The Mets have remained just below .500 in their first 64 games of the season. With high expectations set, this team has been far from the team to beat in the NL East.
The Offense, Defense, and Pitching have each had high and low points throughout the season. If the Mets plan to be real contenders this season, they will need to correct some of the current issues limiting the teams potential.
The Young Core
The Mets young positional core has shown its ability to be highly productive players at the Major League level. Pete Alonso leads all rookies with 21 home runs and 3rd in all of baseball, 2nd in rbi’s with 46, 8th in the NL in slugging percentage, and 11th in the NL in OPS. Jeff McNeil has the third highest average in the league at .335, continuing his impressive contact ability. Dominic Smith has done everything the team has asked him too, hitting both as a starter and a bench player with a line of .386/.482/.629 with 4 HR and a 1.5 WAR in 70 at-bats. Michael Conforto has also been a productive player with a 1.8 WAR with 12 doubles and 12 home runs thus far in the season.
The Mets have developed young talent that is showing a great deal of promise, but its surrounding parts have been lacking consistency.
Jason Vargas had a season to forget last year, going 7-9 with a 5.77 ERA and a -0.3 WAR while making 6 million dollars. As Mets Twitter would riot with every Vargas start, he has been as quality a 5th starter could be, highlighted by a 5-hit complete game shutout against the San Francisco Giants. So far, Vargas has the 2nd best ERA on the team behind Jacob DeGrom at 3.57. If the rest of the staff were pitching up to their abilities, this would be an excellent boost for the 2019 season, but the pitching inconsistencies has alotted this team to remain a .500 club in a winnable NL East.
Brodie Van Wagenen’s mission to limit the “if’s” have paid off in the way of adding additional depth. Players such as J.D. Davis, Adeiny Hecchavarria, Rajai Davis, and Carlos Gomez has played vital roles in the wake of injuries. Without this additional depth, I think we see the Mets heading into the abyss of the National League East. This depth has gotten more substantial as the season has progressed, with the additions of Matt Kemp and Ervin Santana to bolster the minor league bank of players.
In conjunction with the Mets young players, they needed to rely on some of the surrounding veterans, so far many of them haven’t met the challenge. Juan Lagares remains a light hitting hitter, only putting up a line of .191/.262/.282 and uncharacteristically with three errors in the field. Todd Fraizer and Wilson Ramos both had sluggish stats, although they both have picked it up recently. Jed Lowrie has been sidelined by injuries and still has yet to play a game for the franchise. The most disappointing player so far has to be Robinson Canó, who has only put up a line of .238/.284/.366. To relate how much of a struggle it has been, Hecchaverria has been more productive with a .242 avg with 4 HR and 13 RBI in 100 less at bats than Canó who only has three home runs and 14 RBI.
Inconsistent Starting Pitching
The Mets entire team has been touted by its “elite” pitching staff. So far, the starting staff has been mediocre, at best. Their 4.57 ERA is 19th in the Major Leagues; even Miami has a better staff ERA at 16. Two significant pieces, Wheeler and Syndergaard, have been highly inconsistent both with ERA north of 4.60. Both Wheeler and Syndergaard have excellent stuff, and it’s puzzling how Mickey Callaway, who was an outstanding pitching coach with the Cleveland Indians, and Dave Eiland, who was highly respected with the Yankees and Royals have not solved the issues Wheeler and Syndergaard have had this season.
Yikes, this bullpen has been a dumpster fire. Let us go through some of the players the Mets were relying on in this pen’s ERA. Luis Avilan 9.28, Robert Gsellman 4.91, Jeurys Familia 6.29, Drew Gagnon 6.11, Tyler Bashlor 5.40, Justin Wilson 4.82, and Daniel Zamora 6.00. The only two players with prolonged success have been Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz. Some of this is just player ineffectiveness, but also the positions Callaway implements his bullpen is questionable at best.
For example, Jeurys Familia has been used in multiple innings where it has been shown that he is ineffective when sitting in between innings or using Robert Gsellman on no days rest when the stats show that he has an ERA over 7 when pitching on no days rest.
This needs to be corrected for the Mets to be a contender this year, if not, this team will fade away to meaningless baseball in September.
Featured Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez