The New York Mets had won seven straight series before a key divisional match-up against the Atlanta Braves. They would not make it an eighth straight series.
1. Last season, the Mets failed on multiple occasions to deliver a knockout blow to the Braves leading to the Braves buying at the deadline, winning the division, and eventually, winning the World Series. This was the Mets first chance to deliver a huge blow to the under .500 Braves, and instead, they let the Braves walk away with a split.
2. You can’t use Adam Ottavino for three straight games. That’s just an unforced error that helped lead to the Mets getting blown out.
3. Buck Showalter came into this season with a number of questions. Seeing how he burns Drew Smith for two innings instead of saving him for another day and used an injured Trevor May in a key spot, it would seem like he hasn’t improved in the slightest in this area.
5. If Bassitt wants to sign an extension, the Mets should sign him to one. This is a good pitcher who seems to like pitching here. You keep those guys.
6. The walks are starting to pile up with Megill. If he isn’t pounding the strike zone, he becomes vulnerable to the big inning. That is essentially what happened to him. Right now, this isn’t any cause for alarm.
7. All the metrics say Francisco Lindor is hitting the ball very well, but the results aren’t there. Put another way, it’s too soon to overreact, but it is something we need to monitor.
9. Eduardo Escobar went from pleasant surprise and leader to looking like the player the Mets shouldn’t have jumped the market to sign. His hard hit rates are cratering as is his defense.
10. Starting J.D. Davis over Dominic Smith, especially with a right-handed pitcher starting is just plain wrong. With extended playing time, Davis’ struggles with any sort of velocity and with pitches up in the zone are magnified.
11. For all the focus on the struggles of the bullpen, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Smith have the final 2-3 innings locked down. Looking at that, building the rest of the bullpen is a much easier task until May returns from the IL.
12. It’s very interesting how May and Jacob deGrom were dealing with very similar injuries. What that says about the Mets is anyone’s guess.
13. The umpiring in this series was embarrassing. It helped cost one game with Dansby Swanson being ruled to have a double on a clear foul ball. Dom was called out on a pitch well out of the zone. Between this series and the Madison Bumgarner ejection in Arizona, the umpiring has been unacceptably poor this season. Really, you know it’s bad when Max Scherzer gets thrown out of a game when he’s not pitching.
14. The notion anything other than balls and strikes is not reviewable is ludicrous.
16. Players like Travis Jankowski and Guillorme deserve more respect. They fill their roles in perfectly and make this ball club infinitely better. Jankowski knows people won’t buy his jersey, but we will all cheer him on like he’s a superstar.
17. Carlos Carrasco has been amazing this season, and his eight innings not only helped the Mets pick up a win, but it also saved the bullpen.
18. Trevor Williams wasn’t great, but he took one for the team pitching 3.2 innings. Outings like this often get overlooked and under appreciated, but it is something which will really help the Mets in the long run. With May out, you do wonder if the Mets can give him more of a look out of the pen. After all, it’s not like they have other options.
19. The Showalter suspension was ridiculous, especially when you consider Stubby Clapp wasn’t suspended. You do wonder how much that impacted the Mets in the opener of the series, especially with Showalter being informed right before game time.
20. Alonso is heating up just when the Mets need his bat to carry this team. Hopefully, he can help carry the offense as they try to give the Philadelphia Phillies the knock out blow they failed to give the Braves.
With the return of the Old Timer’s Day, we are going to see some of the most beloved Mets in history return and play a game in front of adoring fans. We will once again get to see beloved players like Cliff Floyd, Daniel Murphy, and Robin Ventura return for the day. It is going to be a great and emotional experience.
Those are players forever in Mets lore. We will always love them for what they did on the field. Not all of them had the biggest personalities. There are, however, some Mets who had the innate ability to become fan favorites without so much as dominating.
