In the flood of all of the well-deserved David Wright news, what is often getting lost is the fantastic September that the Mets have had. Dating back to August 31st, the New York Mets have won six of their last eight series, dropping only to the Boston Red Sox and Philladelphia Phillies in consecutive series. After defeating the Braves on Thursday night, the Mets held a September record of 16-9. The last time that the Mets won 16 games in September, they were champions of the National League and eventually lost to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. Obviously, that will not be the outcome of this season.
It does make you beg the question however, what is the true identity of the 2018 Mets? Was it the exciting team that won games swimmingly in the beginning season? The 5-21 June team that batted .210? Or is it the team that were are seeing right now that wins from methodical hitting and elite pitching. There is no clean answer to this, because this team is a mutt of all three. The identity is compromised from the best elements of the best times, and the worst elements from the worst of times.
To start with the worst, the obvious needle to the neck of this Mets team is the bullpen. The 5.02 ERA of the Mets bullpen is almost a full earned run over the National League average of 4.08. It would be the highest mark of any team in baseball if it weren’t for the division-rival Miami Marlins, who have the worst mark with 5.42. Out of the entire crew, the only three that appear like they should currently be in the bullpen are Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman (who is getting more and more gassed every outing), and the lefty Daniel Zamora. Others, like Drew Smith, Tyler Bashlor, and Tim Peterson have the potential, but simply are not ready yet. The biggest disappointments have been Jerry Blevins and Anthony Swarzak, who made a combined $12 million this season, were both unreliable from the start of the season.
The Mets have had two very successful months this season, and it happened to be their first full month of the season and the last one. They have done this by putting up two of their highest RBI totals of the season (109 in April and 113 as of September 28th). Fueling these efforts by efforts from players that were not in the plans of the franchise during the offseason. Now, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo have not only found their way into the hearts of Mets fans for their respective abilities to hit for average and get on base, but have truly forced themselves into the plans of the franchise moving forward.
Another interesting tidbit to look at the Mets this season is where their homeruns have come from in the batting order. While for most teams most home runs would come from the 3 or 4 hole in the lineup, the Mets are actually well displaced. The one and two positions have produced 22 home runs, while the 3-5 hitters have smacked 21. Surprisingly enough, the sixth position holds the top spot with 29 home runs.
So when thinking back on this team, there are a couple of things to be remembered. Of course, there was the immaculate season that was produced by Jacob deGrom (and the lack of run support he received), the return of an elite Zack Wheeler, and that the team had a different identity nearly every month.
On a side note, I would be remiss if I did not thank Wright in one form or another. He was the first player that I really ever had the chance to watch, and I am grateful that it was him. I am thankful that Wright was a role model who brought a certain level of professionalism to the sport, and that he chose to make the decision to stay with the Mets for the entirety of his career. If his number is not retired following the season, it would certainly be a crime.