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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, August 16-22

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

New York Mets v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Mets managed just two wins over their seven-game West Coast road trip against the Giants and the Dodgers. As a team, they posted just an 81 wRC+ over that span, which is 20th in baseball. Once again, almost all of the games were close and the Mets’ failures were primarily due to their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Illustrative of this is the fact that over this seven-game stretch, Mets hitters rank 28th in baseball in Win Probability Added, ahead of only the Orioles (you know, the team in the midst of an 18-game losing streak) and the Marlins. The only consistent hitters in the lineup in the second half have been Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo with others having the stray good week here or there and this week’s meter shows that.

Although the Mets did get Javier Báez back this week (and he immediately made an impact) and Francisco Lindor should follow soon, they lost both of their catchers to injury this week. And the returns of Báez and Lindor are likely too little too late for the Mets, who are now seven games back of the first place Braves in the NL East. They have lost eleven games in the standings since July 31.

We’ll start positive since there’s so little positivity to be found here. Pete Alonso continues to have a good second half and earns a fireball this week for posting a 208 wRC+ over 31 plate appearances. He’s more or less carrying the entire offense right now; his eight RBIs and seven runs scored this week both lead the team and he is the only Met with multiple home runs this week (he has three). You can even add his first triple of the year to Alonso’s list of accomplishments this week; that happened in Monday’s game and was a game-tying RBI hit.

Pretty much the only other recurring positive in the position player meter these days is Brandon Nimmo, who continues to look, well, like Brandon Nimmo. His three walks lead the team this week and so do his ten hits. His .394 on-base percentage for the week is second only to Alonso among players with double-digit plate appearances over that span. Overall, he posted a 139 wRC+ with five runs scored (second only to Alonso) for the week. He had just one RBI this week and that came on a solo homer in Saturday’s game, which got the Mets on the board in that contest. It was just his fourth home run of the year; power is the one department where Nimmo has been lacking this season.

Another bright spot on this week’s meter is J.D. Davis having his second strong week in a row with the bat. He put up a .333/.367/.481 slash line with a 130 wRC+ over 30 plate appearances this week. His nine hits match Alonso for second-most on the team behind Nimmo and his six RBIs are second to Alonso for the team lead. No one else drove in more than three runs this week. The biggest of those six RBIs actually came on a sacrifice fly. That sac fly tied the game in the ninth inning on Wednesday and the Mets went on to win the game in extras.

Of course the biggest hit in that extra-inning win that kept the Mets from being swept in San Francisco belongs to Kevin Pillar, who smacked a three-run homer in the twelfth inning that put the Mets ahead, ultimately for good. It was one of only two hits Pillar would have this week in twelve plate appearances, but he avoids the down arrow for simply being the key player in one of the only two games the Mets won this week.

Michael Conforto also had a big hit in Wednesday’s victory; his RBI double to score the free base runner put the Mets ahead in the eleventh inning—a lead they would eventually relinquish again in the bottom of the frame. It was an otherwise mediocre week for Conforto though. He posted an 80 wRC+ in 28 plate appearances, collecting five hits and three walks. That double on Wednesday was his only RBI hit this week. He also scored a run.

Newest Mets position player Chance Sisco added to the lead after Pillar’s homer in the twelfth on Wednesday with an RBI double, which represents his only hit in four plate appearances this week. Sisco is on the roster because the Mets have lost both Tomás Nido (sprained thumb) and James McCann (back spasms) to injury this week. Sisco was claimed off waivers from the Orioles on June 25 and was called up from Triple-A this week to help the Mets out in their hour of need at the catching position.

Patrick Mazeika has been serving as the starting catcher and Marcus Stroman in particular has gone out of his way to sing Mazeika’s praises for how well he’s learned the starting staff in such a short period of time. Mazeika has filled in okay with the bat as well. His 56 wRC+ for this week is not all that great, but a .222 batting average is essentially what the Mets were getting out of the catching position already. He collected four hits this week (all singles), walked twice, and scored two runs in 21 plate appearances.

Although the Mets lost two position players to injury this week, they did get Javier Báez back from the injured list. Báez started at shortstop in yesterday’s game and immediately made an impact, doubling in Brandon Nimmo in the first inning to put the Mets on the board early and starting what ended up to be a big inning for the Mets. Báez reached base three times yesterday. He doubled in the seventh and scored on a home run from J.D. Davis and he was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning. To be fair, he also grounded into a double play in yesterday’s game. But it was pretty clear that Báez was missed in the lineup and even if getting to finally see the double play combo of Báez and Lindor will come too late to save the Mets’ season, it will at least make the games more watchable moving forward.

Speaking of things that are not watchable, Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith both remain mired in horrific slumps. Smith had just one hit in 22 plate appearances this week, good for a -77 wRC+ and a poop emoji. His only RBI for the week came on a sacrifice fly in Monday’s loss, which did put the Mets ahead at the time, but that was essentially the extent of his production this week. To be fair, Smith has been playing through some soreness in his wrist and groin, but has downplayed it, saying, “I’m not here to make excuses.” He is right when he says that guys play through things all season—likely a lot that we are never made aware of. But what he is dealing with is clearly affecting his performance.

As for McNeil, he is a guy that wears his emotions on his sleeve on the field, but we saw that completely boil over in Friday’s game when he was called out on strikes with the potential tying runs in scoring position on a pitch that was clearly inside. McNeil bellowed, tossed his bat in frustration, and continued to bark at the umpire from the dugout long after the fact. It was indicative of how things have gone for McNeil lately and really how they have gone the whole season for him. McNeil posted a 23 wRC+ in 31 plate appearances this week. He had just four hits, but three of them went for extra bases. His only RBI this week came on a groundout in yesterday’s game, but he scored three runs this week.

Luckily Javy Báez’s return might mean some much-needed rest for Jonathan Villar, who had been playing shortstop every day in Báez’s absence and has seen his production at the plate drop off a bit this week. Villar posted a 71 wRC+ over 29 plate appearances. His six hits for the week are the third-most on the team, but five of them were singles. His only extra-base hit this week was a two-run homer in Monday’s game that brought the Mets within two runs in the eighth inning. That also was his only run scored for the week, but he did have three RBIs in total this week; his other RBI came on a single as part of the Mets’ big first inning in yesterday’s game.

The Mets’ bench players, Travis Blankenhorn and Brandon Drury did not have a good showing this week. Drury had just one hit (a single) in four plate appearances and Blankenhorn failed to reach base in any of his five plate appearances this week.