Mets 2019 midseason report card

Here we are at the All-Star break, and it’s time to hand out the mid term grades for the Mets players. For the third straight year the Mets are closer to the bottom of the division than they are to the top at this time of year, but even so we do have star performers.

Batters with at least 50 PA or pitchers with 20 IP for the Mets will be evaluated, which means 24 players qualify for grades. There will be a wide variation, ranging from an F to some A pluses.

Pete Alonso…The rookie has pounded 30 homers, tied for second in the Majors, and his 68 RBI ties him for third in the big leagues. Some nit pickers might say he strikes out too much, and that he is no Gold Glove candidate at first. Ignore those nitpickers and give him a well deserved A+.

Robinson Cano… Cano has usually batted third in the order so far this year, though I suspect the only two people who think he belongs in that spot are Cano and the GM, Brodie Van Wagenen. Cano has more errors (5), than he does homers (4). He is among the league leaders in one category, unfortunately it’s GIDP, he’s tied for third with 12 of those rally killers. He gets a D-.

Michael Conforto…Conforto has underperformed some this year, perhaps partially due to an injury suffered when Cano barreled into him as they were both going for a pop-up. His slash line is .244/.359/.470, certainly not bad, but we know he can do better. He gets a B-.

J. D. Davis… Davis has assembled a pretty good slash line of .279/.341/.468. He’s versatile, too, with playing time at the corner outfield spots and third base. The bad news is that he is a sub-par fielder wherever he plays. He receives a B- grade.

Jacob deGrom… He’s not as dominant as he was last year, but that was a historic season. He is in the top ten in the league in several categories including ERA, WHIP, K’s and K/9, and he made the All-Star team again. He hits and fields better than most pitchers. He earns a well-deserved A.

Edwin Diaz…Diaz has a 1-6 record with four blown saves, although it seems like more. His ERA is an ugly 5.50. Yet he has had some key saves where he’s been terrific. Diaz gets a D.

Jeurys Familia…Familia was supposed to be a key element in the Mets bullpen. So far he has a stratospheric ERA of 7.50, batters are averaging .292 against him, and he has blown all four of his save opportunities. That translates to a grade of F.

Wilmer Font… He’s started, he’s relieved, and he’s been decent. His ERA is 4.94, but hitters are only batting .244 against him. He’s probably exceeded expectations, so he gets a C.

Todd Frazier… The popular third baseman is an above average fielder at his position, which is more than you can say for most of the Mets. He can be fooled at the plate, but overall he’s hit better than expectations with a line of .256/.340/.443. Frazier gets a B.

Drew Gagnon… He has an ERA of 7.65, and hitters are batting .295 against him. Those figures are worse than what Familia put up, and he got an F. But because Gagnon did not have the expectations that Familia had, his grade will be a bit higher at D-.

Robert Gsellman… Gsellman was a key contributor to the 2016 team, but he has not lived up to that standard. This year he sports a 5.09 ERA, and his grade is D +.

Adeiny Hechavarria… The utility infielder has a line of .229/.260/.427. He doesn’t get on base much, but he has given more power than expected. His fielding is better than the incumbent starters at short and second. Give him a C +.

Juan Lagares… Lagares is having a dreadful year, especially at the plate. His line is .175/.242/.252, and it must be about the worst in the league. He is the best defensive outfielder on the team and is a useful pinch runner. Feeling generous, we’ll give him a D-.

Seth Lugo… Lugo has been, hands down, the best reliever on the team this year. He’s got a 4-2 record with a nice 3.35 ERA and a good WHIP of 1.19. He earns a solid B+.

Steven Matz… Matz has not been consistent this year, with a few good outings marred by some pretty bad ones. He’s got a 5-6 record with a lofty ERA of 4.89, although the juiced balls this year have been part of the reason for the high ERA. Matz avoids the D territory with a shaky C-.

Jeff McNeil… Despite being deployed in positions other than his natural second base most of the time, McNeil has assembled an amazing year. He leads the Majors with a .349 BA, he’s third in the NL in OBP with a .409 figure, and he has shown surprising power with a .509 SLG. The All-Star gets a well deserved A+.

Tomas Nido… It wasn’t even clear that Nido would make the team this year, but he did and has contributed, especially on defense. He has zero passed balls and only three wild pitches have got by him in his 195 innings. For context take a look at the totals for the normal starting catcher below. Very telling is the much better performance of deGrom and Noah Syndergaard when Nido catches. He gets a B.

Brandon Nimmo… Nimmo has spent a lot of time on the IL this season, and his performance has suffered. His slash line is .200/.344/.323. We’ll give him a D+, mainly because he still gets on base at a respectable rate.

Wilson Ramos… He is slashing at a .272/.349/.408 clip, not bad for a catcher. His defense though has been downright poor, with nine PB, 17 WP, and a microscopic percentage of runners thrown out. His grade is a C-.

Amed Rosario… Rosario has been ok at the plate, at least for a shortstop, slashing .260/.299/.414. However his defense has really fallen off, he has 12 errors and could easily have been charged with more. He gets a generous C- for his grade.

Dominic Smith… Smith is having a really good year with the bat, although he has tapered off some lately. He’s slashing .304/.389/.551. Unfortunately his best position is 1st base, where Alonso plays. He is adequate in LF, and that’s where he plays unless Alonso gets a day off. Smith grades out with a well deserved A-.

Noah Syndergaard… Syndergaard just might have the best stuff in the game, but he does not have anywhere near the best stats. He’s 6-4 with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Despite having about the best velocity of any SP in the game, he’s not even striking out a batter per inning. If he didn’t have such potential he’d get a better grade but we’ll put him right at a C.

Jason Vargas… Vargas is the polar opposite of Syndergaard with about the slowest fastball in the game. Relying on a changeup as his best pitch, he has exceeded expectations to be one of the best number five starters in the league. He’s 3-4 with a 3.77 ERA. If he went a little deeper into games he’d get a little higher grade but B- seems about right for him.

Zack Wheeler… He’s 6-6 with a 4.69 ERA and a WHIP of 1.28. Those numbers are nearly identical to Syndergaard, who got a C. Hence Wheeler is also graded at a C.

So far it’s been a very disappointing season, we can only hope the All-Star break will rejuvenate some of the underperformers so the team could take a run toward respectability.

22 comments for “Mets 2019 midseason report card

  1. Mike Walczak
    July 9, 2019 at 10:44 am

    I think that the grade has to also include how players are being used.

    Dominic Smith is playing the outfield. he also doesnt have a ton of RBIs. A- is too high, more like a B.

    Conforto is underwhelming. More average production. Average = a C.

    Ramos is horrific behind the plate. Should be a D.

    Lets face it, so far, Cano has been a failure. Failure = an F.

    Rosario is way below average, bottom of the list on defense, so he should be a D.

    Lagares is an F.

    If you add up all of your scores and it averages a C, then it is too high. A C is average and average is a .500 record. They have the second worst record in the NL, Even on a grading curve, their performance has to be a D.

    This was a fun article. Thanks for writing.

    • Michael
      July 9, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      I think you are being generous with Conforto. I would give him a C- or D+. We keep waiting for him to approach .300 and cut down on his Ks. That looks like a long way off if ever. Unlike Frazier, Lagares, Ramos, Rosario, Vargas, TdA and Wilmer, Conforto has escaped criticsm for the most part.

    • John Fox
      July 9, 2019 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks Mike, I appreciate your input. I don’t agree that if you average the grades,
      as in your example if the sum of the grades were a C, then the team should be at .500. For example, Robinson Cano at D- and Dominic Smith at A- average together about a C. However Cano has played quite a bit more than Smith, and thus his negative impact is greater than Smiths because of that difference. One could compensate perhaps by creating a weighted average but that would be a project to say the least.

  2. David Klein
    July 9, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Alonso’s defense is fine and his K rate is at 24% that’s fine. No idea how Cano doesn’t get an f with horrendous offense and defense. Matz is bad juiced ball or not last three years Fangraphs war he’s been 0.3, 0.9 and 0.9.

  3. David Klein
    July 9, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Nimmo played a month badly injured give him an incomplete

  4. Chris F
    July 9, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Some summer school grading there!

    Cano = F Hes making a fortune to be a difference maker and he’s that only in reverse. Raw numbers are bad enough but the fact is like Reyes at the end he’s a cancer.

    Rosario = F he’s the worst SS in baseball. No extra credit for spelling your name right on the test.

    Diaz = F Another difference maker gone off a cliff. He’s provided nothing that says he the closer of today or the future.

  5. MattyMets
    July 9, 2019 at 11:55 am

    For some of these guys there should be a grade below F. Like in Animal House – “zero point zero”

    • Chris F
      July 10, 2019 at 9:06 am

      +1 Matt – good call.

  6. Bob
    July 9, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    How about Ownership – F- (they are happy with mediocrity which baffles me), GM C- (doesn’t have lot to go with, wasn’t left with much, lousy ownership, needs to stop trying to manage the team – I’ll give the benefit of it being his first year), MGR – F (a former pitching coach who can’t manage a pitching staff.)
    I’m interested to see the result of another lousy year – The core is half decent and should be able to compete – McNeal, Alonso, Conforto, Smith, deGrom, Nido – now we just need 19 other players and the pennant is ours.

    • Chris F
      July 9, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      Ownership is the perpetual F. And because they select terrible FO types, the FO is, not surprisingly, also an F. BVW has been a disaster for this team.

