J.D. Davis

Mets Should DH Mark Canha

With the New York Mets potentially pursuing Juan Soto, the question becomes what the team does with their outfield alignment. Despite Soto being a poor outfielder, the Mets really aren’t going to get the 23 year old superstar to put him at DH.

If Soto was moved to left, where he belongs, this would force Mark Canha to DH. Really, when you look at it, the Mets should probably move Canha to DH as soon as the second half starts.

The predicate for such a decision is the Mets current options at DH have been a complete failure. J.D. Davis is a strikeout and ground ball machine. Dominic Smith has already been demoted once and is easily having the worst season of his career. Neither belong in the everyday lineup right now.

On that front, Luis Guillorme does belong in the everyday lineup. You can argue it’s for his defense alone, but he’s also been hitting this season. Of course, it’s hard to play him everyday.

Remember, Jeff McNeil was an All-Star second baseman. His defense has been good too with a 0 OAA. It’s not Guillorme good (2 OAA), but with his bat, you can more than justify playing him there.

That said, McNeil is versatile. In addition to being a good second baseman, he is a good left fielder (1 OAA). Actually, he is better in left than second.

On that front, Canha has not been good in left. In fact, he has a 0 OAA. Yes, it’s the same as McNeil at second, but across Major League Baseball, McNeil’s zero ranks higher than Canha’s.

At least from a defensive standpoint, it makes sense to put McNeil in left with Guillorme at second. The move makes further sense with McNeil battling a hamstring issue.

So, it makes sense defensively, and it makes sense offensively.

Guillorme (119 wRC+) has hit much better than Davis or Smith. However. However, he hasn’t hit better than Canha (124). The good news is this never needs to be an either/or calculation. It’s a both/and.

Defensively, Guillorme at second, McNeil in left, and Canha at DH. As it so happens, all three of these bats in the everyday lineup with Davis and Smith sitting is also the optimal batting order.

To a certain extent, this is and should be obvious. However, the Mets have not operated this way. Rather, they’ve flipped a coin and picked one of Davis or Smith to diminishing returns.

It’s one thing if the Mets were still invested in Davis or Smith, but they’re not. They’ve gone out of their way to say they’re upgrading the DH position to replace them.

The thing is the Mets may not actually need a DH. In the end, what they may need is to just optimize their lineup with the players already on the roster.

Mets Never Wanted Dominic Smith In 2022

For some reason, the New York Mets just don’t want to give Dominic Smith a full time job. Worse yet, they don’t want him to earn it either.

Consider this, of all the players on the Opening Day roster, Smith is the only player who has not started at least four games in a row. Yes, that does mean Travis Jankowski has.

As previously noted, the Mets first went with Robinson Canó and then J.D. Davis at DH. During Davis’ “winning” the DH job, an admittedly underperforming Smith was sent to Triple-A.

At the time, Smith was hitting .186/.287/.256. Again, when that’s your line, you put yourself in that position, especially when you have options.

However, Davis has similarly faltered. Since June 19, he’s hitting .162/.279/.297 striking out 16 times in 43 plate appearances (37.2%). That’s with a three hit game!

Nowhere will you find the Mets even contemplating sending down Davis. Again, he’s not hitting at all, and he can’t field any position. He’s literally useless to this Major League roster.

Despite that, he continues to get at-bats at the expense of Smith. Even with Smith historically faring better against left-handed pitching, they’ll sit Smith for Davis.

You don’t do this if you’re invested in Smith. That goes double when Smith had a hot bat. The reason is the Mets, at least the Sandy Alderson directed Mets, have never been truly invested in Smith.

This goes back to 2017 and 2018.

Smith and Amed Rosario struggled when they were first called-up. The reaction to each of them could not have been more different.

Smith was given competition to Adrian Gonzalez, who was really signed to play. The Mets preference was made all the easier when Smith was late to pregame, and Mickey Callaway felt the need to display his authority.

This was before Smith’s sleep apnea was diagnosed and treated.

When Gonzalez played poorly and was released, the Mets turned to Jay Bruce and Wilmer Flores. This for a team who was out of it in May and dead in the water in June.

To make matters worse, Smith was used as a left fielder for a good portion of the time. This was a first round pick and top 100 prospect. A Mets team completely out of it thought the best course of action was to see what he had . . . in the outfield.

Keep in mind, Rosario struggled, and the Mets went out of their way to ensure he’s have no competition for the job. Better yet, the team sent down Luis Guillorme for a stretch leaving Rosario as the ONLY shortstop on the roster.

Between 2018 and the present, there’s a pattern, and the person at the helm has been Sandy Alderson. People can say he’s out of the loop, but he’s out there making statements the Mets need to address the DH position.

That was yet another shot at Smith, a player he didn’t want.

Remember, the Mets nearly traded Smith for Eric Hosmer (horrendous contract), Chris Paddack (injured pitcher with a 96 ERA+), and Emilio Pagan (81 ERA+ over last three seasons). That’s just how much they wanted rid of Smith.

They wanted to take on a ton of money to get worse. It’s no wonder Steve Cohen was reportedly forced to nix the deal.

That’s all well and good, but the front office response was just to not let Smith earn a job. On some level, that’s personal. There’s certainly a history backing it up.

Overall, the Mets didn’t want Smith. Alderson has a long track record of not giving him a fair shot. Now, the Mets are ready to move on without even so much as giving him a week of starts to try to earn a job.

Scherzer Reaffirms Mets Best In NL East

The Atlanta Braves were surging and unbeatable. The New York Mets were falling apart. This is 2021 all over again.

Nah.

The Mets have Max Scherzer and just phenomenal starting pitching across the board. When you have pitching like this, you’re the team to beat in the division, and Scherzer reminded everyone of that.

Through the first six, Robinson Cano was the only one able to get a hit off of him. Of course, it was Cano, who the Braves obtained right before this series.

The Braves didn’t score a run until Austin Riley’s seventh inning homer. The Braves threatened from there with Marcell Ozuna following with a double.

This is cause for worry for mere mortals, but this is Scherzer. The future Hall of Famer, and one of the fiercest competitors in all of pro sports, struck out Eddie Rosario to end the jam.

In the end, the Braves had a run. Even with the recently sputtering Mets offense, that was a low hurdle to jump. They jumped it easily.

Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso doubled in the third to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. From there, the Mets loaded the bases with one out.

Luis Guillorme hit what could’ve been an inning ending double play. Instead, Guillorme buster it out of the box resulting in an RBI fielder’s choice giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.

It’s a good thing Guillorme delivered there because J.D. Davis was batting behind him. Davis had his usual terrible night at the plate marked by strikeouts, infield pop outs, and ground ball outs.

The Mets had Braves starter Max Fried on the ropes all night, but they couldn’t deliver the knockout punch. Ultimately, as a team, the Mets were 2-for-10 with RISP stranding 10.

It didn’t matter. Scherzer was just that good. So was the red hot Guillorme. In the eighth, he homered off Darren O’Day to increase the Mets lead to 3-1.

This marks his career high. Notably, half of Guillorme’s four homers have come against O’Day.

Guillorme was simply great. He was 2-for-3 with a run, double, homer, walk, and two RBI.

The Mets needed it too with Starling Marte hurt, and Jeff McNeil on the paternity list. The Mets already weak offense looked terrible. It wasn’t.

We saw the Mets add insurance runs. That made the job of the Mets bullpen that much easier.

It was a dance for Adam Ottavino, but he escaped the jam keeping the Mets ahead. After that, the Mets added an insurance run in the ninth.

With regards to that run, Nimmo and Francisco Lindor pulled off the rate hit-and-run. It was a good night at the plate for Lindor, who was 3-for-5. After an Alonso fielder’s choice, it was 4-1.

Faced with an interesting and potentially daunting option, Buck Showalter chose Edwin Diaz on a third straight night for the save. Diaz looked fully rested mowing down all three Braves he faces for his 19th save of the season.

Thinking long term, once Jacob deGrom comes back, the Mets pitching is unstoppable. It’s about seven innings from the top of this rotation with Diaz striking out the side in the ninth.

Really, that’s giving teams an inning or maybe two to score runs. The Mets offense can splutter all it wants, more often than not, they’re winning these games.

That’s what the Braves discovered. It’s what all of baseball was reminded of again.

J.D.F.A. Davis, Not J.D.H. Davis

The New York Mets just could not help themselves. Dominic Smith has been hitting, and he was looking more and more comfortable at the plate. It looked like he could be an answer for the DH position while splitting time at first with Pete Alonso.

But no, the Cincinnati Reds were starting a left-handed pitcher. They started Nick Lodolo. Yes, right-handed batters beat him up. However, not right-handed batters like J.D. Davis.

In a play out of Terry Collins‘ book with Michael Conforto, Buck Showalter (or whichever analytical member of the Mets making the decision) shoe horned Davis into the lineup. After all, if a batter is left-handed, they can’t possibly hit left-handed pitching.

It doesn’t matter that since 2019 Smith has a 127 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, and Davis has a 117. Since 2020, Smith has a 126 wRC+ against left-handed pitching to Davis’ 102. Anyway you look at it, Smith hits left-handed pitching better than Davis.

If we’re being honest, as far as left-handed pitching goes, Davis only seems to hit Patrick Corbin well, and that seemed to be only before this season. This season, Davis has been bad, very bad.

Davis has a 97 wRC+. That is despite his being shielded from better pitching. He was given every opportunity to grab the DH job, and he has a 31.6% strikeout rate, 1.74 GB/FB, and he is among the worst players in all of the majors in whiff% and K%.

Looking deeper, since 2000, Smith has a 100 wRC+ to Davis’ 84. That’s against all pitching. Smith can actually play first base well, and with Alonso completely regressing defensively with a -5 OAA, you can argue the Mets need Smith at first. Alonso could also be the answer for the Mets DH woes. Those woes were created by Davis being terrible.

Despite everything, Davis was given the start. He rewarded the Mets faith in him by going 0-for-3 at the plate with two strikeouts. His one lone non-strikeout plate appearance was pop out to first baseman Mike Moustakas in foul territory. Simply put, when you put a player like Davis into the game for his offense, you deserve to be shutout, which the Mets were.

Simply put, Davis cannot hit. He cannot field. For some reason, he keeps getting at-bats from the DH spot. Smith struggled and was sent down to Triple-A. Davis is flat out bad, and the Mets go out of their way to find him more plate appearances.

Davis needs to be sent down now. If not that, he should be designated for assignment. That’s if you can’t foist him on a team who still thinks he can be good. Good luck with that. Whatever the case, Davis should be much closer to gone than ever being in the lineup again.

Let Dominic Smith DH

You can argue the New York Mets best options for DH are not currently on their roster. However, it does not appear the Mets are ready to head in those directions as of right now.

Mark Vientos is mashing, but the Mets seem to be scared enough by the 30.7% strikeout rate to keep him in Triple-A. Francisco Alvarez was just called up to Triple-A. He is not an answer for DH as he is being developed as a catcher, and the Mets do not want to find themselves in a Kyle Schwarber or Gary Sanchez situation.

As for a trade, you don’t normally see big trades like this until the end of this month. Certainly, you will not see anything until after the All-Star Break. Everything considered, it seems the Mets solution for DH is already on the roster, at least the short term solution.

Looking at the roster right now, you can only conclude Dominic Smith needs to get the job.

Yes, Smith struggled mightily to start the season. He was hot in Spring Training, and he cooled off considerably as the Mets first tried to see if Robinson Cano had anything left. He didn’t. At that point, the Mets appeared to decide they should go with J.D. Davis, and when the Mets felt a pitching crunch, they sent Smith to Triple-A.

Over that time period, we saw Davis again prove he can’t be a Major League DH. On the season, Davis has 101 wRC+, 31.0% strikeout rate, .099 ISO, 1.81 GB/FB, and ranks towards the very bottom in the majors in whiff% and K%. In sum, there is no way, shape, or form the Mets can justify playing him evreryday at any position.

That brings us to Smith.

The biggest issue with Smith is we only saw him healthy and hitting in one season. That was the pandemic shortened season when he actually received MVP votes despite the Mets being terrible. With that season, you thought he would be a permanent fixture for the Mets. However, he battled an injured shoulder in 2021, and he had the aforementioned nightmare start this season.

Well, after he was recalled Smith has started hitting again. Over the past nine games, Smith is hitting .333/.333/.524 with four doubles and two RBI. Smith came up as a pinch hitter on Saturday hitting a double. After that, he started the following two games. Over this three game stretch, Smith is 4-for-9 with three doubles and 2 RBI.

Simply put, he’s hitting well. With the way the Mets are hitting now, if anyone is hitting well, they simply need to be in the lineup. Does this small sample size seem like grasping at straws? Perhaps, but then again, that’s where the Mets are.

Consider, the Mets 84 wRC+ from the DH position is the second worst in the National League. Since June 1, the entire team has a 99 wRC+, which ranks as tied for seventh worst in the National League. That’s a precipitous drop for one of the best offenses in all of baseball over the first two months of the season.

Now, DH is the only issue. We have seen Mark Canha, Luis Guillorme, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo fall into bad slumps. Only recently did Eduardo Escobar and Francisco Lindor battle out of very bad slumps. The team has gotten absolutely nothing from the catcher position. Taking everything into account, the team needs players who are hitting well in their lineup.

Right now, that’s Smith. He’s hitting right now. As a result, he needs to be in the lineup now either at first or DH. Give him a few weeks. If he falters, he can be traded for the needed relief help. If he succeeds, the Mets assets can be directed to fill real needs. Whatever the case, the Mets need Smith, and for Smith, this should be his last opportunity.

Astros Different Class Than Mets

The New York Mets played the Houston Astros four times over the past week, and it just didn’t go well for the Mets. Not only did the Astros sweep all four games, but they also dominated them.

As Mets fans, we can lie to ourselves. We can say it’ll be different when the Mets have Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. Truth is, that might not be sufficient.

We saw that with Taijuan Walkers start. He was again brilliant shutting the Astros out over 7.1 innings. Edwin Diaz finished that inning, but Drew Smith couldn’t keep it scoreless allowing a two run homer to Jason Castro.

Even with the homer from the backup catcher hitting .095, it was just two runs. When your pitchers all two runs, that’s a winnable game. When you’re at home, you need to win those games.

The excuse will be it was Justin Verlander. Fine, he’s a future Hall of Famer, and he leads the AL in wins. He was great. However, that doesn’t explain one run scored over two games and six over four games against the Astros.

Come up with your reasons. Once you cycle through them, there’s one simple answer – the Astros are just better. That’s a big problem.

If the Mets want to win a World Series, the Astros are a potential roadblock. If not them, the New York Yankees, who are having a historically great season.

Before that, there’s the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and really, the seeming randomness of the postseason.

For the Mets, they need to admit their problems and find solutions. Really, they’re pretty obvious.

First and foremost, J.D. Davis is not a DH. They need to stop forcing it. Maybe the team gives Dominic Smith another look. Maybe they call-up Mark Vientos.

Whatever the Mets decide, they can’t play Davis anymore. He’s been a disaster. Sure, people will run to say the same about Smith, but whatever. Point is, DH is a black hole for the Mets.

This alludes to another issue. With Francisco Lindor struggling again (potentially due to the broken finger), Pete Alonso is the ONLY power threat.

The Mets need to try to give someone a look there before they can make a trade. While we’re on that subject, Chasen Shreve can’t pitch for this team again.

Shreve hasn’t performed for two months now, and he’s getting worse. The Mets need to find his replacement ASAP. While they’re at it, it couldn’t hurt to add another reliever for the late innings.

There’s some other areas to address. However, Jeff McNeil’s versatility and Luis Guillorme’s glove answers many of those problems.

There’s more from there, but those potential problem areas may be overstated. Overall, we see against better pitching and fielding teams, the put the ball in plat approach fails. That’s been very true for the Mets.

