This column is my last for the 2023 Regular Season – a season of significant disappointment. Looking back over my articles earlier in the year, it doesn’t seem as though they are written about the same team. In many ways, they are not. Gone are Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Now on the roster are the “Baby Mets” – Francisco Alvarez, Ronny Mauricio, Brett Baty and Mark Vientos. What went wrong? Everything. What’s left for next year? That’s not the topic of this article. We’ll have all winter to contemplate the strengths of next year’s roster.

This article will discuss the accomplishments of five of this year’s Mets Standouts. These players performed brilliantly, despite having little to play for half-way through the year. They never quit. They deserve our admiration and thanks.

5.Brandon Nimmo

Nimmo has done everything one could have expected this year. He deliberately sacrificed some of his on-base prowess in order to develop more power. He already has 20 HRs and could end up with 25 on the year. Coupled with absolutely stellar play in center field and an infectious team spirit, Nimmo is a joy to watch and a reason to go to the ballpark.

4.Jeff McNeil

McNeil got off to a difficult start of the season, but in the last two months has been a top performer. Over the last 28 days: .327/.366/.462 (.828 OPS). His versatility in the field (2B, 3B, LF, RF) is useful – but what really makes him a wonderful player is that he makes reat plays from all of these positions. There are those who are saying that he might be traded in the offseason. I truly hope the Mets front office considers McNeil’s entire value before they trade away a player who brings so much to the table.

3.Francisco Lindor

Lindor has been a spectacular player this season. On a team with the playoffs in its future, Lindor would be under consideration for MVP. 25 HRS; 25 SBs; 81 RBIs. His play at SS has been Gold Glove caliber – but no one will notice because the team has tanked.

2.Pete Alonso

Despite trade-deadline rumors that he was being shopped elsewhere, Alonso has had another Pete Year. So far, 41 HRS; 100 RBI’s – he even has 4 SBs. He is now one of only 5 players in MLB history to hit 40 HR’s three times in his first five years – with one of the non-40 HR years being 2020 – where he would certainly have hit 40 in a full season. In the other season, he hit 37. To be in the same conversation as Ralph Kiner, Eddie Mathews, Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard is a statement about Alonso’s talent and determination. He could have mailed it in after being hit on the hand mid-season. He didn’t. He came back because he knew his team needed him.

1.Kodai Senga

This 30 year old rookie would have been a baseball sensation on a better team. In 25 games started so far this year he pitched 143.1 innings. His season started off a little shaky – but after his first several starts, he has been one of the best pitchers in the game. His 3.08 ERA is best among first year pitchers in baseball. His signature Ghost Forkball has produced 176 strikeouts – or a little better than 11 strikeouts per nine innings. He exhibits an enthusiasm on the mound that is refreshing. He deserves strong consideration for Rookie of the Year and should get votes for Cy Young.

Honorable Mention

Alvarez didn’t start the year on the Major League roster – but since his call up in May, he has been an absolute joy to watch. His 21 HR’s at age 21 puts him in a very small circle with Johnny Bench. He has obviously hit a wall since the beginning of August at the plate – the long season took its toll on his offense. But he has been sterling behind the plate all year long.

As for the balance of the roster, the performance has either been awful (please, please, please can the Mets finally move on from Daniel Vogelbach), or inconsistent – Tylor Megill, David Peterson – or too short (Jose Quintana has pitched really well – but his beginning of the season injuries made a significant difference in the W/L of the team early on.)

One word about the last player whose performance is worthy of note: D.J. Stewart. It is a great story. A former First Round Draft Pick gets released by the team that drafted him and finally finds himself at age 29. But a peek behind the numbers shows that repeating this performance is simply not sustainable. He has 26 hits – of which 10 were HRs. That extrapolates to 55-60 HR’s over the course of a season. For anyone counting on Stewart to take over RF next year, we should all reminisce about the legend of Mike Vail.

18 comments on “The five Mets standouts of 2023

  • T.J.

    Thanks for the content throughout the season and contributing to making a rough season somewhat enjoyable nonetheless. When I first saw McNeil on your list, my response was huh? But, you make good points. McNeil has had a bad season, but even so he still contributes in multiple ways. The ability to play 3 positions well is hard to find. He will likely have more value to the Mets in 2024-5 than they can get back in trade value.

  • Steve_S.

    An excellent column! Thanks, Denis!

    I have enjoyed many of the post-trade-deadline games to watch the abovementioned players! And it is fun now to watch the full contingent of Baby Mets! Mauricio at 2B! Yay!

