James McCann

Álvarez And Vientos Show Mets Won’t Let Mistakes Define Them

On August 2, 2022, the New York Mets traded J.D. Davis along with prospects Carson Seymour, Thomas Szapucki, and Nick Zwack. for then San Francisco Giants 1B/OF/DH Darin Ruf. It was a trade widely panned at the time due to the prospect overpay. However, this is the type of trade where if the Mets won the World Series no one would really care about the overpay.

The converse to this is naturally the overpay is highlighted when the player struggles. This is why teams typically will not admit a mistake and do everything they can to try to make the trade work. If they can get just one big hit or a small hitting streak, they can point to that to say they didn’t completely mess up. What most teams don’t realize is that player struggling mightily only makes the trade worse because the player not only struggles, but they also inhibit a team’s chances of winning.

Things with Ruf actually started great. In his first Mets plate appearance, he hit a pinch hit double. The problem is Ruf has done absolutely nothing after that. In 28 games, he is hitting .152/.216/.197 with three doubles and seven RBI. It is not hyperbole to say the Mets have gotten more from him as a pitcher (two scoreless innings in a blowout loss) than they have as a position player.

Part of this was probably the Mets fault. They took a player who played semi-regularly, and they asked him to be a pure bench/platoon option. Unfortunately, Ruf was not suited for the role. Make no mistake, this was an unforced error and a complete gaffe by the Mets. They gave it a little less than two months before admitting defeat and investigating their other options.

Mets teams of old play and lose with Ruf. This Mets team doesn’t care about how their image and competency are adjudged. They know that will solely be defined by winning the World Series. The Mets saw Ruf would’ve hindered those chances. Instead, the Mets needed to pursue other options who would give them a better chance to win.

First, it was Mark Vientos. In Oakland, it did seem like he was figuring things out. We would even see him hit his first Major League homer. He was cutting down on the strikeouts and taking better at-bats. The thing is he had chances in his last game in big spots, and he didn’t deliver.

We have seen enough from Vientos to see he is going to be a power hitter at the Major League level. In his minor league career, he has shown the ability to make adjustments and thrive at the plate. However, with the Mets waiting so long before calling him up to the majors, he might not have that time he needs to get comfortable, adjust, and thrive before playing in the postseason.

With that in mind, the Mets called up Francisco Álvarez, the player Keith Law dropped a Mike Piazza comp on before the season. Certainly, with the 27 homers, Álvarez has backed that up. Mets fans have been waiting for this since Álvarez said in Spring Training his goal was to make it to the majors this season. He probably would’ve made it sooner if not for that ankle injury.

Right now, it seems Álvarez is here to DH in one game and be available as a pinch hitting option. While Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer were complimentary of his work behind the plate, a team that is going to win and lose the World Series based on their pitching cannot sit James McCann and Tomas Nido, who are exceptional framers.

No, for now, this is a one shot deal. Álvarez is here to DH. He is here because Ruf couldn’t do the job. He is here because the Mets are still unsure if Vientos can do the job. Mostly, he is here because this Mets team will not be defined by their mistakes. Instead, they will be defined by winning.

 

Mets Projected Postseason Roster

While the division is still up for grabs, the New York Mets are definitively headed to the postseason. While their opponent remains to be seen, we can start looking at who will be on the roster. After all, the Mets have begun doing that themselves by playing Mark Vientos in addition to taking looks at starters Tylor Megill and David Peterson in the bullpen.

While September rosters are at 28, rosters will drop back down to 26 for the postseason. So with that, at least two players currently on the roster will not be on the postseason roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at who is currently a lock to make the postseason roster.

CATCHERS (2)

Believe it or not, Francisco Alvarez could potentially be added to the postseason roster. However, that’s only in the event of an injury to McCann or Nido and another to Michael Perez. Put another way, we’re going to see McCann and Nido all postseason.

INFIELDERS (5)

There are no surprises here. This is obviously the starting infield with the Escobar/Guillorme platoon. Of course, Marte’s health will impact if Guillorme and Escobar play everyday with McNeil in right field against right-handed pitching.

OUTFIELDERS (3)

The obvious caveat here is Marte. If he is good to go, there are four outfielders who will be good to go. However, at the moment, we do not know how or if Marte can play through the pain. Keep in mind, that broken middle finger is inhibiting his ability to throw.

DH (1)

Simply put, Darin Ruf is not doing enough to secure a spot on the postseason roster, and the same goes for Vientos at the moment. The Mets obviously brought Gore in for the sole purpose of being a pinch runner, but his spot may be in some doubt with the Mets platoon strategy. Marte’s health may very well impact who is carried to be the right-handed DH with Marte himself being a possibility.

STARTERS (5)

We now the top three will be deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt. At the moment, it looks like the Mets will have to decide between Carrasco. Whichever they pick, it would be an absolute shock if the Mets do not put the other starter in the bullpen for the postseason.

BULLPEN (4)

There are a name or two here that may very well be here, but at the moment, this is the only group that can be considered a lock. Yes, it is a surprise that’s it after a long season and multiple opportunities for upgrades.

With all the aforementioned players, the Mets have 20 players who are locks for the postseason roster. Per MLB roster rules, the Mets (or any team) can only carry up to 13 pitchers. At the moment, the Mets have nine pitchers considered as locks. As a result, the Mets can add up to four more pitchers leaving them to add two position players.

POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE

If Marte is healthy and ready to go, he will be on the postseason roster. However, the Mets have to be very careful here. If they carry Marte in the first round series, and he can’t go that puts them in a very precarious spot. That means they’re going to be down a player for the round, lose Marte for the ensuing series if he needs to be replaced on the roster, or both.

Marte’s availability is the biggest question mark, and it may be the biggest issue with how the roster is comprised.

For example, Gore was brought here solely to pinch run in the postseason. However, if Marte is still working his way back, the Mets just may roll the dice and use Marte for the role and revisit it again for the next series. If Marte can’t play the field but can DH, that takes Ruf and Vientos completely out of the picture.

Essentially, what Marte can and can’t do will dictate which two players will make the roster. Ideally, the Mets probably want to carry Marte and Gore, but we will see if that is a possibility. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility, the Mets carry just 12 pitchers with a reliever going to the bullpen to allow the Mets to carry Marte, Gore, and one of Ruf/Vientos.

RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE

As noted above, we can see the Mets carry 3-4 pitchers from this group. Keep in mind, who the Mets carry from this group may be somewhat opponent dependent.

Right off the bat, the Mets would carry Givens, but he is on the COVID IL. Until he is activated, we are not quite sure if he can be carried on the postseason roster, at least not in the first round. Assuming for a second Givens is available, things get interesting.

Realistically speaking, the Mets will carry Rodriguez even though he has been bad all year. Of course, Lucchesi is a wild card here. However, if we don’t see him pitch in the Majors soon, there is just no way the Mets can carry him on the postseason roster.

If the Mets want two left-handed relievers, they are definitively going to carry Rodriguez and Peterson (short of Lucceshi being good to go). If they carry both, and Givens is healthy, that may just be a full bullpen depending on what the Mets want to do from a position player perspective.

To a certain degree, that squeezes Williams off the postseason roster. That is unfair and dubious considering he has been one of the Mets best pitchers all season. That said, if you’re carrying your best pitchers, Williams has been that all season.

Theoretically, Megill of Co-No fame would be left off the roster. At the moment, Megill is trying to prove he can be utilized in the bullpen.

Overall, this all hinges on Marte’s health. The role if he can play, if he can play role at all, can dictate just how the Mets are able to comprise their postseason roster. Right now, there are eight games for players to secure their place on the roster leaving a number of moving pieces and decisions yet to be made.

 

 

Francisco Álvarez Time Is Coming

According to reports, it appears James McCann will be ready to return from the IL sooner than expected. That’s great news for a team getting nothing offensively from Tomás Nido and really nothing at all from Patrick Mazeika.

McCann’s return probably takes the Mets out of the Willson Contreras hunt. With this being a pitching first team and his framing, that’s not a bad thing.

However, that doesn’t mean the Mets should completely overlook upgrading the catcher position. On that point, it appears Francisco Álvarez is getting closer and closer.

When first called up to Triple-A, Álvarez struggled. Over his first eight games, he was batting .087/.324/.130. What should stand out there is the .324 OBP.

That was a sign he wasn’t being dominated. In fact, it was just the hits weren’t coming. He was not yet driving the ball. However, he was in the at-bat, and even while struggling and adapting, he was finding ways on base.

From there, he went to the MLB Future’s Game in Los Angeles during the All-Star Break. Álvarez was 0-for-1 with a walk, but he came back to Syracuse a different player.

Since he returned, Álvarez is 5-for-21 with two doubles, two homers, and eight RBI. Astoundingly, he’s walked eight times. That’s a .238/.448/.639 batting line.

Notably, he continues getting on base. In fact, he’s drawn a walk in four straight games and seven of his last eight games. Of those seven games, five of them were multi-walk games.

Now, we see the power coming. There’s also some clutch there with a grand slam and walk-off homer.

Álvarez now has a three game hitting streak, and he has a hit in five of the six games after the Future’s Game. In five of those six, he’s reached base multiple times.

While this is a multi-layered approach and analysis, in Álvarez, we see a player getting closer and closer to being Major League ready. With every walk and extra base hit, he gets closer to Queens.

In the end, McCann can be healthy. Nido can be strong behind the plate. However, when Álvarez is ready, nothing is going to stop him from getting to the majors. Increasingly, it looks like that’ll happen this year.

Kevin Parada Wasn’t Drafted For Juan Soto Trade

With the 11th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, the New York Mets selected catcher Kevin Parada out of Georgia Tech. This immediately led Mets fans into speculation Parada was drafted so the Mets could trade for Juan Soto.

It just doesn’t work that way. Put another way, no, Parada was not drafted as a replacement for Francisco Álvarez.

Look, you can understand the Soto excitement. Arguably, the best hitter in the game is on the market after (correctly) turning down a 15 year $440 million extension.

This has led the Washington Nationals to look to trade Soto, who hits free agency after the 2024 season. According to reports, the Nationals see the Mets as a potential trade partner. That should be obvious.

After all, Álvarez is already considered the best prospect in the minors. The Mets also have top 100 prospects in Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio, Alex Ramirez, and Mark Vientos (depending on your list). Additionally, when he returns from his Tommy John rehab, Matt Allan is anticipated to join those ranks.

Simply put, the Mets have the high-end prospect talent selling teams covet at the trade deadline. Arguably, the Mets could acquire Soto even if they make Álvarez untouchable.

Another factor is Jon Heyman’s report in the New York Post wherein the Nationals may force interested teams to take on Patrick Corbin’s terrible contract. That leaves only a handful of teams who could be in a position to make the deal with Steve Cohen having the deepest pockets.

All told, yes, the Mets have what it takes to get Soto. No, Parada has no bearing on such a deal.

As Mets vice president of amateur and international scouting Tommy Tanous told MMO about draft approach, “The boring answer is you still take the best player available but having all those picks and the pool money there’s plenty of different scenarios you can play around with.”

Honestly, this is how almost all teams approach the draft. That goes double for the Mets. They draft the best player available.

The reason why the Mets drafted Parada? He was the best player available. Keep in mind, no one had Parada falling this far.

For example, Keith Law of The Athletic and MLB Pipeline had Parada going fifth to the Nationals of all teams. Parada falling to 11 was a steal, and the Mets pounced.

Ultimately, that’s the reason the Mets drafted Parada. Really, it had nothing to do with Álvarez.

Consider this. In 2019, the Baltimore Orioles made Adley Rutschman the top overall pick in the draft. Rutschman made his Major League debut roughly three years after being drafted. That’s not atypical.

Álvarez is currently playing in Triple-A Syracuse. With James McCann’s injury, it’s entirely possibly Álvarez could be called up the minute he starts hitting. If he’s not traded, we will definitively see Álvarez in the majors by 2023 at the latest.

If Parada is three years away, he’s not an Álvarez replacement. It doesn’t work that way. The Mets drafted Parada because he miraculously fell to him; not to trade Álvarez.

As an aside, the same can be said for Jett Williams. Williams was drafted 14th overall by the Mets because he was the best player available and not so the Mets could trade Ronny Mauricio.

Yes, it’s very possible the Mets trade Álvarez or Mauricio to Soto. It could be them both plus other pieces while absorbing a bad contract. Soto is 23 and that awesome.

However, there’s no cause and effect here. Parada is a Mets draftee because he was the best player available. It’s really just a coincidence he plays the same position as Álvarez, the best and most coveted prospect in the game.

Francisco Álvarez Needs To Wait

James McCann is out with an injury, and we have no idea how long it will be. Chances are it may effectively be a season ending injury. That leaves the Mets with Tomás Nido. As we have seen with Nido, he does his job behind the plate, and as a result, the New York Mets have been comfortable using him as their main catcher.

The problem is they haven’t been as comfortable with Patrick Mazeika. That is understandable with Mazeika having a 41 wRC+. With him being an average framer, carrying that bat is a problem. Yes, it is a small sample size, but it’s essentially what Mazeika has been, i.e. a poor man’s version of Josh Thole.

When Mazeika is looked upon as a stopgap, he has been more than fine. However, the Mets need more than that now. After all, the Mets are looking for a catching tandem to take them through what is now a tight NL East race and potentially into the postseason.

Seeing what he did in Double-A, the natural impetus is to renew the calls for Francisco Álvarez. There are many, many good reasons to consider it.

Max Scherzer was impressed with his work behind the plate during his rehab start. There have been more and more people noting the significant improvement he has made. Arguably, the bat is already there, and many Mets fans are looking upon him as being able to have the same type of impact Michael Conforto had in 2015.

None of this should be dismissed outright. It is shouldn’t be dismissed he is right not viewed as the best prospect in the minor leagues. With him, everyone sees a future star, and we have already seen Keith Law of The Athletic drop a Mike Piazza comp on Álvarez with no one thinking it was ridiculous.

That all said, in Triple-A, you see some cause for patience. Over his first five games, he is hitting just .125/.286/.188 with a double and two RBI. He has struck out five times in 21 plate appearances (not bad at all) while drawing two walks.

Yes, this is an extremely small sample size to which no conclusions should be drawn. Rather, we need to use it for perspective.

Álvarez is a 20 year old catcher. He was the youngest player in the Eastern League, and he’s the youngest player in Triple-A. In fact, he’s 6.5 years younger than league average. That will be more pronounced at the Major League level.

That may be a factor why he is not hitting . . . yet. Ultimately, we know he will hit at this level. To that point, just wait for it. It could be a week, month, or in 2023. The Mets don’t know. Whatever the case, they don’t want to rush a player who is not quite hitting yet in Triple-A and then tell him to go out there and hit Major League pitching.

We’ve seen this mistake in the past. The Mets rushed Mike Pelfrey in 2006 because they needed pitching. He wasn’t ready, and you can argue, to a certain extent, it hampered Pelfrey’s development. He became a viable Major League pitcher but nothing more.

We saw the Chicago Cubs do it with Kyle Schwarber in 2015. They needed the bat, so they took him out from behind the plate. Schwarber has hit, but he went from horrendous LF to can’t play first to a DH.

The Mets won’t play Álvarez in the outfield, but rushing him before he is absolutely ready to catch Major League pitching can have negative consequences on a catcher’s career. After all, look at Gary Sanchez‘s career. He went from future superstar to traded to the Minnesota Twins for a Twins salary dump just so Sanchez can be a bad DH.

That’s the Mets current problem. They have a phenom everyone thinks will be an All-Star or more. They see a player who fits a need RIGHT NOW for a team capable of winning a World Series. Yes, if Álvarez is ready, he puts this team over the top, but when he’s not hitting in Triple-A, the risk is too great.

No, the Mets have to hold out for now. At a minimum, let Álvarez get hot in Triple-A, and then, lets have that conversation. Unfortunately, we just cant’ have it right now.

Mets Survived June Swoon

For the past few seasons, the June Swoon has been a thing for the New York Mets. It has been what has derailed otherwise promising seasons, and it has left the team playing catch-up in the second half.

In 2015, the Mets entered June tied for first place, and after playing under .500 for the month found themselves 3.5 games back. They needed a torrid second half to win the division, and that second half hot streak carried them to a pennant.

The following season, the Mets were again under .500 putting them 6.0 games back of the Washington Nationals. For all intents and purposes, the NL East race was all but wrapped up, and the team had to do a mad dash to claim the top Wild Card.

The 2017 and 2018 seasons were disasters before the Mets reached June. Notably, the Mets were especially bad in June 2018 going 5-21 over the course of the month ruining any chance of the team looking to make the postseason.