None of this is an overreaction. The Mets are great and can win a World Series. However, that doesn’t change the facts. The Astros are in a different class than the Mets.

That’s with or without deGrom and Scherzer. Yes. deGrom and Scherzer can lead the Mets to a World Series. They can also lose due to the inability to score runs against good pitching and defense teams.

With each day, the Mets issues become more apparent. Fortunately, there’s still time to address them. Hopefully, the Mets admit them now and become incredibly pro-active.

Mets Fans All Star Voting Has Been Ridiculous

As a fanbase, you really have to wonder what is going on with New York Mets fans. They are showing up for many of their players, and the vote totals are reflecting that, but they are not showing up for all of them. On that point, here is how the Mets players are faring in the All-Star voting with their National League rank in WAR:

By WAR, Nimmo has been the Mets best player this season. By WAR, he trails only Mookie Betts among all of National League outfielders. However, despite that, he’s not only the lowest ranked of all the Mets outfielders on the All-Star ballot.

Yes, other fanbases vote and look to make their voices heard. That is to be expected. Certainly, there is a measure of popularity in the voting. That is exactly why the voting for Nimmo is so problematic.

Look at the Mets players again. With the exception of McNeil and Nimmo, each one of the Mets players vote ranking outpaces where they are in WAR. For McNeil, it actually matches where he ranks. However, for Nimmo, he is lagging, and he’s unjustifiably far off from where he ranks among National League outfielders.

It’s hard to see this as anything other than a popularity contest. After all, Davis is in the top five in DH voting. This is a player who ranks 21st in WAR among designated hitters. It is worse when you consider he trails Dominic Smith in WAR, and Smith was demoted to Triple-A Syracuse for a stretch. Realistically speaking, it’s hard to fathom how Davis is getting any votes.

For that matter, Escobar ranks fifth, and he has not been good since April. More to the point, you get the sense Mets fans are unfortunately starting to turn on him.

It’s more difficult to fathom why Nimmo isn’t getting any votes. He’s the best player on the team this season. He’s been great atop the lineup and in center field this season. He’s been better than any other position player on this team, and that includes Alonso, who is the player getting MVP talk from the fans.

Overall, Nimmo should not only be an All-Star, he should be a starter. He is the Mets best player, and he has undoubtedly been one of the best outfielders in the National League this season. There may not be enough time left, but Mets fans have to be better than this and step up for him.

 

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Toss Out Rotten Fish

From the rumors, the New York Mets are being threatened for National League East supremacy, but then again the Mets dispatched with another opponent. This time it was the Miami Marlins.

1.  It might’ve been Father’s Day Weekend, but Francisco Lindor proved it’s always Mother’s Day. His mom came to the game on Friday, and he hit his first of two homers in the series. After breaking his finger, he seemed understandably off, but this weekend, we saw the real Lindor again.

2.  Taijuan Walker has pitched like an ace since Max Scherzer went down. Over his last six starts,  he’s averaging 6.0 starts with an increasing strikeout rate. This could be one of the best two year deals in Mets history.

3.  The Mets DH situation was a disaster before J.D. Davis got hit on the hand. That could effectively end his season (it did last year), which is going to rob the Mets of a right-handed bat off the bench. And before people start, he wasn’t hitting for power before this hand injury.

4.  It seems the DH spot will now fall to Dominic Smith, who faltered earlier, and/or Daniel Palka, who hasn’t played in the majors since 2019. With respect to Smith, the only hope is he begins hitting again with regular at-bats.

5.  While Mark Vientos continues to be the best possible DH option, from a purely crazy standpoint, you do wonder if Michael Conforto would be available on a minor league deal. After all, Scott Boras has hinted Conforto may be able to hit this season. It would seem a mutually beneficial arrangement even if there’s a 99% chance Conforto doesn’t play this year.

6.  The biggest concern right now is Jeff McNeil‘s hamstring. As Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez pointed out, he tried to play through a similar injury last year and struggled. Hernandez also noted the flight to Houston won’t help matters. Ideally, the Mets can give him a day or two to get healthy.

