20/20 Hindsight: Mets Shaky In April
The New York Mets finished April with a 15-12 record three games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. Even for the Mets, there was a lot to digest:
2. Jacob deGrom‘s continued injuries are sad, and we should all want the best for him. However, no one should be using that as justification for the Mets letting him go to Texas when Justin Verlander has yet to throw a pitch for the Mets.
3. David Peterson pitched himself out of the rotation, and it’s not clear where the Mets go from here with him. He’s in Triple-A where he belongs for the time being. In the long term, the Mets need to figure out if he’s salvageable as a starter, needs to be their Trevor Williams, or perhaps their next Seth Lugo.
4. David Robertson has more than taken over for Edwin Díaz. The issue is the rest of the bullpen continues to fluctuate between injured, ineffective, and lights out. Really, game-to-game, the Mets have no consistency down there other than Robertson.
5. The youth movement has begun with Brett Baty, and we see Francisco Álvarez has been forcing the issue (surprisingly with his defense). At some point, the Mets are going to have to just give the DH job to Mark Vientos because he has been annihilating the baseball.
6. Buck Showalter seems content to stick with his veterans, and if that continues in the long run, it is going to be a problem. Given how young players were the key to his success in Baltimore, it is flat out crazy to see how he hasn’t involved from the instincts which doomed him with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers.
7. Pete Alonso has been nearly everything you could ask from him to start this season. In fact, he’s even back to playing good defense at first base.
8. Brandon Nimmo has responded to signing that massive contract by arguably being the best player in baseball to start the season. This will be the first season he is an All-Star, and we should seem him get some MVP consideration should he stay healthy.
9. It’s been an uneasy start for Francisco Lindor, but he has been phenomenal defensively. Just remember with him, May is typically the month he breaks out in a season, so we should be in for a treat.
10. The way Daniel Vogelbach has started the season he is going to give the Mets reason to follow Daniel Murphy, who is off to a hot start with the Long Island Ducks. Better yet, we may see Vientos here sooner rather than later. Really, at some point, Vogelbach has to hit for some power.
11. Whatever the Mets thinking was on Tommy Pham, it was wrong. Moreover, it was wrong to build outfield depth with players 34 and older (aside from Nimmo). That goes double when you consider the Mets have zero Major League ready outfield depth in Syracuse.
12. Jeff McNeil surprisingly got off to a very slow start. However, he has been really strong the past two weeks, and he appears poised to have another very good season for the Mets.
13. McNeil needs to be more of a table setter. The Mets going with Starling Marte batting second just isn’t working. He’s making weak contact, and he’s just not getting on base enough. McNeil isn’t a five hitter. Again, Showalter needs to stop with the deference to veterans and start looking to win games.
14. Give Eduardo Escobar all the credit in the world. He lost his job, and he responded by being an amazing teammate and mentor. While his production may not be what the Mets wanted it to be when they signed him, the signing has paid off tenfold with his leadership and clubhouse presence.
15. Increasingly, Mark Canha looks done, at least as an everyday player. There needs to be a rotation with him and Luis Guillorme playing until the Mets figure out what they want to do with Ronny Mauricio. On Mauricio, so long as Showalter is loathe to play the young players, you simply cannot call him up.
16. There is an ace somewhere inside Kodai Senga. We saw it in Japan, and we have seen glimpses of it here. However, if he is going to continue to walk the ballpark, he is going to be a borderline MLB starter. That is a huge problem for the Mets with much of their success being tied into how good or bad he performs.
17. Every year, Drew Smith seems to be performing worse than what his actual numbers are. Part of that is his walk rate is too high.
18. Tomás Nido‘s defensive metrics are surprisingly poor. Part of that may be the difficulties in catching Senga. If not, the Mets are in trouble when their defensive specialist behind the plate isn’t performing.
19. The biggest takeaway from April is the Mets appear to be a postseason team with part of that being because it is an expanded postseason format. Keep in mind, while their record now may not be awe inspiring, they are still on a 90 win pace.
20. It needs to be repeated over and over again. The Mets need to go with their younger and more productive players. If Showalter is going to stand in the way of that, the Mets need to find someone who won’t. It’s just that simple.