Here are the final grades for the disappointing 2023 season for the Mets.  The goal is to incorporate actual production, along with preseason expectations, as well as the individual’s role on the club. This means not all grades that are the same are equal.  In order to qualify for a grade, a player needed to amass at least 100 PA or pitch 40 innings.  Usually, 50 IP is the cutoff but there were pitchers who just missed that threshold who deserved a grade, in my opinion.  This gives us 29 players to rate.

Pete Alonso – It’s always tough to grade Alonso because his HR and RBI numbers are so good and the rest of his numbers leave something to be desired.  It seems fair to say that the end results didn’t match up with what was expected. Grade: B-

Francisco Alvarez – The power was good and the overall defense was way better than expected.  But there’s a lot of growth left with his overall hitting and with his throwing.  Still, the brass didn’t think he was worth a spot on the Opening Day roster and he finished with a 2.7 fWAR.  Grade: B

Brett Baty – It’s hard to imagine that barring an injury that would roll into 2024 how this year could have been much worse.  Grade: D-

Jose Butto – Absolutely nothing was expected of him coming into the season and he performed well when given a chance.  His relative lack of innings is what keeps this from being any higher.  Grade: B

Mark Canha – He finished with 303 PA and a 100 OPS+.  That seems pretty close to what should have been expected.  Grade: C-

Carlos Carrasco – It seems like Carrasco is one of the good guys in the game.  It gives me no pleasure to hand out this grade, equal to the lack of pleasure from actually watching him pitch.  Grade: F

Eduardo Escobar – He was worse than Canha but at the same time, less was expected from him coming into the year.  Grade: D+

Francisco Lindor– A little bit like Alonso, it’s tough to grade Lindor because so much is expected.  Still, he was pretty good, even if a hair worse than last year.  Grade: A-

Joey Lucchesi – See the comment for Butto.  Grade: B

Starling Marte – Maybe the expectations were too high given the offseason surgeries.  Still, for both how he played and what he symbolized, it’s difficult to see any other result. Grade: F

Ronny Mauricio – My expectations were probably too high but that factors in here.  Well, that and his 28.7 K%, his .099 ISO and his 80 wRC+.  Grade: D+

Jeff McNeil – A lot was expected from McNeil this season and when it counted, he simply wasn’t good.  In 2021, Michael Conforto got a “+” next to his grade for a similar-type season.  McNeil’s year was more of a disappointment.  Grade: D

Tylor Megill – Coming into this season, Megill had a lifetime 4.73 ERA and was counted on the be a depth starter.  He got more innings than we would have preferred but his ERA was … 4.70 and only got that low due to the extra innings.  I’d like to give him a “-“ just on principle but that wouldn’t be fair.  Grade: C

Omar Narvaez – The expectation offensively was that he would bounce back and perform closer to how he did in 2021 but he turned out a hair worse than 2022. And Alvarez looked better defensively. Grade: F

Brandon Nimmo – Like Lindor, there are high expectations here and Nimmo was a bit worse than he was in 2022.  Grade: B+

Rafael Ortega – There’s perhaps no better indication of how things turned out for the 2023 Mets than the fact that Ortega got enough playing time to qualify for a grade.  There were zero expectations that he would qualify and he turned in an 83 OPS+, one above the Galvis Line.  He didn’t contribute as much as Butto or Lucchesi.  And this is probably as good as it gets.  Grade: C+

Adam Ottavino – Another one who was good but not as good as in 2022.  He allowed more baserunners and was even less effective controlling the running game.  His ERA was over a full run higher than the previous year and his FIP targeted his production as an option reliever.  Grade: B

David Peterson – Seems like the expectations here were similar to those for Megill, perhaps higher.  And since Peterson’s results weren’t quite as good, neither should his grade.  Grade D+

Tommy Pham – He greatly exceeded my expectations due to his hot streak and then was traded before regression fully hit.  Grade: A

Jose Quintana – It feels like we should treat Quintana like Jacob deGrom here and give two grades, the first for performance and the second for health.  Grade: B+/D

Brooks Raley – Ideally, he would have pitched more but that’s not his fault.  A few too many walks but hard to argue with the overall results, especially his performance against RHB.  Grade: A-

David Robertson – Was every bit as good as expected and did this while filling in at a greater role than anticipated when signed.  Grade: A

Max Scherzer – A lot was expected and he didn’t reach that.  Feels like his grade should be similar to Alonso’s and probably worse. Grade: C

Kodai Senga – We hoped he would be good.  And he was better than we had any reason to expect.  Grade: A+

Drew Smith – He was counted on to be one of the five reliever “locks” when he should have been just another option reliever.  Grade: D

DJ Stewart – For a month or so, he was terrific.  But the 3-34 finish with 15 Ks meant the clock struck midnight and we’re left with a pumpkin and some mice.  It was fun while it lasted, though.  Grade: B+

Justin Verlander – The timing of his injury was awful.  And it took awhile for him to round into shape.  But when he did, he was everything the Mets hoped he’d be.  How do you value that?  Grade: B-

Mark Vientos – He got better as the year went on.  But he was awful for a long stretch while he was in the majors.  By September he seemed better than Baty.  But by how much?  Grade: D+

Daniel Vogelbach – Very similar to McNeil in that he played better after the year was seemingly done.  But his revival came earlier and not as much was expected.  Grade: D+


Buck Showalter – He was dealt a bad hand and didn’t exactly play it all that well.  But he kept the clubhouse together and he should leave with his head held high.  Grade: C+

Billy Eppler – The old pitcher plan didn’t work, the option reliever strategy was a failure and the bet that the same roster with the hitters would pay off, well, didn’t.  But the same guy re-signed Ottavino, traded for Raley and imported Pham, Robertson and Senga.  That’s a mixed bag.  How much credit/blame should he get for the Verlander move?  Was the old pitcher strategy his or was it forced upon him from ownership?  It seems from my chair that ownership made the decision to sell and he got good returns for Robertson, Pham and Dominic Leone.  And perhaps the Escobar, Scherzer and Verlander trades will work out, too.  Grade: C

Steve Cohen – Are we allowed to say anything bad about the owner?  Is that allowed or will we have our Mets fan card revoked if we do?  He approved the highest-payroll in history – yay!  He got his white whale when he hired David Stearns – yay!  The long-awaited pitching lab has been unveiled – yay!

Nervously looks around to confirm no guns or listening devices are around…

Cohen had a plan and at the first sight of trouble, he immediately abandoned said plan and reversed course.  If you’re an optimist you admire his flexibility and ability to pivot from something that wasn’t working.  If you don’t drink the Kool Aid, you wonder how committed he can be to any plan and you also wonder if you want someone who bails at the first sign that everything isn’t perfect.  Hey, I hear China is now on their 14th five-year plan.

Scherzer and Verlander were told by Cohen that he was targeting 2025 or later to contend.  Does that mean that no impact free agents are added in the offseason?  Does it mean that the Mets are back to shopping in the bargain bins?  Or does the plan change again?  Nobody has a clue!  The Mets could have another $350 million payroll.  Or they could try to get under the tax level that would make them suffer a drop of 10 picks in either round one or round two of the 2025 Draft.  If you don’t like the answer, just wait six months – it could change.

Hey, it’s tough to build a model franchise.  It’s even tougher when you’re schizophrenic about it.  Here’s hoping Stearns decides on a course of action, follows thru on it and gets Cohen to shut up and stay out of the way.  Because right now, Cohen is more James Dolan than Art Rooney or Jerry Buss.

Hey, Rooney owned the Steelers when they were terrible in the 1960s, when they had one winning record in the decade.  There’s still plenty of time for Cohen to re-write his legacy.  And we all know that winners write the history books.  But – despite what it seems – we’re not writing a book here.  Instead, we’re handing out grades for 2023.  And the team that Cohen assembled, both on and off the field, produced a sub-.500 team with the highest payroll in history.  Grade: F

Despite the grade, I’m still glad he’s the owner and my firm belief is that eventually the franchise will stop wandering in the desert.



19 comments on “Final grades for the 2023 Mets

  • Steve_S.

    A lot of work and thought went into these ratings. Thank, Brian!

    Eppler also signed Stewart and Carrasco—decent move for the former; horrible for the latter (although I thought it made sense at the time). But, as many of us (and you) have said from the get go, his optionable relief pitcher strategy was a disaster!

