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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, August 9-15

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

Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Mets played to an even .500 record this week, sweeping the Nationals after some rain gummed up the works, but then being swept in kind by the Dodgers. The Nationals series was encouraging; the bats seemed to wake up a bit from their deep slumber. And in the first game of the Dodgers series, the Mets came from behind and showed some fight, only to be felled in extra innings. But the final two games of the Dodgers series were backbreaking—the bats failed to provide Taijuan Walker with any run support and then the Mets were totally outclassed in the final game of the series. And that’s all notwithstanding the fact that the Mets continue to struggle mightily with runners in scoring position. The Mets have arrived on the West Coast weary and now in the thick of their toughest stretch of the season and one is left to wonder how much of this meter (somewhat improved over the past couple of weeks) is a mirage of having faced a decimated Nationals team early in the week.

On paper, this meter does not look that much better than last week’s. But it actually is better if you look more closely because several of the “regulars” have improved and most of the persistent down arrows are bench players. However, there are exceptions to this. One is Jeff McNeil, who posted a 29 wRC+ in 24 plate appearances this week. However, the few hits he has had this week have been pretty big ones and for that reason he shares the team lead this week with four RBIs. One of those came in Tuesday’s rollercoaster victory and another two came in the Mets’ big seventh inning comeback on Friday night. McNeil is one player that’s been notably hitting into some hard outs as well, but the fact remains that four hits (all singles) and two walks in 24 plate appearances for the week is not going to get it done.

James McCann has been even less productive and is the other major exception to the “regulars improving” theme to this week’s meter. McCann earns his second straight poop emoji in a row for his -32 wRC+ in 17 plate appearances this week. His total production this week was two singles, a walk, and an RBI. That RBI came on a groundout in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader. Usually this would earn Tomás Nido more playing time, but he’s been almost just as bad with the bat. Nido had just one hit in his seven plate appearances this week. But he did steal a base—a pretty improbable feat.

Probably the most important improvement for the Mets offensively this week was that Pete Alonso has turned his fortunes around—at least for the moment. He posted a .320/.370/.600 batting line and a 154 wRC+ in 27 plate appearances this week. It was a big week for the Polar Bear. He had the second-most hits (8) and runs scored (5) on the team this week. Alonso secured the doubleheader sweep of the Nationals on Thursday with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning off Kyle Finnegan. He also came sliding home on a passed ball to score the tying run in the Mets’ big seventh inning on Friday night. His RBI double in the seventh inning on Tuesday brought the Mets within a run in that comeback victory. The Mets desperately need Alonso to rake during this stretch if they can have any hope of keeping the season afloat.

The team leader in both hits (9) and runs scored (7) for this week is Michael Conforto, who earns a fireball for his 219 wRC+ in 21 plate appearances this week. He also shares the lead with McNeil and Brandon Nimmo in RBIs with four. Conforto was responsible for all of the Mets’ scoring on Saturday with his fourth inning game-tying solo homer. Unfortunately, his run production other than that was mostly limited to RBI groundouts, but overall the numbers are certainly encouraging. And a .476 on-base percentage is certainly something the Mets will take from Conforto at this point.

J.D. Davis, now playing nearly every day now that Javier Báez is officially on the injured list with back spasms, also had a strong week. He posted a 154 wRC+ over 23 plate appearances. In addition to his six hits this week (half of which were for extra bases), he walked four times, which matches Brandon Nimmo for the team lead. He contributed a game-tying double in Tuesday’s back-and-forth contest and another RBI double put the Mets on the board in Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader. He also scored two runs this week.

With Báez out and Lindor still working his way back, Jonathan Villar’s role on the team now becomes vital as basically the only player on the roster that can play shortstop, except on an emergency basis. And Villar has delivered this week with the bat, to the tune of a .400/.455/.550 slash line with a 178 wRC+ over 23 plate appearances this week. His eight hits this week matches Alonso for second-most on the team and he has played a solid shortstop in Lindor/Báez/Guillorme’s absence. His sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning on Tuesday forced a throwing error that scored the tying run and he went on to score the go-ahead run on Brandon Drury’s RBI single. Villar’s solo homer in Game 2 on Thursday also lengthened the Mets’ lead in that game, which they would turn out to need every bit of. Villar’s RBI groundout also brought the Mets within a run on Friday in the tenth inning, but sadly they fell just short of a second comeback.

Speaking of Brandon Drury, sadly that eighth inning go-head RBI single on Tuesday represented his only hit for the week, albeit it was a huge one for the Mets. Otherwise, Drury did not reach base in his five plate appearances this week. As the Mets continue to be short-handed on their bench, Drury will be relied upon for his positional versatility.

As usual, Brandon Nimmo leads the team in walks this week, although not by as much of a margin as usual; he shares the team lead with Davis with four walks. He is also one of three Mets to drive in four runs this week. Three of those four RBIs came in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, in which Nimmo was responsible for basically all of the offense in that victory. He hit a three-run homer in the second inning (just his third home run of the year) and an RBI single that plated an insurance run in the fourth inning. Otherwise, he collected four more hits for the week and scored five runs in total. Overall, he posted a 117 wRC+ for the week.

In contrast to his other outfield teammates, Dominic Smith continues to struggle. He collected five hits (one of which was an extra base hit) and a walk in 22 plate appearances this week, good for a 57 wRC+. His only extra base hit was an RBI hit—a run-scoring double that got the Mets on the board in Tuesday’s game. His other RBI this week was also one that started the scoring for the Mets. In the seventh inning on Friday, his RBI single drove in Conforto and got the Mets’ game-tying rally going. But that’s essentially it this week for Smith, who like many of his teammates, has struggled to hit the fastball.

Kevin Pillar continues to be nothing short of dreadful with the bat off the bench. The only reason why he does not earn a poop emoji for the second straight week is because he only had four plate appearances. He did not reach base in any of them. Albert Almora Jr. also saw a few plate appearances this week in a backup/pinch hitting role and reached base once via a walk. Almora was optioned back to Triple-A on Saturday in favor of an extra bullpen arm, leaving the Mets short on the bench.

After Javy Báez was placed on the IL, Travis Blankenhorn was called up from Triple-A to give the team some infield help. He had one hit this week in three plate appearances, which came with one out in the eighth inning of what was a tie game at the time on Friday night. Unfortunately, he was subsequently picked off first base, ending the inning, which is something that cannot happen when you are carrying the go-ahead run that late in the game.