One player all over the baseball news is Tsuyoshi Shinjo. The formet Met was hired as the manager of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Sorry, as Shinjo says, he isn’t the manager, but he is rather the “Big Boss.” This is just Shinjo being Shinjo. No one has better understand the great theatre baseball can be in the moments outside of the action. After all, he used to name his homers and orchestrated his own epic retirement ceremony
Baseball needs that type of theatre, and the Mets are the perfect frachise to embrace it. Shinjo can create a spectacle which could garner attention and interest. Really, teams pay a lot of money to hire people who try to figure out the things Shinjo just does on his own, and it comes naturally to him. Whether as a part of the coaching staff, televsion, or just as a team ambassador, Shinjo would make Mets games that much more entertaining.
In recent history, Mets games have probably not been as much fun as they were in 2015. A large part of that was the Mets winning the pennant. Another component of that was the force of nature that was Juan Uribe.
Uribe was the perfect addition to that Mets team. First and foremost, he was the real stopgap third baseman the team needed. He would quickly ingratiate himself to Mets fans with a walk-off hit in his second game with the team. He would then become a larger than life character for needling David Wright, objecting to football being played on TV, and for declaring he doesn’t wear a cup in the field because there isn’t one big enough for him.
Uribe was great in the clubhouse keeping the team on an even keel and upbeat during their first real pennant race. He was also a leader who helped the team reach their full potential that season. In some ways, his presence was missed the following season as he helped a Cleveland team get to the next level. Certainly, you want to believe there is room for him to do the same again for the Mets in some capacity.
Finally, there is Curtis Granderson. Aside possibly being the best human being to ever don a Mets uniform, Granderson was as fun a player as there was. He was not just terrific on the field, but he was also the genius behind the We Follow Lucas Duda Instagram account. Granderson didn’t just understand how to make baseball fun on the field, he knew how to do it off the field as well. The fact he is a great person on top of it makes it all the more important to get him to return in some capacity.
Overall, the Mets franchise has had a number of colorful characters. From Roger McDowell to the hot foots to Pete Alonso with the fake hitting coaches, you need a certain personality to handle and thrive in New York. While the Mets do need to honor their greats, they also need to find a way to better incorporate those players who made the Mets the fun team they are and hopefully always will be.
The New York Mets made the announcement they are officially bringing back Old Timer’s Day. So far, it has been announced Mets greats Cliff Floyd, Howard Johnson, Daniel Murphy, and Robin Ventura will be there. We are undoubtedly going to see many other greats.
As we work through the list of players which will undoubtedly include Mike Piazza and David Wright, the most important player would be Carlos Beltran. This would set the perfect stage and opportunity for the best free agent signing and center fielder in team history to return.
The saga of Beltran and the Mets is in many ways a story still unfolding. During his playing days, he was never fully appreciated by the fans. Part of that was his very disappointing first year in Flushing, and then in 2006, when he was everything and more the fans expected, he would strikeout looking to end the NLCS. After that, while Beltran was great, he was part of the Mets teams who collapsed in consecutive seasons.
From there, he was a bit injury prone. Lost in everything was the Wilpons interference with his ability to get the treatments he needed. There was also the fact he graciously accepted a move to right field because it was what was best for the team. After his departure, it did seem Beltran was better received by Mets fans as evidenced by the ovation at the 2013 All-Star Game.
Of course, we know all too well Beltarn was initially hired to replace Mickey Callaway. He wouldn’t get the chance to manage one game because of his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal. To date, he is the only player to face any discipline as the callow Wilpons fired him.
Sadly, it wasn’t the Mets who gave Beltran his path back into baseball. That would be the Yankees. Much like how Beltran began his post playing career working in the Yankees front office, he will be part of the Yankees’ YES studio shows. It is something the Mets could’ve potentially done with SNY, but it should be noted the Wilpons still owned the network, and as such, Steve Cohen didn’t have the chance.
This is now Cohen’s opportunity. He can reach out to Beltran and bring him back for a big ovation at Citi Field. He can remember him of all that was great during his time, and that Beltran will go to Cooperstown largely because of his time with the Mets.
