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Obligatory Mid-Season Report Card: Lineup

Check out my review of the bullpen and of the rotation.

-- LINEUP --
Jose Reyes -- 9.0
Cmt: This season, Reyes appears to have finally where his potential is. He hasn't reach it, which is more a testament to his natural gifts than a knock on Reyes. He has been drawing a good number of walks, and should be able to squeeze out 50 or so free passes by year's end. He is hitting for extra bases, with eight homeruns, twelve triples and 19 doubles. He is keeping his strikeouts in check, having whiffed just 44 times in 374 at-bats. He is stealing bases, currently 39-for-48 (81%). He's only 23. There is every possibility that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Paul Lo Duca -- 6.5
Cmt: There are a lot of things to like about Paul Lo Duca, though his on-field performance leaves a lot to be desired. He is said to call an aggressive game and pitchers apparently like working with him. This may be the most important thing a catcher does, or it may be completely overvalued. I have no idea. I'm sure it's worth something, though probably not as much as a solid bat is worth. In general, Lo Duca's hitting has been as-advertised: solid average, few walks, very little power. He was also supposed to be a clutch hitter (if you believe in that sort of thing), and in that department he's been a bit of a mixed bag.

                       AVG    OBP    SLG
Overall               .299   .341   .405
Close and Late        .250   .291   .365
Scoring Position      .278   .354   .361
Scoring Posn, 2 out   .294   .368   .412
Man on 3rd, <2 out    .545   .538   .636
In only one "clutch" category is he hitting better than he hits overall, and even there we're only talking about 11 at-bats. Defensively, I have been underwhelmed. He has thrown out just 15 of 68 attempted basestealers and, I don't have numbers to back this up, but anecdotally he seems to do a crummy job of receiving throws home from infielders/outfielders, and he's had more than a few instances where pitches have just bounced off of his mitt. Maybe these things are few and far between, but I think you'd have a tough time making the case that Lo Duca is even average defensively behind the dish.

For those longing for the days of Mike Piazza, he is hitting .295/.352/.527 in the worst hitter's park in the majors, and has thrown out an astonishing 9% of attempted basestealers (not a typo: 51-of-56 would-be basestealers have been successful against Mikey P.).

Carlos Beltran -- 9.5
Cmt: He's been awesome. He is third in the NL in OPS (1.002), second in slugging (.615) and 20th in OBP (.388). He hasn't been stealing a ton of bases, but he is 12-for-15 and should steal 20 before the season is through. He leads the Mets in walks and RBI and is second in runs scored, just six behind Reyes. His defense in centerfield has been terrific. Simply, this is the player the Mets thought they were getting last year.

Carlos Delgado -- 7.0
Cmt: For the first six weeks, this rating is a 10. Since then, maybe a 4. Delgado was everything the Mets could hope for in April and has been outplayed by Doug Mientkiewicz in June and July. His defense is pretty bad, which doesn't really help matters. He's done nothing against lefties this season, batting .205/.295/.373. If it seems like I'm being hard on him, it's because I know what he's capable of and I want to see it again.

David Wright -- 9.5
Cmt: The boy wonder, Wright is just 23 years old and is already one of the premier hitters in all of baseball. He's 11th in the majors in VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) at 38.9. He steals bases, he batters both lefty and righty pitchers, he hits for power and average, he draws walks. He is the future of this organization.

Cliff Floyd -- 6.5
Cmt: After a terrible start, reminiscent of Jeromy Burnitz a few years back, Floyd is hitting .333/.447/.641 in July. His rate stats (AVG, OBP, SLG) are approching and/or passing Delgado, and they definitely appear to be lefties heading in opposite directions. Floyd is a real easy guy to root for, and it's nice to see him finally swinging the bat well.

Xavier Nady -- 7.5
Cmt: He hasn't been great, and he has apparently never seen a breaking ball before, but Nady is giving the Mets decent production out of right field and he hasn't completely embarrassed himself defensively. I'm not particularly impressed with his approach at the plate, but you can't blame the guy for trying to make the most of his opportunity here, since he was never really given one in San Diego. His score is more based on my expectations for him (low) relative to his performance (decent).

Jose Valentin -- 9.0
Cmt: Here's another score that's more a product of expectation-versus-reality than anything else. Omar Minaya was probably the only person who thought Valentin would be anything more than a below-average spare part for this team, and he has become a fan favorite and one of the better hitters on the team. His emergence this season allows the Mets to (hopefully) avoid Jim Bowden's overtures of Alfonso Soriano and focus their trade deadline attention on the pitching staff.