The Mets are 62-68 but they have been hit with a ton of injuries again. In fact, I bet you don’t know which player has made the most starts this year for the Mets. Carlos Beltran was leading the team until he got traded. Jose Reyes was leading until he went on the DL for the second time. Now the team’s leader in starts is Jason Bay with 100.

Fourteen different players have made at least 30 starts for the Mets this year. Here they are arranged by the team’s winning percentage in games that they start:

Player Record Win Pct.
Pridie 22-16 .579
Beltran 50-44 .532
Murphy 46-44 .511
Duda 28-27 .509
Turner 44-43 .506
Reyes 49-49 .500
Thole 37-37 .500
Bay 49-51 .490
Tejada 31-35 .470
Davis 16-20 .444
Pagan 42-53 .442
Wright 31-40 .437
Paulino 20-28 .417
Harris 10-23 .303

I think it’s easy to read too much into these numbers but at the same time there are some really interesting things. Here are three things that jump out at me.

Mets better with Josh Thole starting – This is even more surprising when you recall that Thole started nearly every day early in the season when the club got off to a 5-13 start. In those 18 games, Thole started 14 of them and the Mets were 3-11. Since then, the club is 34-26 with Thole behind the plate. That’s pretty impressive for a guy that the mainstream media and a bunch of bloggers will tell you is a poor defensive catcher and one who needs to step up his game if he wants to remain a starting backstop.

Center field defense is important – To the naked eye, Jason Pridie looks much better in center field than Angel Pagan has this year and the numbers above certainly seem to reinforce that point. And if we only consider the 25 games that Pridie started in center, the Mets are 16-9 (.640 winning percentage).

If we look at their time in center field only, Pridie has a +3 DRS in 244.1 innings while Pagan is at 0 in 831 innings. Total Zone has Pridie at +1 and +5 in 1,200 innings while it has Pagan at -10 and -14 in 1,200 innings. UZR has Pridie at -0.7 and -1.1 in 150 games while it shows Pagan at -12.4 and -17.8, respectively. I like Pagan but I think there’s little question his poor defensive play this year has hurt the club.

Lucas Duda needs consistent playing time – If asked before putting together this chart, there is no way I would have thought the Mets’ record with Duda starting was above .500 for the year. He’s been starting most of the games since Beltran left and the club is 7-15 in August. But the Mets were 8-2 when Duda started in June and he was a complementary piece to Beltran. If Ike Davis can come back close to the level he played this year while healthy, a Davis-Duda-Wright middle of the order may be enough to win games on a consistent basis.

A lot of people will latch on to the club’s record when Wright is starting and that’s certainly not anything to write home about. But Wright has been in the lineup here with Beltran, Davis, Reyes and Daniel Murphy missing and that has certainly hurt his numbers in this chart..

The Mets were 43-36 (.544) when both Beltran and Murphy started the same game.

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