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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, September 23-29

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A quick review of how the Mets’ position players fared over the final week of the season.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets finished their season 10 games over .500, splitting a series with the Marlins before going out in style with a three-game sweep of the Braves that concluded with an exciting extra-inning, walk-off victory. Though they missed the playoffs, the final game of the season was a rather poetic microcosm of the 2019 Mets as a whole. They often broke our hearts, but they never gave up.

It was Dominic Smith that provided that magical moment in the bottom of the eleventh inning in the last game of the season. It was his first at-bat in over two months and he hit a walk-off home run to win it for the Mets. I usually abstain from issuing fireballs for extreme small sample sizes, but in this instance I am making an exception. My meters, my rules.

Since it is my meters with my rules, I also made the executive decision of refusing to give Pete Alonso a mediocre grade, despite his 80 wRC+ for the week. Namely because this week, Alonso hit his 53rd home run of the season, breaking Aaron Judge’s record for most home runs in a single season by a rookie. He did lead the team in both home runs (3) and runs scored (5) this week. He was also second on the team in RBIs with five.

The Mets’ RBI leader this week was Amed Rosario, who slashed a cool .308/.333/.462 over his final 27 plate appearances of 2019. Rosario knocked in six runs this week. He also scored three runs, hit a home run, and stole a base. Rosario finishes the season with an even 100 wRC+ for the year with improved defense in the second half, good for 2.7 fWAR in what was a breakout season for the young shortstop.

There are two Mets in particular, however, that absolutely ripped the cover off the ball this week. One of them is Michael Conforto, who posted a team-leading 225 wRC+ over 26 plate appearances this week. He matched Alonso for the team lead in runs scored with five and also walked five times, which is second on the team. He hit two home runs and drove in five runs. Conforto may not have matched his production at the plate from his 2017 season before his shoulder injury prematurely ended his season, but he had a strong 2019 campaign that has often been overshadowed by Alonso’s immediate star power.

Speaking of overshadowed, J.D. Davis capped off a remarkable offensive season with a torrid week at the plate. He led the team in hits with nine in 24 plate appearances. Five of those nine hits went for extra bases, including two home runs. He scored three runs and drove in four, posting a 211 wRC+ for the week. Despite his defensive shortcomings, J.D. Davis has hit himself into a potential starting role for next year in left field.

Since Conforto’s five walks did not lead the team, it does not take much guesswork to figure out which player did lead the Mets in walks this week. That’s right, it was, shockingly, Brandon Nimmo. He walked six times in 28 plate appearances and collected five hits. He put up a 114 wRC+ for the week, scoring three runs and driving in three. Since his return from the injured list, he has looked very much like the same player who had a breakout season in 2018 and a fully healthy Nimmo would go a long way toward the success of the 2020 Mets.

Jeff McNeil, had a spectacular, All-Star caliber season overall, but it was, in some ways, a tale of two different seasons. In the second half, McNeil emphasized hitting for more power, at the expense of a little bit of average. Whether that was the “right” thing to do is of course subjective, but it has certainly paid dividends in the power department. This week, ironically, looks statistically a lot more like first half Jeff McNeil. He had four hits in 14 plate appearances, three of which were singles. He scored a run and drove in two.

Todd Frazier finished his season—and his Mets tenure—on a high note this week. He posted a 169 wRC+ over 24 plate appearances. He collected eight hits, three walks, and four runs scored, all while playing solid defense at third base. Frazier is a void the Mets hope they can fill with Jed Lowrie next season, who has still yet to get a hit as a New York Met. Lowrie had two plate appearances this week.

Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos both did not have a strong final week of the season. Cano posted a 44 wRC+ over his final 18 plate appearances of 2019. He reached base four times this week via two hits and two walks. He scored one run and drove in a run. His first season as a Met as an inconsistent one riddled with lower body injuries. A fully healthy Cano in 2020 could be a staple in the middle of the Mets’ lineup, but the Mets may have to be judicious about his playing time in order to get the best out of him next season.

Wilson Ramos, who will also be back next season, fared even worse in the final week, amassing just two singles and a walk over 13 plate appearances this week. He drove in one run. It’s been an enigmatic season for Ramos, who was an extremely effective situational hitter this season, often shooting the ball the other way with runners in scoring position. But he also saw a steep decline in his power and his defensive skillset. While Ramos was never going to be a defensive whiz behind the plate, his defense proved far more costly than the Mets likely imagined. His game calling got mixed reviews from his pitchers, with Syndergaard being clear about his preference not to throw to Ramos, but with deGrom emphatically defending him. The most remarkable thing, however, is that Ramos—who has dealt with a plethora of injuries in his big league career—stayed completely healthy in 2019, which is a good sign for the Mets.

Both Tomas Nido and Rene Rivera saw some playing time in the final week of the season. Nido did not end the season on a high note, going hitless over 12 plate appearances this week. He reached base once via a walk. Rivera hit his first home run of the season this week—a two-run shot that represented his only hit and his only RBIs for the week. He also walked once. While Nido has proven himself to be a capable backstop, his defense does not make up for his lack of production at the plate. He finishes the season with a 40 wRC+, which is not sustainable, even for a backup catcher. It is a situation the Mets will likely need to address in the offseason.

Juan Lagares has played his whole career in a Mets uniform and now he hits free agency for the first time this offseason. In his last hurrah as a Met, he collected two hits and two walks in ten plate appearances and scored two runs. He was finally able to stay healthy this season after injuries stunted his career and he still showed flashes of the Juan Lagares of old in center field. However, much like Nido, his 60 wRC+ for the season is not enough to make him an everyday player. With J.D. Davis hitting himself into a starting job for next season, the Mets face a crowded outfield situation for 2020, but one that lacks a true center fielder that can be used as a defensive replacement a la Juan Lagares.

Joe Panik’s future with the Mets is uncertain. In the final week of the season, Panik made the most of his opportunities. He had two hits—including a home run—and two walks in eight plate appearances this week. He also scored two runs. He filled a need when the Mets needed him when both Cano and McNeil were on the injured list at the same time, but is still a shadow of the player he once was during his heyday with the Giants. Although he plays a good second base, it is his only position and the Mets have Cano there long term. Panik made nearly $4 million in arbitration this season (of which the Mets only paid about $150,000) and will enter his third arbitration year in 2020. The Mets are unlikely to pony up that salary for a bench piece with a declining bat, but it’s possible the Mets could let him go and bring him back on a minor league deal or a major league deal at a much lower price.

Rajai Davis had one hit in four plate appearances this week, driving in a run and scoring a run. He has indicated that he intends to play next season and that he enjoyed his time in New York. It is unlikely that a team gives him a major league deal, but given the Mets’ lack of depth in the upper minors, it is possible the Mets bring him back as a depth piece next season.

Luis Guillorme, who was shuttled back and forth between the big leagues and Triple-A this season, had three hits and two runs scored in eight plate appearances in the final week of the season. His role next year will likely be much the same as this year and he’s a face we’ll be seeing again come Spring Training.

Sam Haggerty is a face we’ll probably be seeing at Spring Training too. He saw limited playing time during his first cup of coffee in the big leagues, being delegated mostly to pinch running duty. However, he did have three plate appearances this week and went hitless.