Well, the 2012 season is in the books — another disappointing year for the Mets. After being in the thick of the Wild Card race at the All-Star break, the Mets fell apart. And when it was all said and done the Mets had their fourth straight losing season, finishing in fourth place in the NL East yet again. The Mets seem to be spinning their wheels waiting for, well, I don’t know what they’re waiting for. In any case, here is the Mets final report card for 2012.
R.A. Dickey: A+
20-6, 2.73 ERA, 230 Ks
Key Stat: 54 (walks allowed)
What can you say about Dickey’s season that hasn’t already been said. It was simply sensational. He will likely be holding the Cy Young plaque when it’s all said and done. He had such command of the usual unpredictable knuckleball, as evidence by his low walk total. He kept the Mets relevant after the All-Star break.
David Wright: A
.306, 21 HRs, 93 RBIs
Key stat: .415 (batting average on May 21)
Wright got off to a torrid start, but he cooled considerably, especially when the team started struggling and Wright started pressing. Still though, it was an excellent season. One disappointment was that he struck out 11? times. Earlier he was on pace to strike out fewer than 100 times for the first time in a full season.
Scott Hairston: A-
.263, 20 HRs, 57 RBIs
Key Stat: 86 (games started)
Hairston did exactly what he was supposed to — provide punch as a fourth outfielder. The outfield was so bad, however, that Hairston ended up starting more than half of the games this season. He set a career high in home runs with 19. He also hit three pinch hit homers.
Matt Harvey: A-
3-5, 2.73 ERA, 70 Ks
Key Stat: 10.62 (strikeouts per 9 innings)
It’s always nice when a prospect lives up to the hype, and that is certainly the case with Harvey. He dazzled in his 10 starts. Perhaps most impressive was how poised and tough he looked on the mound. As far as his strikeouts per nine innings ratio, Stephen Strasburg led the league at 11.13, so Harvey’s rate was pretty good.
Mike Baxter: B+
.263, 3 HRs, 17 RBIs
Key Stat: 1 (no-hitters saved)
Baxter will forever be a part of Mets history because of his game-saving catch in Johan Santana’s no-hitter. That he separated his shoulder on the catch makes it all the more memorable. Baxter was also effective at the plate, especially as a pinch hitter — he hit a whopping .458 with eight RBIs and six doubles in 24 at bats.
Daniel Murphy: B+
.291, 6 HRs, 65 RBIs
Key Stat: 40 (doubles)
If there’s one constant on this team is that Murphy can just flat out hit. His was in the top 20 in batting average while he finished seventh in doubles. Murphy improved greatly in the field, but he is still anything but automatic out there at second base. The Mets have a decision to make about Murphy this off season.
Jonathon Niese: B+
13-9, 3.40 ERA, 155 Ks
Key Stat: 2.49 (September ERA)
Niese took a huge step forward towards becoming the pitcher everyone thinks he should be. He had by far his best big league season. He finished strong and healthy for the first time in his career. In 2010 his key stat was a 7.11 September ERA. Last year it was a 7.15 August ERA (he missed the last month due to injury).
Ruben Tejada: B+
.289, 1 HR, 25 RBIs
Key Stat: 48 (games missed)
Jose who? Tejada made us forget all about that other guy. His defense was sterling, and he showed that he can handle major league pitching. He did miss a month and a half with injury; let’s hope he’s not injury-prone like someone else we used to know.
Ronny Cedeno: B
.259, 4 HRs, 22 RBIs
Key Stat: .300 (as pinch hitter)
Cedeno proved to be more than adequate as an utility infielder. He even had some pop at the plate, especially as a pinch hitter. Two of his home runs came as a pinch hitter. Unfortunately he got injured at the same time as Tejada when the Mets really needed him at shortstop.
Josh Edgin: B
1-2, 4.56 ERA, 30 Ks
Key Stat: 2 (Ryan Howard homers)
Let’s forget about those home runs he allowed to Howard in the final two appearances that raised his ERA from 3.24. Edgin was impressive, averaging more than a strikeout per inning. He could be a future closer, but he needs to do better against righties. They hit .263 against him, as opposed to .164 against lefties.
Bobby Parnell: B
5-4, 2.49 ERA, 61 Ks, 7 saves
Key Stat: 5 (blown saves)
Parnell is still something of a mystery. He seems to wilt in high pressure situations but is very effective when the heat is not so hot. Injury forced him into the closer role a couple of times this season. You keep hoping he will seize the opportunity, but he was inconsistent at best.
Justin Turner: B
.269, 2 HRs, 19 RBIs
Key Stat: countless (pies to face)
Turner is a solid backup infielder. He didn’t quite have the year he had in 2011 when he seemed to be getting clutch hits game after game. However he played far less in 2012. The one negative is that he introduced the annoying shaving cream pies to the Mets. Those just irritate me.
Jordany Valdespin: B
.241, 8 HRs, 26 RBIs
Key Stat: 5 (pinch hit homers)
For all his faults, Valdespin is a spark plug whenever he’s in the lineup. He especially thrived as a pinch hitter with those five home runs. He is still a work in progress in the outfield; his best position is second base. He is said to have maturity issues, but if he can keep that in check he could be an important part of the Mets future.
Tim Byrdak: B-
2-2, 4.40 ERA, 34 Ks
Key Stat: .229 (against righties)
At one point Byrdak was the only reliable arm in the bullpen. He was his usual solid self until he went down with a shoulder injury. He was more than just a lefty specialist — righties hit 50 points lower against him this season as compared to 2011. It is likely that the injury and subsequent surgery ended his Mets career.
