For the second straight year, the Mets are in first place at the All-Star break. But this year feels a lot different than 2021. Last year, the Mets depended on a bunch of bench guys playing over their heads for a couple of weeks to stay atop the division. This year’s team feels better top to bottom. Plus, there’s still the long-awaited return of Jacob deGrom to look forward to later this month.

So, let’s line up everyone in alphabetical order and hand out midseason grades. Obviously, this is a very subjective process. My goal was to include role, preseason expectations and overall results in the final outcome. This means that two guys with much different results can wind up with the same grade. Only hitters with at least 50 PA and hurlers with at least 20 IP will receive a grade.

Pete Alonso – It’s always tough for Alonso because expectations are so high for him. And he was exceeding those expectations for most of the first half. But in his last 18 games and 78 PA, he has a .594 OPS, including a 2-13 in the key series against the Braves. And that span includes a 4-hit game against the Reds. Grade: A-

Chris Bassitt – The expectation was that he’d be a low-end SP2 or high-end SP3 and he’s been in the lower end of that range. He had a stretch of five games with poor results that matches up exactly with when Scherzer hit the IL. Perhaps that’s nothing more than a coincidence. He righted things shortly before Scherzer returned and he’s been good in his last five outings. Grade: B

Mark Canha – In 2019, Canha had a 146 OPS+, in the Covid year it was 124 and last season it was 112. This year he’s got a 116 mark, which seems to be what should have been expected. It’s just that he’s so … underwhelming, at least to me. Yes, he makes pitchers work and that’s definitely a point in his favor. But he makes weak contact and seems to me the type of player who won’t be as effective in the playoffs (.699 OPS versus teams .500 or better) as in the regular season. He’s also had more days off than any other starter, which feels like it should have led to better results. Grade: C+

Carlos Carrasco – Last year he was mostly bad and there was at least a tiny bit of concern that he was at the end of the line. And now he has 10 wins at the break and has cut his HR rate in half. The only knock is that hasn’t been consistent. Carrasco has seven starts with a Game Score of at least 60 and five with a score of 32 and under, including one where he managed just a 12. The expectations were lower than for Bassitt, so it seems like his grade should be higher. Grade: B+

J.D. Davis – Not a whole lot was expected from Davis, as he was third on the depth chart at DH when the season started. But outside of a couple of weeks, he hasn’t been good this year. Proponents will point to his average exit velocity, which has been excellent. But his power has been mostly MIA and his strikeout rate has been awful. Grade: D

Edwin Diaz – The expectation was that he’d be good, perhaps very good. Instead, he’s been great. In his last 19 games, Diaz has a 0.48 ERA and a 0.696 WHIP. For the season, he has a 1.69 ERA and an 18.08 K/9, both rates better than his magical 2018 season which prompted the Mets to trade for him in the first place. Grade: A+

Eduardo Escobar – The expectation was low AVG combined with high power. Escobar has delivered on the former but not really the latter. And he’s been even worse than expected from an AVG standpoint. Also, the advanced numbers do not like his defense, at all. Grade: D

Luis Guillorme – It was not a given that Guillorme was even going to make the Opening Day roster. Instead, he’s eighth on the team in PA and has a 113 OPS+. He slumped some in late-June, early-July but that was at least partly explained by a blister/cut on his hand. He’s been terrific defensively and better-than-expected offensively. Grade: A-

Travis Jankowski – His role was to provide speed and defense and he’s done just that. He missed time with an injury and has hit worse than expected. He had a career 77 OPS+ and he’s managed just a 34 this year. It’s not clear if he was a better choice than the recently DFAd Ender Inciarte. Grade: D+

Francisco Lindor – Before the trade, Lindor had a lifetime 118 OPS+ and this year, he’s got a 114. It might be a bit of a disappointment but this is pretty much what should be expected. He’s fifth in the NL in RBIs, which might be more of a function of his chances rather than his skill. Regardless, it’s still valuable. And he comes to the break with a 3.4 fWAR, meaning a 6-WAR season is not out of the question. Grade: A-

