Reese Kaplan -- What's Gone Right in the First Half?


As the club heads into the All Star Break after this weekend, let’s for once focus on the positives that Mets fans can enjoy this year.  All we hear about are the bad things (and believe me, there seems to be a never ending supply of them), but some things have actually gone well for the ballclub. 

Pete Alonso

There’s nothing much more that can be said about the big man and his prodigious power.  The biggest positive to me has to be his batting average which many feared would be of the Dave Kingman variety, but he’s contributing at times when he’s not simply depositing balls into orbit.  The other pleasant surprise is the manner in which he handles first base.  Last season after being told it was his defense (and not his future earning potential) that was keeping him in AAA, he went out and earned the defensive player of the month honor.  Having watched him personally for four straight games last August I was not at all surprised.  While he’ll never be Keith Hernandez around the bag, he can more than hold his own and won’t embarrass the team out there.

Jeff McNeil

Let’s hear it for the grinders, the guys who don’t seem to have all the natural talent in the world or who don’t send balls up into the clouds or who don’t make infielders look silly with their baserunning speed.  These types of guys like Justin Turner, T.J. Rivera and now Jeff McNeil can all show the Little Leaguers watching that you don’t have to be the biggest, the strongest or the fastest to make a huge impact on the success of a team.  The major league leading hitter for the Mets right now is the guy who sometimes plays the outfield, sometimes plays the infield but always seems to get multiple hits in every game.  He currently has 7 home runs which would put him on a pace to hit about 15 for the season.  As a comparison, Tony Gwynn only eclipsed that total twice (and the first time occurred at age 37!).  Gwynn’s Hall of Fame batting average for his career was a sparking .338.  In his 500 AB career Jeff McNeil is hitting .340!

Jacob deGrom

While he set rather lofty standards for himself in terms of strikeouts and stinginess with allowing runners to reach base that it’s mind boggling that a guy with a 3.32 ERA, 11.2 Ks per 9 IP and under 2 walks over that span could be considered to be having an off year.  With a 2.73 ERA for his career (including this blip on his otherwise shiny radar), he’s pitching in Tom Seaver and early Dwight Gooden territory who (through the same number of years) pitched to ERAs of 2.43 and 2.64 respectively. 

It’s no wonder that these three Mets are representing the team at the midsummer classic taking place on Tuesday in Cleveland, but have there been any other positive developments?

You bet!

Dominic Smith

Though he’s been struggling to get into the lineup regularly (and slumping a bit lately likely due to rust more than pitchers figuring him out), he’s still hitting a mighty respectable .315 with 8 HRs and 14 RBIs over 127 ABs.  Projected over a full season that’s a pace for about 38 HRs and 80 RBIs.  Not too shabby for a guy who most wrote off as a failed prospect!

J.D. Davis

While Brodie Van Wagenen has caught considerable flack for the deals that have not worked out, no one is lamenting the trade that sent to outfield prospect Ross Adolph, infield prospect Luis Santana and catcher prospect Scott Manea to Houston for Mr. Davis and infielder Cody Bohanek.  Thus far in A ball Adolph is hitting just .217, Santana was hitting .310 in A ball but just .228 since being bumped up to AA, and Manea hitting just .203 at A+.  What the Mets got in return is Davis hitting .283 over 198 ABs for the big club, with 9 HRs and 25 RBIs, a pace for 27 HRs and 75 RBIs over a full season.  Thus far that alone would look like a solid win for BVW.  The speedy Bohanek is only hitting .242, so he may not amount to much other than organizational filler but Davis has been a solid addition.

Michael Conforto

The young outfielder has been in a horrific slump before this week’s heroics against the Bronx Bombers, but the truth is that he is hitting just 3 points below his career average and is on pace for 32 HRs and 86 RBIs for a full season.  That’s certainly something to celebrate. 

 Seth Lugo

The mutli-inning reliever renowned for his high spin rates, despite a few recent meltdowns is still pitching quite well overall and close to his career numbers.  There were some who were even campaigning for him to make the All Star team prior to his past couple of mostly disastrous appearances.

Jason Vargas

The man we all loved to hate has gone on a long tear of consistently good pitching, so much so that no one would be too terribly upset if they exercised his 2020 option and kept him.  Right now he’s pitching to a respectable if unspectacular 3.77 ERA, but that’s only part of the story.  Since returning from the IL on May 25th he’s pitching to a 2.66 ERA and over those 8 starts has held opposing hitters to just a .217 BAA.  Yeah, he’s been likely the most pleasant surprise of all.


Rustyjr said...

I’m in PSL for the next few days .. I’ll try to take in a few games . Any players I should keep an eye on ?

Reese Kaplan said...

On the offensive side, Jeremy Vasquez. On the pitching side Tony Dibrell and Tommy Wilson in the rotation, Yeizo Campos and Blake Taylor in the pen.

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

This is a lot of right to build on.

Mack's Mets said...

I know he is not a favorite here but I vote for Tomas Nido. As his record in the minors shows, when he plays regular he hits enough and his defense more than makes up what you might lose in offense.

Tom Brennan said...

Todd Frazier has been half right in the first half....hurt, then a miserable start, followed by strong play that proved me wrong.

Mack's Mets © 2012