9.5.08

Early Season Report Card: Blah

32 games in the books. 17 wins against 15 losses. Not quite where the Mets envisioned themselves after the hysteria of the Johan Santana trade yet thanks to the mediocrity of the NL East, much like most of last season, the Mets' own mediocrity has not crippled them...yet.

Based upon those 32 games, not the projections of what might happen later on, here is the Mets Report Card to date:



1. Jose Reyes, SS: .254, 10 stolen bases, OBP .324 is a crass underachievement for the guy who is supposed to be the spark plug for this batting order. He hasn't been the same since...well, one could argue since Willie upbraided him for failing to run out a batted ball but the general malaise has been there at least since his collapse in September basically matched that of the team. He hasn't been Delgado-esque terrible but he should be doing a helluva lot better and unless he ignites, the Mets aren't going to get much better. The Mets are 8-0 in games he has more than one hit which goes to show what he means to the order. Grade: D
2. Luis Castillo, 2B: Hitting .242. OBP .353. 7 stolen bases. The temptation is to moan about the idiotic contract he was given this offseason for clearly damaged goods. After floundering early, getting dropped to 8th in the order (which is especially disgusting given one of the justifications for re-signing him to that ridiculous contract was the argument that he was one of the best number 2 batters in baseball. He's hitting .185 against lefties this season. Worse still, there's no reason to think he will improve much - he's hitting .071 in May thus far with only 1 hit. Grade: D- with the comment that the only reason he's not an F is because his downfall although nearly isn't as fast, isn't quite as ugly as Carlos Delgado's.
3. David Wright, 3B: .262-6 homers - 28 RBIs. Paint it how you like but this isn't the continued improvement we have grown to expect from Mr Wright year after year since he made it to the bigs. It appears his reputation will give him the nod over Chipper as the starting All Star third baseman but don't let that fool you, this is a down season to date. True, there isn't much in the order to support him and true, he still leads the team in runs batted in but really, hitting .192 in May is not impressive nor has his fielding been and I'm not even sure the All Star spot is deserved. Grade: C
4. Carlos Beltran, CF: .218-2-13 It's pretty sad that so far the highlight of his season is opening his big gob to copy Rollins' bold prediction about being the team to beat. Since then he's hardly backed it up. Sure, he tried a little leadership role taking Reyes under his wing and basically telling him to ignore Willie's advice and enjoy the game but whilst that had some effect early, that effect has since diminished, much like Carlos' game. Yeah, he's got a bum knee and as usual, is not as healthy as he would like but broken down is no way to act as a team leader which is what his salary calls for. He's hitting .186 at Shea and only .202 against righties. His 26 strikeouts are hardly impressive. On the bright side, there's no where to go but up from here and at least he isn't old and faded like Delgado. Grade: D-
5. Carlos Delgado, 1B: .216-4-16 It's bad enough to be a laughingstock, to have tumbled so far down so quickly. It's bad enough being a black hole in the heart of the order but man, to screw up your one moment in the spotlight by dissing fans asking for a curtain call when you finally DO get a decent moment, well, that's just bitter and ugly. Worse still it isn't just being a crappy series of disappointing strikeouts with the bases loaded, his fielding range is on par with a senior citizen. His demise is almost as meteoric as Alomar's a few years back. Every boo is deserved. Grade: F
6. LF: Angel Pagan has been a blessing replacement for Alou, much like Chavez was last season. Unfortunately, his mad grab over the rail in his last game has left him sore or worse so Chavez might be taking his place filling in for Moises Alou every other game. Although you can knock Alou's age and fragility, you can't knock his hustle or his desire. Overall the hybrid that has been left field this season is only slightly underperforming, thanks to Pagan. Grade: C+
7. Ryan Church, RF: .328-6-24 Like everyone else, I knocked and belittled the offseason trade that saw Church and Schneider arrive in replacement of Lastings Milledge. Wrooooong. Church has been everything you could ask of a middling right fielder with few expectations and more. He leads the team in virtually every offensive category, is a defensive upgrade and frankly, is clearly the team MVP, offensively at least, thus far this season. Not only that but he filled in admirably in the number two slot in the order whilst Castillo has polished his excuses for his rotting knees and poor plate appearances. Grade: A
8. Brian Schneider, C .308-0-6. Much like Church, although on a lesser scale considering his physical demerits for fragility and age, Schneider has been an upgrade. Especially in light of Lo Duca's season to date. This was clearly a good move but the question is, how many games will he actually play this season? The other question is of the value Schneider has demonstrated for handling pitchers.. Look at the effin rotation to date. What is there really to handle? Unless he magically transforms Perez, the difference is negligible. In fact, I'm almost more excited about Raul Casanova, who has played almost as many games behind the plate. Overall grade: B

Still room to dream?

