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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, August 23-29

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

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Mets capped off their tough August stretch of the schedule by being swept by the Giants and then losing the first game of their weekend series to the Nationals before bouncing back to take the final two games in that series—the latter of the two in convincing fashion. All of the losses except Tuesday’s blowout were one-run losses, which continues to underscore the team-wide problem of a failed approach at the plate. Of course discourse about booing and thumbs down gestures drowned out any discussion of the victories or signs of life from the offense over the weekend. This ugly hitting meter doesn’t look too different from most of the meters we’ve seen this year; Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso continue to be the only consistent offensive performers on the team. This week, the wrinkle is that our -illars had themselves a very nice week.

So let’s start with the -illars, shall we? Kevin Pillar was a big part of Saturday’s victory, launching two solo homers that brought the Mets back from a 2-0 deficit. Those were two of his three hits for the week in eleven plate appearances, but in addition to driving in those two runs, he scored four times and stole a base. Meanwhile, Jonathan Villar was right in the middle of the Mets’ big sixth inning on Sunday, hitting a two-run homer that stretched the Mets’ lead from two runs to four runs. Despite having fewer plate appearances than most of the regulars, Villar shares the team lead in hits this week with eight in 18 plate appearances—a 318 wRC+. Villar leads the team by far this week in fWAR with 0.5. He and Pillar share the team lead in runs scored for the week with four apiece. For this, our -illars earn twin fireballs for this week. It is worth noting that this is perhaps an indirect effect of getting the starting players back from injury; when your bench players aren’t forced into the role of an everyday player, they are less exposed.

The other player other than Villar with eight hits this week is predictably Pete Alonso, who posted a 127 wRC+ over 26 plate appearances this week. Arguably his biggest hit this week was his only home run—a monstrous game-tying two-run shot in the sixth inning of Thursday’s game that went sailing over the left field foul pole and hit the glass facing of the club seats. His only other RBI this week came in Sunday’s game—an RBI single that put the Mets ahead by two in the fifth. Unusually, of his eight hits, his home run this week was his only extra-base hit and it also represented his only run scored. But Alonso also walked twice and it’s hard to quibble with one of the only consistently good hitters on the team. It’s not likely the lack of extra-base hits will be a pattern.

Of course, one of the only other hitters on the team this week to log an above average wRC+ was Brandon Nimmo (125 wRC+ in 27 plate appearances). His six hits this week—all singles—are second to Alonso and Villar for the team lead. And he of course leads the team in walks (4), like he does almost every week. Nimmo also stole a base this week. Although Nimmo continues to do his job as a leadoff hitter by getting on base (.444 OBP this week), no one is driving him in and his hits are not coming in RBI situations. He didn’t score any runs this week and didn’t drive any in either, which is not entirely his fault, but is indicative of a lot of the issues with the team right now.

Rounding out the above-average hitters for this week is Javier Báez, who posted a 106 wRC+ 24 plate appearances this week. Although he hit just .217 for the week (and continues to strike out a lot, as advertised), three of his five hits were for extra bases this week, including two home runs. His solo homer in the series opener against the Nationals represented the Mets only run on Friday and his two-run shot in the fourth inning on Sunday put the Mets ahead, ultimately for good. Those were his three RBIs for the week and he also walked once and scored three runs in total. The return of Francisco Lindor has also meant that Báez has moved to second base and we’ve already seen flashes of his exceptional defense at that position as well.

Speaking of the return of Francisco Lindor, he was activated from the injured list before Tuesday’s game. Perhaps suffering from a lack of rehab games, Lindor posted a 20 wRC+ in his first week back from the injured list. He collected four hits, half of which were for extra bases. He scored a run and drove in two runs, both of which came on an RBI double in Sunday’s game. He did also steal two bases this week, something the Mets will be looking for him to do more moving forward.

This has all meant less playing time for the struggling Jeff McNeil, who had just twelve plate appearances this week, over which he put up a 39 wRC+. He collected three hits—all singles—and scored a run this week. That run scored came in Saturday’s game when McNeil scored on the go-ahead homer by Michael Conforto.

Speaking of Michael Conforto, that go-ahead three-run he hit in the seventh inning on Saturday was possibly the biggest hit by any Met this week, so it helps him avoid the down arrow despite a mediocre 76 wRC+ in 18 plate appearances this week. Conforto had just two hits total this week, but he walked three times, which is more than anyone else on the Mets besides Nimmo (and it matches Villar’s total). The three-run homer represented all of Conforto’s RBIs for the week, but he scored three runs in total—the other two came in Wednesday’s and Sunday’s games.

Dominic Smith posted a similarly mediocre 81 wRC+ this week in 13 plate appearances this week. Smith drove in two runs this week. The first was on a go-ahead double in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s loss, which drove in Conforto. The other was an RBI single that was a part of the Mets’ big sixth inning on Sunday. Smith walked once and also scored a run this week. Although this week is an improvement on last week’s poop emoji, Smith continues to struggle.

Tomás Nido came off the injured list briefly this week, only to be placed back on the injured list today, still dealing with his sprained thumb. He had one hit in two plate appearances during his brief return. In the meantime, with James McCann still on the injured list as well, Patrick Mazeika has been serving as the every day catcher and has struggled with the bat. He had just one hit and one walk in 16 plate appearances last week. He came around to score on his leadoff walk in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game, which was his only run scored for the week. Chance Sisco appeared in one game this week, but did not have a plate appearance, so he does not appear on this meter. He’s been called back up to back up Mazeika with Nido returning to the injured list.

Both J.D. Davis and Brandon Drury struggled mightily with the bat this week. Davis had just one hit in his ten plate appearances and did not score or drive in any runs. Drury failed to reach base in any of his five plate appearances this week, continuing his tumble from pinch hitting weapon to his roster spot being in jeopardy.