The second half for the Mets began in a somewhat ominous fashion, as they lost the first two games of the series against the Padres at Citi Field due to the offense looking utterly lifeless as a group and exposing their need for reinforcements at the trading deadline. While more trades are still likely to be made, the Mets did get some reinforcements in Daniel Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin and there has already been a noticeable effect. After the rough start to the second half, the Mets have since ripped off six wins in a row, avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Padres and then sweeping a two-game series against their crosstown rivals and a three-game weekend series in Miami. During that winning streak, several of the Mets’ big bats heated up—most notably Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor, and Pete Alonso, who all get fireballs along with Daniel Vogelbach, who has already had an appreciable impact in his first 22 plate appearances as a Met.
We’ll start with the newest Mets. First, Daniel Vogelbach, who the Mets got from the Pirates in exchange for Colin Holderman, has already been a noticeable upgrade at the DH position, filling Dominic Smith’s role on the roster. Smith, the subject of some trade discussions, is currently on the injured list with a sprained ankle he suffered running the bases in the series prior to the All-Star Break. Regardless of whether he is traded before tomorrow evening’s deadline, it is likely that Smith’s days on the roster are numbered, as Vogelbach will take over his role as the DH against right-handed pitchers with occasional at-bats at first base when Pete Alonso needs a breather. Vogelbach may not play first base with the defensive acumen of Smith, but his bat has already been a huge improvement. In his first 22 plate appearances as a Met, Vogelbach has posted a team-leading .545 on-base percentage, leading the team in walks with five so far in the second half. He also collected six hits, two of which went for extra bases, and scored two runs—good for a smoking 210 wRC+. That’ll do.
The Mets also improved their bench in the fourth outfielder role, acquiring Tyler Naquin and left-handed reliever Phillip Diehl from the Reds in exchange for minor league outfielder Hector Rodriguez and minor league reliever Jose Acuña. This upgrade came at the expense of Travis Jankowski, who was designated for assignment when Naquin was added to the roster. Prior to the DFA, Jankowski appeared in four games as a defensive replacement or pinch runner, but did not log any plate appearances. Although Jankowski’s speed and slick outfield defense provided value for the Mets, he simply did not hit enough to justify his continued presence on the roster. While not as speedy or strong defensively as Jankowski, Naquin is much more capable with the bat and should at least give the Mets roughly league average production without hurting them on the field or on the base paths. In his first nine plate appearances as a Met, Naquin has just one hit—a triple in yesterday’s game—but he did hit two deep fly balls in Marlins Park on Saturday that would have been out of many other stadiums.
After getting shut down by Yu Darvish (again) and Blake Snell to begin the second half, the Mets’ bats heated up in a big way. Pete Alonso was the only one who could figure anything out against Snell and went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored last Saturday and his hot streak continued through the Yankees and Marlins series. After getting behind early in Tuesday’s game, it was Alonso who laced a game-tying double against Jordan Montgomery and went on to go 3-for-3 in that contest. He followed that up with a home run the next day in Wednesday’s walk-off victory. Overall, Alonso has posted a team-leading 250 wRC+ in 34 plate appearances in the second half so far. He had been slumping heading into the All-Star Break, but with a big series against the Braves looming ahead, now is the right time for him to get hot. Alonso leads the team in RBIs this week with seven and continues to lead the National League with 85 RBIs.
Francisco Lindor has been extremely hot as well, putting up a 223 wRC+ so far in the second half in 35 plate appearances. He leads the team with fourteen hits and shares the team lead with Alonso in runs scored with six. He’s walked four times and driven in four runs since the break. Lindor logged an RBI single in Wednesday’s walk-off victory and had a really strong weekend, notching three hits apiece in Saturday and yesterday’s games. Lindor is one of only eight players in baseball this season with at least 60 runs scored and 60 RBIs.
