Mets September/October 2016 Report Card
The Mets entered the month completely out of the NL East race and 1.5 games back of the final Wild Card spot. The Mets had an easy schedule the rest of the way, but they did not have an easy ride. Disaster would strike the Mets rotation, and tragedy would affect the Marlins, the Mets, and all of baseball. The Mets were able to fight through all of this to not only make it back to the postseason, but also get the Wild Card Game at Citi Field.
Bear in mind, these grades are on a curve. If a bench player gets an A and a position player gets a B, it doesn’t mean the bench player is having a better year. Rather, it means the bench player is performing better in his role.
Travis d’Arnaud (C-). It was another poor month offensively for d’Arnaud and another strong month of pitching framing and defense. As the Mets enter the postseason, he will only see himself starting one game out of every four should the Mets advance past the Wild Card Game.
Kevin Plawecki (Inc.) Plawecki was a September call-up, and he got to play in a few games down the stretch. Unfortunately, Plawecki showed no progress as a hitter in that limited sample size.
Rene Rivera (B+). Yes, Rivera was horrible at the plate during the final month of the season. However, he was entrusted by Collins to mentor and catch a couple of young pitchers who the Mets desperately needed to step up in order to get the Mets to the postseason. Rivera succeeded. His mentoring and calming influence behind the plate is a large reason why the Mets are back in the postseason.
Lucas Duda (B). Duda gets credit just for being able to step onto the field. The fact that he was able to hit and play a good defensive first base was even better. If he can play, he is going to be the Mets first baseman this postseason.
James Loney (C). Loney did break his second half slump by hitting three pretty big homers for the Mets. Still, he did not hit much, and his defense at first leaves a lot to be desired. His ability to play in the postseason largely hinges on Duda’s availability.
Neil Walker (Inc). Walker couldn’t play in the final month of the season as he had to have season ending back surgery. It’ll be interesting to see how the Mets proceed as Walker was well on his way to justifying a qualifying offer and a contract offer to return next season.
David Wright (Inc.). It was strange to see the Mets celebrate making the postseason but not seeing them there to celebrate. His teammates have requested he be there on Wednesday, which goes to show you how much he means to them.
Wilmer Flores (B). Flores was having another terrific month in what was a career year until he got injured. Yes, Collins should have pinch ran for him, and no, Tim Teufel should not have sent him. With that said, none of them told him to slide into home head first leading to him suffering a season ending wrist injury.
Eric Campbell (B). Campbell returned, and he reminded everyone why the Mets seem more infatuated with him more than anyone else in baseball. He was an effective pinch hitter that could draw an occasional walk. He also played good defense at the corner infield positions while being able to play up the middle in a pinch.
Matt Reynolds (A). Not only was Reynolds able to hit well in the final month of the season, he was able to effectively spell Cabrera here and there. By Reynolds being a solid player, he was able to allow Collins to steal a couple of innings here and there to keep his infield fresh for the postseason.
Ty Kelly (B). Kelly had a solid month as a pinch hitter and pinch runner for the Mets. Given his switch hitting ability and defensive versatility, he at least played his way into the conversation for one of the last few postseason roster spots. Even if he is left off the roster, it is a testament to him that he was able to put himself in the conversation.
Michael Conforto (B). When he got a chance to start, he hit. As the month progressed, he showed he could be a valuable pinch hitter. It’ll be interesting to see what the Mets plans are for him in the postseason.
Yoenis Cespedes (C-). Cespedes finally struggled this season with his worst offensive numbers as a Met. It is puzzling to see Cespedes struggle this much when he was seemingly healthy for the month. He did hit some homers down the stretch. Hopefully, he snaps out of it because the Mets are going to need him.
Curtis Granderson (A+). We finally saw the Granderson of 2015 re-emerge, and it was not a moment too soon. He put up his best numbers of the year while hitting an astounding eight homers. Always one to do whatever the Mets need, he shifted to center field to allow Bruce to play. If Granderson can repeat his 2015 postseason, the Mets can make a run.
Juan Lagares (B). It was a shock that he was activated from the Disabled List considering he was unable to play in any minor league rehab games. As the final weeks progressed, Lagares was finally able to swing a bat putting him in play for a postseason roster spot. He didn’t get a hit in his nine games, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is he is still a Gold Glover out there, and his glove will be needed in the late innings of the postseason.
Alejandro De Aza (B+). De Aza finished up a bizarre 2016 season with an impressive month as a bench player. He got on base, and he played a decent center field. During the month, he solidified his spot on the postseason roster.
Kelly Johnson (D). Johnson’s impressive run with the Mets finally hit a snag. He struggled in the final month of the season, and despite the injuries to Walker and Flores, he still couldn’t hold down the second base job. Still, he had a strong season, and he has shown the Mets he can be a valuable pinch hitter.
Brandon Nimmo (A). Nimmo had some terrific pinch hitting appearances down the stretch. Due to the Mets glut of outfielders, he will not be a candidate for a postseason spot. However, with the way he played this season, he has shown the Mets he can be a part of their future.
Jose Reyes (C). Reyes came back down to Earth in the final month of the season putting up his worse offensive numbers. This grade would be lower, but he did get a HUGE game tying home run that staved off a four game losing streak late in the season.
T.J. Rivera (A). With the injuries, Rivera was able to earn the second base job. He played a better than advertised defensive second base, and he sprayed line drives all over the field.
Justin Ruggiano (Inc). Once he was put on the 60 day disabled list, his season was over. Strangely enough, with the Mets facing Madison Bumgarner and the Giants in the Wild Card Game, he will actually be missed.