    Cohen’s wild pursuit of Correa was also a mistake, but at least we didn’t sign him in the end! But I would give Cohen a C-, with his willingness to sign Senga and Quintana (and Glausman). And pay the short-term dough for Verlander and Scherzer (and then blow it up, instead of going the Angel’s route).

    And we have four third basemen, all of whom are suspect! What to do?!

    • Brian Joura

      Thanks for the kind words!

      And you’re probably right that Cohen deserved a higher grade than I gave him. If Baty didn’t deserve an F then neither did Cohen. But I can’t go as high as you did.

  • Footballhead

    Coming from me; a pessimist, I thought your grades were spot on. I might quibble and give Alonso a C+ and a D+ for McNeil. Stewart would just get a B, although his contribution was unexpected so I see why you gave him the +. Thank you for this write up. Although;……

    sad to say I looked back at my team prediction of this squad not reaching 90 wins and not making the playoffs, so I would rate the 2023 squad as a D or D-. And yes, I’m sorry for having thought that back in early April.

  • ChrisF

    Hard to really argue with these grades, even if there is a sliding scale based on perceived expectation for each. I think your grades capture what we saw.

    Ide love to see the a plot of letter grade on x-axis and WAR on y-axis to see how the numeric metric compare with letter grades!

    My only change is that we definitely see ownership differently. I saw a guy willing to dump a fortune on aspects of the organization with a misguided dream to put a WS date on the record, then moving over to the hard work – and hard decisions = of establishing process to address the entire organization that is not in constant panic mode. Not behaving the least like the Wilpons gives Cohen a higher score than F. Pulling the plug on a losing team will never score poorly for me. The ownership that gets an F is Arte Moreno and the Angels, who doubled down at the deadline, threw their prospect future into a dumpster fire, completely squandered having Babe Ruth and Willie Mays on the same team at the same time, then did not even come close to the post season. Now thats an F!

    • Brian Joura

      You’re optimistic on Cohen and you’ve passed your Mayor title to Dan Capwell. It truly is a new day!

      • ChrisF

        2024 baby!!!!!!

      • T.J.

        Dan sounds more like the governor

    • Paulc

      No A, or C, for effort. Increasing payroll by $50+ million and winning 27 fewer games is a failure. Cohen’s trade deadline actions acknowledge that failure. While I’m thrilled to have Cohen at the helm in place of Wilpon, it’s still a fiasco. F for 2023 with high expectations for the future.

      That said, it seems in the last 10 years that most WS champs are built largely on home-grown talent rather than aging FA veterans. Only notable exception would be Verlander on the Astros, but he was surrounded by farm system stars. Draft well, get young, and win….see the Braves.

      • NYM6986

        No argument with most grades but I thought Alonso was a solid B. 46/118 doesn’t grow on trees nor does an .821 OPS. Add to that his defense and saving countless errors on crappy bounced throws from the other infielders. Got to move Lindor up to an A off of 31/98, an OPS of .806, and 31 SB. And then there is his D as well. A good hitting coach could help both of these players to strike out less and therefore put the ball in play, giving the team a chance to move runners up and knock them in even without the benefit of a hit.
        This would also hold for Nimmo and Baty who struck out nearly a third of his at bats.
        Only other argument from me is for Cohen who I would give a C-, mostly for taking three seasons to bring in a baseball man to help Eppler drive the ship. Kudos to him for agreeing to still eat tens of millions of payroll in moving players at the deadline. Kudos to Eppler for what looks like a decent return for those players a thankful that Stearns will be all over off season trades and free agent acquisitions.
        2024 will be a retooling and not a rebuilding year. They should not hesitate to move Baty or Vientos in a deal for a front line starter or a strong every day 3B. But Mauricio needs to stay with all his potential.
        Did not mean this as a response to Paul – instead as a general comment. But I typed it here and can’t figure out how to cut and paste it now to move it.

  • Mike W

    Thats a tough grade on Cohen, he took a swing and missed. He will take a swing again. That’s why I would give him at least a C. Eppler, to me deserves a lower grade. He is the one who created a really overall crappy bullpen. He also put almost the same team on the field as in 2022, with Vogelbach as the primary DH. We needed another big bat. Maybe we get one this offseason.