Seth Lugo – A few years ago, Lugo was the ideal bullpen piece, capable of performing in any role imaginable. Now, he has to be used much more carefully. He’s been outstanding when used with at least one day of rest and starting the inning clean. Overall this year, he’s been an average reliever. His grade at this point depends on how much blame you think the manager deserves in repeatedly calling on him to come in mid-inning or with no rest. Grade: B-

Starling Marte – He’s delivered batting numbers right in line with what he produced last year and better then what he amassed in previous full seasons. And he’s done a solid job adjusting to right field, a position he never played in the majors previously. Plus, he made the All-Star team. The only negative is that his SB numbers are down, both in success rate and raw numbers. Grade: B+

Patrick Mazeika – No one’s happy that he’s had enough playing time to make the list. He feels like more of an offensive threat than Nido – they both have a 42 OPS+ this year – but that’s damning with faint praise. Mazeika has been better than expected defensively but he’s still the worst of the three catchers in this regard. He’s more or less filled his role and met expectations. It seems that makes him ineligible for the D or F I want to give him. Grade: C-

James McCann – Injured and ineffective is no way to go thru life. The less said about his offense, the better. The biggest positive for him is his 2.72 catcher’s ERA. Nido has a 3.93 mark while Mazeika has a 4.06 rate. And McCann has caught Scherzer in just two of his 11 starts. Grade: C-

Jeff McNeil – He’s completely bounced back from last year’s terrible season at the plate and he’s essentially been a league-average defensive player at both 2B and LF. He’s on pace for a 4-WAR season and that’s better than most projected before the season started. Grade: B+

Adonis Medina – Nobody had any expectations for Medina and he has a 3.00 ERA in 21 IP. And five of his seven runs came in an appearance in Colorado. He deserves to be in the majors and pitching in higher-leverage spots than he has to date. Grade: B+

Tylor Megill – There’s perception and there’s reality. The perception is that Megill has been a big asset this year when healthy. The reality is that his 5.01 ERA is worse than last year. The estimators think he’s pitched better than that, as Megill has a 3.60 FIP and a 3.04 xFIP. He filled in admirably for Jacob deGrom at the beginning of the year. But it hasn’t been pretty recently. Grade: C+

Tomas Nido – He hasn’t hit much but at least he’s come up with hits in big spots, as he has a .943 OPS in 26 PA with RISP. He’s done a nice job of throwing from his knees when runners attempt to steal second. But at the end of the day, he has a 42 OPS+ and no amount of lipstick is going to cover that up. It feels like he should have a lower grade than Mazeika, since he was the backup and Mazeika was the third choice. Grade: D+

Brandon Nimmo – The biggest question about Nimmo is if he would stay healthy. He had a brief trip to the Covid IL but has avoided the multi-month IL trips of 2019 and 2021. The next big question is if he would keep his defensive gains from a year ago. For the most part, that’s been answered affirmatively, too. Statcast in particular really likes his defensive play. His offense has been down, as he had another stretch with little power and also one where he wasn’t drawing walks. But he has a .932 OPS in his last 14 games and has 7 BB in his last 9 G. A 5-WAR season is very much in play. Grade: B+

Adam Ottavino – In 2020, Ottavino had a 5.89 ERA and last year’s 4.21 was an improvement but still marked him as below-average. This year, he has a 2.52 ERA, a 0.981 WHIP and has limited opposing hitters to a .606 OPS. If anyone said they saw this type of season coming from him, well, they’re lying. Grade: A

David Peterson – Depth starter has seen a bunch of playing time due to various injuries to starters. Most teams would kill to have their seventh starter go 5-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 15 games and 13 starts. Peterson’s been a bit less than that in two of his last three starts but that doesn’t take a lot away from what has been a strong season. Grade: B+