Jon Rauch: B-
3-7, 3.59 ERA, 42 Ks, 4 saves
Key Stat: .209 (batting average against)
Rauch had a strange year. He had a brutal stretches early and late in the season when it seemed like he couldn’t get anybody out. But he was nearly unhittable in July and August when his ERA was about 1.00. Either way, Rauch is one-and-done in Flushing. He’ll cost too much to re-sign.
Johan Santana: B–
6-9, 4.85 ERA, 111 Ks
Key Stat: 1 (no-hitter)
Santana got off to that incredible start and we all thought the old Santana was back. Unfortunately injuries took their toll and Santana was shut down in mid-August. Santana probably deserves a lower grade but the man who gave the Mets their first no-hitter cannot get lower than a B, hence the extra minus.
Ike Davis: C+
.227, 32 HRs, 90 RBIs
Key Stat: .156 (batting average on May 22)
Davis overcame one of the worst starts in Mets history to have a decent year. He hit the 30+ home runs that were expected of him, but the low batting average was a disappointment. There are reports the Mets are open to trading him. That would be a mistake — who’s going to hit 30 homers on this team?
Dillon Gee: C+
6-7, 4.10 ERA, 97 Ks
Key Stat: .219 (against righties)
After a slow start, Gee seemed to be hitting his stride until surgery for a blood clot in his shoulder ended his season at the All-Star break. Gee has already been cleared to throw so he is expected to make a full recover and be ready for Spring Training. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis: C+
.252, 7 HRs, 28 RBIs
Key Stat: 98 (strikeouts)
Nieuwenhuis got off to a fast start and everyone thought the Mets had found their center fielder of the future. He was hitting .300 into early June. However the league caught up to him and he struggled mightily and was sent down to the minors in late July. Those strikeouts came in just 282 at bats — that is unacceptable.
Frank Francisco: C
1-3, 5.53 ERA, 47 Ks, 23 saves
Key Stat: 3 (blown saves)
Francisco really wasn’t as bad as his ERA would suggest, as evidenced by just his three blown saves. However that doesn’t mean he was good. He had stretches when he couldn’t get anyone out. It did seem like he struggled even when he got his saves. His physical resemblance to Armando Benitez didn’t help.
Ramon Ramirez: C
3-4, 4.24 ERA, 52 Ks, 1 save
Key Stat: .224 (versus righties)
Ramirez hardly made any impact on the Mets this season. He wasn’t particularly good, and except for a few games, wasn’t particularly bad. He will best be remembered for pulling a hamstring and missing a month while celebrating Santana’s no-hitter. He won’t be back in 2013.
Kelly Shoppach: C
.203, 3 HRs, 10 RBIs
Key Stat: 1 (more homers than rest of catching crew)
Shoppach came over from the Red Sox in mid-August and was immediately the best hitting catcher on the team. He’s nothing special defensively, but he makes up for it with his pop at the plate. He’ll likely platoon with Thole in 2013 unless the Mets can come up with a better plan.
Chris Young: C
4-9, 4.15 ERA, 80 Ks
Key Stat: 37 (MPH on fastball)
The flame throwing Young actually made 20 starts, coming back a year after shoulder surgery. He was perfectly mediocre in all of them. He was poison after the fifth inning. He’s another guy who hopefully will never put on the orange and blue again. Someone will pay him in 2013 — it shouldn’t be the Mets.
Lucas Duda: C-
.239, 15 HRs, 57 RBIs
Key Stat: .351 (RISP, 2 outs)
Duda spent most of the season just scuffling along until the Mets decided he needed to go back to the minors and work things out. He came back a month later and was no better. The Mets seem obsessed with his potential, enough that there is talk of trading Davis so Duda can play first. Bad, bad idea.
Josh Thole: D
.234, 1 HRs, 21 RBIs
Key Stat: 18 (passed balls)
After a poor 2011, Thole somehow managed to turn in an even worse 2012. He was basically an automatic out at the plate. Behind the dish he was terrible as well. Many of his passed balls were because of Dickey and his knuckleball, but often times he looked like he had no idea what to do back there.
Manny Acosta: F
1-3, 6.46 ERA, 46 Ks, 1 save
Key Stat: 11.86 (ERA before being sent to minors)
Acosta must have naked pictures of Sandy Alderson or something. After being banished to the minors in late May with that atrocious ERA, for some reason Acosta was recalled two months later. He was better, but still, was anyone happy to see him trotting in from the bullpen?
Jason Bay: F
.165, 8 HRs, 20 RBIs
Key Stat: 1 (more concussion)
Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse for Bay, it did just that. Bay looked absolutely clueless at the plate. The Mets should do the right thing and just eat the rest of his contract, but by all accounts that will not happen. So we get to see how far Bay can fall in 2013.
Andres Torres: F
.230, 3 HRs, 35 RBIs
Key Stat: 13 (stolen bases)
Torres was perhaps the most disappointing Met in 2012. He was supposed to provide speed and spark for the lineup. Instead he stole just a dozen bases and was a black hole in the lineup. His baseball instincts were also poor. Torres is another ne we won’t ever have to see again.
Terry Collins: B-
Key Stat: 4th (place in NL East)
Halfway through the season Collins was being touted as a Manager of the Year candidate. Then things all fell apart, but Collins was not to blame; he was given a flawed team and he did the best he could with it. Despite two losing, fourth place seasons, Collins deserves to be back.
Sandy Alderson: F
Key Stat: 0 (nothing)
Here’s the guy to blame. He built this team, or should I say, he did nothing to make the team better. Alderson’s big project was to revamp the bullpen. How did that work out? He did nothing to add depth to the starting rotation, so we were left with Schwinden and Bautista as emergency starters. Alderson is terrible.
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