We wait all winter for the baseball season, then it seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. 2011 is in the books — the Mets finished 77-85, in fourth place in the NL East. Poor starting pitching and virtually everybody in the lineup getting injured proved to be the team’s downfall. I mean, what can you say about an offense whose leading home run and RBI guy isn’t even on the team anymore (Carlos Beltran with 15 and 66 respectively)?! In any case, let’s put this season behind us. I don’t know what 2012 has in store, but I know I can’t wait.
Jose Reyes: A
.337, 7 HR, 44 RBIs
Key stat: 2 (DL stints)
What can you say about Reyes’s season? Mets fans have never seen a player as locked in as Reyes was over the first three months. But then he succumbed to injury. Twice. Even though he won the Mets first-ever NL batting crown, it was a shame Reyes could not stay healthy and complete what could have been an historic season.
Lucas Duda: A-
.292, 10 HRs, 50 RBIs
Key Stat: .852 (OPS)
Duda got off to an extremely slow start, and didn’t hit his first homer until July 23. But once he had his confidence he was off and running. He hit well enough to likely claim the right field job for 2012. While it appears his bat is for real, his outfield defense is a work in progress — he looks pretty shaky out there.
Daniel Murphy: B+
.320, 6 HRs, 49 RBIs
Key Stat: .364 (RISP)
Murphy went down in August with a knee injury; the second straight season cut short by the same MCL injury (different knees). Both happened on plays at second, amplifying Murphy’s difficulties in the field. The Mets need his bat — his glove is a different story. This is a tough one.
Justin Turner: B+
.260, 4 HRs, 51 RBIs
Key Stat: .364 (RISP, 2 outs)
Turner was actually the best second baseman coming out of spring training, yet he started the season in the minors. He was called up two weeks into the season and proved invaluable, coming through with clutch RBIs time and time again. He’ll be in the running for the starting job in 2012.
Manny Acosta: B
4-1, 3.45 ERA, 46 Ks, 4 saves
Key Stat: 6/5 (day called up)
After a solid 2010, Acosta languished in the minors until mid-June and helped stabilize a shaky bullpen upon his call-up. His stats were virtually identical this season as last — nearly a strikeout per inning, not many walks and even did a good job when the Mets needed a closer and the heir-apparents were faltering.
Tim Byrdak: B
2-1, 3.82 ERA, 47 Ks, 1 save
Key Stat: .222 (against lefties)
Byrdak is the definition of a lefty specialist, throwing just 37.2 innings in 72 games. But he did his job, earning a contract for 2012 in the waning weeks of the season. He averaged better than a strikeout per inning and will be counted on to do the same next season.
R.A. Dickey: B
8-13, 3.28 ERA, 134 Ks
Key Stat: 28 (runs scored in his 13 losses)
Dickey struggled early but pitched extremely well over the final two-thirds of the season. His poor 8-13 record was not his fault; the offense just refused to score runs for him. He likely deserves a higher grade, but I can’t in good conscience give a pitcher with such a record higher than a B, regardless of the reason.
Dillon Gee: B
13-6, 4.43 ERA, 114 Ks
Key Stat: 7 (wins before suffering a loss)
Gee started off strong but the league seemed to figure him out over the second half of the season — he posted ERAs of 4.60, 6.49 and 5.33 in July, August and September respectively. Still, he won 13 games and looked very good at times. All in all, a very successful rookie season and a good harbinger for the future.
Jason Isringhausen: B
3-3, 4.05 ERA, 44 Ks, 7 saves
Key Stat: 300 (saves)
Isringhausen was one of the best stories of the season. Signed to a minor league contract days before spring training started, Isringhausen won a job and solidified the bullpen. He served as a closer after K-Rod was traded, earning that 300th save, then mentoring Parnell to take his job.
Ruben Tejada: B
.284, 0 HRs, 36 RBIs
Key Stat: .360 (OBP)
Tejada proved that if Reyes does leave, he would be a more-than-adequate replacement at shortstop. Tejada is not Reyes, but he can field just as well and can handle the bat. And he’s still only 21 years old — there’s nowhere to go but up. If Reyes does stay, he’ll be in the mix for the second base job.
Nick Evans: B-
.256, 4 HRs, 25 RBIs
Key Stat: 59 (games)
Evans certainly made the most of his first-ever extended playing time, showing some of the potential the Mets have seen in him. He got some key hits late in the season and filled in admirably at first base. He now has a good shot to make the team as an important bench player in 2012.
Ronny Paulino: B-
.268, 2 HRs, 19 RBIs
Key Stat: 5-for-7 (1st start)
When he finally made it to the Mets after several delays, Paulino got off to a rousing beginning, going 5-for-7 in his first start against the Phillies, driving in the winning run in the 14th. He of course came down to earth after that, but he was the prototypical backup catcher. He should be around in 2012.
David Wright: B-
.254, 14 HRs, 61 RBIs
Key stat: 1 (fractured back)
Definitely the most disappointing year of Wright’s career, through no fault of his own. He played in just 102 games while spending two months on the DL with that fractured back. There is speculation the Mets might look to move him in a trade — that would be terrible. He needs to be here, for the team as well as the fans.
Pedro Beato: C+
2-1, 4.30 ERA, 39 Ks
Key Stat: 0 (earned runs in April)
It is beginning to be a common refrain among Mets relievers — pitching lights out, getting injured, and then coming back and never being the same. This year it was Beato. Still, the Rule 5 pick showed enough potential to stick around for next season, perhaps even be in the mix as a closer possibility.