ROTATION

Johan Santana 3-2 2.91. You'd be hard pressed to match the expectations that came with the trade that brought one of the game's best pitchers to the Mets. No, he's no Brandon Webb, has not been the absolute lights out, best pitcher in baseball we hoped for but he's a damned good starter none the less, a steadying force on an otherwise unsteady team. Just imagine where these Mets would be right now without him. Likely the bottom of the division. The bullpen has blown two wins for him and he left a game against the Braves down only 1-0 so in theory, he might have 6 wins. I've got no complaints. Grade: A-
John Maine 4-2 3.00. I have the feeling that the worst of Maine this season is now behind him. Is this too bright a prediction? His early season control problems appear more or less resolved and there's still room for him to lead the team in victories this season although my Cy Young prediction was rather optimistic in hindsight. I still think he's one of the brightest on the staff and still the steal of the century given his salary is less than a half a million. Grade: B
Oliver Perez 2-3 4.63 What can we see about Olly that hasn't already been bitterly spat out by Billy Wagner? My other question is, if Rick Peterson is such a fucking mastermind of pitchers, why hasn't he fixed this guy yet? My primary concern here is that there is a good chance Perez will experience some sort of season-long meltdown wherein his confidence is frittered away game by game until he becomes virtually useless. If Pedro were healthy he'd be the 4th starter and frankly, as a 4th starter, he wouldn't be that bad. On the other hand, the times that he does look reasonably talented only makes you bemoan the hideousness that inevitably follows: Grade: C
Nelson Figueroa: Let's face it. This guy isn't even supposed to be in the rotation but thanks to Pedro's fragile and aging body, he is. Bearing that in mind, he was above average in two starts at Shea and otherwise hasn't humiliated himself with the conistency of Olly Perez. Grade: C+
Mike Pelfrey: 2-2, 5.27 ERA is basically like the Mets this season; neither terrible nor outstanding. He has improved ever so slightly over last season with a little luck and a little better control over his focus but this is still a flawed work. He hasn't even matched the promise of his first two starts this season and the feeling here is that unless someone shakes him, he's headed for a disappointing season. You just don't see this guy getting hot and churning out John Maine numbers any time soon. Grade: C-

Time for some gratuitous bird sightings?



BULLPEN

Perhaps it's laziness or perhaps a Perez-like lack of focus but I've no plans to break down every pitcher in the bullpen and grade them individually. I will point out that Wagner has yet to surrender a run this season and has saved 7, all of which has come in games where the season is NOT on the line. I'll be impressed in September and October, not late Spring. Having said that though, the Mets would be even more lost than they are now if it weren't for Wagner and the rest of the bullpen. Yes, maybe Santana isn't enamoured with them but overall, Feliciano and Schoeneweiss have exceeded my admittedly low expectations. Yes, Aaron Heilman has pitched like a mutt. Yes, Duaner Sanchez appears to still be attempting to gain his sea legs. Yes, Jorge Sosa is tied for the team lead in victories despite a hideous ERA. But look, so far, this isn't a team weakness as much as the batting order has been. Grade B-

Manager

What has Willie done right? First of all, he oversaw that miserable effin collapse that nobody is going to forget any time soon. He has followed that up by overseeing a middling team survive middling performances in a middling division. My guess is someone in the NL East will heat up sooner rather than later and the bottom line is if that isn't the Mets, I see no valid argument to keep Willie on board if they aren't overachieving and leading the NL East by the All Star break. Really, if this sluggishness continues, it might be the only thing that can shake these bastids awake, sacking the manager in mid-season. Perhaps the only problem is there aren't any bright candidates to replace him. What about a NY return for Buck Showalter? Grade: D

1 comment:

sanchez said...

The whole team deserves an F.
Who'd have thought Santana would have a better chance at making the postseason with the Twins than with the Mets!
And FUck Buck Showalter. The teams he manages don't win until AFTER he leaves. Too bad Gil Hodges is dead.