This is the report card Sandy Alderson and the Mets could never have expected back in the spring when the GM said that the team had high expectations and were “all in.” Injuries, suspensions and just sub-par play have the Mets (39-47) eight games under .500 at the break and looking at a monumental uphill battle to realize those playoff expectations.
A team built around power pitching, the Mets have had all but one of seven expected starters on the DL already this season and more than their fair share of sluggers have had to sit out with injuries too.
Here are their midseason grades:
OF Michael Conforto
Conforto began the season fighting for a spot as the fourth outfielder and had an All-Star first half. Hitting .284 with a career-high 14 homers, he has also proven he can play center field adequately.
RF Jay Bruce
The Mets are finally seeing the real Bruce, a slugger who is streaky but can carry a lineup at times. On the verge of becoming a free agent, Bruce is on pace for a career year with 23 home runs at the break, second only to Giancarlo Stanton in the NL among right fielders. His defense has been better than expected
IF Wilmer Flores
Hitting .278 with seven home runs, Flores has played his way from a back-up into a true utility infielder. He’s hit both righties and lefties this year and has forced his way into a struggling Mets lineup. He did a good job at first in Lucas Duda’s absence.
C Rene Rivera
Rivera has once again been solid behind the plate, but this year he added power that we haven’t seen before. He hit .306 in May and has six homers thus far.
2B Neil Walker
Until he got injured, Walker was putting up good numbers for the Mets. Though he hasn’t played since June 15, he is still tied for third among NL second baseman with 12 homers. The Mets hope to have him back next week, and they need him.
OF Curtis Granderson
After a slow start and in danger of losing his starting spot, the 36-year-old has come on of late. He has 13 homers with 37 RBI, hitting six of those home runs in the last month. He’s clearly taxed when asked to play center field regularly, but is still contributing.
C Travis d’Arnaud
He reworked his swing this winter and worked hard on footwork and throwing. Those improvements, however, are overshadowed by the fact that he has a history of getting injured in every season he’s been with the Mets. He still has nine homers and 28 RBI at the break.
1B Lucas Duda
Defensively they have been fine, but the Mets have needed more production from first base. Duda, always a streaky player, missed time on the DL with a hyperextended elbow, but has still managed to put up 14 homers and 30 RBI. He hasn’t even really gotten on his annual hot streak.
LF Yoenis Cespedes
The Mets spent $ 110 million to get the Cuban slugger back in the fold and gave in to his request to move from center field, where they need him, to left field where he feels he can keep his legs healthy. So far, he has spent 37 games on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He is hitting .265 with nine home runs and just 19 RBI.
3B Jose Reyes
His numbers have been slightly better since switching back to shortstop, raising his average to .215, but it’s obvious he is just a placeholder until the team decide it’s time to bring up top prospect Amed Rosario.
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
Cabrera was so bad defensively at shortstop, a -12 defensive runs saved, that the Mets had to move him to second base. Nagged by a thumb issue, Cabrera is hitting .250 with eight home runs after hitting 23 last season.
SP Jacob deGrom
Coming back from season-ending elbow surgery in 2016, he struggled with his mechanics for a few starts, but is back to dominating. He rattled off five straight wins with a 1.62 ERA over that span and was rolling into the break.
CL Addison Reed
Reed was pushed into the closer’s role to start the season as Jeurys Familia served his suspension for a domestic violence arrest, but has since taken over the job when Familia needed surgery to remove a blood clot from his shoulder. Reed has done about as well as can be expected converting 15 of 17 save opportunities.
SP Zack Wheeler
Was perhaps the Mets’ most pleasant surprise this season. Expected to start the year in extended spring training, he came north and gave the Mets 15 starts before the break. Though he seemingly went through a period of tired arm, where he gave up 15 earned runs in 7.1 innings over three starts, he’s been better than expected coming off a two-year rehab from Tommy John surgery.
SP Robert Gsellman
A surprise stepping into the rotation in 2016, Gsellman was a disappointment this season. The young righthander struggled to regain his form, and the Mets bounced him back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen to try and straighten him out until he pulled up with a hamstring injury.
SP Rafael Montero
Once a top pitching prospect, Montero was running out of chances — until the Mets hit another rash of injuries. He’s seemed to take a step forward, albeit a small one. Much more has been asked of him this year, but he’s probably been about what was expected.
SP Matt Harvey
He struggled before being shut down with a stress injury to the scapula bone in the back of his right shoulder last month, and we’re not really sure if he was dealing with it for longer. His velocity and command have been inconsistent and worrisome. His disappearing act and team suspension certainly let his team down and drags his grade down as well.
SP Noah Syndergaard
On the mound he would have gotten high marks, but the immaturity he showed in handling his injury brings that down considerably. It’s hard to give him good marks when he didn’t do everything he could, i.e. have a precautionary MRI and take preventative measures, to stay on the field for a team that needs him. Out since April, he doesn’t get a grade.
SP Steven Matz
It’s hard to grade after he missed six weeks, but if he can stay healthy and continue to pitch like he did for all but one of his seven starts, he will be huge for the Mets. Hard to grade based on his limited time.
SP Seth Lugo
The Mets have no idea what to expect from Lugo. He was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Opening Day and chose to try a strengthening and stretching program to avoid Tommy John surgery.
Veteran manager has been tested this season. He has struggled to find the right recipe for his bullpen, which has been a consistent criticism of him. But, with injuries and talent limited on this ballclub, it’s hard to blame him for where they stand at the break. His strength, keeping the team playing hard.
Has repeatedly said he and the Mets stand behind the medical and strength and training staff, including coordinator Mike Barwis, so he has to own that the Mets are once again a victim of a rash of injuries. Knowing they would be without Jeurys Familia for some time this season because of the MLB domestic violence policy violation, the GM did not shore up the bullpen with a veteran reliever they needed. Instead of spending on a left-handed bat off the bench or a second lefty reliever, he relied on unproven youngsters. That doesn’t back up his comments from this spring of being “all in.”