Joely Rodriguez – I’m no fan of lefty relievers and didn’t like the trade to bring Rodriguez to the team at all. And then he didn’t exactly start the year off great. But, unlike with Lugo, the manager has seemed to find the right way to deploy Rodriguez. On June 8, Rodriguez had a 5.49 ERA. Since then, he has a 2.45 ERA and a 0.995 WHIP. Killjoys will point out that this recent stretch is just 7.1 IP. But part of using your lefty reliever the right way is to take him out after he gets the last out of the inning, even if he throws just one pitch. The other is not to force him in the game at every opportunity. Rodriguez went nine straight games without an appearance. He’s been used right the last month and not every reliever could handle the sporadic usage that Rodriguez has seen. Grade: B-

Max Scherzer – He’s been everything we could have hoped for when the Mets signed him. The only blemish is the time spent on the IL. But, the guy’s in his age-37 season, we probably shouldn’t expect 33 starts from him. Grade: A-

Chasen Shreve – It started off ok but then completely fell apart. The Mets did the right thing by DFAing him. Grade: F

Dominic Smith – Keeping the carcass of Robinson Cano and splitting the DH time three ways certainly didn’t help Smith. But he made matters worse by hitting like an honorary Mets catcher. In his first 11 games back from the minors, Smith had an .889 OPS. Since then, he has a .214 mark. I’m probably the only one left who still believes that the club just needs to write his name in the lineup card every day for three weeks and you’ll see results. Unjustified enthusiasm aside, he’s been worse than Davis and his grade should reflect that. Grade: D-

Drew Smith – He was great at the beginning of the year and lousy here at the end of the first half. Smith was supposed to be the fourth reliever behind Diaz. With Trevor May hurt and Lugo struggling with his usage, Smith has been the second-best reliever on the team, non-Diaz department. He’s out-performed his role and expectations, too. Grade: B-

Taijuan Walker – He was a disaster in the second half of 2021. Then he went on the IL after just one start this season. When Walker came back, he had one of the worst strikeout rates in the league. Yet somehow, it’s been a great first half. In his last seven games, everything has come together for Walker. In 45 IP he has a 4-0 record with a 1.80 ERA. And his 48 Ks in that span have put to rest the strikeout concerns. Walker’s also surrendered just one homer in that span, another worry from last year. Grade: A-

Trevor Williams – His role coming into the season was depth starter/long reliever. As the team’s eighth choice to start a game, Williams has a 4.67 ERA in eight games as a SP, which is better than most give in that role. And as a reliever, he has a 1.71 ERA in 21 IP, which is fantastic. Grade: A-


Buck Showalter – Ever since Mets360 debuted in 2010, I’ve been pleading for the Mets to get a manager who can make a difference in the dugout. Yet too many people were too eager to parrot the line from the front office, that managerial moves were overrated and that the most important part of the job was communication. Forgive my French, but that was and is bullshit. And it’s been incredibly rewarding to see Showalter make a difference here in the first half.

My opinion is that he could be better in how he uses his bullpen. But Showalter started in a better place with a greater commitment to rest than we’ve seen previously from a Mets manager. Plus, we’ve seen him adapt on the fly with his bullpen moves, which is certainly more than his predecessors did. And my hope is that Showalter will continue to adapt as necessary, particularly with how he uses Lugo.

You watch teams that the Mets play and you see managers of other teams put up with stuff you know that Showalter simply wouldn’t tolerate. The lackadaisical play of the Marlins stands out but the Cubs looked bad, the Phillies were atrocious when they played and even the Cardinals looked inferior. That’s a big change for the Mets and we should all celebrate that. Grade: A-

Billy Eppler – Clearly, he wasn’t the first choice for the job. He probably wasn’t anyone’s second pick, either. But Eppler has done a very nice job under tough circumstances, joining the party late and then almost immediately having to deal with the lockout. All he’s done is bring on key players and Showalter. Maybe Steve Cohen deserves more credit for Scherzer but Eppler’s record looks good even without that particular feather.

