Mets Midseason Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

USA TODAY Sports

A position-by-position review of the Mets' first half of the season.

With the completion of their four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Mets have now played 82 games this year, one more than half of the games they will play this season. The team is 35-47 thus far, a .427 winning percentage that puts them on pace for a 69-93 record for the season.

The Good

Starting Pitching: Headlined by Matt Harvey, the Mets' starting rotation has been great. The rotation's 3.87 ERA ranks 12th in Major League Baseball, but their 3.59 FIP ranks 4th. Batting average on balls in play (BABIP) likely accounts for some of that gap. The Mets' rotation has a .306 BABIP against, the 5th-highest number in baseball. Some of that may be luck, but the Mets' poor overall defense hasn't helped, either.

Third Base: David Wright has hit .306/.394/.528 with 13 home runs, a .396 wOBA, and a 158 wRC+. Only Miguel Cabrera has been a better hitter at the position, and Cabrera also happens to be the best hitter in the game through the first half. Wright's wOBA is the eighth-best in all of baseball. He's elite. He's a superstar. He deserves a supporting cast in the near future because he is the type of cornerstone player around which a championship team can be built.

The Bad

The Outfield: Marlon Byrd's season has helped make up for the poor performance of the rest of the Mets' outfielders. Lucas Duda hit fairly well before he got hurt with a .345 wOBA, but his defense was as bad as anticipated and negated the moderate value he provided with the bat. Eric Young Jr. has been decent since coming over from the Rockies, and Andrew Brown has shown promise in very limited playing time. The problem: Mike Baxter, Rick Ankiel, Jordany Valdespin, Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Collin Cowgill combined for 574 plate appearances in the first half. Baxter was the best hitter of the bunch with an 83 wRC+.

Second Base: Daniel Murphy has had great stretches, but he's also had extended slumps. As a result, his .308 wOBA ranks 14th among qualified second basemen. It's looking more and more like his good 2011 season at the plate was an outlier. He's an adequate defender at the keystone, which many never thought he would be, but this is the second straight year his production has declined. A big second half from Murphy would be a welcome sight.

Catcher: If John Buck hadn't hit all of those home runs in the first few weeks of the season, the catcher position would certainly qualify as "The Ugly." But he did, and Mets catchers have put up a .688 OPS for the season. The major league average for catchers is just .718. Whenever he's ready to make his debut, Travis d'Arnaud could provide a massive upgrade.

The Ugly

The Bullpen: If there's been a consistent problem under Sandy Alderson, it has been the bullpen. This incarnation is slightly better than last year's, at least, but Mets relief pitchers have combined for a 4.24 ERA and 4.04 FIP, both of which rank 25th in baseball. Bobby Parnell has been very good, and LaTroy Hawkins has quietly been an above-average relief arm. Outside of that, though, the results have been mixed. Scott Rice has been overworked and then some, and his performance hasn't been very good for the last two months.

First Base: Despite a recent great stretch of hitting by Josh Satin, first base has been a black hole for the Mets in the first half, thanks to Ike Davis's terrible first two-plus months of the year before his demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. In total, Mets first basemen have a .618 OPS, which is very significantly below the major league average .778 OPS at the position. Even if Davis has a monster second half like he did last year, the best-case scenario here is that the Mets finish less below average than they are now at first base.

Shortstop: Omar Quintanilla has filled in respectably at short since Ruben Tejada hit the disabled list, but the Mets might find themselves looking to acquire a shortstop for the future. It was encouraging when Tejada put up a .360 OBP in 96 games as a 21-year-old in 2011, but he took a step back in 2012 before hitting just .209/.267/.262 this year.

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