That ushered in the Brodie Van Wagenen Error, sorry Era. It should come as no surprise he did nothing to build a team to avoid the June Swoon. That year, the Mets were 10-18, and despite their late season attempts, they couldn’t quite get back into the postseason race. Again, Van Wagenenn was terrible at his job.

The 2020 season saw the pandemic, and in 2021 we had hoped things were different. Sadly, they were not. The Mets were in first by 4.0 games after a hot May, but they fell to a .500 month in June. Over the course of that month, the Mets saw their lead drop to 2.5 games. What was most troubling about that stretch was the team had opportunities to bury their NL East opponents, but they just couldn’t do it.

Many thought this year would be different. In many ways, it was. After all, the Mets will have an over .500 June for the first time since 2012. Yes, it has been a decade since the Mets were over .500 in the month of June.

That’s not to say the Mets had a great month. After all, so far, they are “only” 13-10 (.565) this month. Keep in mind, the Mets are so good we can now view a .565 winning percentage (92 win pace) as a June Swoon. Partially, that is the result of the Mets NL East lead dwindling from 10.5 games to 5.0 games.

This isn’t necessarily because the Mets were bad. After all, they were over .500 despite not having Jacob deGrom or Max Scherzer. They have also seen Jeff McNeil deal with hamstring issues, Brandon Nimmo deal with wrist issues, and James McCann out with a hand injury. Looking at everything, the Mets had to overcome a lot.

Fact is, they did. They withstood a tough schedule and a red hot Atlanta Braves team to maintain a 5.0 game lead. They played over .500 baseball. Now, their schedule for the rest of the season is going to be a lot easier allowing them to expand that lead and get on a roll heading to the postseason.

This team had a June Swoon, but because they are so good, it wasn’t nearly as bad as we have seen in the past. Despite the tough schedule and scheduling and the injuries, the Mets withstood the test. They proved their mettle. They showed how this is the best team in the National League, and they are going to win the 2022 World Series.

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.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Ran Out of Gas

The New York Mets followed an inspired series split against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a less than inspiring performance against the San Diego Padres. To be fair, there are some caveats to this performance:

1.  The Mets played their 30th game in 30 days. Over that span, they had two west coast trips with no scheduled travel day prior to their trip out west. Overall, this team is exhausted, and when that happens, you are going to see what we saw.

2.  What’s impressive is the Mets actually grew their lead from 7.0 to 8.0 games over this stretch. Keep that in mind when they finally get some days off with a chance to rest and play at their peak level.

3.  The Mets won the only game of this series they did because Carlos Carrasco was great again. He stepped up big time saving the bullpen, and he helped secure the Mets only win in the series.

4.  Chris Bassitt has really struggled since James McCann hit the IL with his start in the series finale being the worst start of them all. There are many reasons why this is happening, but one overlooked one is he has really struggled pitching to Tomas Nido. He is just a different pitcher on the mound with Nido back there.

5.  It was great to see Jeff McNeil off the snide. After that recent slump, he was back to being himself at the plate. As noted by Keith Hernandez, McNeil never brings his slumps into the field which is another reason why you have to love him as a player.

6. Speaking of Keith, he was just overly kind to J.D. Davis about his play at first. He was making excuses for Davis dropping balls that where in his mitt and making poor throws. We gets it’s a difficult thing to do on the fly, but Keith went way out of his way to excuse a poor performance.

7.  Speaking of poor performance, Davis has been bad. On this west coast trip, he is 4-for-18 (.222). When it was between him and Dominic Smith, you understood choosing Davis because he was a right-handed bat on the bench. However, now, they need Smith because it appears they will need someone who can play first everyday.

8.  MetsWes put it best with Pete Alonso when he said, “Pete Alonso walked away from an awful car crash and been hit in the head and was fine. You think a little [Yu Darvish] “fastball” is going to break a bone? Tongue-in-cheek for sure, but it does speak to how much Alonso has dealt with this season.

9.  Starling Marte had quietly been one of the Mets best players for a few weeks now. They’re going to miss him in the lineup, and in many ways, they will miss his fire.

10. This is Nick Plummer‘s big opportunity to prove he can be a Major Leaguer. He started by going 0-for-3, but he did hit the ball hard. If he has a big stretch, the Mets would be hard pressed to send him back down to the minors again.