  • TexasGusCC

    Chris, allow me to offer an additional honorable mention: Tommy Pham. Signed as a 35-year depth piece to a one year deal, people were slapping scorn on the Mets for wasting their time. But, he was good enough to be flipped for a pretty good DSL prospect, so you never know. Pham also was quite a solid performer for the first half of the year.

  • Brian Joura

    Player A – 386 PA with a .642 OPS to start, 177 PA, .828 OPS since
    Player B – 143 PA with a .639 OPS to start, 164 PA, .806 OPS since

    According to the article, one player is a standout, the other is awful

    Without a doubt, Jeff McNeil brings more to the table than Daniel Vogelbach does. He’s a better player. But when valuing players, there are many levels between “standout” and “awful” and it’s a mistake to lump a player into the awful category who hits like Vogelbach does.

    It’s fine not to like him. It’s fine to prefer he not be on the roster next season. It’s not ok to mischaracterize his performance to further an agenda.

    Vogelbach has a 97 sOPS+, which means compared to other DHs in MLB, he’s slightly below (3%) the average DH. He’s been a slightly below average player for his position, making a whopping $1.5 million. There’s no universe where that’s awful.

    • TexasGusCC

      Brian, you have bent over backwards to tell us that Vogelbach is such a fine player. He isn’t, he sucks. He sucks because he’s always looking to walk and he bats fifth. His job isn’t to look to walk, it’s to swing at 2-0 strikes. That’s why we all say he sucks. His OPS is tainted. If that was a player with some speed, then he would add a dimension. But, he isn’t. His payroll number on a team paying well over $400MM in total payroll costs doesn’t matter. Even the Pirates traded him away!

      • Brian Joura

        Saying that Vogelbach was too passive early in the season was a valid criticism. But it’s simply not the case here since he returned in mid June. Since then his AVG is nothing special and he has more than twice as many hits as he does walks. Vogelbach is swinging the bat more and the result has been more HR.

        And I have no problem if the Mets decide to move in another direction in 2024. I just want every player, coach and front office person to be fairly judged with their pros and cons. And the vitriol directed towards Vogelbach all season has been completely out of whack. It’s ok not to like the guy. It’s not ok to make stuff up.

        • T.J.

          I am in no position to say any major leaguer sucks, and sucking is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. It strikes me that sucking is also a status that even the math of advanced stats can’t nail down. This dialogue refreshes thoughts of a recent dialogue about Kyle Schwarber. He and Vogie are similar in many ways in 2023. They are both lefties and almost the same age. Both ironically have a bWar of 0.1. They are both “replacement” level says the complex math. But, while Schwarber is heavily punished for sucking in the field and on the bases, Vogie gets a pass. No penalty for sucking so much more that Schwarber at fielding that they can’t put him out there. No penalty for requiring a pinch runner always when chips are down. No penalty for not being able to take ABs vs LHP, further confining the manager, while Schwarber, his bWar equal, OPSs at .792 vs LHP. Vogie can provide offensive value based on OPS+ calculations, but he is essentially a beer league softball masher that hurt a team overall based on his ability to suck at virtually al phases of the game outside of one. There isn’t much of a debate that most phases of his game are below A-ball. Nice guy, but a spot to improve.

          • Brian Joura

            There’s more than one way to hurt a team. You can have limitations that prevent your manager from using you in situations. Or you can hurt the team by being used in situations that you shouldn’t. The former is Vogelbach. The latter is Schwarber.

            For weeks now, I’ve been asking which is worse.

            In some ways, it’s a theoretical question. In other ways, it’s extremely important for how you build your team – ways that go far beyond a DH. Can you build your team with a SP like Megill, who probably won’t go more than 5 IP very often? Can you build your team with a SP like Senga, who needs an extra day of rest? Can you build your team with a 3B who can’t throw like either Baty or Vientos? Can you build your team without a long man in the pen? There’s probably a dozen more examples, too, all ones which need to be asked and answered by the brain trust when assembling a squad.

  • Mike W

    I certainly would love to have Holderman back. I don’t like Vogelbach because he can’t run and can’t play the field. But he is average according to the stats. I would just rather have a player next year who has more versatility.

    I was ready to run McNeil off, but he has come around. He does have value because he can play multiple positions. He could get dealt under the right circumstances. I see a lot of changes coming to this roster in the off season.

