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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, September 27-October 3

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A quick review of how the Mets’ position players fared in the final week of the 2021 season.

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Mets went 4-3 in the final week of the season, taking three out of four from the Miami Marlins at home—including a sweep of a doubleheader—and dropping two of three to the playoff-bound Atlanta Braves in Atlanta to close out the 2021 season. The offense did manage to break out for double-digit runs in the final game of the Marlins series, but then on the final day of the season—perhaps fittingly—they were shut out by the Braves. In what were perhaps his final days in a Mets uniform, Michael Conforto finished his otherwise lackluster season on a high note, earning the sole fireball of the group. Francisco Lindor finished his season on a positive note as well, topping off an overall strong second half. Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo stayed consistent, but one of Javier Báez’s only bad weeks as a Met happened to be the last week of the season. Otherwise, it’s unfortunately a whole lot of meh as usual.

We’ll start with Michael Conforto’s fireball week. It was an emotional week for Conforto, as he received a huge ovation from the crowd after a fantastic catch he made in what was perhaps his final game as a Met in front of the Citi Field faithful on Thursday. He also got hugs from his teammates in the dugout and was clearly choked up on the field. If it really was Conforto’s last week as a Met, he went out with a bang, posting a 211 wRC+ for the week over 22 plate appearances, which leads the team among players with five or more plate appearances for the week. Of his seven hits (which are tied for second-most on the team this week), three of them went for extra bases, including two home runs. One of those home runs was a solo shot that got the Mets on the board in the only loss of the Marlins series (Wednesday). The other dinger was a two-run homer that was part of the Mets’ attempted comeback on Saturday. In all, Conforto scored five runs this week, which leads the team. He also drove in five runs, which is tied for second-most on the team. Although it certainly wasn’t the final season as a Met Conforto would have hoped for, his immediate success upon coming to the big leagues as a home grown player, his contributions to the 2015 team, and his 2017 All-Star appearance will be remembered fondly as part of a strong body of work over a seven-year Mets career, over which he posted a 124 OPS+ in 757 big league games.

The team leader in hits this week is Pete Alonso, whose strong and consistent work all season long is perhaps overlooked due to a combination of the Mets’ struggles and the fact that he did not match his home run or RBI totals from his historic rookie year. Still, Alonso ended up with a 133 wRC+ and 3.1 fWAR for the 2021 season; the latter mark is second among Mets position players this year. This week, Alonso posted a 182 wRC+, which is second to Conforto for the team lead. Like Conforto, Alonso also mashed two dingers and drove in five runs this week. Both of Alonso’s homers came in Thursday’s lopsided victory—a solo shot to start things off and a two-run homer off catcher Sandy Leon in the eighth to cap off the Mets’ scoring. Alonso finishes the year with 37 homers, which of course falls short of his prodigious 2019 total, but is still an impressive number nonetheless in a year when the Mets seemed devoid of power as a group. It’s 17 more than his closest competitor (Lindor) and at least twice as many as anybody else on the team. Alonso also walked three times and scored three runs this week.

The leader in fWAR among Mets position players for the 2021 season is Brandon Nimmo (3.4 fWAR), which is impressive considering he only played in 92 games this season. But when he was healthy, he was the Mets’ most consistent performer and this week is no exception. Two home runs in the same game seems to be a theme for Mets hitters this week. Nimmo did it in Friday night’s victory, homering once in the fifth and once in the seventh—both solo shots. Those represented half of his RBIs and half of his runs scored for the week (four in both categories). In total, Nimmo collected five hits and three walks this week, good for a 116 wRC+ over 30 plate appearances. Nimmo finished the 2021 season with a .401 on-base percentage in very Brandon Nimmo fashion. With the rest of the outfield uncertain for 2022, the Mets will likely be relying on Nimmo to be healthy next year.

The exclamation mark on Francisco Lindor’s strong final week of the season was his eighth-inning grand slam that blew the doors off Thursday’s game. It was one of two home runs Lindor hit this week; he also hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader—two of three RBIs he would collect in that contest. Thanks to the grand slam, he holds a commanding lead in RBIs this week with seven. His seven hits also match Conforto for second-most on the team this week. He also walked three times and scored four runs. Overall, he posted a 124 wRC+ over 30 plate appearances this week. In the second half, Lindor holds an .813 OPS and a 118 wRC+ and pulled himself over league average with a 103 wRC+ for the year, despite his horribly slow start.

Despite posting fantastic numbers overall since being traded to the Mets (.299/.371/.515 slash line with a 143 wRC+ in 186 plate appearances), Javier Báez struggled this final week of the season. He posted a 69 wRC+ (nice) in 20 plate appearances. He collected four hits, three of them singles, walked once, and scored three runs over that span, including the winning run in Game 2 of Tuesday’s doubleheader. He did not drive in any runs this week. Although we all know that the Mets’ precipitous decline in the second half meant a third place finish and missing the playoffs, it would have been even worse if not for Báez, who has expressed a willingness to return to Queens to play alongside Lindor long-term. We will simply have to wait and see what transpires with regard to El Mago in the offseason.

Although James McCann’s overall line (.222/.263/.333 in 19 plate appearances) this week is not good, he DID pull a Patrick Mazeika and come through with a walk-off fielder’s choice in the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader, which scored Báez in the bottom of the ninth inning of a seven-inning game. McCann dribbled a ball back to the mound and with Báez—a fast runner—breaking home on contact, Anthony Bass bobbled the ball in his haste to try to get it home and Báez slid in safely with the winning run. It was one of four RBIs for McCann this week; he also doubled in two runs as part of the Mets’ big fourth inning in Thursday’s win. In addition to his four hits, McCann walked once and scored three runs, posting a 66 wRC+ for the week.

Meanwhile, the backup catchers Tomás Nido and Patrick Mazeika combined to go hitless over six plate appearances this week. And the backup infielder Luis Guillorme had just one hit—a single—in six plate appearances over three games in the final week of the season.

It was revealed this week that J.D. Davis will get hand surgery in the offseason to repair a ligament that had been giving him issues all year long. He should be ready by spring training, but even admits himself that there’s a pretty good chance he might not be with the Mets next year. While Davis was sidelined for much of the year, Jonathan Villar became an everyday player and that was true during the final week of the season, over which he posted an unremarkable 81 wRC+ in 23 plate appearances. However, given his struggles over the past couple of weeks, that represents an improvement. Villar was responsible for one of the three hits the Mets could manage in yesterday’s game when the Mets were shut out by the Braves. Overall, he collected five hits, two walks, three runs scored, and two RBIs this week.

José Peraza was one of the only other players who managed to reach base yesterday and ended up being the only Met to reach second base, stealing his first base of the season on the very last day. Overall, he collected two hits, walked twice, and scored a run over eleven plate appearances in the final week of the season.

Jeff McNeil also stole a base this week—the only position player besides Peraza and Villar to do so. But, this week went how many weeks of his season have gone. He posted a 59 wRC+ this week, getting just one hit in 12 plate appearances. He also walked twice and scored two runs. Like many Mets, it was a lost season for McNeil and it remains unclear what his role will be on the 2022 team.

The same goes for Dominic Smith, whose playing time may depend heavily on whether there is a DH in the National League in 2022. In the final week of the season, Smith improved on his numbers from the week before, posting a 96 wRC+ in 11 plate appearances. He amassed three hits and two of them went for extra bases. Although he didn’t drive in any runs this week, he scored a run in Wednesday’s loss which put the Mets up 2-0 at the time.

Kevin Pillar had a strong finish to his 2021 season, posting a 146 wRC+ in 11 plate appearances this week. He tripled and scored a run in the Mets’ near-comeback in the ninth inning on Saturday. He also had a key RBI single in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s extra-inning victory, tying the game at one. He collected four hits overall. Pillar has a player option for 2022, which if declined, becomes a club option with a $1.4M buyout.