Remember, Beltran will be on the ballot for the first time next season. Looking through his career, Beltran will likely have three choices for his Hall of Fame cap: (1) Royals; (2) Mets; or (3) blank. Beltran played more games for the Mets than any other team. He also accumulated his highest WAR, all three of his Gold Gloves, both of his Silver Sluggers, and five of his nine All-Star appearances with the Mets.
Fact is, Beltran will go to the Hall of Fame because of what he did in a Mets uniform. He belongs in Cooperstown as a Met, and his 15 should be retired. However, there is evidently still some healing which needs to occur to secure Beltran wearing that Mets cap. That should begin with Old Timer’s Day. It’s an excellent opportunity for a first step, and hopefully, it will be a big step in what can be a journey for Beltran emerging as a great former Mets ambassador for years to come.
Noah Syndergaard shocked New York Mets fans when he accepted a one year deal from the Los Angeles Angels for one year for $21 million. That was worth more than the $18.4 million qualifying offer from the Mets.
Up until this point, Syndergaard had made it clear he wanted to stay with the Mets. That was until free agency began. After that, the Mets cut off all communication, and while the Mets were quick to point out they didn’t get an opportunity to match, they also weren’t going to match.
Noah Syndergaard to the Angels is a significant loss for the Mets, who need to add probably two starting pitchers this offseason.
The Mets had a lengthy, exclusive window to sign Syndergaard, who was open about his desire and expectation to stay in New York. They didn’t take it.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) November 16, 2021
The response from Mets fans hasn’t been bewilderment over how the team let a rehabbing ace leave. It wasn’t irritation over Sandy Alderson cutting off communication with Syndergaard like he once did with Daniel Murphy, Another Mets star who desperately wanted to stay.
Like many players, free agent Marcus Stroman especially, Syndergaard is very online. He was part of the conversation, and at times, he drove it. We also know he can be sensitive. This is the same Syndergaard who will be a free agent after the 2022 season.
We all should be expecting Syndergaard to have the Zack Wheeler type turnaround at the end of 2022 and heading into 2023. Certainly, money will dictate, like it did here, but seeing the treatment on his way out the door, why would Syndergaard want to return to this fanbase?
This is the same fanbase who had an issue mercilessly booing players this season. Incredibly, that initially happened when the Mets were in first place.
Homegrown player Michael Conforto was booed as he tried to return from COVID. Francisco Lindor was booed as he struggled to adapt to New York and all the things Chili Davis did wrong as a hitting coach.
When Javier Baez was acquired, things went from bad to worse. Baez crossed the line booing back with the thumbs down, and he dragged Lindor into it. That caused the fans to get worse until Báez was great again.
At that point, Báez was cheered and was loved. Keep in mind, Báez is a free agent. He initially talked about wanting to stay to play with his best friend, and we know Alderson has always loved him as a player.
Will Báez return? Who knows? Not everyone is Mike Piazza and wants to deal with the booing and fight to overcome it. No, some players don’t want to have to deal with the negativity which comes with the boos, Twitter nonsense, and sports radio and SNY trying to come up with the biggest nonsense.
Believe it or not, players want to get paid and play. They want to win. They want to be loved and respected by the fans.
They don’t want to deal with fans who turn their back on players because they leave, get hurt/sick, or struggle. They don’t want to deal with fans dumb enough to buy the outright lies Alderson continues to feed them (remember payroll will increase when attendance does?)
As fans, you are permitted to do whatever you want, and you can continue to parrot whatever ownership tells you. However, at some point, you have to question when is your collective behavior going to be counterproductive and keep some players away.
After all, if Syndergaard does break out, why would we want to return in 2022 after the way he was treated? What would he say to other players who are thinking of playing for the Mets? Therein lies the problem.
Going back to 2015, Noah Syndergaard arguably had the best career ahead of him out of any of the Mets proverbial five aces. He had just unparalleled stuff, and he had the swagger to back it up. More than that, he was a big game pitcher.
