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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, September 6-12

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

MLB: New York Yankees at New York Mets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It was an extremely dramatic week of games for the New York Mets, who went 3-4 over seven games this week. The week began with a backbreaking loss to the Nationals that turned what could have been a feel-good four out of five from the Nationals into a much more pedestrian series result. Then, the Mets dropped two of three to the other team fighting for the basement in the NL East: the Miami Marlins. But, the weekend brought the Subway Series filled with fireworks, in which the Mets took two out of three from the Yankees and also scored runs in droves across all three games. As a result, despite the midweek lull the bats experienced in Wednesday and Thursday’s losses, overall the position player meter—led by the duo of Francisco Lindor and Javier Báez, who carried the team on their back this week—is a positive picture. The Mets are currently five games back of the first place Braves in the NL East and three games back of the second wild card in the National League.

Let’s start with the dynamic duo of Francisco Lindor and Javier Báez, shall we? Both earn fireballs this week and for Báez, it’s his second fireball in a row. Báez leads the team in hits this week with twelve—the only player to log double digit hits for the week. He is also the team leader in wRC+ among players with ten plate appearances or more (235 wRC+ in 30 plate appearances for the week). He also shares the team lead with Lindor with eight runs scored and leads the team in stolen bases with three this week. Báez is one of three Mets to hit multiple home runs this week; he homered in Thursday’s loss and in Saturday’s loss. It’s true that in Saturday’s loss, his play in the field was also costly for the Mets, but it’s hard to argue he hasn’t made up for it with the bat this week. He drove in five runs in total this week; in addition to his two home runs, he had two RBIs in Friday’s lopsided victory over the Yankees. Báez now holds a .306/.364/.586 batting line with a 157 wRC+ in 121 plate appearances as a Met.

As for Francisco Lindor, he earns the fireball on the basis of his performance in yesterday’s game alone, in which his three home runs, including the decisive, go-ahead homer in the eighth inning, carried the Mets to a dramatic victory in the Subway Series finale. It was indisputably Lindor’s best day as a Met and one of the best games of the entire 2021 season period. Thanks mostly to his five RBIs yesterday, Lindor leads the team in RBIs this week with eight in total for the week. He also shares the team lead with Báez with eight runs scored for the week. His seven hits are tied for second-most on the team to Báez’s twelve. Lindor is also the team leader in walks this week with six and of course, his four home runs for the week lead the team as well. Overall, he posted a 195 wRC+ in 33 plate appearances this week. Lindor accrued 0.5 fWAR this week alone and Báez accrued 0.6 fWAR—far more than anybody else—indicative of how much they really carried the team this week.

But Lindor and Báez certainly aren’t the only positive performances to speak of this week. Pete Alonso continues to be consistent week in and week out. Alonso is second to Lindor for the team lead in both home runs (3) and RBIs (6) this week. Two of those three home runs came in Tuesday’s victory over the Marlins and the first of them was his 100th career home run. With it, he became the second-fastest player in MLB history to reach 100 home runs. His first home run this week came in Monday’s game and it was a go-ahead shot—his 30th bomb of the season. Overall, Alonso posted a 136 wRC+ in 32 plate appearances this week. Of Pete’s six hits this week, five of them went for extra bases. He also walked three times and scored four runs this week.

Since Brandon Nimmo hit the injured list with a hamstring strain (he could return as soon as this week), Jonathan Villar has been serving as the Mets’ leadoff hitter most days. Last week, that was really working, as Villar earned the fireball for his hot week. But unfortunately, Villar’s bat has cooled off this week. He logged just four hits in 30 plate appearances this week. He did also walk four times, which is part of a three-way tie for second-most on the team, but still a .267 on-base percentage for your leadoff hitter is not ideal. All four of Villar’s hits this week were singles, good for a 32 wRC+ for the week. He drove in one run and stole two bases this week.

Meanwhile, J.D. Davis continues to not get many opportunities, due to a combination of Villar playing every day and continuing to play through nagging injury. But this week, he has done well with the opportunities he’s been given. Davis has a walk and three hits in eight plate appearances across five games this week with one RBI—a double in Tuesday’s victory.

In Nimmo’s absence, Kevin Pillar has been playing close to every day and like Villar, that was working out well last week when he earned himself a fireball, but his bat too has cooled this week. Pillar posted a 76 wRC+ in 27 plate appearances this week. Pillar collected four hits—three of them singles—one walk, three RBIs, and three runs scored over that span. Like much of the roster, most of that production came over the weekend; Pillar contributed a sac fly to Friday’s victory and an RBI single in Saturday’s game. Albert Almora Jr. continues to serve as a late-inning defensive replacement in the outfield and pinch runner; he appeared in four games this week, but did not log any plate appearances.

Perhaps somewhat lost amidst Lindor and Báez’s monster weeks is the fact that Michael Conforto continues to quietly turn it around, earning his second straight up arrow in a row this week for his 115 wRC+ over 32 plate appearances. Along with Lindor and McNeil, Conforto notched seven hits this week, which is the second-most on the team. He is also in a three-way tie for second-most walks on the team this week with four. Conforto’s one home run this week was a game-tying shot in Wednesday’s tough extra inning loss. That represented one of his three RBIs this week; the other two were a bases loaded walk in Thursday’s game and an RBI single in the first inning of yesterday’s game that got the Mets on the board. In addition, Conforto featured some stellar defensive play in the outfield this week.

Another player that had a huge weekend against the Yankees is James McCann, who contributed in all three games of the Subway Series. McCann notched a hit and collected two RBIs in Friday’s victory. On Saturday of course, it was McCann who launched the go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning before the Yankees took the lead again in the eighth. In that same game, McCann also hit a triple—his first of the year. Of McCann’s five hits this week, three went for extra bases. Then in yesterday’s game, McCann walked twice and drove in a run via a sacrifice fly. Overall, McCann put up a 149 wRC+ in 24 plate appearances for the week. His six RBIs match Alonso for second-most on the team this week. McCann is also part of the trio of players to walk four times this week.

Patrick Mazeika continues to serve as the backup catcher, as Tomás Nido rehabs his thumb injury in the minor leagues. Mazeika went hitless this week in five plate appearances across two games with a run scored in Tuesday’s game after reaching on a fielding error by Joe Panik.

It’s been a better week than most for Jeff McNeil, whose .292 batting average for the week is closer to what one would expect out of him. He is part of the trio with Lindor and Conforto to log seven hits this week, but unlike the other two, just one of those seven hits was an extra base hit. McNeil also walked only once this week, so all of that adds up to a somewhat pedestrian 95 wRC+ for the week, but given McNeil’s struggles, that is an improvement. McNeil scored four runs and drove in one this week, but his RBI this week was a dramatic one. With the bases loaded in Friday’s big third inning against the Yankees, McNeil executed a perfect drag bunt that helped provide the spark plug for the inning.

Dominic Smith is the regular who struggled the most this week. I almost slapped a poop emoji on him, but usually I reserve that for sample sizes larger than ten plate appearances, which is how many Smith logged this week. Over those ten plate appearances, he went hitless, but he did walk twice and score a run. Still, the Mets are going to need more out of him if they can hope to snag a playoff berth, even given his reduced playing time with McNeil’s shift to the outfield.

That leaves Luis Guillorme, who is the bench mob compliment to Albert Almora for the infield—mostly serving as a late-inning defensive replacement (although that is less necessary for the infield than the outfield), pinch hitter, and pinch runner these days. Guillorme had just two plate appearances this week across two games and reached base once via a walk in Wednesday’s game.