After a dreadful series in Chicago in which the Mets were swept by the Cubs, they returned home to Citi Field and bounced back with a series win over the NL East rival Nationals. The offense still has yet to really break out; the most runs they scored in any game this week was six in Friday’s win and that was partially because of Jacob deGrom, who continues to be one of the best hitters on the team in addition to being the best pitcher on the team. While Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor have yet to get hot and Dominic Smith in particular struggled this week, positives included Michael Conforto breaking out of his slump, Pete Alonso beginning to really heat up, and J.D. Davis producing with the bat.
While his defense at third base has undoubtedly left a lot to be desired at times, there is no question that J.D. Davis has been raking since coming off the injured list. He posted a 282 wRC+ this week in 21 plate appearances, which leads the team. He also leads the team in hits this week with nine in total. He is also tied with Pete Alonso for the team lead in RBIs this week with five and is the only Mets hitter besides Alonso to hit multiple home runs this week. Davis had a big day yesterday in particular with three hits, including a home run, two RBIs, and two runs scores; he continues to have Patrick Corbin’s number. He will likely continue to share time with Luis Guillorme and Jonathan Villar if those two players are producing as well, particularly against tough righties and in the later innings of close games, but the fact remains that Davis is a lethal right-handed bat in a Mets lineup that skews left-handed.
Speaking of lethal right-handed bats, the rest of the league better watch out because Pete Alonso is heating up. His 217 wRC+ this week is second only to Davis for the team lead. He launched three home runs this week, including a couple of patented tape measure shots that we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him. Alonso isn’t just mashing dingers though; he also leads the team in walks this week with four, which is an encouraging sign. His five RBIs and four runs scored for the week both match Davis for the team lead. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Alonso is also one of the only players who has not displayed shoddy defense this week in some form. His defense at first base so far this season has been excellent and it’s clear that the work he’s put into his skills in the field is paying off.
Speaking of defense, Albert Almora Jr. has found a way to make an impact whenever he plays. Last week, it was as a pinch runner, crossing the plate with a key run that helped the Mets win a ballgame. This week, it was with a spectacular catch in center field in yesterday’s game that helped preserve Taijuan Walker’s shutout. With the bat, Almora has had just one hit and one walk in six plate appearances this week, but he has still been a key asset in the field for a team that does not defend well overall. If he hits even a little bit, he will continue to see more playing time over Kevin Pillar, who has not hit at all of late. Pillar is hitless in eight plate appearances this week.
You’d probably be surprised to to know that Francisco Lindor has as many hits this week as Pete Alonso does (6). I think Lindor himself would admit freely that his production with the bat is still not where it needs to be; he posted an 88 wRC+ in 27 plate appearances overall this week. However, this week did mark Lindor’s first home run as a Met. He hit a solo shot off Zach Davies in the first inning of Wednesday’s ballgame that put the Mets on the board in that game. Unfortunately, that detail was all but forgotten because it’s hard to remember the Mets ever led in that game, considering the disastrous innings that followed—a parade of errors and defensive miscues from which Lindor himself was not spared. Outside of Wednesday, when it seemed a scourge had infected the Mets gloves, Lindor’s defense has been everything the Mets hoped it would be. However, expectations of Lindor with the bat are higher than the occasional base knock; all of his hits this week aside from the homer were singles and the solo shot represents his only RBI for the week.
Speaking of high expectations, another positive this week was Michael Conforto breaking out of his slump. He is simply too good of a hitter to be mired in a slump for that long and hopefully this week is the start of a prolonged period of production from the Mets right fielder. Conforto posted a 126 wRC+ in 24 plate appearances this week. He had five hits, three of which went for extra bases, including a solo homer. He also walked three times this week, which is second to Davis for the team lead.
As Conforto’s stock has risen, Dominic Smith—who had been batting in the three hole at times while Conforto was slumping—has seen his stock fall. While Smith had just as many hits as Conforto did this week, all but one of them were singles and he did not work out a single walk this week. All of that adds up to a 48 wRC+ over 21 plate appearances for the week. Smith scored one run and drove in one run this week. Overall, his contact at the plate has been weak and he looks somewhat lost in the batters box right now. Notably, he grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in extra innings in Thursday’s loss. As predicted, it’s also been somewhat of an adventure in left field for Smith, but he’s certainly not alone among his teammates when it comes to shortcomings in the field.
Brandon Nimmo, who had been on fire coming into this week, has also cooled off some. He missed some time with a sore hip and his week was looking pretty grim until Friday night’s game, in which he had a huge day in support of Jacob deGrom. He had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in four runs in total on Friday night. That recused his stat line for the week; he posted a 114 wRC+ over 19 plate appearances overall.
Along with Smith, Jeff McNeil also got a much-needed day off yesterday against the lefty and he has looked like a player in need of a break lately. McNeil also played a key role in the Mets’ disappointing missed opportunity in the tenth inning of Thursday’s game. With a runner on third and nobody out and Dan Winkler struggling with his control (he threw a wild pitch to the batter before and went on to walk two batters to load the bases), McNeil failed to do what he usually does best—make contact. He struck out, stranding the runner on third. McNeil is batted just .214 this week with a 63 wRC+ in 16 plate appearances, which is not ideal for your high-average guy who should be hitting near the top of the order. McNeil is hitting sixth or seventh these days, but much like Conforto, it’s hard to think he’ll stay slumping for long.
Meanwhile the guys who have been getting at-bats to spell the likes of Davis and McNeil have continued to do everything asked of them. Luis Guillorme is never going to give you much power, but he will play good defense and get on base. He has two hits and a walk this week in eight plate appearances. Jonathan Villar did the same in twelve plate appearances this week and also scored a run. Villar also made a perfect relay throw in yesterday’s game to nab Victor Robles at third base—another key defensive play in addition to Almora’s that benefitted Walker in yesterday’s win. The contrast between Wednesday’s game and yesterday’s game in particular demonstrates the necessity of contributions from the likes of Almora, Guillorme, and Villar off the bench.
While James McCann has certainly been a defensive upgrade (particularly with his throwing arm) over his predecessor, he has not hit the ball well as a Met so far. This week, he has a 61 wRC+ in 19 plate appearances. He had three hits this week—all singles—and drove in one run in yesterday’s game. However, he did draw three walks, which means his on-base percentage this week is a respectable .316. He also scored two runs.
Tomás Nido failed to reach base in his five plate appearances this week, but he does deserve some credit for catching Jacob deGrom’s brilliant outing on Friday night. He has demonstrated solid framing skills so far this season and it’s clear deGrom is comfortable throwing to him. It’s possible he may catch a lot of deGrom’s outings moving forward.