We saw Syndergaard come out of the bullpen in Game 5 of the NLDS to shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers for an inning. He followed that with a win in Game two of the NLCS, and he would be the only Mets pitcher to win a game in the World Series. You could see greatness in Syndergaard in those moments, and greatness would ensue.
In 2016, Syndergaard would fulfill every bit of his promise. He was a true ace, and he emerged as an All-Star and top 10 in Cy Young voting. To date, he is probably the only pitcher to go toe-to-toe with Madison Bumgarner in the postseason. In that game, Syndergaard actually outpitched Bumgarner over his seven innings, but unfortunately, there were two more innings in that game.
After that, we excepted Syndergaard to do what Jacob deGrom essentially did. The problem was Syndergaard faced injuries and the Mets medical staff as run by Jeff Wilpon. There was the torn lat, and then two years later, he required Tommy John surgery. That Tommy John rehab was interred with by a minor injury and COVID19.
This wasn’t new to the Mets. This is akin to what happened to Zack Wheeler. They saw it happen. It took Wheeler two years to get back on the mound. Then, it took him another half of a season just to get up to speed again. After that Wheeler was terrific, and then, he was out the door to Philadelphia as the Mets showed little to no interest in re-signing him.
The final indignity with Wheeler was Brodie Van Wagenen taking shots at him. Wheeler responded by being one of the best pitchers in baseball. In fact, he is a finalist for the 2021 Cy Young. While some sycophants may want to tell you otherwise, this was apparent at the time Wheeler hit free agency.
This is the same exact situation the Mets found themselves with Syndergaard. Actually not quite because they were going to get the opportunity to keep Syndergaard BEFORE he rebounded post Tommy John. Moreover, Syndergaard loved New York, and he wanted to stay. You couldn’t have scripted a perfect situation for the Mets.
They had the opportunity to learn from the Wheeler mistake. They were going to be able to keep an ace at a discount. They were going to be able to prove the organization was not in complete disarray as it looked with the president of baseball operations and GM search. Put another way, they could show the world this wasn’t just a more financially solvent version of the Wilpon run Mets.
Instead, Syndergaard is bolting for the Los Angeles Angels for a one year $21 million deal. No, Syndergaard didn’t get a multi-year deal. He ONLY received $2.6 million more from the Angels. The Mets lost Syndergaard over $2.6 million. This is so inexplicably and embarrassingly Wilponian.
While the Angels were talking with Syndergaard, the Mets were botching their GM search and choosing the worst possible candidate in Billy Eppler. Like he did with Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy, Alderson decided it wasn’t worth keeping a homegrown Mets player and build around him and let him flourish because he could get a compensatory second round pick.
This all makes you question how soon before Michael Conforto and Marcus Stroman are gone and replaced with lesser players? After all, that’s been Alderson’s MO with the Mets. Steve Cohen was supposed to change that, but as we’ve seen so far, it’s the same old with Alderson.
Really, everything sucks right now with the Mets, and you have no idea where it goes from here.
Because it’s what Scott Boras does, he held court at the GM Meetings. During that time, he drummed up hype for Michael Conforto calling him the “King of Queens” and the “Ace of many GM’s hearts.”
"He's basically become the King of Queens. In free agency now, he's kind of like the ace of many GM's hearts."
Scott Boras says the interest level in Michael Conforto has been "extraordinary": pic.twitter.com/rvCJjtKPMy
— SNY (@SNYtv) November 10, 2021
Of course, because it’s Boras, and the New York Mets are the New York Mets, Boras took a shot at the Mets. This time, instead of criticizing how they won’t spend (Steve Cohen is not the Wilpons), he mocked them for being the only team without a GM at the GM Meetings.
Alderson couldn’t let this slight stand. So, he made sure to take it out on Conforto, a player who literally teared up on the field at the prospect of playing his last game in a Mets uniform.
Sandy Alderson responds to Scott Boras' comments on Michael Conforto
"Those comments I would characterize as a blowhard in a house of cards" pic.twitter.com/JOTcV8sj1a
— SNY (@SNYtv) November 11, 2021
Conforto was an All-Star. He hit two homers in a World Series game. He emerged as a leader. He’s been one of the best homegrown position players in Mets history, and he’s scattered across the top 10 in the record books.
