The New York Mets entered 2017 with World Series aspirations, but those dreams have been dashed. Metro reveals where the Mets have gone wrong while discussing some bright spots in what looks like a lost season at the All-Star break.
Jacob deGrom (9-3, 3.65 ERA) and Steven Matz (2-2, 3.05 ERA) have had solid seasons, but the once-mighty Mets rotation has been ravaged by injury and underachievement. Matz and Seth Lugo missed the first two months of the season, and while they were on the sidelines, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey suffered injuries that are almost certain to be season-ending. Stop-gap solutions (Rafael Montero, Tommy Milone, et al.) have offered little relief.
Jeurys Familia going down with a blood clot didn’t help, but the Mets bullpen has been one of the worst units in the league (14th by ERA). Jerry Blevins has been fine from the left side and Addison Reed has been a dependable closer, but beyond them, good outings have been hard to come by.
The Mets infield could use an injection of youth, because veterans like Jose Reyes (.215 average), Asdrubal Cabrera (11 errors at shortstop) and Neil Walker (injured again) have been stumbling all season. Amed Rosario is waiting in the wings in Triple-A, sporting a .327 average. TJ Rivera and Wilmer Flores have played well enough when given time, but have inexplicably had to fight for starts all season.
Michael Conforto (.284 average, 14 HR, 41 RBI) may not be the center fielder or leadoff man of the future, but he’s done well to fill those two spots this season. Jay Bruce has been solid in the three-hole, batting .266 with 23 homers and 59 RBI. Yoenis Cespedes was as good as ever earlier in the season but hasn’t been the same since coming off the DL. He has just three home runs since June 10. Curtis Granderson (.232, 13 homers, 37 RBI) had a horrid first two months but has finally turned the corner.
Defensive stalwart Rene Rivera has given the Mets far more than they expected at the plate, as he has a .259 average with six home runs. Travis d’Arnaud, on the other hand, continues to disappoint with his low average (.223) and weak arm behind the dish (18% caught-stealing rate, far below the 28% average for the league).
Terry Collins deserves plenty of blame for this 39-47 fiasco. He allowed Syndergaard to pitch through an injury which turned out to be far worse than initially thought and which may cost him the season. He has also managed his lineups poorly. Collins has given Reyes far too many at-bats, especially when he struggled in the early part of the year. His propensity to sit Conforto against lefties is also frustrating, as is his reluctance to give TJ Rivera and Flores starts.
General Manager: D-
Sandy Alderson’s decisions have ranged from bad to worse in 2017. He shares the blame with Collins for the Syndergaard disaster, and the pitchers he’s called up and acquired have been abysmal. The reason the Mets have gone through so many pitchers this year may stem from poor conditioning, but assistant GM John Riccio went on record recently defending the Mets’ injury prevention staff. Position players have also spent plenty of time on the DL in 2017, which has been the norm in the Alderson era.
Also increasing in occurrence is the Mets’ hesitation to place players on the DL and call up substitutes. Playing with less than 25 men has become standard operating procedure, which is a slap in the face to Collins, the team and the fans.