Rounding out the largest crop of fireballs I have handed out in a single position player meter so far this season is Starling Marte, who looks absolutely locked in right now. Along with Lindor and Alonso, Marte rounds out the trio of Mets to log double-digit hits since the break with eleven base hits. Marte is also the only Met besides Alonso to hit multiple home runs over this eight-game stretch. Marte had a huge day on Friday night in particular when he hit a game-tying triple in the second and followed that up with a game-tying home run in the fourth. Marte posted a 192 wRC+ overall for the month of July, which is just absolutely bonkers.
Brandon Nimmo also had a big night on Friday, breaking out of a deep slump with a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning. Overall, Nimmo’s numbers for this eight-game stretch are poor; he has put up just a 33 wRC+ in the second half thus far in 38 plate appearances. And the fact that he has gone eight games without a walk is very un-Nimmo like. But his five RBIs match Starling Marte’s total for the second-most on the team over this span. Hopefully the signs of life he showed over the weekend are indicative of a momentum shift for the Mets’ centerfielder as the calendar turns to August.
Jeff McNeil had also been slumping badly, but showed some encouraging signs lately. Like Nimmo, McNeil collected seven hits over the course of this eight-game stretch. Three of them went for extra bases, including a home run in Saturday’s game—one of three long balls for the Mets that day. Over 30 plate appearances, McNeil posted a 94 wRC+. He scored three runs, drove in three runs, and walked once.
J.D. Davis rounded out the trio of Mets who homered on Saturday along with Lindor and McNeil, launching a massive 444-foot home run in the eighth inning in that victory. It was one of three hits Davis collected in eight plate appearances across this eight-game span. Although J.D.’s bat has been perking up lately, he still stands to lose playing time or perhaps even his roster spot entirely if the Mets add another bat before tomorrow night.
Tomás Nido continues to serve as the Mets’ primary catcher with James McCann sidelined. McCann is currently on a rehab assignment and due to return to the Mets later this week. In the meantime, Nido has posted a very strong 129 wRC+ over 24 plate appearances in the second half thus far. He collected five hits, three walks, three runs scored, and an RBI over that span. With the Mets in on Willson Contreras and Christian Vázquez as potential offensive upgrades at the catching position, Nido’s future is somewhat uncertain. What is certain though is that once McCann returns from the injured list (or the Mets acquire another catcher), Patrick Mazeika will be sent back down to Triple-A. Mazeika has had two hits in seven plate appearances since the All-Star break.
Eduardo Escobar is not quite slumping as badly as he was, but his overall numbers since the break are pedestrian. He’s posted a 63 wRC+ in 22 plate appearances thus far in the second half. Of course, his biggest hit this week was a go-ahead two-run homer in Tuesday’s game. It was one of four hits he logged in this eight-game stretch overall, three of which were for extra bases. Escobar continues to thrive as a right-handed hitter and struggle as a left-handed hitter and the Mets are continuing to use Luis Guillorme as a pseudo platoon partner for Escobar.
Speaking of Luis Guillorme, he has posted a very solid 110 wRC+ over 20 plate appearances in the second half thus far. He collected four hits—two for extra bases—and three walks. He scored two runs and drove in two runs over this eight game span. He is logging more and more plate appearances at third base, but it doesn’t matter where you put Guillorme on the infield; you know he is always going to give you spectacular defense.
Mark Canha has also continued to provide steady production week in and week out. Since the break, Canha has put up a .292/.346/.375 batting line with a 113 wRC+ in 26 plate appearances. He collected seven hits, walked once, scored three runs, and drove in three runs over this eight-game span. Canha had a big day in yesterday’s victory, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs, a run scored, and a stolen base; he was the only Met to steal a base over this eight-game stretch. With the arrival of Tyler Naquin as a more reliable fourth outfield option, Buck Showalter will likely give Canha and the rest of the Mets’ outfield contingent regular days off to keep them healthy down the stretch.
Travis Blankenhorn was on the big league roster for a fleeting moment. He was called up, had three plate appearances in which he did not reach base, and was sent back down.