7.  David Peterson had a much needed good start. That was much needed for him and for the Mets.

8.  The fact Seth Lugo was pitching after his two year old just had surgery and his wife is expecting any day now is just remarkable. Given that context and how great he has been as a Met, we can afford him one bad pitch before freaking out.

9.  Where is it written in stone the Marlins play their very best against the Mets at all times?

10.  Chris Bassitt had a strong start but hit a bump. He is still a part of the solution this season and in the ensuing years.

11. Sandy Alcantara is just that good, and the Marlins have him effectively locked up until 2027. That would be very bad news for the Mets except you know the Marlins will get rid of him well before that.

12. The cavalry seems to be on their way with reports Scherzer could be a week away and James McCann on a rehab assignment.

13. The Mets have effectively shelved Patrick Mazeika, and you have to wonder just how much longer he will be a Met. With every homer from Francisco Alvarez, the chances of his getting designated for assignment increase exponentially because next time there is an injury, Alvarez may very well be called up to stay.

14. The Mets continue to do Josh Lewin dirty. First, he’s replaced by an inexperienced and poor announcer, and then, his podcast is replaced with amateur hour. He and Mets fans deserve much better.

15. Drew Smith is back to being Drew Smith, and as a result, the Mets bullpen is again a strength. That goes double with Adam Ottavino pitching well.

16. Very quietly, Starling Marte keeps getting better and better all season.

17. It’s obvious why we’re not talking about it much, but Pete Alonso‘s defense has really regressed. With the Mets DH options being what they are, you could move Alonso there, but the Mets obviously don’t want to interrupt his Silver Slugger caliber season.

18. Luis Guillorme is just a guy who gets on base and plays great defense. If the Mets cared about that in the past, perhaps they make the postseason prior to this year.

19. On this date last year, the Mets had a 5.5 lead game on the Atlanta Braves. The key differences is that Mets team had a +20 run differential, and this one has a +72. The other key difference is that team lost deGrom, and this one will be getting him back. These are not remotely the same seasons.

20. Interesting to think about, but this upcoming series against the Houston Astros might actually be a World Series preview.

Mets Have A DH Problem

So much for that J.D. Davis hot streak. Just as it seemed like he was going to run away with the DH job, the New York Mets sat him against good Milwaukee Brewers starting pitching, and he is currently in a five games stretch where he is 3-for-13 (.231) with zero extra base hits over his last five games.

Again, looking at the season as a whole, he’s at a 108 wRC+, 1.87 GB/FB, and he rates among the worst players in the majors in Whiff%. In total, he swings and misses a lot, he’s hitting for no power, and the Mets believe they need to shield him from good pitching. All told, this cannot be your DH.

It’s not just a Davis problem. Lately, the Mets have gone with Nick Plummer as the left-handed compliment to Davis. As bad as Davis has been, Plummer has been worse as he’s mired in an 0-for-20 streak.

We have seen Eduardo Escobar DH often this season. Well, he was recently dealing with medical issues, and he’s in his own 0-for-18 streak.

Overall, when you look at the DH position, the Mets as a team have a 83 wRC+. In every way, shape, and form, this is completely unacceptable. A position whose only responsibility is to hit is below average at the plate. It’s just insane.

Yes, there’s also some Robinson Cano in there and some of Dominic Smith‘s troubles. That all said, the Mets DH position still has players who just do not hit enough to justify playing at the position on a daily basis.

Now, you could argue Pete Alonso should DH, especially with his defense slipping entirely. Really, he has been the worst he’s been in his career. However, making that move is a double edged sword because Alonso has been completely locked-in at the plate, and the Mets can ill afford to lose that in the lineup.

This is honestly where Smith was supposed to help. When he wasn’t playing, he could be late inning defense and a credible bat in the lineup in the event of a disaster. He’s hitting in Syracuse (111 wRC+), but short of having a spot to play everyday, the Mets may be ill advised to call him up to languish on the bench again.

So again, what is there to do?

You can call-up Smith to see if he can grab the job again, but he may not be hitting enough yet to do it. You can roll with Davis despite all of his faults and Mets justifiable unwillingness to play him against good pitching. They could give Escobar an extended look, but he can’t hit now, and forget about Plummer.