Put the Boras hype aside. This was a very good player for your franchise. He’s been a good citizen the franchise continuously put in harm’s way without so much as a complaint from him (at least not publicly). This is a player who deserves respect, and frankly, this is the exact player you should want to keep.
But no, Alderson thinks calling Conforto a terrific player deserving of a big contract is just Boras being a blowhard. That’s an awfully nice way to treat Conforto.
But this is the standard course for Alderson. He eventually grows to have no use for Mets homegrown players, especially when he can get draft pick compensation – just ask Daniel Murphy and Jose Reyes for starters.
But hey, he always fails to adequately replace the players he unceremoniously dumps. Good thing he’s standing in the way of a president of baseball operations or GM who’d look to keep the good players the franchise produces and not needlessly insult them on their way out.
As we tick through the days of October, we have different Mets postseason highlights. Perhaps because they’re more recent in time, and because those postseasons ran later than previous years, we see focus on 2006 and 2015 highlights.
However, no World Series victory. No, Mets fans haven’t seen that since 1986. That’s 35 years ago and counting. There should’ve been at least one other title to celebrate in the ensuing years.
It’s not just the lack of titles; it’s the lack of good baseball. In that unprecedented stretch in franchise history from 1984 – 1990, the Mets won 90+ games six times in seven years including two 100+ win seasons.
In the 35 ensuing years, the Mets have won 90+ games four times. Just four.
That Mets team who finished second or better in seven straight years gave way to a franchise who has finished second or better 10 times. Notably, two of those times the Mets were under .500.
This is a large reason why we’re still celebrating the 2006 and 2015 Mets. This was a very poorly run franchise wasting great player’s primes and World Series windows with gross mismanagement.
Things are better now just because the Wilpons are gone. That said, we just can’t be sure yet just how much better. That’s why the Mets absolutely need to land the right president of baseball operations.
That hire will very well determine if we’re still celebrating 2006 and 2015 because it’s all we got, or if we can now just admire the milestones for what they are. Honestly, we need something because it’s absolutely ridiculous Mets fans have been reduced to celebrating losing postseason series.
It was a very poorly kept secret back in 2017 if he had his druthers Sandy Alderson wanted to hire Kevin Long to succeed Terry Collins as the New York Mets manager. Long didn’t take anything for granted coming extremely prepared for the interview with binders of information. More than that, he had already had a profound impact on the Mets organization rejuvenating Curtis Granderson while transforming Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy.
However, it wasn’t to be. Instead, Jeff Wilpon got it in his mind he wanted to have Mickey Callaway as the manager. Despite Callaway interviewing poorly, it was enough for Wilpon to hire Callaway after one interview because the Philadelphia Phillies showed interest. As Mets fans can recall, this went over about as well as when the Mets included Jarred Kelenic in the Robinson Cano trade because the Phillies showed interest in Edwin Diaz.
Since then, the managerial position has been a disaster for the Mets. Callaway proved to be an awful human being harassing female reporters. After him, the Mets hired and then were effectively forced to fire Carlos Beltran. In a mad scramble, they hired Luis Rojas while completely failing to give him any chance to succeed in the position. Rather that let him continue to grow, the team has decided they need to go in a different direction.
Now, there are many moving pieces before the Mets get to hire a new manager. The biggest is the need to hire a new president of baseball operations. Presumably, that is the person who will and should have the biggest input on who the Mets next manager will be. Whatever the case, the Mets have the right to correct the mistake they made in 2017 and hire Long.
For his part, Long served the world with a reminder why he was managerial material. During the National League Wild Card Game, he was sitting next to superstar Juan Soto, a player Long has helped get the most out of his ability. Soto was wearing a Trea Turner jersey (another player Long has helped immensely) while Long wore a Max Scherzer jersey.
