Posted by Reese Kaplan at 10:00 AM
This season has been a bit tougher on Mets fans than they expected. There have been some scorching hot streaks and some frigid slumps as well. Many players are doing pretty much what was expected of them, including Lucas Duda, Michael Conforto, Jacob de Grom and Jeurys Familia. Others, however, have been somewhat surprising in good (or bad) ways.
One nominee for most surprising (though the peripherals were there a year ago ) is Noah Syndergaard. After a very solid rookie campaign that saw him post a winning 9-7 record with a nice 3.24 ERA and a 10K per 9 IP average, everyone expected another solid season. However, Thor has upped the ante considerably, raising the K rate to 11 per 9 IP, offering up an unheard of 7.2:1 strikeout to walk ratio, and lowering his ERA more than a full run to 2.19. Everyone expected good things from this young man but what he’s done is Goodenesque.
On the flip side, perhaps the biggest shock is the performance thus far of Matt Harvey. Whether it’s still related to the bladder issue that sidelined him late in the spring, a change in his delivery or, as some Page 6 type pundits have volunteered, that he loves the night life a bit too much, the fact is that he’s been pretty bad since the season began. Including Thursday night’s lowlight of the season, Harvey now stands at 3-6 with a Pelfreyesque 5.77 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP. Strikeouts are down. Walks are up. Opposing batters are hitting a robust .325 against him with an All Star level OPS of .862. Another 2-3 starts like the ones he’s been having and they may have to consider getting him out of the rotation temporarily.
Bartolo Colon has had some terrific moments on the mound but also turned in a few clinkers lately, too. Overall he’s not bad at 33 and 3.75 – about what you’d accept for a 5th starter. His big shocker remains the career-first dinger which overshadowed his stellar pitching performance that night during which he provided 8 innings of shutout ball with 7 Ks and no walks. One can never tire of watching his offensive heroics, however.
The new middle infield combo of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera cost the team about $9 million given that Jon Niese’s $9 million salary departed to Pittsburgh in the Walker trade. For that they’ve gotten Walker’s best home run production of his career and a .280 batting average out of the shortstop position from Cabrera who, until Thursday night’s debacle against the Nationals, had been rock solid fielding his position. It’s not often that first year players coming to the Mets meet or exceed expectations but the DP combo is doing just that.
Speaking of players who hit the ground running, the 2015 sprint to the pennant by Yoenis Cespedes seemed unsustainable. After all, who could keep up that pace of hitting for an extended period of time? Well, it turns out that the avid car collector can. He’s been at or near the top of the home run charts since the season began and is on pace to deliver more than 120 RBIs while hitting nearly .290. They’re getting what they’ve paid for and then some. The fact he’s delivering at this same level is somewhat surprising. The bigger surprise will be if he remains with the Mets after this year when other clubs may want to pony up to lure him away.
I think David Wright is doing about what you could reasonably expect given his health. Travis d’Arnaud on the DL is nothing new. Curtis Granderson is off to a slow start but not playing at a level where benching him seems like a viable option.
So who has surprised you the most thus far?