Yikes. There’s really not much else to say. This is the ugliest position player meter in some time and that’s even given the fact that the Mets have struggled to score runs all year long. The Mets lost both their series this week, dropping three out of five to the Braves and two out of three to the Reds. They scored just 19 runs over those eight games (2.4 runs per game), which is certainly not going to do it. Their 81 team wRC+ over this span is 25th of the 30 MLB teams. The fact that Brandon Drury is the team’s best hitter right now says a lot about how things are going.
Since he is indeed the bright spot this week, let’s start with Brandon Drury, who has been on an absolute tear. He racked up ten hits in 17 plate appearances this week, which leads the team despite him having far fewer plate appearances than many other players. His five RBIs are second-most on the team and his four runs scored matches the team lead. In Wednesday's 2-1 victory over the Braves, Drury’s pinch hit solo homer was the difference in the game. That was after going 3-for-3 with a homer the day before in the Mets’ 12-5 loss to the Braves. And of course, it was Drury who delivered the walk-off hit against the Reds on Saturday in the bottom of the tenth inning. The Mets will continue to ride this hot streak for as long as it lasts.
Drury will continue to get chances in part because Luis Guillorme somewhat surprisingly landed on the injured list yesterday with a hamstring strain. Guillorme has already spent one significant stint on the injured list with an oblique strain this season. Guillorme had one hit, two walks, and three runs scored in eleven plate appearances this week before being sidelined. This may also mean Travis Blankenhorn, who went 0-for-1 this week before being optioned back to Triple-A, may eventually be back with the big league club again during Guillorme’s absence.
The Mets’ infield picture did change this week with the acquisition of Javier Báez from the Cubs. Báez will be the Mets’ everyday shortstop while Lindor remains sidelined and then will shift to second (or maybe third) base upon Lindor’s return. Báez had just one hit in his first eight plate appearances as a Met, but it was a huge one. In his very first game as a Met on Saturday, he blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth that brought the Mets within a run in a game they went on to walk off in the tenth. As Mets fans have already seen, Báez can be quite the streaky hitter—capable of carrying a team during a hot stretch, but running up the strikeout totals when in a slump. But with his bat also comes premium defense at multiple infield positions. And as Saturday’s home run demonstrates, he fills a crucial role on the Mets by being a punisher of left-handed pitching, something the Mets desperately need.
J.D. Davis used to be one of the few guys on the team that the Mets could use as a weapon against lefties. But that has not been the case this year, even when he was hitting well. Since his brief hot streak immediately after being activated from the injured list, Davis is slumping big time. He has just one hit in 17 plate appearances this week, good for an ugly -55 wRC+. His playing time has greatly suffered as a result, but he may get more chances to claw his way out of poop emoji territory with Guillorme missing some time.
But it is likely Jonathan Villar will continue to see most of the playing time at third base for the time being. Villar has had a strong week with the bat, posting a 120 wRC+ in 25 plate appearances. His seven hits are third-most on the team for the week and his three walks are second-most on the team.
But aside from Brandon Drury, the Mets’ hottest hitter right now is Jeff McNeil, who put up a .391/.417/.783 batting line this week over 24 plate appearances, good for a 220 wRC+. McNeil’s nine hits for the week are just one shy of Drury for the team lead, but his six RBIs lead the team. He also belted two home runs this week and his RBI double was the Mets’ only run in their 1-0 victory over the Braves in the nightcap of Monday’s doublheader—a very positive sign that McNeil’s power is coming back as well. McNeil posted a 154 wRC+ for the month of July, so his hot streak extends far beyond just this week, but this week it stood in stark contrast to some of the Mets’ other starters.
Namely, Michael Conforto is mired in what is really a season-long slump, save for flashes here and there. This week was particularly bad and earned him a poop emoji for his 12 wRC+ over 25 plate appearances, over which he managed just two hits and a walk. Conforto’s only saving grace this week was his game-saving outfield assist in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over the Braves in which he nabbed Abraham Almonte at the plate carrying the game-tying run with Edwin Díaz on the mound. I considered giving him a down arrow instead of a poop emoji for the week just because of that play alone because it truly was spectacular and saved the game for the Mets, but Conforto simply looks lost at the plate right now and I don’t want to sugarcoat that. His batting average for the year has now dipped under .200.
James McCann deserves kudos for executing the other half of that game-saving play on Wednesday with a perfect tag to nab Almonte. It’s been an otherwise unremarkable week for McCann, who notched four hits—all singles—and a walk in 17 plate appearances, good for a 58 wRC+. Tomás Nido fared even worse this week with just two hits—both singles—in 14 plate appearances. His bat has unfortunately taken a sharp downturn in the second half thus far.
Dominic Smith posted just a 73 wRC+ in 24 plate appearances this week, but it was his RBI single that tied the game in the ninth inning in the Mets’ come from behind victory on Saturday, so he avoids the red arrow for that. It was one of two RBIs for Smith this week and one of five total hits.
Kevin Pillar continues to struggle with the bat as well, collecting just two hits and a run scored over 15 plate appearances this week. I could have justifiably given him the poop emoji as well for his -27 wRC+ to total three on the board for this week, but this meter is depressing enough. Notably, none of the struggling Mets are even managing to reach base via the walk, which is something that Francisco Lindor managed to do, even when he couldn’t buy a hit.
The only player who continues to draw walks is Brandon Nimmo, unsurprisingly. He leads the team with five walks this week and shares the team lead with Drury for runs scored with four. Nimmo also collected four hits this week, three of them singles, which is good for a 113 wRC+ in 22 plate appearances this week. His bat has cooled down a little bit of late, but a .409 on-base percentage will certainly play. Unfortunately, Nimmo felt a “pinch” in his hamstring following the Mets’ 6-2 loss to the Reds on Friday night, but it does not seem like it is severe enough to land him on the injured list. That’s a good thing for the Mets, who desperately need his on-base skills at the top of the order if they can hope to generate any run production at all, even if Nimmo’s power has still not yet come around this season the way McNeil’s has of late.
Speaking of cooling off, Pete Alonso unfortunately goes from a fireball to a down arrow this week, posting just a 49 wRC+ in 31 plate appearances. His only home run this week came in Thursday’s loss; it was a two-run shot in the fifth inning that brought the Mets within two at the time. He has just one other RBI, one other runs scored, and four other hits for the week. He also walked twice. Hopefully this is just a blip for the Polar Bear and he maintains his red hot second half.