With the 2009 season at the traditional halfway point, let’s hand out the team’s mid-season report card.  These grades are based on performance compared to pre-season expectations.

Catchers

Omir Santos – Catching did not figure to be a team strong point this season but no one thought it would be so bad that a player with a career .636 OPS in three seasons in Triple-A would lead the team in starts.  Santos has exceeded all expectations, delivered a few big hits but bottom line is he is still not a very good hitter.  Grade C+

Brian Schneider – How bad has this season been?  Schneider is third on the team with an ISO of .193, trailing only Gary Sheffield and Carlos Delgado.  He has missed time with injuries and is batting only .229 in 29 games.  The temptation is to give him an incomplete but instead he gets a Grade C-

First Base

Daniel Murphy – Started off the season in left field and the second spot in the lineup.  He was hitting okay but had several high-profile gaffes in the field.  Manager Jerry Manuel started platooning him and moved him to first base to take over for the injured Delgado.  Murphy’s defense has been better at first but his hitting has been poor for two months.  It is hard to post a good AVG with a .266 BABIP.  Grade C-

Fernando Tatis – In mid-May Tatis had a .945 OPS but since then he has a .202/.276/.316 line in 129 PA.  Many have criticized Omar Minaya for the bench he assembled for the 2009 team, but the bench has actually been the best one he has put together yet.  The problem is the bench guys are playing every day.  Tatis is an excellent bench player.  As an everyday guy he shows why he is best suited for a reserve role.  Grade C

Second Base

Luis Castillo – If the Mets were healthy and playing up to expectations, one of the big stories would be the rebound season of Castillo.  He is on pace for a career-best walk rate and a personal-low in strikeout rate.  His AVG is 40 points above last year’s mark and even his range in the field looks improved, from statuesque to merely limited.  And he didn’t hide from his key error which caused a loss to the Yankees.  Grade B

Third Base

David Wright – The good news is that he has been healthy and one of the league leaders in AVG for most of the season.  The bad news is the lack of power, the strikeout rate and the unsustainable .430 BABIP.  It has been a truly odd season for Wright statistically but perhaps the most surprising thing is he has been nearly as valuable overall as he’s always been.  Wright has a .385 wOBA (weighted On Base Average – a Linear Weights approach to OPS based on plate appearances), just 12 points lower than what he posted last season.  He is having a worse season defensively by both UZR and Fielding Bible Plus/Minus so he cannot be at last year’s level.  Grade B+

Shortstop

Alex Cora – Another part of a fine bench pressed into everyday duty.  Cora has been solid defensively but his offense has been a slight disappointment.  Still, he is not a sinkhole with the bat and it is not his fault he is playing every day.  Grade C

Outfield

Carlos Beltran – He was playing as good or better than ever, even though he was playing hurt with a painful bone bruise.  His .414 wOBA is ninth-best in the majors.  Yes, a few more HR would have been nice but his .527 SLG was 30 points higher than his career average.  Grade A

Gary Sheffield – With 46 starts, Sheffield has the second-most of all outfielders on the team.  It is amazing to think that a waiver wire pickup has been one of the team’s best players.  Originally thought to be useful only versus LHP, Sheffield has done quite well versus righties, too, posting an .857 OPS versus RHP.  The key will be to get him enough rest so that he does not wear down in the second half of the year.  Grade A-

Jeremy Reed – A perfectly respectable fourth or fifth outfielder, Reed has done a nice job defensively and thanks to a .394 BABIP his AVG looks pretty good, too.  Hopefully Beltran comes back or at least Angel Pagan can stay healthy so Reed does not have to be a starter.  Grade C+

Starting Pitchers

Johan Santana – In his first seven starts of the season, Santana looked like the best pitcher in the National League.  But in his last 11 starts he is 6-5 with a 4.61 ERA.  Since allowing nine runs in three innings versus the Yankees, Santana has four Quality Starts in five outings.  The Mets need him to be at least the pitcher he’s been in the last five games in the second half of the season.  Grade B+

Livan Hernandez – It is hard to underestimate how low expectations for Hernandez were coming into the season.  Then he went out and pitched Quality Starts in nine of his first 15 games.  His last two outings have been dismal and in those seven innings, his ERA went from a respectable 4.04 to 5.10 in a blink of the eye.  Now his rotation spot is in jeopardy but it would be a mistake not to recognize the good games he pitched in the first half.  Grade C+

Mike Pelfrey – As if having Oliver Perez on the staff wasn’t enough, Pelfrey has decided to be a Jekyll and Hyde type pitcher in 2009.  In May he posted a 2.92 ERA in six games and then followed that up with a 6.39 ERA in five June games.  He has one fewer Quality Start than Hernandez and since so much more was expected from him coming into the season, his grade has to be lower.  Grade C-

Relief Pitchers

Francisco Rodriguez – Through the third week in June, Rodriguez was outstanding.  But in his last seven games, he has a 5.62 ERA and has allowed eight walks and two home runs in eight innings.  Still, his overall numbers have been every bit as good as what the club hoped for when they signed him this off-season.  Grade A

Pedro Feliciano – With the loss of fellow lefties Billy Wagner and Scott Schoeneweis from the 2008 bullpen, Feliciano opened the season as the team’s only LH reliever.  And he has been fantastic versus LHB, limiting lefties to a .171/.190/.341 line.  But Feliciano has also been effective versus righties this year, too.  He has allowed more HR than you would like, but Feliciano has simply been the team’s second-best reliever this season.  Grade A-

Bobby Parnell – In early June his ERA was under 2.00 but it has been a tougher go since then.  He replaced J.J. Putz as the team’s main eighth inning guy and that is pretty much when he ran into trouble.  Considering he has a .388 BABIP, Parnell has pitched pretty good this year.  He could still benefit from more reliable off-speed stuff to complement his mid-90s fastball.  Grade B

Sean Green – He was terrible in the early season, had a brief stretch where he pitched good and has since regressed.  Basically he should not be in a close game, especially if a lefty is in the batter’s box.  Grade D

Brian Stokes – Given the erratic and sporadic way that Manuel has used him, Stokes has pitched solidly so far.  Nominally, he is the team’s long man, although he has not pitched more than two innings in any appearance so far this year.  Should be used before Green in most situations.  Grade C+

*****

Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, J.J. Putz, John Maine and Fernando Martinez get an incomplete for being on the DL currently.  Tim Redding , Oliver Perez and Angel Pagan are now active but still get an incomplete due to the amount of time they spent disabled.  Fernando Nieve and Jeff Francoeur round out the incomplete list with not enough service time with the club.

Advertisements