  7. footballhead
    July 9, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Before retiring, I got criticized by my fellow school teachers for not going along and giving in to grade inflation. I think that Mr Fox was way to generous in his grading. Alonso & McNeil do deserve their A+. I also agree with the grades given to Familia (F) and Nido (B). While perhaps not popular, I would actually upgrade Vargas to a B, and Hechavarria to a B-. Everyone else gets downgraded. Cano, Diaz, Gagnon, Gsellman, Lagares, are all Fs. D+ to Rosario & Ramos; a D for Matz & Nimmo; C- for Wheeler, Syndegaard & Font; C for Conforto & Frazier; C+ for Davis; B for Lugo; B+ for DeGrom & Smith.

    The biggest F of course, goes to management, the coaching staff, and the owners for not just wrongly assembling and evaluating and using properly what they do have, but to keep going in the wrong direction with this franchise. As much as I admire what teams like the Cardinals & Braves have done over the decades with their franchises, I just can’t bring myself to stop being a Mets fan. I’ve been following them since 1964. These days, I just have to find a reason to follow them, and this year, they are our A+ performers.

    • Mike Walczak
      July 9, 2019 at 2:57 pm

      I hear you on the coaching. Syndergaard really looks like he can use some good coaching. He throws most of his pitches 92+. He could changes speeds more often and could work on improving the movement of his pitches.

      That could be provided by a good coach.

  8. TJ
    July 9, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    I agree with most above in that there should be more F grades – anyone with below 0 fWAR and or bWAR. Plus, the 3 Big gets – Cano, Diaz, and Familia for sure regardless of WAR.

    Most importantly, the team, and by extension the GM, get Fs because once again the Eason is over by July 1, and especially so because the team was marketed as going for it in 2019.

    Now, let’s see them soften the pain with an A for deadline dealing.

  9. Peter Hyatt
    July 9, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Good article.

    Only tweak is

    Legaras F as his defense, to my eye, seems to have slipped. Is he injured?

    I also think “incomplete” fits Nimmo.

    • John Fox
      July 9, 2019 at 2:52 pm

      Good thought Peter, my reasoning on Lagares was even though his defense has slipped he is still the best defensive outfielder on the team, and that does provide just enough value to keep him above “F” territory (barely) in my opinion.

      • Mike Walczak
        July 9, 2019 at 9:08 pm

        It’s an F because he us hitting .175.

  10. Chris B
    July 9, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Good article John. I wonder how guys like Bruce, Swarzak and Plawecki would have graded out on this 2019 roster? Certainly not as well as they are performing if the Mets were to have anything to do with them.

    • John Fox
      July 10, 2019 at 9:33 am

      Thanks Chris, Swarzak especially would have been valuable to the Mets

  11. NYM6986
    July 9, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    So our crosstown rivals had some pretty significant injuries this year but whoever they plugged in didn’t just fill in, they hit and fielded their position. That does not happen by chance. Their owners spend their money trying to win a World Series and they have a good GM and a manager who is learning as he goes but has strong pieces in the field to manage.

    Now look in the mirror and while we have potential it relies on everything to fall into place. It is our ownership that chooses to.make lots of money but not willing to spend some of their lifestyle in getting us in a better position to complete. We are all shocked with Cano and Diaz, and how bad Ramos’ D really is. We were sold upgrades and depth, like another BVW client Jed Lowrie. Rosario, Thor and a Nimmo going backwards? At least Nimmo was injured. Where’s the Wheeler from the last 3 months of last year? Bless McNeil, Alonso and deGrom for being our beacons out of hell.

  12. TexasGusCC
    July 9, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    John, nice article and I enjoyed reading all the opinions. Broadie must be in shock at the magnitude of this failure so far. I don’t think anyone could have predicted this in March.

  13. TexasGusCC
    July 10, 2019 at 1:20 am

    From Fangraphs: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/edwin-diaz-is-worse-but-to-what-extent/

    “Let’s consider a world in which Díaz’s HR/FB rate was 13.3% instead of 22.6%. That would shave three home runs off of his total, which, as of this writing, stands at seven. Still concerning is his eight-point drop in ground-ball rate, which will naturally result in more homers from the get-go. But he’s still allowed almost double the number of home runs as he should have.

    This is why, even despite his results, I would argue that Díaz remains elite, even if he does not have enough outings left this season to correct his early struggles. Look at it this way: Just 24 relievers currently have an xFIP- of 75 or better. Only three of them — Nick Anderson, Matt Barnes, and Díaz — have an ERA- above 100. Díaz’s is 116. Similarly, just 32 relievers have an ERA- above 115. Only four of them have an xFIP- below 85. Díaz’s is 66.

    Why is there such a disparity here? It’s entirely due to the two factors that my followers and I were discussing on Thursday night. Díaz does remain in elite territory when it comes to strikeouts and walks, and that’s really good. But where he truly differs in 2019 is his ability to limit hard contact, which could be a combination of things: poor luck, natural regression, or a drop in talent level. To me, there’s a little bit of all three.”

    • Mike Walczak
      July 10, 2019 at 4:24 pm

      Plus Diaz is pitching in New York, rather than Seattle. New York has swallowed up pitchers before.

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