Scott Hairston: C+
.235, 7 HRs, 24 RBIs
Key Stat: 3 (pinch homers)
Hairston actually turned out to be a decent fill-in outfielder for the Mets as the season went on. His numbers aren’t very impressive, but he did a pretty good job. The Mets probably should have traded him at the deadline when they could have — he missed the last month with an oblique injury.
Jonathon Niese: C+
11-11, 4.40 ERA, 138 Ks
Key Stat: 7.15 (August ERA)
Niese’s sophomore year was mediocre at best. He got off to a slow, then had a good couple of months, then struggled again. He looked good at times, he looked bad at times. His season ended on August 23 with an intercostal muscle strain, whatever that it. Last season his key state was a 7.11 September era.
Bobby Parnell: C+
4-6, 3.64 ERA, 64 Ks, 6 saves
Key Stat: 6 (blown saves)
What to do with Parnell? He throws 100 mph, but it is straight as an arrow. He was given the opportunity to close yet he couldn’t seem to handle the job. He will likely be given the chance again in spring training. Perhaps he will develop another pitch over the winter and seize the job. We’ll see.
Jason Pridie: C+
.231, 4 HRs, 20 RBIs
Key Stat: 101 (games)
It didn’t seem like it, but Pridie was with the team most of the season, getting the call-up on April 22. He appeared in just one fewer game than Wright. He filled in admirably when Pagan went down, proving to be a fine defensive center fielder. He’ll be in the running as a backup outfielder in 2012.
Willie Harris: C
.246, 2 HRs, 23 RBIs
Key Stat: .183 (as pinch hitter)
Harris wants to return in 2012, but he’ll have to make a more convincing argument than that poor pinch hitting average. He was adequate as a spot-starter and his defense was very good, but a key part of his job is to be a bat off the bench, and he clearly failed in that department.
Angel Pagan: C
.262, 7 HRs, 56 RBIs
Key Stat: 32 (stolen bases)
Pagan took a huge step backwards in 2011 after a fine 2010. He struggled when batting at the top of the lineup when Reyes was out, apparently feeling more comfortable in the middle/bottom. There were whispers the front office was not happy with that as well as other issues. He should be non-tendered, but he’ll likely be back.
Chris Capuano: D+
11-12, 4.55 ERA, 168 Ks
Key Stat: 9th (worst ERA in NL)
Was anyone else disgusted by the praise the Mets broadcasters heaped on Capuano during his final start? Yes, it was impressive that he stayed healthy all year, but he was horrible. He couldn’t pitch past the fifth inning, then late in the season he couldn’t get out of the first without giving up runs. Heaven help us if he’s back in 2012.
Josh Thole: D+
.268, 3 HRs, 40 RBIs
Key Stat: 16 (passed balls)
Thole may have had the most disappointing year of any Met. His hitting was not close to what he had shown in past stints, and his defense was atrocious. Some of those passed balls were because of Dickey and his knuckler, but his mechanics behind the plate were just horrible. He’s really got to improve his game.
Jason Bay: D
.245, 12 HRs, 57 RBIs
Key Stat: .991 (fielding percentage)
Bay was just terrible once again in his second year with the Mets. He simply seems to have lost the ability to hit, especially with any kind of power. Maybe Citi Field is “in his head”; perhaps the likely changes to the outfield will turn him around next season. At least he can field, though.
Mike Pelfrey: D-
7-13, 4.74 ERA, 105 Ks
Key Stat: 6th (worst ERA in NL)
Without Santana, Pelfrey was designated the ace of the staff coming into the season. How did that work out? Not well. Pelfrey was absolutely awful — how he managed to even win seven games, I have no idea. He should be non-tendered, but every indication is that he will be on the team next season. Big mistake.
D.J. Carrasco: F
1-3, 6.02 ERA, 27 Ks
Key Stat: 2 (year contract)
Carrasco just sucks, and we’ve got one more year of him.
Ryota Igarashi: F
4-1, 4.66 ERA, 42 Ks
Key Stat: 0 (years left on contract)
Igarashi just sucks, but at least we’re done with him.
Ike Davis: Inc.
.302, 7 HRs, 25 RBIs
Key Stat: 36 (games played)
Davis suffered a bone bruise in his ankle on May 10 that somehow kept him out for the entire season. It’s such a shame because he was looking good in his sophomore season. Fortunately he won’t have to undergo surgery and should be ready for the start of the 2012 season.
Johan Santana: Inc.
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 Ks
Key Stat: 0 (anything)
Santana never did make it back this season. Let’s hope he can be the old Santana in 2012.
Terry Collins: B
Key Stat: 4th (place in NL East)
Collins deserves all the credit in the world for holding this team together through all of the injuries and getting rid of the negativity that existed in the clubhouse last season. However his in-game strategy leaves much to be desired — the sacrifice bunting, the use of the bullpen. Still, he was better than we all thought.
Sandy Alderson: B
Key Stat: 2 (huge trades)
Alderson didn’t do much to improve the team last off-season but he made two tremendous trades during the season — he was able to get rid of the albatross that was the K-Rod 2012 option and he was able to move Carlos Beltran and get a blue-chip prospect in return. Now that he has some payroll flexibility, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do.
Mug Shots Courtesy Ultimate Mets Database, http://ultimatemets.com/mugshots.php