Perhaps Eppler’s biggest test this year is yet to come, with the trade deadline rapidly approaching and a potential Juan Soto acquisition to navigate. But the player moves, the managerial hire and even the first day of the 2022 Draft all look good right now. Grade: B+


The Mets are on a pace for 101 wins and that’s without a single game from deGrom and missing Scherzer for seven weeks. And those are hardly the only two things that have gone wrong for the club this season. They’re a legitimate top-five team in the majors right now and no one will relish playing them in October if both deGrom and Scherzer are healthy. It’s been an incredibly fun first half, one that’s wiped away the disappointment from the second half of last year. Enjoy the All-Star game and I hope to see all of you in the Game Chatters when the second half begins.

15 comments on “Mets 2022 midseason report card

  • deegrove84

    A fun read.

  • Aging Bull

    Great reading, just what was needed today. I like all of your grades but would probably drop Drew Smith a notch, probably due to recency bias.
    That last loss was a real buzzkill, but not like prior “last game before the break” losses. That speaks to how much better this team is.

  • JimmyP

    I think Lugo is nearly useless and a DFA candidate after we bring in a couple of decent guys (May & a trade for, say, Robertson). The fastball is toast and the breaking stuff isn’t sharp. Probably a Spyder Tac guy, also a fragile & tired arm. Most of the time, he looks like a shell of himself. He had nothing in Chicago the other day and barely squeaked out of the inning, thanks to a strong wind and a bad opponent. On paper, a “good” outing, but it was ominous to anyone watching closely. His constant N/A puts enormous pressure on the rest of the pen. If he were very good, maybe — maybe — it would be worthwhile keeping a Faberge egg in the bullpen. But a willingness and ability to take the ball is huge. The fact you persist in blaming Buck for Lugo’s failures (and Dom’s, too) is just — well — we strongly disagree. He’s simply the kind of reliever who makes a manager look bad. Remember how you killed Lopez for not using him correctly, too? Because he didn’t use him for multiple innings? All the while, poor Lopez was trying to squeeze some marginal usefulness out of him. Hey, we all have our biases. How about Dom begging out of running at 2B in the 10th vs. the Cubs the other day. Sore ankle. He sprinted in the outfield, tested it, nah, let me sit, grab a cold one in the clubhouse. This is not the guy you want on your team. Nobody has more problems with the home umpire, the constant eye rolls, nobody’s body language could be worse. Is he even trying? Or is it just a constant stream of “poor me”? And what about that slooow swing? I keep flashing on Butch Huskey. Or do we start blaming the hitting coach? Otherwise, I thought the grades were fair and in line with my own thinking. I’ve been surprised and pleased by Escobar’s defense at 3B, thought his grade was better than a D — but not much better.

    • Brian Joura

      UZR and Statcast see the same guy in regards to Escobar’s fielding. UZR has him at (-3.5) OAA has him at (-3) and RAA has him at (-2). But DRS really, really thinks he’s been awful as it has him at (-10) – that’s pretty much J.D. Davis territory. Davis was worse, but not a lot.

    • BobP

      I think Escobar’s defense is deceiving because he’s made a couple of nice plays lately, but overall I think the advanced stats which have him below average are pretty consistent with the eye test, at least in my opinion.

    • Brian Joura

      Mets just put Smith on the IL

  • Woodrow

    Hey, I keep telling you it’s going to be a great summer. Sherzer and DeGrom lead us to a WS victory. Pete is MVP, Diaz is Cy Young and Uncle Steve is revered.

  • T.J.

    Agree on most. I’d drop Lugo Joely and Drew Smith a notch. Drew Smith has been both extremes but throwing BP for the last month bets him to C range and non-leverage innings. Joely has been buried, unless he is hurt That gets him to C- range at best. No way Lindor in A range. His OPS is way too low for a middle of the lineup bat and I think the defensive metrics pretty much have him minus across the board begging the question of whether his defense has peaked. That left side of the infield is a bit concerning.

    • Brian Joura

      You’re probably right about Rodriguez with a higher grade than he deserves.

      Statcast thinks Lindor is an above-average fielder, with a +6 OAA and a +4 RAA

  • Footballhead

    Brian, your grading was overall fair and consistent. Perhaps too optimistic for my taste (I somewhat agree with JimmyP about Lugo, D. Smith). I don’t know what Eppler will do come the trading deadline, but I’ll be surprise if JD Davis & D. Smith are still with the team. I also think Jankowski will be a casualty with the addition of other bats.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t like the overall trend of the offense of late. Both Alonso & McNeil have not been all-stars over the last month. Escobar should be replaced out of starting lineup, but whether a call up of Vientos is the answer, I don’t know.

    Let’s hope the front office pulls a ‘2021 Braves act’, and finishes up strong with the infusion of new personnel.

  • ChrisF

    As a teacher, handing out grades is always something that carries mixed feelings.

    I think the general tone you have here Brian is pretty good, but the sense I have is that something is not quite right. I tallied the scores sort of quantitatively by assigning A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, and F = 0.

    This list has n = 28. The cardinal letter breakdown is:

    A = 8
    B = 10
    C = 4
    D = 5
    F = 1

    Using that break down, the average “GPA” for the Mets players is 2.7 for a team thats basically been in first place all season and has had to rely on a patched together rotation almost the entire way so far. Despite this they are on track for 101 wins as we head towards the end of July. The median grade is B.

    I cant help but see some higher grades in here because the team surely deserves an “A” as a whole. So maybe thats a case of the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts, but I think there are some better grades to hand out given the tough circumstances we’ve weathered. Another possibility is that grades could be weighted based on importance, which I didnt do.

    Anyway, the Mets are still in the catbird seat as the “second half” begins, and that’s something we should all be super happy about.

    As for Pete, I give the guy an A+. He was nearly killed in a car wreck then became the best version of himself while recovering, still, from PTSD. He leads the league in RBI and will smash the RBI record this year, is rapidly climbing the charts for total HR for a Met, has a 141 OPS+, a .253 ISO, and made the All Star team. Its hard not to give that a solid A IMO. Add to that, he regularly makes superb scoops on short throws from the left side. A lot of that doesnt seem to make defensive metrics, which to me are still pretty lousy.

    • Brian Joura

      To me, the best comments are the ones that make me think and this one does just that. I know I kid and tease your comments, Chris, but mostly that’s because I know you can take it. But in all seriousness here – I liked this comment of yours very much.

      At the very least, I think your point is valid in the abstract – that a team on a pace to win 101 games should have a GPA better than 2.7 – I guess my response is, who’s getting shafted? The comments prior to yours were pointing out guys like Lugo, Rodriguez and Smith that the commenters thought I overrated.

      It seems like we should investigate the 10 guys who got a B and see if they deserved better. They were: Bassitt, Carrasco, Lugo, Marte, McNeil, Medina, Nimmo, Peterson, Rodriguez and Smith. Since 3 of those are guys that others already thought I overrated, we’ll ignore those. Among the other seven, the ones that maybe should be looked at deeper are the two All-Star (Marte & McNeil) and Nimmo.

      Marte’s offense has been better than expected while his defense has gone from an average to below average CF to a below average RF and his SB numbers have taken a significant tumble. I guess I just don’t see that as an A level of performance.

      After a great start, McNeil has a .278/.341/.381 line in his last 226 PA, which is definitely “good, not great” territory over a pretty large sample when the whole sample is just 309 PA. He gets points for his versatility but he’s making the plays defensively, rather than doing anything with the glove to really push him forward. Again, not a A level of performance for me.

      Nimmo is hitting almost as good as Marte while being a better defensive option at the tougher position. But he’s not adding any value as a baserunner and both his OBP and SLG – while heading in the right direction – fell below A level in my mind.

      So, where does that leave things? I guess I acknowledge your point but I’m not seeing anything terribly wrong with my individual grades. Maybe we can look at it this way — Five of the six batters with the most PA have a grade of B+ or better while the top 6 pitchers in IP have a grade of B or higher, including 3 A’s.

      Compare that to last year’s team. Here are my final grades last year for the top 6 hitters in PA: B+, C+, C+, D, D+, D. And for the top 6 pitchers last year it was: A, B-, C, B, D and a split grade with deGrom that gave him a D on health.

      The 2022 record is significantly better and the grades for the ones who played the most are significantly better, too.

      • T.J.

        I’ll second Brian’s point as the Mayor of PC brings an excellent perspective to the overall individual’s average vs. the collective performance of the team. Thought provoking for sure. Baseball is a team sport, and one of the wonderful mysteries of the game is how there are examples of where the whole is greater than the some of the parts. The first half Mets really represent that notion.

        Additionally, with regards to the grading and averaging, not all participants are equal. The grade of the backup catcher is not on par with the grade of the ace and cleanup hitter. I did a quick calculation with the pitchers, weighting by innings pitched, and splitting grade to add 0.25 to a “plus” and removing 0.25 from a “minus”. Far from perfect, since Diaz’s contributions as closer are not well represented as a percentage of total innings pitched, but using this method the overall GPA for pitchers is just shy of 3.2. I haven’t looked at hitters, but again, maybe by AB, that nudges the overall “average” up as well. Quickly looking at Alonso, McNeil, Nimmo, Lindor, and Marte, these 5 are 5 of their top AB guys and their collective average is well over a 3.0. And, as usual, defense is not even represented in my modified average grade calculation.

  • ChrisF

    I think the answer is twofold as I initially intimated and which came out in your and TJs replies.

    Baseball is a genuine team sport. One only needs to look at the Angels to see that given they have the best player in the game in Trout and one of the best players in Ohtani on the same team at the same time and the Angels have sucked.

    The other thing is that the scores should be weighted based on some metric as TJ approached. It would be worth thinking about this in finding a way to merge the reality of the record and who is playing.

    • Brian Joura

      My opinion on this goes in a different direction than your two points.

      If you looked at the entire MLB universe, what would the distribution look like? I’m sure there’s a phrase that I once knew but no longer do to describe it. I guess it would be an imperfect bell curve. The majority of grades would be in the B-C range, with somewhat equal totals of A and D-F grades. But the B-C grades would dwarf the A and D-F ones.

      Looking at my final grades for the 77-85 2021 Mets, they had 6 Bs and 6 Cs. The problem was that there were 7 Ds and 1 F, compared to just 3 As. The Bs and Cs didn’t dwarf the D-F grades – there were more of the poor ones. Even if we add the top two and the bottom two grades, we get 9 good and 8 bad.

      Now look at this year’s report. 18 A + B grades and 6 D + F grades.

      It doesn’t have to be an explanation that depends on “the whole is greater than the sum.” It could be that having multiple B guys instead of multiple D guys gets you to where you want to go, providing that you have A guys, too.

      I don’t pretend to know the Angels squad very well. But let’s look at their roster –

      They have 3 hitters who are in the A-B range and the rest of them are struggling to be average. Their starting LF has a 78 OPS+ and their starting SS has a 35. Their five reserves with enough playing time to qualify range from a 30 to an 82 OPS+. The one with the most playing time has a 56. On the pitching side, they appear to have 1 A and 3 Bs. While the Mets have 18 A-B guys, the Angels have 7. Maybe I’m missing guys – let’s give them a couple more. That 18-9 edge in top talent means the sum does quite nicely explaining things.

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