Posted by Mack Ade at 8:00 AM
From Sports Illustrated -
Big Riser: Mets - The Mets can start counting down the days until October. They boast a staggering 9 1/2-game lead over the Nationals in the NL East and are cruising toward their first division title since 2006. BP's odds have New York with a 99.8% chance of winning the East and making the playoffs, and the team's magic number to eliminate Washington is 11, tied with the Royals for the lowest in baseball. Currently on a seven-game winning streak and with a 35–19 second-half record, the Mets jumped from No. 9 to No. 4 in this week's Power Rankings.
Everyone will point to Yoenis Cespedes as the reason for the Mets going from also-rans to division champs, and it's easy to see why: The Cuban slugger has hit a remarkable .308/.353/.680 in 40 games since joining New York, with 16 homers and 41 RBIs. But he's not alone in taking the Mets to the top. Travis d'Arnaud has come back from injury to hit .296/.383/.565 in the second half; his .949 OPS is tops among all regular catchers in baseball in that span. Curtis Granderson has posted a .403 on-base percentage atop the Mets' lineup since the All-Star Game and is second to Cespedes in second-half home runs on the team with 10. Rookie Michael Conforto, meanwhile, has shown no signs of struggling at the major-league-level, hitting .290/.371/.540 with seven homers in the second half. Add it all up, and the Mets' offense has become one of the game's best. After ranking 29th in the league in OPS (.660) before the All-Star break, New York ranks second (.797) since that time.
Mack – Sports Illustrated joined the pack of periodicals that are now praising the Mets for being the ‘power’ team they have turned into since the All-Star break. Being ranked second in baseball with a .797 OPS is pretty damn impressive!
The good news… we’re guaranteed that three of the four ‘bats’ the article showcased will be back next year.
Yoenis Cespedes with Mets, pro-rated to 162 games - 68 HR, 166 RBI, 214 hits, 120 extra-base hits, 16 SB
Michael asked –
This has been brought up before and I'm bringing it up again. Travis has been one of my favorite Mets from the day Sandy traded for him. We were in dire need of a young catcher and he was one of the two I wanted targeted, Yasmani Grandal being the other.
TDA has shown tremendous hitting ability and should be a big part of this team's future. However, playing behind the plate could significantly shorten his career. At this point, I'd start making plans on moving him to the OF. He loses little value by playing there as his projected numbers would still make him a top hitter at his position.
He has the athleticism to do it and we could reasonably expect full seasons from him playing the OF vs playing catcher. Mike Piazza's numbers were monstrous and would've been even bigger had he stayed a 1B.
First, do you think Conforto can play RF? All we heard was that his defense was terrible but he has come up and proven the doubters wrong. With how he has played and his arm strength, at this point I don't think a move to RF is out of the question.
We also have Plawecki. KP might not project to d'Arnaud's level but he's a better defensive catcher and still projects to be an above-average hitter for the position.
I'm seeing an OF alignment of
Being good enough defensively while being one of the best offensive groups in baseball. Add Plawecki behind the plate and it's solid all-around.
Mack – Thanks once again for a great question Michael.
Let’s take this backwards…
IMO, Kevin Plawecki has not shown me enough to warrant becoming the full time starting catcher for the future New York Mets. He was a good fill in while d’Arnaud was injured but he showed me that he was not in the same class as Travis. So, I definitely wouldn’t move d’Arnaud off of position without an adequate replacement.
Secondly, I can’t speculate on either Conforto playing RF or d’Arnaud playing anywhere in the outfield until they actually do.
And lastly, going forward, I don’t see the Mets solving their future positional problems by moving around internal pieces. This is now an established upper level team that has proven that they can fill what future holes they have either through trades or free agency.
Their remains eight every day positions in baseball. Two are catcher and left field and I suggest that the Mets leave d’Arnaud and Conforto in those two positions in the future and build around that.
David asked –
Hey Mack, what’s the status on the pitchers we have rehabbing from TJS?
Mack – Hey David, long time no hear.
I’m glad you brought this up though I don’t have an update on any of these pitchers that will make an impact in 2016.
Zack Wheeler should be back latest in July and will fill out the fifth spot in the Super 5 Rotation. His operation/rehab was a little more complicated than lefty specialist Josh Edgin, who the last I heard will be ready sometime in May/June.
Lastly there’s LHRP Jack Leathersich, who might be lost for the entire 2016 season. Stephen Guilbert lashed out at Wally Backman here about his handling ‘Leather’ and allowing him to pitch his way onto the disabled list.
(I also will say this… I’m not going to label this as a ‘sources tell me’ thingy, but it is my understanding that Leathersich wasn’t the only pitcher on the 51’s roster that was perplexed with how this situation was handled)
My guess… we’ll see Edgin first, followed by Wheeler.