11. With Alonso and Marte down, you can understand the Mets scoring just two runs over the final two games. Of course, the Padres pitching had a lot to do with that as well.

12. In addition to the injuries, Luis Guillorme and Francisco Lindor chose the wrong time to go into slumps. More than ever, the Mets need them to start hitting again.

13. Eduardo Escobar is heating up at the right time, and as noted several times here, he is a player who breaks out in June. He became the first player to hit a cycle at Safeco, and the is the first player in Major League history to get his cycle after hitting a homer and triple over the final two innings.

14. Mark Vientos chose the wrong time to get injured. It is very possible he could’ve gotten his chance now with his hot hitting and the Mets recent injuries leaving them looking for offense.

15. Brandon Nimmo is obviously still dealing with his wrist. You can see it when he swings. Frankly, he won’t be put on the IL now because of the other injuries and the fact he provides offense with his ability to draw walks.

16. The Mets batters get plunked more than anyone because it is their approach. Really, do we think anyone is throwing at someone like Mark Canha? Of course not. This is a design of where they are positioned in the box and their approach at the plate. That said, retaliation every so often is merited especially with Sean Manaea buzzing Guillorme by the head multiple times.

17. In case you haven’t heard from Mets fans starting to panic, the Mets have the largest division lead in the National League and are tied for the second largest division lead in all of baseball. There’s absolutely no need to panic. This team is great and will be fine.

18. The impending matchup with Noah Syndergaard is going to garner a lot of attention. With respect to Syndergaard, he went to the Los Angeles Angels for more money and this front office and pitching staff. The Joe Maddon firing was a sign he might’ve been duped.

19. The Mets are catching the Angels at exactly the right time. They’ve lost 14 straight, and Mike Trout is hurt. They got a much needed day off. There is no excuse for not taking at least two out of three.

20. In some ways, the Mets need for the New York Rangers to win this series. They need the Rangers to have some buzz to keep some of the unnecessary heat off of the team at a time when they are tired and hurt. Mostly, I need the Rangers to win the series. so yes, I am selfishly saying this.

 

Mets Have Nothing To Prove Out West

The New York Mets are in first place in what appears to be a very weak National League East. They’re an astounding 26-12 against under .500 teams. Make no mistake, the Mets are where they are because they are absolutely demolishing bad teams.

If nothing else, this proves the Mets are a great team with nothing to prove.

Look, you can only play the teams on your schedule, and you have to beat the teams on your schedule. So far for the Mets, that schedule has them at 35-17 this season. They have more wins than any team in baseball, and they have the best winning percentage in the National League. This is what good teams do, and the great teams do it while battling adversity.

Jacob deGrom has not thrown an inning this season. Tylor Megill and Max Scherzer hitting the IL have the Mets stretching out Trevor Williams, who has answered the call. The Mets are also without their starting catcher James McCann. Trevor May, a key reliever, has been injured all season long.

Going deeper, the team had the mess of the Robinson Cano situation to start the season. That helped lead to J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith having slow starts. Between the slow start and pitching injuries, this led to Smith’s demotion to Triple-A.

On the converse, players like Luis Guillorme have emerged. We have also seen Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil return to form. It also helps the Mets had far more pitching depth than anyone anticipated entering the season. After all, who expected Colin Holderman and Stephen Nogosek to have this much of an impact?

Really, everyone has had an impact this season. On that note, look no further than Nick Plummer. Plummer had a game tying homer in the ninth in his first ever start. He then homered in his next start. Remember, this was a guy once labeled a bust while in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Every time you see the Mets, they are winning. They are doing it in all different ways. Their schedule is their schedule, and they are taking care of business. As an aside, that includes against teams with a winning record as the Mets are 9-5 against those teams.

Digging deeper, the Dodgers only have played seven games against teams with a winning record, and they have the second best winning percentage in the NL. To be fair here, their recent history suggests they have nothing to prove.

That said, the San Diego Padres are ten games over .500 (30-20) despite being 6-9 against teams with a winning record. Moreover, the Los Angeles Angels are in second place in the NL West despite having a 5-10 record against teams with a winning record.

