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First Half Grades - Starting Lineup

Mike Piazza (C-) - I'm giving Mike a C-, though I'm not sure he even deserves to be that high. He's still one of the most productive offensive catchers in the league, and I guess that's the standard we should be holding him to. At this point in his career we're probably doing him a disservice if we expect him to hit as he did when he was on the right side of 30. Yet for some reason, just being one of the best hitting backstops in the league is terribly disappointing.  It doesn't help that his throwing has reached a new low, even for Piazza. His CS% is a laughable .109, having thrown out just seven of 64 would-be basestealers.

Doug Mientkiewicz (D+) - His defense notwithstanding, Mientkiewicz was a complete disaster in the first half. A hot streak helped him raise his average to .219, but only his good walk rate and homerun binge has kept his OPS out of Guzman territory. He batted .219/.309/.388 in 62 games, and is now on the disabled list. His glovework has been terrific, but his failure to produce even below-average offense makes it difficult to give him starts at first base. At this point he's auditioning for other teams.

Kaz Matsui (D-) - Useless. I'm guessing Matsui's translator could put up better than a .234/.284/.321 line with the stick. I still think that Matsui is a talented ballplayer and could thrive at some point in the Major Leagues. At this point it would be dellusional to suggest that he will ever do so as a member of the Mets. Like Mientkiewicz, Matsui is also on the disabled list, and upon his return will likewise be showing off his wares for prospective trade-deadline buyers.

David Wright (B+) - is OPS was at .970 in May 26th, but a tough couple of weeks has that mark down to .839. His defense needs work, but he has looked sharper of late, and he has the dedication and work ethic to turn himself into an average or better defender at the hot corner. With his bat as advanced as it has looked this season, it's easy to forget that he's only 22 and has played only one full season in the big leagues. He's good now, and he's only going to get better.

Jose Reyes (C-) - Jose Reyes has been a big disappointment to me this season. He's still a kid and I think he will turn it around, but he looks like a little-leaguer at the plate more often than not. His plate discipline and strike zone judgement has been terrible, he isn't hitting for any power, and, I'm no hitting coach, but it looks like he steps in the bucket every time he takes a swing from the left side. Here are his left/right platoon splits this season:

vs LHP: .298/.327/.415 (94 AB)
vs RHP: .239/.260/.343 (280 AB)

If you'll recall, Reyes only became a switch hitter a few years ago, having batted strictly from the right side to that point. This season is a small sample size, but he has done much better from the right side of the plate. His average is higher, his walk rate is better, and he hits for more power. I don't think it's time just yet to throw in the towel on the switch hitting experiment, but that time may come if he doesn't develop better instincts as a left-handed batter.

Cliff Floyd (A-) - Biggest surprise of the season, by far. I don't mean his hitting; I mean that he's been healthy. Floyd has played in 80 of the Mets' 88 games this season, and the results have been outstanding. He has batted .287/.360/.543, including 22 homeruns. He has looked better in the outfield than I have ever seen him, and is a fearsome presence in the middle of the lineup. He's even gone 7-for-9 in stolen bases. Two things have troubled me about Floyd, though. One is that his walk rate has declined a little bit. Not too much, but it seems like he may be trying too hard to hit home runs. The other thing that bothers me is that, aside from those homeruns, he's not really picking up extra-base hits. He only has 11 doubles on the year. Some of his hits that might have been doubles the past two seasons have become homeruns, but I would have expected his doubles rate to remain fairly constant. That hasn't happened, and I suspect that if/when the homerun barrage stops, Cliff's SLG could take a nose dive. For that reason he makes an awfully attractive trade candidate.

Carlos Beltran (D+) - Almost as big a disappointment as Reyes. Much of his struggles can be attributed to the quad injury he suffered through for much of the first half, but even that doesn't make his .266/.321/.434 line any less cringe-worthy. His walks are down, his power is down, his stolen bases are down. He plays a very deep centerfield, and as a result a lot more balls are falling in than would have if Mike Cameron were still playing the position. Beltran is an immense talent, and he will thrive in New York. He just hasn't yet.

Mike Cameron (B+) - Though that .300+ average he was toting for a while wasn't going to be there come September, Cameron has exceed almost every expectation of him coming into the season. He has hit .276/.362/.517 and played an extraordinary right field. His transition from center has been near-flawless, and he is 7-for-8 in stolen bases. Here's a reason to be scared:

May: .372/.476/.686 (86 AB)
June: .205/.289/.342 (73 AB)
July: .179/.220/.462 (39 AB)

May was very sweet. June/July, not so much. Keep an eye on that trend.