The standings on May 30 showed the Mets with a 10-game lead. Four weeks later it is down to five games. The Mets won 13 of 23, which is a .565 clip, but that is 100 points lower than April-May. The Braves managed to close the gap by winning 19 of 24, making up five and a half games. The schedule favors the Braves up to the All-Star Break, so it will be tight at that point.
The Mets have played really well against the in-division opponents, so they should be able to be in the race all year. Of course, the Mets are also maintaining pace without Max Scherzer or Jacob deGrom, if both or either return to form, the Mets will pick up a few more games.
The biggest issue the Mets are having on offense is poor production from the Designated Hitter slot. Even before the DH was decided on for the National League, there was a big concern over J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith having roster spots, given their inability to play defense. The upside of the DH has been neither has been in the field, so the Mets defensive performance has been better.
The trade deadline has been extended to August 2 this season. The Mets would be wise to move early. Top candidates include Josh Bell on the Nationals. He’s a free agent after 2022, meaning minimal commitment from the Mets, but first negotiation rights. Bell has a 150 OPS+ and is a switch-hitter. Another option could be anyone on the Colorado Rockies, specifically C.J. Cron. Cron has a 133 OPS+ and just one more year on his contract. An interesting option would be the Arizona first baseman Christian Walker. Walker is a Gold Glove fielder, still arbitration eligible, and can hit. All these players are already 30 years old or more, so they are short-term solutions, but are likely to provide more punch the rest of the season than Smith or Davis, and all three can play more defense.
How is the Mets defense? As a team, and the mid-season numbers begin to take shape, the Mets are in the middle of the pack and performing about average. Their current numbers are slightly below last season, with the absence of Javy Baez and Francisco Lindor hasn’t had quite the same performance. Around the diamond, the team is largely performing as could be expected. Pete Alonso is serviceable, Luis Guillorme is decent, Lindor is a good fielder, and Eduardo Escobar is performing well. Th addition of Mark Canha and Starling Marte has stabilized the corner outfield positions and both are solid fielders. These two additions have cemented Brandon Nimmo in centerfield, and Nimmo is playing slightly above average. Behind the dish, Tomas Nido and James McCann are holding their own. None of the Mets are looking to win a Gold Glove anytime soon, but they are not shooting themselves in the foot as they have so often in the past. All defensive performances to date are still looking at small sample sizes and must be viewed as such.
Overall, the simulations still like the Mets. Baseball Reference still has the Mets playoff chances increasing by 10% over this last month, because they are still winning games. With the new system, the Mets have established themselves as a good team, and project over 90 wins. The Mets have been dominant and have a great chance to improve on the performance so far.