Are we really supposed to believe this 10 game stretch out west is a litmus test for this Mets team? This is somehow their third trip out West. They’re playing with a depleted pitching rotation. Somehow, people want to take these next 10 games to determine if the Mets are good or not?

If that’s what they need, they just haven’t paying attention. The Mets are a very good team who is going to be better as they get healthier. This may be a chance to make another statement, but nothing they have done this season is by accident. They are doing what good teams do. If you need to see more it is because you refuse to acknowledge how good this Mets team is.

Ultimately, that is a you problem and not a Mets problem. The Mets have a chance to make a statement, but they will not be defined by this stretch. In the end, they will be defined by winning the NL East and going on to winning a World Series with deGrom and Scherzer leading the way.

20/20 Hindsight: Mariners Make Mets Regret Sewald

For the first time this season, the New York Mets lost a series. To make matters worse, it was Mets incompetence of the past which came back to haunt them.

1.  Paul Sewald is absolutely right. The Mets gave up on him. More to the point, as I’ve pointed out, and as Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen noted on the broadcast, the Mets completely and utterly botched how they handled him. Sewald absolutely deserved this moment.

2.  Sewald was all the more of a debacle when you consider the Mets kept Ryan O’Rourke, Tim Peterson, and Jacob Rhame over him. None of those three pitched past the 2019 season. Sewald is now a very good late inning reliever.

3.  It’s not just Sewald, but Chris Flexen where the Mets screw up was the Mariners gain. The good news here is the morons in charge who made those decisions are now gone.

4.  The people in charge now get us Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt who were again great in their starts. Much of the Mets success this season is directly attributable to bringing those pitchers onboard.

5.  That Patrick Mazeika start behind the plate was rough, and it limited Bassitt to 5.1 innings when he had the stuff to go much deeper.

6.  That said the legend of Mazeika grew. Not only did he have the game winning homer, but he also had a key hit in that ninth inning rally which fell short.

7.  You cannot have worst at-bats than what Starling Marte and Pete Alonso did with the game tying and go-ahead runs on base than what they did. The Alonso one was even worse considering he got one strike in that at-bat, and he didn’t even swing at the pitch over the heart of the plate.

8.  Brandon Nimmo came up huge in that inning with an RBI double. In fact, he’s been great all season and has been the Mets best player. He’s clearly an All-Star, and sooner or later, if he keeps this up, he is going to get MVP consideration.

9.  Drew Smith went from impenetrable to allowing runs in consecutive appearances. He will be fine.

10. Carlos Carraso looked bad. While he was worse against the St. Louis Cardinals, he arguably looked worse in this start. Again, he’s been very good for all but two starts, so there is no need to dwell too much here.

11. Good for Adam Ottavino for picked up that win. He’s responded well to that rough patch, and part of the reason is Buck Showalter has been much more responsible in how he uses them.

12. Congratulations to Colin Holderman on his Major League debut. It was rocky, but it was a scoreless inning, and he did flash what could be very good stuff out of the pen.

13. Sewald wasn’t the only pitcher to stick it to his old team. Edwin Diaz struck out all three batters he faced in his only save opportunity in the series. By the way, he’s now played more seasons with the Mets than the Mariners.

14. Joely Rodriguez wasn’t great, and Chasen Shreve allowed homers in consecutive appearances. On that note, Aaron Loup is having another great season. So far, this looks like an unforced error by the Mets, and you do have to wonder how much of that is attributable to the Robinson Cano contract.

15. James McCann being out is going to hurt the Mets. He was great behind the plate, and believe it or not, he was a starting level bat at the position in the majors so far this year.

16. Tomas Nido did step-up in this series actually drawing two walks. To put that in perspective, he drew five all of last season.

17. McCann’s injury is the type which may cost him this year even when he can return. Those hammate bone injuries tend to linger and hamper the ability to hit again. Unfortunately, Francisco Alvarez has been struggling in Double-A putting him even further off the horizon.

18. Francisco Lindor hit a big homer. The Mets need more of that from him.

19. One massive takeaway from this series, even with the series loss, is the Mets beat up on reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. It doesn’t matter if it was an off game or not from Ray, the Mets finally hit left-handed pitching.

20. The Mets were at the Rangers beating the Penguins in Game 7. Perhaps, we will see the Rangers at Citi Field watching the Mets win their own Game 7 this postseason.