Let’s look at this just concluded 2019 Mets season with the glass half full (rather than half empty, which unfortunately is the way of the Mets fan). They finished above .500 for the third time in five years (rather than the third time in 11 years). They were in the thick of the Wild Card chase until the end. They had an almost certain Rookie of the Year who hit more than 50 home runs. A possible Cy Young award winner for the second straight season (and the same guy, to boot!). A young core including guy who looks like a perennial .300 hitter (if only they could find a position for him to play). Let’s not even mention the worst bullpen in recent memory (and we’ve had a lot of bad bullpens to remember). Oh, and several huge deals that backfired in the worst possible ways. So is the future bright or dim in Flushing? Let’s say bright, what with our new-found optimism. Oh, and here is the 2019 Mets report card.
Pete Alonso: A+
.260, 53 HRs, 120 RBIs
Key Stat: 53 (home runs, obviously)
What more can you say about Alonso? The humble slugger was incredible from beginning to end in a likely Rookie of the Year season. And his defense, the alleged reason he was not brought up last season, was perfectly fine. Just unbelievable.
Jacob deGrom: A
11-8 2.43 ERA, 255 Ks
Key Stat: 2 (consecutive Cy Youngs?)
deGrom did not, and could not, match his 1.70 ERA of 2018, but he was still excellent. And the Mets still can’t score runs for him. It says here he wins another Cy Young in part because most of his competition missed time and could not amass the innings pitched deGrom did.
Jeff McNeil: A
.318, 23 HRs, 75 RBIs
Key Stat: 16 (second half homers)
McNeil showed his 2018 season was no fluke — he can hit at the major league level. We all expected the high average, but where did this power come from? It’s too bad Van Wagenen did not believe in him, instead acquiring a certain aging second baseman, forcing McNeil to play out of position.
J.D. Davis: A-
.307, 22 HRs, 57 RBIs
Key Stat: .354/.260 (home/away BA)
Van Wagenen got this trade right, though. Davis finally showed the promise he displayed in the Astros minor league system. Davis also played out of position and often did not look comfortable in the outfield. Either he or McNeil should start at third in 2020.
Michael Conforto: B+
.257, 33 HRs, 92 RBIs
Key Stat: .652 (BA on line drives)
So this is who Conforto is — a slugging outfielder with a mediocre average. It’s not the worst thing, although with his swing he should be a line drive .300 hitter (as his above stat testifies). But oh well, Mets fans will be happy to live with 30+ home runs for the next few years.
Seth Lugo: B+
7-4, 2.72 ERA, 100 Ks, 5 saves
Key Stat: 3 (second half walks)
As one of the only reliable arms in an extremely leaky bullpen, Lugo was one of the more valuable members of the team. He was basically the closer after Van Wagenen’s prized acquisition collapsed into a heap of home runs.
Amed Rosario: B+
.287, 15 HRs, 72 RBIs
Key Stat: .367 (BA batting 8th)
Rosario also is starting to prove the hype around him was warranted. He had a fine season, and only at age 23, he can only get better. His defense still needs work, even if he was not as bad as that stretch in which he seemed to have an error every game for a month.
Dominic Smith: B
.282, 11 HRs, 25 RBIs
Key Stat: .241/.316 (home/away BA)
Smith finally, finally, showed why he was a first-round draft pick. He excelled as a spot starter and a pinch hitter until injury all but ended his season in late July. He was also a positive influence in the clubhouse and the dugout. Will he be crowded out in 2020? Who knows?
Justin Wilson: B
4-2, 2.54 ERA, 44 Ks, 4 saves
Key Stat: 4.22/1.91 (first/second half ERAs)
The other reliable reliever and the one other good Van Wagenen acquisition. He did miss nearly two months with injury, but he came back strong. He should be one of the anchors of a hopefully improved bullpen next season.
Steven Matz: B-
11-10, 4.21 ERA, 153 Ks
Key Stat: 2.31/6.62 (home/away ERA)
This sounds like a broken record — who is Steven Matz? Is he a stud or a back-of-the-rotation guy? Unfortunately after another so-so season, we are not close to answering that question. He’ll be back next season. What should we expect? Who knows?!
Wilson Ramos: B-
.288, 14 HRs, 73 RBIs
Key Stat: 26 (game hitting streak)
Ramos lived up to his billing as a solid member of the lineup. Defense was never his calling card, but when one of your aces doesn’t want to throw to you, that’s a problem. They need to work this out because the Mets will need his bat and Syndergaard’s arm in 2020.
Noah Syndergaard: B-
10-8, 4.28 ERA, 202 Ks
Key Stat: 5.20/2.88 (ERA pitching to Ramos/Nido)
Syndergaard pitched the most innings of his career in 2019, so that’s good. He also had the highest ERA of his career, so that’s bad. Will the Syndergaard breakout ever happen in Flushing? Or will Van Wagenen make good on his lingering threat to trade Syndergaard this off-season?
Zack Wheeler: B-
11-8, 3.96 ERA, 195 Ks
Key Stat: 7-3 (record in night games)
Wheeler followed up his breakout second half of 2018 with a bit of a step back. He was good this season, but not as good as the Mets were hoping. He becomes a free agent this off-season; it will be interesting to see what the Mets do with him.
Todd Frazier C+
.251, 21 HRs, 67 RBIs
Key Stat: .301 (BA with RISP)
Frazier ran hot and cold all season. He had some big hits that helped the Mets win, but had plenty of big misses that doomed the team. In the end, he had a typical Frazier year — a good amount of homers, decent defense, and that’s about it. He will not be re-signed.
Marcus Stroman: C+
4-2, 3.77 ERA, 60 Ks (with Mets)
Key Stat: 4 (quality starts)
Stroman did not set Flushing on fire in his 11 starts with the Mets after coming over at the trade deadline. He wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t great, either. He will likely be the third starter next season, so he needs to step it up in his free agent season.
Tomas Nido: C
.191, 4 HRs, 14 RBIs
Key Stat: 1 (starter who really, really likes him)
A typical backup catcher. Syndergaard likes him, so he can’t be that bad. Right?
Robert Gsellman: C-
2-3, 4.66 ERA, 60 Ks, 1 save
Key Stat: 8.51/2.29 (home/away ERA)
It was a disappointing year for Gsellman, who had been a solid reliever for the Mets the past few seasons. He did not come through in clutch situations as he had in the past. And he missed the last month and a half with a lat injury.
Juan Lagares: C-
.213, 5 HRs, 27 RBIs
Key stat: .175 (first half BA)
The fragile Lagares played in his most games since 2015. And his stellar defense, missing in those injury years, was back. But the bat just never improved. Lagares is a free agent — he will not be back.
Brandon Nimmo: C-
.221, 8 HRs, 29 RBIs
Key Stat: .182/.375 (against RHP/LHP)
This was a waste of a season for Nimmo. He followed up his superb 2018 by missing more than half the season with injury. And when he was on the field, he was not the spark plug he was a year ago. He should be back as a fourth outfielder, which is probably his best role.
Luis Avilan: D
4-0, 5.06 ERA, 30 Ks
Key Stat: .109/.373 (LH/RH BA against)
Avilan seemed to give up runs in every appearance, yet he always seemed to be on the mound. That’s what happens when you have very few options.
Robinson Cano: F
.256, 13 HRs, 39 RBIs
Key Stat: 18 (first half RBIs)
Just awful — and we have four more years of him. Only one person thought taking on $100 million for a PED-stained former great was a good idea. By the way, the Mets have a lousy history of trading for formerly great AL second basemen — Carlos Baerga, Roberto Alomar, and now Cano.
Edwin Diaz: F
2-7, 5.59 ERA, 99 Ks, 26 saves
Key Stat: 7 (blown saves)
Somehow worse than awful. He was the best closer in the game in 2018; this year he was perhaps the worst. He lost his closer job and the confidence of the manager. He gave up 15 homers. The Mets have to fix him if they want to contend in 2020.
Jeurys Familia: F
4-2, 5.70 ERA, 63 Ks
Key Stat: 7.50 (first half ERA)
Which brings us to the worst of the awful. What was supposed to be a heartwarming homecoming has turned into a nightmare. Familia always walked a tightrope; now it seems that tightrope has snapped. Or some circus metaphor. Whatever. Just terrible.
Jed Lowrie: Inc
.000, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs
Key Stat: 7/4 (ABs/Ks)
Mickey Callaway: C+
Key Stat: 1 (phone call to headhunter)
Callaway deserves credit for overcoming a dreadful start and keeping the team in the Wild Card hunt until the last week of the season. However, he still made numerous baffling moves that likely costs the Mets a few wins. My guess is Van Wagenen fires him and brings in his own man.
Brodie Van Wagenen: C+
Key Stat: 1 (really, really terrible trade)
If you noticed, Van Wagenen’s name was mentioned several times in this post. That’s because in his one year as GM, he has certainly put his stamp on this team, and not necessarily in a good way. The Cano/Diaz deal will reverberate negatively for a decade. Familia has been a disaster. Lowrie (who?). The jury is still out on Stroman. On the other hand, Ramos, Wilson and Davis have all worked out. He deserves credit for taking putting Alonso on the Opening Day roster rather than keeping him on the farm for a few weeks to save a year of free agent time. His team was in playoff contention until the end. Still, that awful, awful trade.
Mug Shots Courtesy Ultimate Mets Database, http://ultimatemets.com/mugshots.php