Jay Bruce (B+). Bruce went from people wondering aloud if he would be left off the postseason roster and whether the Mets would pick up his option to becoming the Mets hottest hitter in the final couple of weeks of the season. It is fair to say the Mets may not have won the Wild Card if not for him stepping up.
Gavin Cecchini (Inc). Cecchini did not get into many games despite being a September call-up. When he did get to play, Cecchini showed the Mets he has the ability to hit major league pitching. He just might have put himself in the second base conversation for 2017.
Matt Harvey (Inc). As the Mets embark on the postseason, his ability to pitch in the big games is sorely going to be missed.
Jacob deGrom (Inc). deGrom made one start in the final month of the season. Time and again, he tried toughing through injury, but he just couldn’t do it. Eventually, he was forced to elect season ending surgery over another postseason run.
Noah Syndergaard (B). Syndergaard had a good, but not great final month of the season. While he had a clunker against the Braves, he did rebound to have a tremendous start in an emotionally filled game against the Marlins. Right then and there, he put the Mets back on track, and he allowed them to re-focus on the postseason.
Steven Matz (Inc). Like deGrom, Matz tried to pitch through injury, but he just couldn’t do it. Matz would not make a September start, and he eventually elected for season ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
Bartolo Colon (C). Colon struggled in the final month of the season, and he really struggled in the game against the Marlins that Jose Fernandez was supposed to pitch. Whether it was his foot, the emotions of the game, or being a 42 year old pitcher wearing down at the end of the season, Colon did not finish well. He has to rebound as the Mets desperately need him in the postseason.
Logan Verrett (B-). After struggling most of the season, Verrett was not in the conversation to make a start despite all the pitcher injuries. As a result, Verrett was relegated to mop up duty where he did acquit himself fairly well. Still, mop up duty is mop up duty.
Jeurys Familia (A). He finished the season being as dominant as he has ever been. He looks ready to have another great October run.
Addison Reed (A). He pitched in the final month of the season like he pitched all season long.
Jim Henderson (A). There were spots he showed his velocity was back on the rise, and as a result, he had a 1.80 ERA in limited duty. Overall, one of the great unanswered questions of the 2016 season is going to be what might’ve been if Collins didn’t abuse his arm in April.
Hansel Robles (A). After getting some much needed rest, Robles returned to his dominant form. With the addition of Salas, he is back to the role he is best suited for which is the Mets version of the Swiss army knife. He can got three innings if needed or he can come in for the one big strikeout. He’s an important arm that’s pitching like it.
Jerry Blevins (F). His peripherals finally caught up to him, and he lost his magic with inherited runners. Down the stretch, Collins leaned a little more heavily on Smoker in what would traditionally be spots for Blevins. Ultimately, Blevins is back to being a LOOGY, and that may not be such a bad thing after all.
Rafael Montero (F). With the starting pitcher injuries, Montero was given his last last chance with the Mets. He proved he couldn’t do it thereby forcing the Mets to go with Johnny Wholestaff whenever the fifth spot came up in the rotation.
Sean Gilmartin (D). He struggled again for the Mets in the final month of the season. He made one spot start, and he couldn’t get out of the first inning. It ended a disappointing season for him where you were left questioning whether the Mets should have used Gilmartin and Verrett in the roles they were successful in last season as opposed to needlessly flip-flopping them this year.
Erik Goeddel (D). It was more of the same from Goeddel who really struggled with the Mets this season.
Seth Lugo (A). He was terrific in the final month of the season. He was given his opportunity to start, and he made the most of it. If the Mets win the Wild Card Game, he is going to get a postseason start. It’s incredible when you sit down and think about it.
Jon Niese (Inc). He didn’t pitch after having had season ending knee surgery. Given his struggles this season, this was probably the best for all involved.
Robert Gsellman (A+). Like Lugo, Gsellman wasn’t supposed to be here. However, he wound up making six starts for a team fighting for the Wild Card. He got stronger each start, and he had a 2.06 ERA for the month. Like Lugo, he’s getting a postseason start should the Mets advance.
Gabriel Ynoa (C-). Montero’s failures led to Ynoa’s opportunity. Unlike Lugo and Gsellman, he was unable to take full advantage. A large part of the reason why could be his having gone so long without a start before Collins going back to him to take over the fifth starter’s role.
Josh Edgin (B). Edgin actually had a good month while learning to adapt to his decreased velocity. He might’ve showed the Mets that he still needs to be considered part of their future plans.
Josh Smoker (C+). Smoker showed the Mets he has the ability to pitch an inning, get both lefties and righties out, and get the big strikeout. He also showed he cannot be trusted for more than an inning. If he’s used in limited duty, he’s great. If you extend him, he’s going to get hit, and hit hard.
Fernando Salas (A). The Mets added him right before the waiver trade deadline, and he became this year’s version of Reed. He made the most appearances out of the Mets bullpen allowing Reed and Familia to rest. He also locked down the seventh inning to allow Blevins and Robles to return to the roles in which they flourish. You simply could not have asked for more from him.
Terry Collins (A). This grade overlooks several of his puzzling decisions and his putting players in position to injure themselves (Flores). All of his issues this month gets overlooked due to the class and dignity he comported himself, and his leadership in the wake of Jose Fernandez’s death. He was really able to reach out to both the Marlins to offer sympathy, and he was able to reach his players to have them show both the proper reverence while still getting them to compete.