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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, August 30-September 5

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

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Is this—dare I say it—the best position player meter of the 2021 season? Amazin’ Avenue readers, I think it might be. Of course, that bar is not high. But the Mets’ offense woke up in a big way this week, breaking out for double digit runs two different times over the weekend. The Mets started off the week by sweeping the Marlins and then won the first two games of their series against the Nationals (the day game of Saturday’s doubleheader in rollercoaster fashion) before finally having their winning streak snapped in the nightcap on Saturday. However, that would be the only loss for the Mets this week, as they bounced back on Sunday to win again thanks to a huge ninth inning from the bats. We all know how the Nationals series ended yesterday, but that will be reflected in next week’s meter.

At first glance, this meter does not look as stellar as I advertise, due to the relative lack of green hue. However, if you look more closely, you will see THREE fireballs and either fireballs or up arrows from almost every Mets regular. About half of the red hue on this meter comes from the catching position alone and none of the Mets’ catchers individually amassed that many at-bats this week due to injuries, re-injuries, and activations. So really, this is a good meter. I promise.

*Please note: Some of these statistics may be off because technically none of the stats from Tuesday’s resumption of the suspended game count toward players’ stats for this week. They count as stats from April 11. But I am discussing that game as a game that happened this week because, well, it did happen this week. Baseball!

So let’s start with the catching position since that represents so much of the chaos on this meter. Tomás Nido was activated from the injured list last Friday only to be put on it again on Tuesday with a recurrence of his left thumb sprain, which he must have reaggravated in his first game back. Meanwhile, James McCann remained on the IL with back spasms, so Chance Sisco was recalled from Triple-A to back up Patrick Mazeika, who had taken on primary catching duties for the Mets. Sisco went hitless in the one game he appeared in this week (Friday) and was involved in a nasty collision at home plate with Andrew Stevenson that left him banged up. As a result, with their hand now forced, the Mets activated McCann from the IL, perhaps slightly earlier than they planned, to catch the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. McCann went hitless in his three plate appearances in that game. Mazeika caught the other five games for the Mets this week and collected three hits in 15 plate appearances with a 26 wRC+. He scored one run and drove in two runs this week. The second of his two RBIs was a sacrifice fly that snapped a 6-6 tie in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game. The Mets would later go on to put up a six-run ninth inning to pad their lead, but that run ended up being the game-winner, if you’re a person that looks at things with that sort of lens.

Got that all straight? Good. Now let’s move on to the players who are hitting the cover off the ball this week and there are several. This week began with Javier Báez singling in the ninth inning to drive in the run that brought the Mets within a run and then speeding around the bases and scoring from first with the winning run in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader—a storybook ending to the “thumbs down” story arc. And Báez has not stopped hitting since. Overall this week, he posted a 220 wRC+ in 23 plate appearances. He leads the team with seven runs scored this week and his eight hits are tied for second-most on the team. Half of those eight hits went for extra bases, including two home runs—one in the day game of Saturday’s doubleheader and one on Sunday—that represent his other RBIs for the week other than the aforementioned ninth-inning RBI single on Tuesday.

Usually when we’re talking about Mets with multi-homer weeks, the list is limited to Pete Alonso and maybe one other player. This week, five Mets, including Báez, hit multiple home runs this week and (somehow) none of them are Pete Alonso. Francisco Lindor is one of those individuals. After the Nationals clawed all the way back from a 9-0 deficit in the day game of Saturday’s doubleheader (more on that disaster in the pitching meter to come), Francisco Lindor’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth won the game for the Mets. Lindor drove in six runs in total this week; his other home run was a solo shot that got the Mets’ big ninth inning going on Sunday and he hit a game-tying RBI double in the fourth inning of Thursday’s victory. Lindor also scored six runs this week, collecting five hits and walking twice to post a cool 156 wRC+ in 21 plate appearances for the week.

The team leader in RBIs this week is Michael Conforto, who was responsible for the walk-off hit that sent Báez racing home with the game-winning run in Tuesday’s comeback victory. Conforto is also on the list of Mets to hit multiple home runs this week. His two-run bomb in the nightcap on Tuesday got things started for the Mets and he delivered another two-run shot in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader that put the Mets up 9-0—a lead which they would turn out to need every bit of. Conforto was also right in the middle of the Mets’ big ninth inning on Sunday, collecting two hits and three RBIs in all in the Mets’ 13-6 victory. Conforto even stole a base this week—somewhat unbelievably—his first steal of the season. Overall, Conforto posted a 194 wRC+ over 24 plate appearances this week and could have justifiably been included in the fireball club as well.