  • Nym6986

    Nice article and on target. If you wait until the end of the season and look at the total work of a player, it is easy to think that someone had a better year than they did. That would hold true for Daniel Vogelbach, as his year and stats are looking up but the reality is during the course of the year he was pretty much of a disappointment. Seems no reason these days not to have a very strong and consistent hitter at the DH not just a washed up or marginal player. If not for the failure of several hitters in this lineup, Vogelbach’s 13 home runs and 44 RBI would not be looked at in the same light. Same holds true for McNeil who has been on a great tear these last few months but whose hitting was very disappointing when they really needed him earlier in the season.
    On target with Alvarez who as a 21 year old rookie has done a great job behind the plate. You might have written about Mauricio if they had the guts to bring him up months ago.
    Thanks for all your contributions to this space.

  • Paulc

    False choice to argue between McNeil and Vogelbach. Both are big disappointments this year. McNeil’s OPS+ is 30 points below his career average. His OPS is 98 points below. A hot streak in meaningless August games is hollow. Let’s hope he reverts to his career averages next year.

    Vogelbach is a DH, so he can be forgiven for offering no value in the field or on the bases. He is supposed to hit. Based on his NL East DH peers, he is 5th of 5th with his 103 OPS+:

    PHI: 140
    ATL: 133
    MIA: 127
    WAS: 104

    To compete, the Mets cannot tolerate offensive mediocrity at DH.

    Though it doesn’t feel like it with his low BA, Alonso is having a year fitting his career norm. He is the best HR hitter in Mets history. Signing him long-term should be an off-season priority. Imagine the Mets power vacuum without him.

    Finally, Lindor is 9th in all of MLB with his 5.2 bWAR. Aside from a slow May, he played like an MVP. Well worth the money he’s earning.

    • ChrisF

      +1 spot on.

      Add: Vogelbach only a part time DH, forcing other options batting RH. He must have nearly the most reduced roll on the team: a DH that faces RHP, with no other duties. Even in an extreme niche group he hits (his only job) below replacement. I dont care what he makes in salary, its not worth tying down a roster spot for that.

  • Metsense

    There are only four standouts for of Mets of 2023 not five.
    1. Lindor, he is the best all round player on the Mets. He has the best bWAR because of his hitting, slugging, base running and exceptional defense.
    2. Senga, he is an ace. He is 14th in fWAR, 6th in ERA, 13th in FIP and 13th in K’s in MLB.
    3. Alonso for his power, 3rd in homeruns in MLB.
    4. Nimmo for his all around game with a fWAR of 3.4.

    McNeil has turned in season around but in wasn’t outstanding because the his terrible 1st half. He shouldn’t be traded this off season.
    Alvarez had the good season as a rookie but with an OPS+ of 94 it isn’t the standard to be outstanding. It should be expected that he do should more in the future.
    Quintana is a good pitcher but he didn’t pitching the 1st half.
    Vogelbach is not awful. If the Mets could replace his 103+ as a DH it would be an upgrade. Until then there on more pressing issues.

  • ChrisF

    Senga is excellent, but an ace? I cant see that. Prime deGrom, Scherzer etc, those are aces. They win CY awards. Hes the Mets number 1 and has a lot to look to build on.

    • Paulc

      Senga’s ERA is third in the NL. That’s an ace. I was surprised he ranks that high as his clunkers stand out for me. Quietly, a great overall year.

  • José

    What’s different for me this year in the Mets universe is that I have viewed more of their games in any year probably since 1988 when I left NYC. This implies I have more to say than what is typical for me.

    As for Vogelbach, I clearly don’t hate him nearly as much as is common and/or fashionable. Looking at his 2023 stats compared to his lifetime 162 game avg they are darn similar.

    He seems to be someone who is popular with his ‘mates as was D. Smith, but the bottom line is what counts to everyone. However, unless they find someone measurably better, I don’t see Vogie as anywhere near their biggest problem going into 2024.

    As for Alonso, I think I have the most to say about him so I’ll save it for Wednesday Mets360 brawl.

    Nimmo started great but his OBP took a nosedive midseason and is slowly recovering.

    I assert Lindor is elite. Compared to an the elite trio of former NYC shortstops, he compares favorably.

    A-Rod had more power, higher BA, much higher OPS+ (140), and much higher likelihood of PEDs. Lindor is a better fielder, I surmise, but I didn’t see A-Rod play SS much

    Jeter hit for higher BA, Lindor more power so that their lifetme OPS+ is about the same (115/117). Lifetime SB/CS averages the same. Lindor is a much much better fielder

    Reyes was by far the fastest of the bunch, higher BA than Lindor, but the worst OPS+ (103) of this quartet. Lindor much more power and much much better fielder

  • José

    Doesn’t seem to be a feature to correct typos once posted. Hence:

    “Compared to the elite trio of former NYC shortstops, he compares favorably.”

  • José


    “162 game SB/CS averages the same.”

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