Max Scherzer went over to high five Juan Soto and Kevin Long after the walk-off home run ? pic.twitter.com/HvV0s4FLzE
— Blake Finney (@FinneyBlake) October 7, 2021
In that moment, you saw everything you could have possibly wanted to see from a future manager of your team. He was standing there with his star player, a player in Soto he helped take from a 19 year old wunderkind to a bona fide Major League superstar. More than that, he showed the incredibly great relationship he fostered with his superstar player, the very type of relationship a manager absolutely needs to have any level of success.
We also saw the sense of loyalty he has for his players. He went out there to support both Turner and Scherzer. It was a moment which meant so much to them Scherzer made sure to go over to the stands to celebrate his team’s walk-off win with them. Keep in mind here, Scherzer is a free agent who should be on everyone’s radar.
When we look at the modern game and the current status of the managerial role, it is increasingly about relationships with the players and the ability to communicate. It’s no longer about Gil Hodges playing a hunch or Davey Johnson trusting his eyes over the data. Increasingly, it’s about taking the game plan prepared by the front office and not just executing it, but getting the players to buy in on the plan.
Putting aside what happened in the NL Wild Card Game, this is exactly what Long does. He helped transform Cespedes from a wild swinger to a player better able to identify his pitch and become a monster at the plate. There was also Murphy who went from gap to gap hitter to a legitimate threat at the plate. Murphy showed the 2015 postseason wasn’t a fluke by any means when he became an All-Star and MVP candidate with the Washington Nationals. It should be noted Long followed Murphy to Washington, D.C.
In total, Long is what you want in a manager. He can process data and translate it to players in a way where they can understand and execute it. We also see he is a coach who can foster great relationships with this players. He is also loyal to his players, and they love him. Short of being able to steal away the Bob Melvins of the world, you’re not going to find a better managerial candidate than Long.
Alderson knew it in 2017, and he can do what he wanted to do back then and make Long the Mets manager. If that is the case, we can expect the maddening Mets offense to finally click and for this team to reach the World Series potential we know they have.
When making decisions at the trade deadline, it is not just about where your team is in the standings. It is also about where you are at as an organization. Right now, the Mets are 4.0 games up on the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, two teams who are under .500. As for the organization, well, they are in a much more tenuous spot.
After this season, Michael Conforto, Jeurys Familia, Rich Hill, Aaron Loup, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and Jonathan Villar will be free agents. After the following season, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Brandon Nimmo, and Kevin Pillar will be free agents. Jacob deGrom can also opt out of his contract, and Taijuan Walker can decline his player option.
Focusing more narrowly, after two years, the Mets could lose 2/3 of their outfield and 4/5 of their starting rotation. They can also lose four key set-up men as well as their closer. Put another way, this team is on the precipice of losing very important pieces of a team which is going to take it to the postseason this year.
Now, this is certainly a much different proposition with Steve Cohen at the helm than it was with the Wilpons. There is an implicit trust Cohen will continue trying to win. However, as we know, you’re not always successful identifying who to keep and who to let go as well as who the right replacements are.
When we look back to the early 90s, the Mets were coming off their best stretch in Mets history. They made the right decision letting Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez go. However, they made some bad calls like thinking Vince Coleman could replace Darryl Strawberry. They over relied on their belief Kevin Elster, Dave Magadan, and Gregg Jefferies could be first division starters. Of course, there was also the Worst Team Money Could Buy.
All told, when the Mets switched from build around a core to replacing and altering the core, things fell apart. We can look at other points in Mets history when that happened. It happened again when the Mets passed on Alex Rodriguez as part of a calamitous offseason after the 2000 pennant. The 2009 Mets made the mistake of keeping Oliver Perez. The 2017 Mets got their money tied up in Neil Walker, and they saw Robert Gsellman and Lugo couldn’t hang as starters for a full season.
In some ways, that leads us to now. The Mets have extremely important decisions to make on who stays and who goes. They need to see who the correct replacements are. From what we’ve see from this front office, we should have faith they are up to the task. That said, we all had very well placed faith in Frank Cashen, and he blew it up.
Seeing where the Mets are, the best decision they can make right now is to absolutely go for it. Yes, that may very well require overpaying for players and rentals. Back in 2015, that didn’t make much sense. It was year one of contending for a young core who was cost controlled. Their decisions, including letting Daniel Murphy walk, turned it into a two year window. That window slammed shut without a World Series.
Right now, the Mets window is definitely open, but it’s being propped open. Without the right options, this window can slam shut after this year. It may well be that after the 2022 season. The Mets definitely need to keep this possibility in mind as they look to add at the trade deadline.
Players like Kris Bryant and Trevor Story dramatically changes the fortunes of this team. The same can be said for a player like Jose Ramirez. It may hurt to overpay for Max Scherzer or another top of the line starter, but imagine a two headed monster of deGrom and Scherzer (and having deGrom insurance) as the Mets look to win a World Series.
Ultimately, the Mets are going to see radical changes to this roster over the next few years. They’re in first place now with a team capable of winning a World Series. They need to make sure they do everything they need to do to get that World Series, or they may be ruing the missed chance for a team in transition over the next few years.
Put another way, they need to look at their prospect pool, and they need to identify MLB projectable prospects. At the same time, they’re going to want to avoid pressing their top, top guys into action too soon thereby damaging their development and/or trade value.
Taking everything into account, the name which stands out at the moment is Carlos Cortes.
Cortes was the Mets 2016 20th Round draft pick. He gained notoriety as an ambidextrous fielder. At second, he played right-handed, but in left, he played left-handed, which is his natural side. In essence, as a fielder, he’s Pat Venditte.
Cortes was drafted as a second baseman where it was believed his promising bat would play better. Cortes has been moved off the position and back to the outfield for a few reasons.
First and foremost, the Mets have an abundance of middle infield talent and not much outfield prospect talent in their system. Another reason is Cortes’ relative struggles in the field.
Through two minor league seasons, he had a .948 fielding percentage and 3.80 RF/9. To put it in perspective, Murphy was putting up better numbers than those. While the struggles were to be expected with the position switch, apparently, the Mets just didn’t see enough there to continue with Cortes at second.
That said, it’s a tool he carries. No, Cortes is not going to be your second baseman. However, for a start or two, he could be that. In some ways, you can liken him to Wilmer Flores on that front.
That’s not to say he’s the next Flores. Rather, the ability to even stand at a position has value at the Major League level. Like Flores and many before and after him, Cortes is going to lie and die by his bat.
— Mets Farm Report (@MetsFarmReport) May 24, 2021
Cortes has done some impressive things with the bat since being drafted like homering to right in Brooklyn. That’s no easy feet. Despite his being 5’7″, there’s real power in that bat.
We really saw that bat play in Australia during the winter. In 14 games, Cortes would hit an astounding .392/.429/.706. That was made all the more impressive when you consider he didn’t play in a game in 2020 like most minor leaguers.
That didn’t exactly carry forward to the Double-A season. He’s hitting just .239/.316/.418. However, Cortes does have a four game hitting streak right now, and he’s been a bit unlucky with a .269 BABIP.
There are positive underlying numbers like a 10.5 BB% and .179 ISO. He’s actually spraying the balls fairly evenly. In sum, he’s using all fields, has pop, and he’s not an easy out.
The question is whether the versatility and the bat where is at now should lead to a call-up. The honest answer is no. No, it should not be considered.
But, that’s a position for when everyone is healthy. At the moment, the backups to the backups to the backups are now injured. That’s not hyperbole. That’s the state of the Mets.
With that in mind, the Mets have to ask themselves whether they want a retread Major Leaguer on his last legs, a minor leaguer like a David Thompson who hasn’t taken that leap, or a Cortes should get the call-up.
Unless the Mets can swing a deal, preferably one better than Cameron Maybin for $1, the answer seems to trend towards Cortes. At the very least, he can play second and left, and he can be a fun novelty with his being ambidextrous in the field. And who knows? Maybe, he’ll really hit well.