But speaking of the fireball club, the big blow in the Mets’ ninth inning on Sunday was Kevin Pillar’s grand slam that blew the doors off the game and put the Mets up 13-6. Pillar had an absolute monster week this week, collecting six hits (including two home runs), eight RBIs, three runs scored, a walk, and a stolen base in just 14 plate appearances—good for a 312 wRC+. It was Pillar’s RBI double that was the crucial hit for the Mets in Friday night’s extra inning victory that turned the tenth inning into a big inning for the Mets. It was also Pillar’s home run that brought the Mets within a run in Saturday night’s loss when the Mets fell just short of a comeback in their only loss of the week.

Our -illar brothers remain on fire. Jonathan Villar earns his second straight fireball as well for his 222 wRC+ this week in 28 plate appearances. His eleven hits lead the team this week. He’s been so hot, in fact, that the Mets had pretty much exclusively been batting him leadoff during their winning streak, even before Brandon Nimmo got injured. And the formula has been working. Villar scored six runs this week and drove in four. He also hit two home runs this week—one in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s walk-off victory and one in Thursday’s victory—both solo shots. In fact, Thursday’s home run was historic; it was the first time the lead off hitter for each team hit the very first pitch thrown by the opposing pitcher out of the ballpark since they started tracking pitches (Miguel Rojas hit a leadoff homer for the Marlins in the top of the inning). Jonathan Villar remains second to Pete Alonso for the team lead in home runs on the season (Kevin Pillar is third).

Speaking of Pete Alonso, even though he is strangely not one of the Mets to homer multiple times this week (in fact, he did not hit any home runs this week), he still had a very good week. He posted a 160 wRC+ in 26 plate appearances this week. His eight hits match Báez for second-most among Mets hitters for the week. Alonso drove in three runs and scored three runs this week. It was his RBI single that got things started for the Mets in the tenth inning in Friday’s extra-inning victory, driving in the free runner from second base. In that same game, Alonso also logged an RBI triple—a rare feat for the Polar Bear.

It’s easy to forget that the four-run ninth inning comeback that culminated with Báez sliding triumphantly home with the winning run on Tuesday all started with a solo home run off the bat of Brandon Nimmo. But it did. Although Fangraphs (the source I use for these meters) does not have a home run listed for Brandon Nimmo for this week because that home run was technically his first home run of the year on April 11, we know it happened this week, along with six other hits he collected—good for a 185 wRC+ for the week (home run excluded). Nimmo scored four runs, drove in a run, and stole a base this week as well. Unfortunately, prior to the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Nimmo was placed on the injured list with a hamstring strain. It’s a huge blow to the Mets’ lineup, as prior to this week, Nimmo and Pete Alonso were the only two consistent Mets hitters. It’s Nimmo’s second significant injury of the season, but Nimmo seems to be holding out hope that the strain is mild and he’ll return this season.

Dominic Smith spent most of the week on the bereavement list and so had just one plate appearance this week, but it was a significant one. In Thursday’s victory, Smith’s pinch hit RBI single in the seventh was the difference in the game, snapping a 3-3 tie.

With that, we have reached the “non-catcher red arrow” portion of today’s program. With Villar raging hot, J.D. Davis has almost become somewhat of a forgotten man on the Mets. He collected one hit and two walks in eight plate appearances this week. Also now part of the infield picture, Luis Guillorme was activated from the injured list on Tuesday and went hitless in his four plate appearances this week.

Similarly, Jeff McNeil’s playing time has suffered with his lack of production, especially with Báez and Pillar as hot as they are, but McNeil has been getting some reps in the outfield. McNeil posted a 67 wRC+ this week in 20 plate appearances. He collected four hits, two walks, three runs scored, and two RBIs. His big hit this week was an RBI double in the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Marlins.

With the rosters now expanded, Albert Almora Jr. has returned to the big league club to serve as a backup outfielder, pinch runner, and defensive replacement. He scored a run this week as a pinch runner, but was hitless in his four plate appearances.