  • Woodrow

    Our much anticipated and much loved BabyMets a D! Let’s hope they work hard this off-season because if at least two of them don’t come through as starters next year it might be another losing season.

  • Metsense

    Three third baseman, three rookies, Baty D-, Vientos D and Mauricio D+ and still no third baseman for 2024. All three of them didn’t graduate to a starting position. They need remedial work on the bench.
    Cohen didn’t deserve an F. You don’t give a misdirected parent an F when he spends the money for a preparatory College entrance exam, when the student doesn’t perform.

    • Brian Joura

      I dunno – Lori Loughlin did everything she could think of to get her kids into college and they threw her in jail. An F doesn’t seem so bad in comparison…

      • TexasGusCC

        Brutal. Metsense is right.

  • T.J.

    I agree on the F for Uncle Stevie. Hey, like others, I am very grateful for his ownership. Not just the crazy money, but I think he has done good things with the fans in mind. But, if you spend $500 million on payroll and are selling at the trade deadline, how can you get anything besides an F?

    You can take a test in school, study for hours, use the full time allotment reviewing every answer, get 58% of the answers correct, more than half, and guess what grade you get? Yup, Professor Brian handed it out. Take it like a man Uncle Stevie, and learn from it. You’re still our guy.

    • Mike W

      Uncle Stevie spent the money, and in a decisive move, he cut his losses. We were not going to win this past season at the deadline. If you kept the team in tact at the deadline, where would we be now? Not in the playoffs. I am happy with what we got. Maybe we turn a couple of those prospects into a good starting pitcher or package them in a deal for Soto.

      On another note, Alonso was furious at the firing of Buck. Is he mad enough to not sign an extension and leave in free agency?

  • TexasGusCC

    On Lindor not getting an A+, despite a 30/30 season:

    Lindor finished the year with 5.9 fWAR and 6.0 bWAR. Per Fangraphs, he was the tenth best position player in MLB. Per Baseball Reference, ninth best.
    Lindor was the only player in MLB to finish among the top 20 players in offensive, defensive, and baserunning value, per Fangraph’s metrics. No one else was close.
    Lindor was the best overall shortstop in the NL (per both fWAR and bWAR) and second in MLB (after Seager).
    Lindor led all MLB shortstops in RBI and Runs. He was second in HRs.
    He was twentieth in MLB in WPA/LI, Fangraph’s measure of performance in high-leverage situations.

    Between June 18 and the end of the season, Lindor had a 143 wRC+. Between June 18 and the trade deadline, he was even better, with a 200 wRC+.

    On Cohen getting ragged on for calling for a sale, and not getting an A+ for doing his job as an owner which is to provide the funds and let his baseball people make the decisions:

    On June 18th, the Mets were five games out of the Wild Card with 92 games left to play. If they had gone 51 and 41 (a .554 winning percentage) the rest of the way, they would be tied with the Marlins and Diamondbacks. The Mets went 24-32 but would have needed to go 34-22 to reach 84 wins.

    * Post-deadline the team ran a 102 wRC+ compared to 101 pre-deadline. Guys like Vogie, McNeil, DJ Stewart crushed it post-deadline – they compensated for the loss of Pham/Canha.
    * Starting pitching ERA went from 4.20 pre-deadline to 3.75 post-deadline which was 5th in MLB post-deadline. Oddly enough, it was massively improved. Verlander went 3.31 in 11 starts. Max was 3.20 in 8 starts. The threw 113 innings. Those 19 starts were replaced by Lucchesi, Butto & Megill combined to toss 3.28 ERA in 107 innings.
    * Relievers went from 4.07 to 5.02 post-deadline. But just adding 2 relievers would have been at least partly offset by Robertson who threw to a 5.06 ERA after we traded him and Leone who posted a 5.01 ERA after moving on.

  • TexasGusCC

    On Eppler who I would consider a B/B-:
    Last year, Elizer Hernandez got hurt, so did Edwin Diaz, so did Montes de Oca, all in spring training, that changed the bullpen considerably…. If you add these guys to Robertson, Smith, Raley, Ottavino, that’s seven good ones right there.

    What ever happened to the edit button?

    • Mike W

      I don’t think you can call Hernandez and de Oca good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *