It’s been a weird season for Francisco Lindor. It’s been well documented how he’s had more extra-base hits than singles virtually all year. And those lack of singles has been a main contributor to his poor AVG. But his AVG has taken a nice uptick in the past two games, as he’s banged out eight hits. With over half the season already in the books, Lindor raised his AVG 18 points the past two games, which is quite the feat.

Regardless of how he’s doing, single-wise, Lindor has 41 XBH in 379 PA, which is excellent for anyone and particularly impressive coming from a shortstop playing Gold Glove-type defense. Additionally, he plays every day and always stands up and talks to the press after every game, something that hasn’t been particularly easy this year, as the Mets were 10 games under .500 before their recent hot streak. As Paul Lo Duca would tell you, it hasn’t always been the case where the Mets’ biggest stars would handle their media responsibilities.

Trading for and then extending Lindor was the first splash move made by Steve Cohen. There have been times where that didn’t look particularly good. Lindor’s first two months with the Mets, when he didn’t hit and was in the conversation for worst player in the game was one of those. Another was last year, when Andres Gimenez, one of the guys traded for him, played at an All-Star level while on a minimum wage contract, was another.

But after that rough start, Lindor has posted an .803 OPS, a .210 ISO and a 125 wRC+ in 1,419 PA as a Met. We can debate if he was worth the lavish extension that Cohen gave him – and if we’re going to do it honestly, we need to look at all of his contributions – but he’s given the Mets everything they could have hoped for since the end of May, 2021. And Gimenez has fallen off this year, Amed Rosario has plateaued far beneath the star-level player the Mets once hoped for and neither of the prospects seem like they’re going to develop into anything useful.

While his infield popups are maddening, Lindor has been a terrific acquisition.

JUST IN TIME FOR VERLANDER – If you ask the average fan about Justin Verlander, he might describe him as a bust. Certainly, Verlander hasn’t reproduced his CY Award season from a year ago. He missed about five weeks and his overall numbers aren’t particularly eye-popping. If we look back to his preseason projections, ZiPS forecasted him for a 2.84 ERA while THE BAT had him for a 3.25 mark and Steamer projected a 3.36 ERA. Meanwhile, Verlander has a 3.60 ERA, a 4.00 FIP and a 4.43 xFIP.

Yet in his last seven starts, Verlander has a 2.70 ERA and has limited opposing batters to a .665 OPS. And those numbers include a start where he gave up 7 H and 4 ER in just 3 IP. He’s yet to rip off a bunch of electric starts in a row, like he seemingly did every other year of his career. But if Verlander can continue to give the Mets the quality he’s given them in his last seven outings, they’ll be quite happy. Especially if he can throw a few more innings in, too.

THE UNDERAPPRECIATED MARK CANHA – It seems the fanbase has never really warmed up to Mark Canha. When he first signed as a free agent, there were plenty of people who questioned if he was really a starting-caliber outfielder. And then he hit for virtually no power and his early season was saved only by seemingly every hit falling in for him. And Tommy Pham’s hot streak this year has forced him to the bench.

Yet Canha has been much more productive in the batter’s box than Starling Marte. People trip all over themselves to praise Marte for anything positive he does, while sweeping all of Canha’s production under the rug. Canha has a 106 OPS+ overall and in his last 28 games has a .902 OPS. Yet he hardly plays in the outfield anymore. Instead, he’s seen time at DH, 1B and even 3B. Thru it all, Canha never complains. Maybe this is the best role for him at this point in his career. But when the Mets play an outfielder with an 82 OPS+ every day so they can put Canha and his 106 on the bench, it doesn’t make much sense.

RE-ASSEMBLING THE COOKIE – It’s been a frustrating season for Carlos Carrasco, one where he’s reverted back to the homerific ways of 2021 and his first year with the Mets. But a tweak to his slider, one he adopted after seeing a grip from another MLB pitcher posted online, helped him to a terrific outing in his last start.

It’s not clear when Carrasco debuted his new slider. However, in his first nine games this season, Carrasco had a 6.34 ERA with 10 HR in 44 IP. But in his last three starts, he has a 2.12 ERA with 2 HR in 17 IP. Once it seemed like a decent chance that when Jose Quintana returned, he was going to replace Carrasco in the rotation. At this point, it looks like Carrasco has saved his spot as a starter.

MORE ON HOMERS – It’s been more Mets than Carrasco who’ve had trouble with the gopher ball this year. Mets pitchers have surrendered 116 home runs this season, which ranks them 25th in MLB.

One of the notable things in the Mets’ season-best, six-game winning streak is that their pitchers have allowed just 6 HR in 55 IP. So much is made – rightly so – of the team’s terrific record when their SP goes at least six innings. But not enough has been made about how this team that is four games under .500 is 34-21 when they allow fewer than two homers in a game.

It certainly helps that some of the relievers with the worst HR rates are no longer with the team. John Curtiss, Tommy Hunter and Stephen Nogosek combined to allow 15 HR in 67 IP. Nogosek gave up a homer in his last appearance with the Mets on 6/8 while Hunter gave up two in his final game, which was on 6/9. Since June 10th, Mets batters have hit more homers than their pitchers have allowed, by a 36-26 margin. Here in July, the batters hold a 13-6 edge.

6 comments on “Francisco Lindor’s Mets tenure, Justin Verlander’s last seven games, the HR battle between the club’s pitchers and hitters

  • T.J.

    Lindor is a very good player, for sure, one that makes contributions in all phases of the game on and off the field. That is nothing to be ashamed of, as few people on earth can rationally make that claim. He is not a top tier superstar, in the sense of a Judge, Trout, Ohtani, Acuna, etc., although his contract and being Cohen’s “big” acquisition tend to project that image to a portion of the fanbase. The hope that he could reach a level above his Cleveland performance may be unfair. These issues have hung over his Met tenure, with similarities to Beltran.

    I have been critical of him at times, mainly relative to his position and role in the batting lineup. He really profiles much more like a #5 hitter than a 2/3, and it’s not his fault he primarily hit 3 on this team. What hurts him somewhat is that he seems to be a slow starter and quite streaky. Most of all, up to this point, he has lacked the approach of being a really tough out, especially in critical game positions. That attribute would make him better fit the #3 spot, or even #2 spot. Perhaps he’ll evolve in that direction. To me he presents as a dangerous hitter, but not a feared hitter…a guy that a pitcher feels will contribute to making an out when he needs that out badly.

    Even if my criticisms are accurate, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be appreciated. A guy that is really good at everything but not dominant at one, with a very good make up, performing daily in the toughest market in the league…that is something that we all should appreciate, and I certainly do.

  • JimO

    I think it should also be noted that he is constantly sharing information gleamed from his ABs whenever he gets the chance.

  • Mike W

    You are spot on about Lindor. He is quietly putting up a 30 home run 100 RBI season.

  • Metsense

    I marvel at Lindor’s glove work and throwing. Now I can marvel at in hitting. He has an OPS of 1.031 in the last 28 games.
    Verlander has been hot and cold but he has broken that pattern. I hope for the Mets sake that is it not too late.
    Canha should be starting . Against starting LHP, Marte can play and have Vogelbach sit. When Alvarez isn’t catching, then in all circumstances, he should be the DH. Canha is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Mets. He gets no respect.
    Carrasco had a gem in his last game. In his Met career he averages 5.1 innings per game. That means that the Mets have to rely on there middle relievers and that’s not good . If Peterson has a good start tonight then maybe they should send him to the bullpen as the long man reliever instead of Syracuse . Trevor Williams is sorely missed. The Mets need a reliable long reliever.69

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