Reese Kaplan -- It Was Fun While It Lasted


Whether your preference is Frank Sinatra warbling, “And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…” or maybe Jim Morrison and the Doors singing, “This is the end, my only friend, the end…” or Willie Nelson crooning, "Turn out the lights, the party's over...", the fact is the Mets season is just about done.

At this juncture let’s do something few of us ever thought we would ever do which is salute Brodie Van Wagenen and (gulp) Mickey Callaway and (throwing up in my mouth a little) the Wilpons for following through on the “meaningful games in September” mantra we’ve heard ad nauseum for the past several seasons.  No one expected it would actually happen and it was surely fun while it lasted. 

The announcers earlier this week paid overdue tribute to one player who has somewhat flown under the radar this season lost in the exploits of others – Amed Rosario.  He had shown flashes towards the end of the 2018 season when he was starting to collect hits, steal bases and getting more comfortable in the field.  Then he started off slowly in April and May before igniting and never looking back.  While he is not quite yet in the category of Jose Reyes (first time around) or Asdrubal Cabrera for the best offensive seasons by a Mets shortstop, remember he’s just 23 and as Timbuk3 would say, the future’s so bright you gotta wear shades.

Michael Conforto has eclipsed the 30 HR plateau for the first time.  Kudos to him for continuing to develop as a hitter.  90 RBIs is a slim possibility as well.

Jeff McNeil is in quite a bit of a slump lately but his average is still well over .300 and he’s added 21 HRs to the mix as well as playing 2B, 3B and the outfield. 

Pete Alonso with 49 HRs has a shot at besting Aaron Judge’s all-time rookie record of 52 and with a 113 RBIs has an outside chance with a cluster of long balls of catching Mike Piazza’s team record of 124 RBIs.

Wilson Ramos may finish the season over .300.  That’s a rare feat indeed for a catcher and you know he’s not getting many infield hits with his base running challenges.  As a catcher he’s a very good hitter.

JD Davis is proving himself to be the Wilson Ramos of position players.  As a fielder he’s turned out to be an excellent hitter but his defensive shortcomings have shown themselves both in the outfield where he’s gotten most of his playing time as well as at 3B.  You’d think after they are mathematically eliminated it would be prudent to let him play 3B every day to see how he does there with regular playing time, but these are the Mets, of course, and, damn it, Todd Frazier departing on a free agent contract needs to play!

The second half of the season showed the Mets the type of player Robinson Cano could be.  Over a 40-game stretch from June 28th through September 17th Cano is hitting .320 with 9 HRs and 20 RBIs.  Extrapolated over a full season and that’s 36 HRs and 80 RBIs…

Brandon Nimmo’s numbers reflect his early season struggles while attempting to play with his neck injury, but the spark he’s provided upon his return is unquestionable. His .481 OBP bests MLB-leader Mike Trout by a wide margin.  He may be the centerfielder the club has been seeking.

Justin Wilson and Seth Lugo have delivered and then some out of the bullpen.  The rest of the crew out there, well, they were paid well if not always particularly effective.

Jacob deGrom is unlikely to win his second consecutive Cy Young award but the way he’s pitching this year after a rough April is certainly worthy of a few votes against Ryu, Scherzer and others who are just slightly better. 

Last but not least is the resident pint-sized pitcher, Marcus Stroman, who finally is showing the Mets fans why he was an all Star with the Blue Jays.  The previous start was really good though he did issue four walks.  This last one was even better with just a single free pass and no runs allowed over 7 IP.  His control made a number of batters look silly on their swings.

There are a few players I’d like to see before they pack up and head home to watch the post season from the sofa.   Jed Lowrie is there but you’d almost not know it given his lack of use.  Yes, he may not be 100% healthy and yes, they are theoretically pursuing a razor thin chance at the post-season, but he’s a credible bat earning a ton of money and I’d like to see him get some action.

The other player I’d like to see get into at least one game is Dominic Smith.  He seemed to have turned a corner back into relevancy this year when pressed into outfield duty until yet another injury curtailed his season.  Whether he figure into the 2020 plans or will be featured as a trade chip, he needs to demonstrate he can play.  When the foot problem occurred, he was hitting .278 with 10 HRs and an OPS of .858.  That's All Star level performance.  If he’s going to be traded, he needs to show he’s capable of playing again or his value takes a huge hit. 


Tom Brennan said...

Brewers are 37-38 on the road - considering 6 of their remaining 9 are on the road, there is a chance they falter.

Cubs have a ton of Cardinals - a greater chance they falter.

I think what will happen is what happened in 1985 - we fell out of contention on the 2nd to last day of the season.

McNeil's average has dropped - by I am posting an ode to McNeil today which looks at him a little differently.

If Lowrie started playing rehab games a month ago, but is not 100% now, when will he ever be?

Nimmo has been insanely good since he returned.

Conforto has his 30 homers, but is .161 in his last 15 games in this stretch drive - very disappointing.

Gsellman, also, wants to make a late season cameo return.

Overall, I can give you 49 good reasons (so far) why this season has been a success.

Mack Ade said...

I have enjoyed myself following this team all year.

Reese, your outline on who had great seasons matches what I would write about.

Magic number is 7.

Must win out and hope the Brewers lose 3

Dallas said...

McNeil has sacrificed OBP for SLG but his OPS has stayed consistent. OBP is a little more valuable but he is still pretty productive and did well in the Colorado series....the Ofer in the Dodger series by Conforto/Alonso/McNeil was brutal. You wonder if they have better scout or analytics on how to pitch those guys or if they just had a bad series. With the way some of the Yankees, Dodgers, Stros players have outperformed you wonder what advantages they might have in the analytics department.

Tom Brennan said...

Dallas, I will say this about the Dodgers - the game I went to on Sunday, it seemed every hard hit ball that was not a clear-cut hit, the Dodgers were perfectly positioned to turn into outs.

Tom Brennan said...

As we dream on about the Mets, the Yanks have Betances tear his Achilles after 2 batters, and German facing domestic abuse, so while they are in the playoffs, those 2 events could make their run short-lived. No tears here.

bill metsiac said...

I just hope Squirrel is not being infected with LDS---Lenny Dykstra Syndrome.
It's nice to see his display of power, but a lot of it is coming at the expense of his ability to spray the ball to all fields and "set the table" .
I still believe in him. He's smarter than Lenny and can adjust as needed. He could be our World Series MVP next month. 🌍

John From Albany said...

I think it will come down to next weekend with the Braves knocking us out like they have many years now.

Anonymous said...

Brewers with -21 run differential and 83-70 record. That's crazy.

I don't know what to think about Conforto. So streaky. When he came up, I thought he'd be better. Doesn't feel right to see him as a .250 hitter. Do you extend him, invest in him, or let it ride? I guess I'd try for a team friendly contract. Think he's a Boras guy.

I am enjoying this team a like, enjoying watching the scoreboard.

Sad to see yet another premature "we're dead" post. Feels like it's the same as the fan who leaves in the bottom of the 7th to beat traffic. Why the big rush to surrender? There will be plenty of time all winter, and little to write about, for a look back. Right now, Jake goes tonight and the Mets are still alive.


Mack's Mets © 2012