Maybe Michael Conforto becomes available. As Scott Boras has said Conforto may not be able to play the field this year, but he might be able to hit. It may be worth a minor league deal for the end of the season to see if he can get back to being Conforto. Then again, for many reasons, this ship has probably sailed.

All told, it seems as if Mark Vientos remains the best option for now. If he falters, well, then maybe the Mets return to Smith again (assuming you don’t forever lose him calling up Vientos over him), or they made a trade deadline move. Whatever the case, they can’t keep doing this. Sooner or later, the Mets need to do something.

Mark Vientos Emerging As Mets Best DH Option

The New York Mets screwed up their DH position entering the season. Largely due to his contract, Robinson Cano was given the first crack, and he failed miserably. It led to his release, and notably, he’s now playing for the San Diego Padres Triple-A affiliate.

While the Mets were trying to get Cano going, Dominic Smith faltered. With the lack of at-bats, he never got going, and eventually, he was sent down to Triple-A.. He’s hitting now, but his doubters will use this to call him a Four-A player.

This has led to J.D. Davis “winning” the DH job, but not really. Since Smith was demoted, Davis has a 142 wRC+, but there are caveats there. That comes with a .423 BABIP, 1.11 GB/FB, softer than usual contact for him, and a 26.2% strikeout rate. This looks more like a hot streak than true talent level.

Per Baseball Savant, Davis’ Whiff% and K% is among the worst in baseball. He’s also been a poor base runner. Despite the exit velocities, he still only has two homers, and the Mets very noticeably did not start Davis at DH against the pitching rich Milwaukee Brewers. All told, it does seem the Mets are not sold with Davis as the permanent DH.

That could open the door for someone else, and noticeably, Mark Vientos is red-hot in Triple-A.

So far, Vientos has followed his professional career path. He was terrible over the first month of the season only to post a 1.050 OPS in May. He has followed that with a 1.264 OPS in June. This is no fluke. Vientos did the same exact thing in Double-A last season posting a 1.182 OPS and 1.008 OPS over the second and third months of the season last year.

Once Vientos turns it on, he’s locked in for the rest of the season. Right now, he is in one of his better stretches. He has a six game hitting streak with three multi-hit games. He has homered four times over his last three games, and he is hitting .285/.467/.846 over this stretch.

What you see with Vientos is as the season progresses, he proceeds to drive the ball more and get the ball in the air more. At the lower levels of the minors, he was a predominantly pull side hitter, but as time as progressed he has hit for power to all fields. He’s also developed much better pitch recognition skills, and he’s walking at his highest rate in full season affiliate minor league baseball.

That’s not to say there aren’t risks. Vientos still does strike out at a very high clip. So far this season, he’s at a career worst 31.6%, and there is justifiable concern that will worsen against Major League pitching. While he’s had a 1.103 OPS since May 1, he also has a 32.7% strike out rate. He has walked 9.9% of the time over this stretch.

Of course, Vientos does not have the same benefits as Major Leaguers do down in Triple-A. The Mets have more and better analytical data at their disposal with a coaching staff adept at disseminating the information. This has helped the Mets have the fourth best strikeout rate in the majors. That’s even with Davis having one of the worst.

Right now, the Mets are in an interesting spot. They don’t have any players they like to DH everyday. Their offense is taking a hit with Francisco Lindor‘s broken finger, and it is likely to take another hit with Starling Marte getting hit on the forearm. They seem to like Davis but not against good pitching. More than that, aside from Pete Alonso this is a team without another real power threat at the moment.

This could lead to the Mets looking to trade for a DH at the trade deadline, and Steve Cohen has said he will spend to do it. However, before it gets to that point, it would behoove the Mets to take a look at Vientos. He is flat out mashing in Syracuse, and if his minor league history is any indicator, he will mash the rest of the season.

Vientos is earning the call-up, is on the 40 man roster, and he fills a need for the Mets. It is time to give him a chance. If nothing else, the Mets will know just how much DH is a real trade deadline issue.