First Half Grades Are In

The 2015 season taught me that my upbringing from the pessimistic Mets school is not a way to live. Old habits die hard, but that run to the pennant after a disheartening first half showed me that things can change on a dime. The C grades earned for Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins turned into A’s by the end of the year. It also helped that Curtis Granderson started hitting, Wilmer Flores got his mojo, the Mets got Yoenis Cespedes, and the bullpen fell into line. Only a cruel stroke of midnight in the final moments of October ruined what could have been a third Mets championship. The Mets are staggering now and they can turn it around, but help is needed from within and without.

Last year I said in the midseason report card that the end may be near for David Wright, and I am afraid I am close to the mark this time. If you watched the end of Don Mattingly’s career in the mid-1990s, it was a lot like this. After years of toiling as a star for a team that never got near the postseason, the organization turns it around but the player is not the same. And it says everything about the team speed that Wright tops the club in steals, with 3. The team has 18 SBs, lowest in the majors, and even worse, a .213 or so average with men in scoring position. The Nationals have really stepped on their neck, with last year’s Mets hero Daniel Murphy being the main difference maker. A 7-1 start to the homestand followed by losing three straight to the Nats to finish the first half (and 6 of 7 to DC) leaves an aftertaste like milk and grapefruit juice.

And now we grade. To be included, players must accrue 50 at bats or 15 innings pitched. This prevents Jose Reyes, Brandon Nimmo, Matt Reynolds, Ty Kelly, Sean Gilmartin, Erik Goeddel, Seth Lugo, and Rafael Montero from getting proper grades. Though I will say the bold experiment of bringing back Reyes is off to a good start, though it is surprising he got 3 home runs before he got 3 steals (or any steals). And Nimmo has shown some moxie. Ironically Nimmo comes up the same time as Finding Nemo II, too. Pixar may have too much pull if they can keep Conforto under the sea.

First-half 2016 Report Card

Jeurys Familia      A        Probably the main reason the Mets are in this thing at all. Dominantly moving his way up all-time Mets closer ladder.

Noah Syndergaard   A        He has thrived even as the Mets do not score for him. Absolute shame he will not pitch in the All-Star Game.

Yoenis Cespedes  A        This guy is the Mets offense: .302/.372/.583, 21-52. Another absolute shame not to have him as starting All-Star.

Bartolo Colon       B+      Big Sexy All-Star. At 43 he is the most reliable starter, in terms of not missing starts and bouncing back after stumbles.

Addison Reed       B+     Mets bullpen has been spotty this year, but Reed has been spot on and is tied with Familia with 43 appearances.

Jacob deGrom      B       Velocity could be paying price for outstanding October, but his ERA is only 0.05 higher than Noah; 91 K’s aren’t bad.

Asdrubel Cabrera  B       He is the best Mets shortstop since Reyes. Has shown power, smarts, and a good glove. Plus a cool name.

Steven Matz        B       Let’s Go Matz is a rookie and is getting rooked. Started 7-1, 2.36; since then 0-4 and Mets scored 5 runs only once.

Hansel Robles      B       Hansel (Hansel?) has pitched long relief, finished 8 games, won 3, and tied with Familia at 42.1 innings. That is a lot.

Kelly Johnson       B       Kind of a surprise, but in less than 60 plate appearances as a Met (0.7), he is third in WAR and has a game-winning HR.

Wilmer Flores       B-      He needs to play every day until he falters, at 1B, 2B, 3B, wherever. HR off Ollie held off Nats sweep. Again.

Jerry Blevins        B-      Top Mets lefty by default, he has gotten big outs and has lowest WHIP in pen (0.947). Makes me nervous, though.

James Loney       B-      At this point he is pure replacement, but has shown good glove and timely hitting on a team that lacks both.

Neil Walker          C+     Just what Mets need: Another streaky player. How Cespedes is thriving batting in front of him says everything about Yo.

Jim Henderson     C+     Back from the baseball dead, he had some really good moments and some really ugly ones before getting hurt.

Michael Conforto   C       Maybe it is just me, but a guy who has been in the minors for weeks and is still third on team in RBI should be in NY.

David Wright        C       “C” is for captain. He came up 164 times before going down and should have a grade: .226/.350/.438 is what it is.

Travis d’Arnaud    C       Has full blown reputation as constantly hurt player and a catcher with a lousy arm. Not sure he is longterm answer.

Curtis Granderson     C      Walks a lot, strikes out even more, but he does have 15 HRs and seems to do better when batting second.

Lucas Duda          C       I may never get over that throw in Game 5, hopefully Lucas will as well as his bad back and his .231/.297/.431 line.

Juan Lagares        C       I don’t know if he has a spot on this team besides defensive replacement. Keeping him in case Cespedes opts out.

Logan Verrett       C-      A true swingman, he has gamely made 6 starts but in them he is 1-4, 5.64, double his ERA out of the bullpen.

Matt Harvey        C-      Final grade for year, sadly. Gave his all last year and deserved better than being booed off mound in last start.

Rene Rivera         C-      Yes, a .187 average is bad, but both arm and pop (3 HR, 13 RBI in 86 PAs) are better than any recent backup.

Kevin Plawicki        D       Rivera has completely outplayed prospect. Will KP ever hit? His catching is not so great, either. He does draw walks.

Antonio Bastardo   D-      A few superb outings with the game on the line is all that is keeping this Bastardo from failing and his ERA under 5.00.

Alejandro d’Aza     F       A complete waste. Same number of at bats as Lagares and is -81/-49/-117 below Juan. Why does he play at all?

Eric Campbell        F       When people ask why did Mets sign Reyes, the answer is: Would you rather see .159/.270/.222 on the roster?


Terry Collins          B       Has helped keep Mets focused when they could have dropped out. Head scratching decisions, but they play for him.

Sandy Alderson      B+     Grade reflects getting, and keeping, talent in ’15; plus finding affordable fixes. Letting Murph go was a mistake, though.