Mets Player Meter: Positioning Players, May 9-15

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The Mets lost their first series of the 2022 season this week, giving up two of three to the Mariners over the weekend. However, during the week, the Mets took two of three from the Nationals, making their record an even .500 for the week.

As a group, the offense faltered this week more than most. The Mets 93 wRC+ team of the week is bottom of the league in baseball (24th). They continue to struggle mightily against left-handed pitchers, with Friday night’s game against Marco Gonzales being perhaps the starkest recent example. Francisco Lindor continues to crumble and Eduardo Escobar crumbles even more. Dominic Smith gives the Mets next to nothing with the bat and the Mets’ main catcher is injured. However, Brandon Nimmo had a stellar week and Pete Alonso continues to be pretty consistent. Other than that, there’s not much green to be found on this week’s counter.

Let’s start with the Mets’ catch-up situation, since that was big news this week. James McCann, who had one hit in four plate appearances and also had a game-tying sack steal in Tuesday’s game, has missed a few games in a row with left wrist pain. He seemed convinced he wouldn’t be away for long. However, tests revealed a fracture to his hamate bone, which will shut him down for about six weeks. Although McCann wasn’t producing much with the bat, it still dealt a serious blow to the Mets’ catching situation, which has now bottomed out.

Tomás Nido is now the Mets’ main receiver. Nido had two hits in 12 plate appearances this week, including an RBI single in Thursday’s win over the Nationals. Remarkably, Nido has also walked twice this week and this marks his first two walks of the season. That’s all good for a 76 wRC+ for the week, which isn’t anything remarkable, but the Mets will likely take that at this point from Nido, who is looking to hold the fort while McCann is out.

Meanwhile, the Mets called the 2021 walk-off hero Patrick Mazeika to serve as a backup catcher and Mazeika picked up where he left off last season, blasting a home run in Saturday’s win over the Mariners. It was one of two hits in five plate appearances for Mazeika; the other came in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game, in which the Mets scored two runs and nearly pulled off another miracle comeback. With an out and a run already in play, Mazeika opted to keep the line moving. I almost gave Mazeika a fireball for sustained Mazeika Magic, but I think his struggles behind the plate to catch Chris Bassitt on Saturday should be recognized here. Mazeika isn’t as good a receiver as McCann or Nido, but given Bassitt’s vast arsenal, it was certainly a tough first assignment for him. Hopefully he will work with his pitching team and improve in that area.

We’ll keep the good vibes going by acknowledging the few hitters in the roster who are hot this week, starting with Brandon Nimmo, who is the sole recipient of the fireball this week. Nimmo has been a force atop the Mets roster all season and that’s especially true this week. The Mets base machine posted a .500 OBP this week with a team-leading 229 wRC+ for the week. He had ten hits, which lead the team, and walked three times. He also led in three runs and tied the team lead in runs scored with four. It was Nimmo’s RBI brace in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game that brought the Mets within a point on their near-miraculous comeback. Nimmo also recorded multiple hit games on Wednesday and Friday. Nimmo now holds a 161 wRC+ for the season, leading the Mets among skilled hitters. Nimmo’s 1.7 fWAR is third in the National League.

Pete Alonso also continues to hit, but not quite at the blistering pace of last week. While his week ended on a sour note with a ninth inning strikeout with the bases loaded in yesterday’s game, he still had a great week overall. He posted a 135 wRC+ this week with a team-leading five hits and five walks. He scored three runs and led in three runs. Alonso hit a mammoth home run in the first inning of Wednesday’s game, which unfortunately is likely overlooked due to the ensuing disaster in that game, but it put the Mets ahead 3-0 at the time.

Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from here, more or less. Dominique Smith in particular continues to struggle monumentally with the bat, to the point that his playing time has begun to suffer. Smith hasn’t reached base in any of his eight plate appearances this week.

Following Smith’s struggles, JD Davis saw more playing time and more hits against right-handed pitchers. Unfortunately, he doesn’t fare much better. Davis hit just .133 this week in 18 plate appearances, but the few hits he recorded had an impact. Yesterday in the fourth inning, Davis hit his first hat-trick of the year, which drove in two runs and brought the Mets within a run. JD’s single in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s game was also key to the Mets’ sixth-inning rally in which they took the lead. Davis also walked once this week.

Jeff McNeil provided the crucial RBI double in that aforementioned sixth-inning rally on Tuesday and shares the team lead with four total RBIs this week, despite being footed with the bat. McNeil was also part of yesterday’s ninth-inning rally, contributing an RBI single that made it 8-6 and kept the line moving. McNeil had five hits and two walks in total this week, good for a 73 wRC+. Given McNeil’s approach this season of just trying to hit where they’re not, I think a drop in power numbers is to be expected, but in this slippage that’s now been two weeks , it also did not reach a high enough average.

Starling Marte has calmed down since its raging hot week last week, posting an 86 wRC+ in 26 places this week. His six hits this week are second to Nimmo for the team lead and four of those six were for extra bases, including a triple in Saturday’s game. Marte tied for the team lead with four runs scored this week and also stole a base. Unfortunately, the flip side of all of this is that he hit a ton this week (30.8% K-Rate). Amid the rallies in the Mets’ two losses over the weekend, there was a strikeout from Marte. Down one point in the seventh with men on the second and third Friday night, Paul Sewald took out Marte to end that threat. Marte also struck out for the second out in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game with the Mets down one run and runners at second and third.

In the same way, Francois Lindor received his punches this week, but also hit way too much (the same rate as Marte: 30.8%). It was Lindor who led Marte on Saturday with an RBI single in the first inning that put the Mets on the board. He was also responsible for putting the Mets on the board yesterday with a long solo homer. He drove in the only race of Friday night’s game with a sacrifice fly. Overall, Lindor tied the team lead in RBIs with McNeil with four for the week; he also stole a base and walked three times (one of them was an intentional walk). However, a .190/.269/.333 batting line with a 65 wRC+ is definitely not going to be enough; Lindor is still falling apart and will hopefully topple him soon.

Of the Mets’ outfield contingent, it’s Marc Canha who rests the most, probably to make sure he stays healthy and productive. So far it has worked. Canha has three hits and a walk in 17 plate appearances this week, good for 108 wRC+. He scored four points, tying the team leader in this category, and made three points. Canha had a huge day Thursday when he went 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored in the Mets’ 4-1 win over the Nationals.

Travis Jankowski continues to be a strong defensive backup and pinch runner, but he hasn’t reached base in any of his three plate appearances this week. But, another member of the bench crowd Luis Guillorme had two hits and a walk in the eight plate appearances he has amassed this week in the two games he has started. Both hits came in Wednesday’s lopsided loss.

Unfortunately, I can’t postpone the discussion. Eduardo Escobar Longer; he has the unfortunate distinction of earning a second consecutive poop emoji this week. Unlike Dominic Smith who hasn’t really played enough to make a negative impact with his poor play, Escobar’s putrid 24 wRC+ has made 21 plate appearances this week. Of all the regulars, Escobar is the most deeply mired in a slump right now after a strong start to the season. It should be noted that he tripled to spark the rally in Round 9 yesterday, but that was about the only notable contribution from him this week. Overall, he had two hits, walked twice and scored three runs this week.

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