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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, July 16-25

A quick review of how the Mets’ position players have fared in the second half so far.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The story of the second half so far has been the realization of the fact that the Mets’ pitching could not carry them forever. With Jacob deGrom sidelined and the Mets having to scramble to fill their innings, the now mostly healthy (with one big exception) position players were going to have to step up and put their hitting shoes on. And as the meter below demonstrates, they have done that. Excluding yesterday’s doubleheader (which will be reflected in next week’s meter), the Mets have gone 5-4 since the All-Star Break and posted a 140 wRC+ as a team—the best mark in baseball over that span. The second half began in grim fashion for the Mets, as they followed up a crushing loss in the last game of the first half with two more bad losses to a bad Pirates team. But after falling behind big early in the finale of that series, the Mets rallied to bail out Taijuan Walker and salvage a victory. They followed that with a rollercoaster of a game in the series opener against the Reds, which they won 15-11. The Mets went on to take two of three from the Reds and two of three from the Blue Jays, winning two series against teams with winning records.

As you can see, there is not much red to be found here, so we’ll start with the big red cross next to Francisco Lindor’s name. Although Lindor’s first half as a whole was certainly not up to expectations, he had been hitting well since June 1 and losing him for 4-6 weeks due to an oblique injury is a huge blow for the Mets on both sides of the ball. Lindor had one hit in three plate appearances before suffering the injury.

Although Lindor is the key player the Mets have lost to injury in the second half, he is not the only one who has hit the IL. Bench mob hero José Peraza was placed on the injured list last week with a fractured middle finger, although it was unclear exactly when he suffered the injury. Peraza went hitless in his three plate appearances before the injury, but did score a run.

The major bright side on the injury front is that although the Mets have lost Lindor and Peraza, they have gained J.D. Davis, who was at long last activated from the injured list after the All-Star Break. Davis has picked up right where he left off before his injury and has been tearing the cover off the ball, posting a 182 wRC+ in 30 plate appearances in the second half so far. He has collected eight hits, two of which were home runs, four walks, five runs scored, and four RBIs.

The headliner of the Mets’ offensive prowess this week has been Pete Alonso, who is absolutely scorching hot right now. Ever since declaring himself the best power hitter in baseball during the Home Run Derby, he has gone out and proven it. He slugged .789 since the All-Star Break and leads the team in hits (14), runs scored (8), RBIs (10), and of course, home runs (5). His 227 wRC+ this week also leads the team among players with more than five plate appearances over this nine-game span. Alonso and his home run horse led the team to victory in the series win over the Blue Jays; home runs from Alonso were responsible for all of the Mets’ runs on Friday night and he slugged a game-tying dinger on Sunday. Alonso also had a three-RBI night in last Monday’s wild victory over the Reds in which he homered to start off the scoring for the Mets and slashed a key RBI single that pulled the Mets within a run in the fourth inning as they climbed back from a massive deficit.

Pete Alonso isn’t the only one hitting though. Pretty much the whole team is hitting! That includes Michael Conforto, who was front and center in the two craziest games the Mets have played so far in the second half. It was Conforto who blasted the go-ahead homer in finale of the series against the Pirates, cementing the Mets’ comeback from a six-run deficit. He also homered twice in the Mets’ 15-11 victory over the Reds. All told, although his batting average is not where you’d like it to be (.212 over these nine games), Conforto has been getting on base, driving in runs, and finally hitting for some power. He posted a 127 wRC+ in 37 plate appearances since the break.

Dominic Smith’s bat was heavily involved in both of those games as well. It was Smith’s RBI double that brought the Mets within a run in their comeback victory against the Pirates last Sunday and it was Smith that scored the go-ahead run on Conforto’s homer. Smith also hit a game-tying homer in the fifth inning of last Monday’s game that knotted the score at seven runs apiece at the time. Smith’s biggest day at the plate so far in the second half though was in the Mets’ 7-0 victory over the Reds on Wednesday, in which he drove in four of those seven runs. His seven total RBIs in this nine-game span are second to Alonso for the team lead. A .257/.316/.486 batting line with a 119 wRC+ will certainly play for Smith.

Brandon Nimmo continues to do, well, Brandon Nimmo things. He walked twelve times in these nine games, which is seven more times than anybody else on the team. A .477 on-base percentage from your leadoff hitter is certainly a good recipe for success. Nimmo is also second to Alonso for the team lead in runs scored with six since the break. He posted a 156 wRC+ in 44 plate appearances.

The fact that all three of the Mets’ starting outfielders are back healthy and are hitting well means that Kevin Pillar, who had been struggling heading into the break, has not seen as much playing time. But boy did he have one big moment in these nine games. After the Mets went ahead in the top of the 11th inning last Monday, it was Pillar who delivered the decisive blow—a three-run shot that put the Mets ahead 14-11 and allowed them room to finally breathe in the bottom of the inning. Pillar had four hits in total in his 13 plate appearances in the second half so far, good for a 130 wRC+.

Although J.D. Davis has returned, Francisco Lindor’s injury has meant Luis Guillorme and Jonathan Villar have both seen plenty of at-bats, sharing time at shortstop and shifting to various other infield positions when needed. Guillorme has been raging hot of late, while Villar’s bat has cooled off some. Guillorme’s ten hits in the second half so far are second only to Alonso for the team lead and even more surprisingly, three of those hits were for extra bases, including a home run in the Mets’ 7-0 victory over the Reds, which was just his second career home run. Guillorme scored three runs and drove in three runs over these nine games in total, posting a 187 wRC+.

Villar, meanwhile, is the lone down arrow on this entire meter, putting up a 68 wRC+ over 31 plate appearances. He still had a relatively productive nine-game stretch, collecting six hits (including one home run), two walks, four runs scored, and three RBIs. But if everyone else continues to hit like this, a slump from Villar is not all that big of a problem. With Lindor sidelined, he remains a key piece of the team moving forward, given his positional flexibility on the infield.

With Lindor and Peraza currently on the injured list, both Travis Blankenhorn and Brandon Drury are back with the team. Blankenhorn had what some might describe as a signature moment last Sunday when he hit a pinch-hit, three run homer in the fourth inning that was arguably the turning point of the game and key to the Mets’ comeback victory. He had two hits in his three plate appearances in total in this nine-game span and both of them were extra base hits. Drury, meanwhile hit a double in his only plate appearance in the second half and went on to score a run.

Even James McCann got in on the hitting bonanza, posting a 117 wRC+ over 23 plate appearances in the second half so far. Pinch hitting for Tomás Nido in the top of the eighth inning in last Monday’s wild contest, McCann hit a go-ahead two-run homer. It was his first home run in the month of July, but it was a huge one. The rest of his five hits in the second half so far have all been singles. He has walked twice, driven in three runs in total, and scored twice.

Speaking of Tomás Nido, he is the only hitter in the lineup besides Villar to earn anything less than an up arrow for this meter. His batting line was a respectable .267/.267/.400 over 15 plate appearances, but the lack of walks make that good for an 81 wRC+ over that span. Nido has scored three runs, but not driven in any yet in the second half. But if the only non-productive bat in your lineup is your backup catcher, you’re in pretty good shape.