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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, September 20-26

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

New York Mets v Boston Red Sox Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

To say the Mets’ performance over the past week has been uninspired is probably too kind, but it’s the best descriptor I can think of without resorting to much saltier language. After the Subway Series, the team emerged flat against the Cardinals and seems to have phoned it in since. A Mets team that spent the majority of the season in first place eliminated itself from playoff contention officially this week after playing like a last place team for the better part of two months. The Mets will not finish in last place in the NL East. In fact, they have locked themselves into third place in the division; that will be the result regardless of whether they win out the rest of the season or lose out. But that is an extremely disappointing result for a team that should have contended. And instead of fighting to the bitter end, the Mets rolled over. They didn’t win a single one of their five games this week. And quite frankly, this team isn’t fun to watch right now and is even less fun to write about.

I’ll start with the tiny silver linings, such as I can find them. Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo continue to be the only consistent offensive performers, week in and week out. They are the only two who I give green arrows to more often than not in 2021 and this week is no exception. Alonso is the team leader this week in wRC+ with a 147 over 21 plate appearances this week. He has just three hits this week, but two of them are home runs and he also walked three times, which leads the team. He also leads the team in runs scored with four and is one of only three Mets this week to drive in multiple runs (he has two RBIs this week), which says more about the team than it does about Alonso, but I’m grasping at straws here.

Nimmo is not far behind Alonso for the team lead in wRC+, posting a mark of 141 over 23 plate appearances this week. Nimmo is the team leader in hits this week with seven—two of them extra-base hits. He also scored two runs and walked once this week. He didn’t drive in any runs, but that’s par for the course, given this team’s performance with runners in scoring position and he’s also resumed his duties as leadoff hitter, for which a .391 on-base percentage will play.

Speaking of Nimmo resuming his duties as the Mets’ leadoff hitter, I’ve finally dropped the poop emoji on Jonathan Villar, who has been dreadful for a good few weeks now and has fallen out of favor for the leadoff role as a result. This poop emoji is a somewhat cumulative effect, but a -9 wRC+ over 17 plate appearances certainly warrants one all on its own. Villar has two hits (both singles) and a walk this week with no run production to speak of. He’s also not distinguished himself in the field of late—something that had been a strength of his at other points of the year. The problem is that the Mets can’t exactly bench him because J.D. Davis was struggling just as much, if not more (hitless with two walks, a run scored, and an RBI over eight plate appearances this week), and then he hit the injured list again with a recurrence of his left hand sprain, which ended his season. It’s been a lot season for J.D. Davis, who started off strong, but never seemed to really find it again after getting injured initially and was likely battling through injuries the whole time.

Speaking of lost seasons, after small encouraging signs from Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil last week, both of them are back in the red again.

...if there is anything positive to take away from this meter it’s that Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith are looking a little closer to themselves—hopefully a little nugget of optimism the Mets can take away into the offseason if their hot streaks persist.

I wrote the above in last week’s meter and now I sit laughing. Ron Howard voiceover: Their hot streaks did not persist. How naïve of you, last week Allison. How ignorant. Over 12 plate appearances this week, McNeil posted a .250/.250/.333 slash line with a 60 wRC+. He had three hits—two of them singles—and one RBI. Meanwhile, Smith went hitless over his four plate appearances this week.

Smith continues to get passed over for playing time in favor of Kevin Pillar, who has at least been respectable at the plate lately. This week, he collected three base hits and a walk in ten plate appearances, good for a 114 wRC+. He also drove in a run this week. Albert Almora Jr. had been serving as the Mets’ fifth outfielder and was mostly being used as a pinch runner and late-inning defensive replacement, getting the occasional pinch hitting appearance. After not appearing in a game this week, Almora was designated for assignment when Sean Reid-Foley was activated from the 60-day injured list.

The only other green to be found on this meter belongs to Javier Báez, who has been the other bright spot along with Alonso and Nimmo since being traded to the Mets. Báez posted a 114 wRC+ this week over 19 plate appearances and is one of the three players who drove in multiple runs this week. In fact, he shares the team lead in RBIs with three for the week, which says a lot about how the Mets performed offensively as a whole. His six hits (all but one of them singles) are second to Nimmo for the team lead this week. Báez also walked once, scored two runs, and stole a base this week.

The third player besides Báez and Alonso to drive in multiple runs this week is Francisco Lindor, who shares the team lead in RBIs with Báez. Although Lindor batted a meager .211 this week over 21 plate appearances, half of his four hits went for extra bases, which means he put up a decent 95 wRC+ over that span. He hit a solo homer in yesterday’s game, making him the only player on the team besides Alonso to homer this week. He also walked twice and scored two runs. It remains to be seen whether Báez and Lindor will be the Mets’ middle infield combo for years to come.

As he plays perhaps his final games as a Met, Michael Conforto had a mediocre (but not awful) week this week. Over 16 plate appearances, he posted an 83 wRC+. He collected four hits, three of them singles, one walk, two runs scored, and an RBI. The 2020 partial season aside, Conforto followed up three seasons from 2017-2019 when he hit 27, 28, and 33 home runs with a full season where he hit just 12 home runs. Conforto’s ISO for the season now stands at a staggering, almost unfathomable career low of .142. In all likelihood, the Mets will still give Conforto a qualifying offer, thinking it’s impossible that this is the player he is now, rather than what he has shown the rest of his career. But it remains unclear whether he will take it. If he does not, it’s unfortunate that his Mets career will end this way, after building an otherwise solid early career. It is likely to cost him in free agency, if he chooses that route.

The Mets’ catching duo put forth another poor week offensively. James McCann collected just two singles and a walk in 13 plate appearances, good for a 20 wRC+. He scored one run and drove in one run and, somehow, improbably, stole a base in Tuesday’s game. Meanwhile, a single over eight plate appearances is the total of Tomás Nido’s production this week.

José Peraza and Luis Guillorme went hitless over their combined seven plate appearances this week, but Guillorme did drive in a (meaningless) run in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game via a groundout.