With the All-Star break upon us, I thought it might be a good idea to look back at the first half performances of the Mets and hand out some appropriate grades. Today, I’m concentrating on the hitting and will grade the pitching in another post. This grading system is entirely subjective and I’ve tried to offer a little bit of commentary as to my perspective. But by all means, you are more than welcome to “argue” whether you think I was too generous or too hard in the comment section below.
David Wright– Grade A-
The power outage from last year appears to be a thing of the past as Wright is on pace for 26 homers, 122 RBI and 28 stolen bases. He currently leads the N.L. in RBI and his .392 OBP is one of the best. The largest blemish on Wright’s season has been his accelerated strikeout pace which could see him net 180+ by season end. But the good news is that he has slowed down considerably with 62% of his K’s coming in the first 44 games and 38% coming in the remaining 43 games. Deserving of his All-Star start at third base.
Angel Pagan– Grade B+
Pagan’s 2010 campaign has been one of the nicest surprises of the season. It was frustrating to see him lose playing time to Gary Matthews Jr. at the start of the season but common sense and talent prevailed. Pagan’s .315 batting average and .372 OBP have prompted manager Jerry Manuel to start trying Pagan out in the leadoff spot. He’s been one of the most consistent contributors this season and is playing much “smarter” baseball than he did a year ago. It seems that his head and the natural talents are coming together. When Beltran returns, the Mets will need to find a place for Pagan in the outfield as his offensive output has been a catalyst all season long.
Ike Davis– Grade B
This may be considered a somewhat generous grade for a rookie batting just .258. But Davis’ overall stats plus 11 home runs rival the much ballyhooed Atlanta rookie Jason Heyward. Davis’ promotion to the big leagues on April 19th seemed to have ignited the team as a whole as the Mets won 10 of 11 games when he was first inserted into the lineup. Overall the Mets are 44-31 (.587 win pct) since he joined the team and Mike Jacobs was shown the door. Davis has also been a tremendous defensive asset and his play certainly grabbed the attention of the Seattle Mariners as they were impressed enough with Davis to make him the main piece in a potential Cliff Lee trade.
Jose Reyes– Grade B-
The good news for Reyes was that his absence at the start of the season was far shorter than originally projected. He started off the season sluggishly but by mid-May turned up the heat and hit .327 down the stretch to the AS break. However, his overall .317 OBP is very poor and that has certainly hampered his stolen base totals as he only has 19 on the season so far. Hopefully, the few days off will provide some relief from his current oblique injury. I guess we should be thankful it’s not the legs.
Jeff Francoeur– Grade C+
Talk about a streaky season. Francoeur came out of the gate on fire but half way through April chilled for about a month hitting just .137 from April 17 to May 23. Since then he’s picked it up again and is batting a solid .292 the rest of the way. But he’s lack of plate discipline is a concern with an OBP of .302 which is not helped by all the first pitch swinging. In my opinion, Francoeur should be the odd man out once Beltran return with some spot starts here and there and pinch hitting. With the Mets’ tendency for injuries, Francoeur is nice insurance to have just in case.
Jason Bay C
Jason Bay, the biggest off-season signing, has yet to show anything close to the form that he displayed in Boston last year and 2008 and his years in Pittsburgh. The .265 average is about 15 points below his career but it’s really the home runs and RBI production that has been most noticeably absent. Perhaps most telling is that Bay has already tied his career high for triples in a season which currently matches his home run total at 6. Is Bay “spooked” by the cavernous gaps and high walls of CitiField? Has he just not been able to make the proper adjustments to the Big Apple as far as attitude? So far, fans have been patient with him, but having played in a high-demand city like Boston, Bay should be able to handle play in New York. He’ll need to step it up the second half if the Mets are to stay in the heat of the race.
Luis Castillo– Grade C
Some may feel that this grade is too lenient for Castillo and that his grade should be lower. Yes, the guy is injured half the time, but Castillo is what Castillo is. He’s not a guy who is going to hit for power (3 extra base hits all year), but his average should be higher than the current .241. But he does make contact with the ball (just 10 strikeouts) and he does have the ability to steal a base or two. He’s a complimentary player and that’s about it. The fact that he was given the contract he was given, is another story. But Castillo is an adequate player as long as we don’t have raised expectations of what his talents truly are.
Rod Barajas– Grade C-
Well, you just knew that Rod Barajas’ torrid home run pace was too good to be true. After starting off the season slamming 11 home runs in the first two months, Barajas hasn’t been able to find the seats since. He’s batted .183 for June and July with just 2 RBI and has an overall slash line for the season of .238/.276/.432. Barajas has started to lose more and more time to Josh Thole and that could be the pattern going forward unless Barajas is able to find a way to contribute more offensively. His defensive talents just aren’t strong enough to compensate for no hitting. The grade is based primarily on the plethora of home runs at the start of the season. Kudos for that.
Alex Cora– Grade D
I know that Cora is a great clubhouse guy and a good teammate and has a good understanding of the game. But that means nothing when we are taking about the production on the field. To date Cora’s slash line is .222/.283/.299. He’s making Castillo look like Chase Utley which is hard to do. He’s been inconsequential thus far and depending on Castillo and Reyes’ health, he may be needed to fill a larger role in the second half. Let’s hope not, but if he comes to that, we will need to see more than what he has produced the first part of the season.
So what do you think? Do these grades match up with your perspective? Too high? Too low? Let’s here what you think.