If you’ve watched the Mets play since the end of the trade deadline, you’ve seen a club go from bad to worse. It wasn’t too difficult to predict, that an under-performing veteran club would see whatever little wind was in its sails disappear completely. Yet while it was predictable, that doesn’t make it any easier to watch. The club should be glad it’s on the road, otherwise they’d be booed mercilessly.

My preference is to be optimistic, to look for the good. Since that’s not really happening at the MLB level, let’s look to the future and see how the prospects the Mets received in their deadline trades are performing. We should note that this is just a few games and in the overall scheme of things, these numbers don’t mean very much. Still, let’s take hope from wherever we can get it.

Luisangel Acuna – 22 PA, .211/.318/.211, 1 SB, 1 CS
Drew Gilbert – 9 PA, .250/.333/.500, triple
Jeremiah Jackson – 12 PA, .000/.250/.000, 2 RBIs, 5 Ks

Ryan Clifford – 13 PA, .182/.308/.455, homered in first PA

Complex League
Ronald Hernandez – 17 PA, .091/.412/.091, 4 BB, 4 Ks
Marco Vargas – 18 PA, .286/.444/.286, 2 RBIs, SB

Jeremy Rodriguez – 10 PA, .250/.400/.625, double, triple

Justin Jarvis has yet to pitch for the Mets. Rodriguez was the return for Tommy Pham, who in 11 PA for the Diamondbacks has a .282 OPS. Since July 4, a span of 68 PA, Pham has a .504 OPS.

NOBODY LOVES YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN AND OUT – It seems like every time you look up, Mark Vientos is down 0-2 in the count. There have been 12 PA where Vientos had his time at bat end after that count. He’s actually been down 1-2 even more, with 20 PA that ended with that as the count. One thing that’s almost universally true is that hitters do worse when they are behind in the count. Vientos has a .450 OPS at 1-2 and a .167 OPS at 0-2.

Vientos has had 36.8% of his PA at these two counts. Thru games of Friday, the MLB average was 24.9%. The secret to not get into bad counts is to attack the first strike you see. Unfortunately for Vientos, he has a .398 OPS in the 13 PA where he sees just one pitch. The MLB average is a .959 OPS when the PA ends after one pitch. He’s between a rock and a hard place.

THE LITTLE PLANT FROM WALL-E – In the Pixar movie of the same name, Wall-E is the last robot on earth, who is looking for plant life, a sign that humans can return to the planet. As we look for signs of life on the Mets, we turn towards Jeff McNeil. This has been a season to forget for McNeil, who has returned to the disappointing season of 2021. It’s almost eerie how similar the last two odd years have been for McNeil.

2021: .251/.319/.360, 6.8 BB%, 13.6 K%
2023: .253/.326/.333, 6.7 BB%, 10.3 K%

He had a touch more power and a bit more strikeouts two years ago. Otherwise, they’re almost identical. But there’s been a glimmer of hope here for McNeil the last two weeks. Since 7/21, a span of 14 games and 61 PA, he’s slashing .298/.344/.421 with only 2 Ks. For the year, McNeil has a .080 ISO, which is horrendous. In his last 14 games, he has 4 XBH and a .123 ISO. That’s still not good. But we are in no position to turn our nose up at any signs of improvement.

HITTING LIKE A LITTLE BIRD – If McNeil is showing some improvement, the opposite end of things would be Starling Marte, whose season has been as confounding as it’s been impotent. Everyone has been looking for reasons why he’s fallen off so dramatically from 2022. Yet no one wants to say the obvious – Marte’s swing decisions have been awful. If we start there, rather than trying for some physical reason, we’ll get closer to the answer.

Marte desperately needs to go to the minors to work on things and the Mets had a perfect chance to send him there on a rehab stint following an 18-day layoff. Instead, they throw him right in the MLB lineup, where he’s gone 0-8 with 3 Ks. Marte now is comfortably below the Galvis Line with a 75 OPS+ and he has a dismal .076 ISO. You can virtually hear Buck Showalter channeling Bush the elder, saying about Marte, “Things are going to change, I can feel it!”

THE CONTINUING UGLY TALE OF THE OPTION RELIEVERS – Billy Eppler constructed his bullpen by prioritizing guys at the back end with options, rather than pitchers with talent. It’s been an unmitigated disaster all year and it hasn’t magically gotten better since the trade deadline, either. Here’s how the “B” relievers have done in the last five games:

Trevor Gott: 1.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.250 WHIP
Josh Walker: 1.1 IP, 13.50 ERA, 2.250 WHIP, walk-off balk
Reed Garrett: 2.0 IP, 18.00 ERA, 2.500 WHIP
Phil Bickford: 2.1 IP, 23.14 ERA, 3.429 WHIP
Grant Hartwig: 2.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.500 WHIP
John Curtiss: 2.0 IP, 9.00 ERA, 2.500 WHIP

That’s a combined 11.2 IP and 16 ER, “good” for a 12.34 ERA. If the Mets want to improve cheaply for 2024, they’ll spend more on the final three relievers for the Opening Day roster. If they spend a combined $10 million or so on these spots, they’ll likely see a big improvement in results.

5 comments on “Early results from the new prospects, Mark Vientos’ 0-2 problem, Jeff McNeil heating up

  • Steve_S.

    Let’s go to the movies!

    To Eppler: “Options? We don’t need no stinking options.”

    To Cohen: “Make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

    To Buck: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

    To the Mets Fans: “Tomorrow is another day!”

    • ChrisF


  • Metsense

    It would be a surprise .to see any of those prospects until 2025.
    Vientos has his opportunity but he isn’t capitalizing it.
    McNeil and Marte are playing themselves on the 2024 bench. That is some expensive splinters. Is Marte playing hurt?
    The only option for the option veteran relievers is DFA. They are useless. Hartwig, the rookie, is presentable.

  • ChrisF

    I’ll tell ya, the watch middle middle strike 1 and then chase for strikes 2 and 3 is the Met calling card!

  • Woodrow

    No Hitting,and 3 of the 4 decent pitchers traded,this team is headed for the cellar!

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