It's great to have great players in your starting lineup, but seasons are often won or lost by how the marginal guys do (or don't).

How did the Mets' offensive subs do in 2016?  my own definition is a sub is a guy healthy most of the year who had 300 or less at bats.  Let me list them in my perceived performance order, add some commentary, and draw some conclusions:


Simply put, these guys really helped secure the Wild Card:

JOSE REYES - more starter than sub after his midseason acquisition, Jose energized the Mets with a stat line of  .267/.326/.443, while leading the league in smiles per game.  Showed surprisingly nice pop and great enthusiasm, while manning a new position at 3B.  Grade A.

TJ RIVERA - a guy who hit .333 in 105 at bats, with 8 extra base hits.  He gets an A grade in his limited major league action.

KELLY JOHNSON - despite going 10 for 48 after August, KJ was AOK in 2016 as a Met.  In his 183 Met at bats, he hit .268 with 9 dingers. I give him B+.


James Loney - filled in nicely at 1B for the injured Lucas Duda, but his late-season fade and lack of power and speed make him only about the 20th best 1B in the National League.  Just 3 homers and 13 RBIs in 155 at bats after July is inadequate for a MLB starting 1B.  Thanks, however, for the very solid .265/.307/.397 and solid glove work. Grade: B

Rene Rivera - fine catching, weak bat - he actually did better with the stick than I expected, going .222/.291/.341 in 185 ABs.  I give him a B-.

Ty Kelly - limited playing time (55 at bats), slow start, finished strong (at .241/.352/.345). Grade B-

Brandon Nimmo - hit well enough (.274) besides his impressive AAA season, but just 2 extra base hits in 79 plate appearances is disappointing and sub-par for a major leaguer.  Grade B-

Juan Lagares - the top sub at the start of the season, he grossly disappointed, getting hurt for too long again, and was .239/.301/.380 in over 150 plate appearances with just 9 RBIs (the same number that pitcher Tony Cloninger once had in a single game - OUCH).  He helped make the Bruce acquisition a necessity.  Grade is C-.  But - Tommie Agee went from horrific in 1968 to indispensable in 1969.  May Juan's 2017 be a healthy and similarly indispensable year for Lagares...but dive too much and your season will too.

Matt Reynolds - he had a few good moments, but his .225/.266/.416 numbers in over 90 plate appearances were too Ruben Tejada-like.  Grade C-

SUBPAR SUBS - SOME 2016 stinkin' scrubs

very small performances deserve small letters: 

alejandro de aza - lots of moolah for a lousy player, who did revive somewhat later in the season - .205/.297/.321 was not what Sandy envisioned.  Grade D-

kevin plawecki - expected to be the Mets' active # 2 catcher with an improved bat, he was - well, awful: 137 at bats, .197, .288/.265.  Grade D-

eric campbell - he petered out well before the start of 2016, and 2016 was ugly for him: .173/.284/.227.  Awful as David Wright's brief replacement.  He did us one huge favor - made the mid-season signing of Jose Reyes a necessity. Grade: F


RUGGIANO AND CECCHINI - combined they hit about .340 - sadly, that spanned just 26 at bats.  Maybe better in 2017, who knows?


WILMER FLORES - more starter than sub, if it were not for his boneheaded face first slide into the plate in September, he might have had 400 at bats.  Really rough start to his season, rebounded nicely until his dumb slide ended his season.  I'd give him a B-, but I believe he can do better, perhaps much better.   Maybe Turner/Murphy better?

Overall, what all of the above tells me is: 

1) don't spend too much at the bargain bin for aging players (de Aza); and 

2) not to the extent of the utterly miserable subs of 2015 before Johnson and Uribe arrived, cheap fixes in 2016 nonetheless provide well-below acceptable offensive results more often than not.

So Sandy, don't go cheap here.  The fingers-crossed, penny-pinching stuff can lose pennants as a result.


Zozo said...

Hopefully we sign Kelly Johnson for the whole season Mr Anderson, instead of trading some more young prospects to the Braves again this year. Also would of like Ruggiano back but ship has sailed.

Thomas Brennan said...

Zozo, I have a feeling Kelly Johnson will be too rich for their blood - if infield stays largely healthy, he'd have a hard time getting playing time. As for me, I'd keep him...he is the anti-Bruce when it comes to hitting in Citifield.

Reese Kaplan said...

If (and this is a huge IF) everyone is healthy there's no room for Johnson. Hell, there may not be room for Rivera, Nimmo, Conforto or Cecchini either. It you assume they're keeping 5 outfielders, Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores and a spare catcher, there's your five-man bench. Lagares is one of the outfielders. The other is anyone's guess.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese, everyone wants David Wright to be healthy. In Brooklyn, they signed Jeremy Lin despite his injury history, hoping 2016-17 would be different.

Lin, however, has missed almost every game.

To hope the chronically injured aging David Wright will somehow be the picture of health is most likely a similar pipe dream - I will be shocked if Wright plays 100 games. Guys will have playing time, even if a Rivera has to start out the season back in Vegas.

Wright has to come out of spring training unscathed first. I make no predictions.

Mack Ade said...

All -

My opening day 25 man remains the same and includes -

C - d'Arnaud, Rivera

IF - Wright, Duda, Walker, Cabrera, Reyes, Flores, Rivera

OF - Cespedes, Granderson, Bruce, Conforto, Lagares

And... health will determine the degree of success.

bob gregory said...

No room for Johnson and younger minor leaguers that deserve a chance before returning to Johnson.

Reese Kaplan said...

Younger, no...CHEAPER, yes. These are the Mets, after all.

Thomas Brennan said...

Bob, agreed. Only injuries would keep Johnson here, but he'll be gone before any injuries occur.

eraff said...

I am hopeful that Spring Training will provide enough feedback for Wright to decide to Go or Not...but, it's "easy" to manufacture a "No Fail Spring".

I believe he's done---I wish it was not so. As a player, he CANNOT help on the days he doesn't start/doesn't do his 2-3 hour prep--- it's not workable.

Yeah---a miracle would be great---I expect retirement, and I wish the Mets could know and plan on it now.

Mack Ade said...

eraff -

Ok... let us say that Wright hangs up the glove at the end of spring training.

Who starts at third? Walker? Flores

Who starts at second? Flores? Walker?

Who becomes the 5th infielder? Cecchini? an outside?

bob gregory said...

Flores at 3rd.

Thomas Brennan said...

I agree with Bob - Flores at 3B. If Wilmer gets hurt, hopefully Cecchini could man 2B. My guess is it will take Gavin a while to prove he can defend at 2B a whole lot better than he did at SS, so Matt Reynolds would be the utility guy, at least for a while. However, if management really believes Wright will give it a go but have to retire, maybe they do sign Johnson now. There is, however, always that budget thing in considering KJ.

Lee Majors was the Six Million Dollar Man - Neil Walker better be our $17MM Man. A career year would be nice.

Eddie Corona said...

So it always seems that I sound so bad toward Wright and I do so love him... But We need him to be Injured... There are better players than him currently on the team, the money that has been recovered via insurance have been re purpose the past 2 years and He is actually hurting his legacy...

Thomas Brennan said...

Eddie, I always compare Wright to Don Mattingly, who quit due to his back issues with a far higher last season average than Wright managed last year. The ONLY thing we do not know is if the area that was surgically repaired on Wright had been a real problem for a while and if, with that fixed, he'll be improved. I am guessing no, and that his being a year older is a year more impossible for success.

Mack's Mets © 2012