuwenhuis who has come in and been a good alternative to Pagan though it remains to be seen if he can adjust to the pitchers adjusting to him and cut down on his strikeouts to continue to be a part of the Mets future. While the pen has undoubtedly been bad with Ramon Ramirez who after his last 2 seasons I had hoped he would be a solid addition has proven to be a disappointment despite a brief stretch where he pitched well. Yet pitchers like Frank Francisco who some some only focus on his bad stretch where after he got off to a good start going 3 for 3 in save opportunities after 4 appearances his next 12 appearances saw him go 1-3, 5/S, 2/BS, 1/H a 12.10/ERA and a .378/BAA.
Yet he rebounded from that going over his next 15 appearances 0-0, 10/S, 1/BS a 1.76/ERA and a .200/BAA before going on the dl with a sore oblique.
Another pitcher who some only focus on his bad stretch is John Rauch. Over his 1st 11 appearances he was 3-0, 1/BS, 3/H a 0.00/ERA and a .118/BAA and allowed 2 of 5 inherited runners to score. His next 15 appearances saw him go 0-5, 1/S, 2/BS, 2/H a 8.53/ERA and a .362/BAA and allowed 2 of 2 inherited runners to score. He then followed that poor stretch pitching over his next 16 appearances going 0-2, 2/H a 1.50/ERA and a .136/BAA allowing 0 of 8 inherited runners to score.
Byrdak has been a serviceable Loogy, Edgin looks like a promising lefty to go in the pen and Parnell looks like he may be ok so long as he is not a closer. Which means the Mets need Francisco back or at least another closer type reliever via a trade the rest of the year if possible.
Right now the team is going through their worst stretch of the season but all things considered this was the team they were going to go with as they looked to try to build from within with players like Davis, Duda, Tejada, Niese, Gee, Parnell, Nieuwenhuis and now the emergence of Valdespin, Edgin and recently promoted Matt Harvey. As veterans like Wright, Dickey, Santana try to help how they can to lead the way.
What if any of these names will be part of a nucleus that sees the Mets get back to the postseason I have no idea but when the new administration was hired I told myself I would give them at least 3 seasons and no more than 5 to see this through and see how the process plays out.