Michael Conforto and the handful of overachieving Mets

The Mets have hit the halfway point of the season this week, and it is safe to say that the team as a whole has under-performed, being buried well below the .500 mark, after expectations were so high on opening day. However a few of the Mets have played better than was expected as the season began.

Leading the way is outfielder Michael Conforto. He was actually ticketed to start the season in Las Vegas, and only a late injury opened up a spot on the roster for him. In 69 games he has a slash line of .285/.405/.548 with 14 homers, all those numbers are higher than the ones he posted in his first two years in the Majors. He earned a well deserved spot on the National League All-Star squad this year.

Jay Bruce had a successful career with the Reds, but after he was dealt to New York last season for the stretch run, his production dropped dramatically. The Mets tried to peddle him during the off-season with no luck. Yet he has rebounded this year to his previous form with a .256/.328/.516 slash line. He has 21 homers, at that pace he would end the year with 40 or so home runs. On a team plagued with injuries he has been an iron man of sorts.

Another outfielder who has done better than expected is Juan Lagares, currently shelved with an injury. In his 47 games he assembled a slash line of .269/.317/.409. The SLG figure is the highest of any of his five MLB seasons, and his BA and OBP are the second highest. Although he may not be a gold-glover like he was in 2014, he still makes his share of great defensive plays.

It was a bit of a surprise that catcher Rene Rivera was back with the Mets this year, many thought that Kevin Plawecki would be the backup. But Rivera is not only back but has played in 42 games and provided his usual good defense. His slash line of .256/.301/.421 is not going to dazzle anyone, but compared to his MLB career slash line of .218/.268/.342 it’s pretty good.

Most of the team’s pitchers are hurt or have under-performed, or in the cases of Jacob deGrom and Addison Reed, they have pitched well but were expected to. However, one who has exceeded expectations is reliever Paul Sewald. He was in the minors to start the year, but after being called up to the big leagues has done a good job. He has racked up 41 K’s in his 34 IP, pretty good for a guy with a low 90’s fastball. His ERA is a little high at 4.46, mostly due to a couple of bad outings, but his FIP is respectable at 2.94. Lately he has been used in higher leverage situations than he was earlier in the season.

So although this season has been gloomy so far, there are some players who are exceeding expectations, successfully punching above their weight, to borrow a metaphor from another sport.

5 comments for “Michael Conforto and the handful of overachieving Mets

  1. July 5, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Starting to see more and more of Sewald. Wonder if he’s here to stay or just a flash in the pan the league hasn’t figured out just yet.

  2. Eric
    July 5, 2017 at 11:36 am

    To say Lagares is overachieving based on such a limited sample size is an exaggeration. The only reason he’s still with the team is because of the ridiculous multi-year contract he signed.
    He’s been an under-achiever his entire career.

  3. July 5, 2017 at 11:39 am

    I disagree that Bruce has overachieved, or rather that two of his teammates should be celebrated ahead of him in this regard.

    We do the projection series before the year starts and for Bruce, we projected the following numbers:

    .245/.323/.480

    He’s turned in .257/.330/.512

    That’s 32 points of slugging above what we projected, about 1/3 of which is attributed to his batting average.

    Compare that to what we projected for Duda and Granderson.

    Duda
    P – .251/.346/.490
    A – .249/.361/.554

    Granny
    P – .241/.341/.445
    A – .237/.333/.482

    Duda has exceeded our slugging projections by 64 points despite being a couple of points below what we projected for average. And Granny has exceeded our SLG projections by 37 points despite being four points below our AVG projection.

    I get it – they’re old and everyone has their bags packed ready to ship them out for C-level prospects who’ll never sniff the majors. But before we kick them out the door, can we at least acknowledge how we expected them to be good this year and they’ve exceeded expectations?

    Edit: Corrected Granny’s slugging numbers.

    • John Fox
      July 5, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Brian, what I was trying to say was that Bruce over achieved compared to the expectations of the fan base and maybe the front office, since they admitted they were trying to trade him during the offseason. His stats are very similar to what he has accomplished most years during his career, but way above what he produced for the Mets the last 2 months of 2016.

  4. MattyMets
    July 5, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Up until about a week ago, I’d have added Blevins to this list. He was really fantastic. Not sure if it’s overwork or something else, but he’s been pretty bad of late.

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