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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, September 5-11

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

New York Mets v Miami Marlins Photo by Bryan Cereijo/Getty Images

The Mets’ week started off ominously, as they were shut down by Mitch Keller and the Pirates on Tuesday for the third straight loss against a bad team in which the offense was missing in action. However, with the exception of Friday’s all-around ugly loss, the Mets turned things around the rest of the week, sweeping a doubleheader from the Pirates on Wednesday and putting up back-to-back huge offensive days on Saturday and Sunday to take two out of three from the Marlins in Miami as well. Overall, because the Mets put up huge run totals in Wednesday’s night cap and Saturday and yesterday’s games, the position player meter for this week is looking pretty darn good. The notable exception is the lack of production the Mets continue to get out of the DH spot, which is made even more acute with the absence of Starling Marte’s bat in the lineup as he rehabs his fractured finger. However, this week that was offset by the Mets’ other persistent black hole having a huge week; the Mets’ catchers posted a collective 274 wRC+ this week in a sudden offensive revelation that has been missing from that position all year.

This meter is absolute chaos. FIVE fireballs? In this economy? [Elmo hellfire dot gif]

As I alluded to, two of those five fireballs belong to the Mets’ catching tandem, who have struggled pretty much all year long. But not this week! Tomás Nido hit his very first home run of the season in yesterday’s game, prompting the silent treatment in the dugout. It was one of six hits this week for Nido in 13 plate appearances, four of which were for extra bases—good for a blistering 326 wRC+. In total, Nido drove in three runs and scored four runs this week. James McCann was almost as good, posting a 226 wRC+ over 14 plate appearances this week and hitting the ball as well as he has all year. He collected five hits and walked three times this week, which is tied for the second-best mark on the team in walks. He drove in one run and scored four runs in total this week. No one is expecting that the Mets’ catchers will keep this up, but if they can at least give the Mets some sort of production down the stretch, it will be absolutely huge in the race for the NL East crown.

Speaking of production from the bottom of the order, Eduardo Escobar is absolutely on fire right now, earning his second straight fireball for a 314 wRC+ over 27 plate appearances this week. He leads the team in hits by far this week with 13, four of which went for extra bases including three home runs—one in the day game of Wednesday’s doubleheader and one in each of Saturday and yesterday’s games. Escobar also scored six runs this week, which matches the team lead in that department, and drove in five runs in total. Escobar has now hit five home runs this month compared to just 12 the entire season prior to September and has put up a 284 wRC+ for the month of September. Escobar had been struggling so mightily that he was in the short side of a platoon with Luis Guillorme, but it’s hard to argue that situation should continue when Guillorme returns from the injured list; the Mets will likely have to find another way to get Guillorme at-bats.

One of the ways they can do that is shifting Jeff McNeil to the outfield with Starling Marte having hit the injured list due to a fractured finger suffered on a hit by pitch, which would allow Escobar and Guillorme to both play on the infield. McNeil had another strong week at the plate this week, posting a 125 wRC+ over 28 plate appearances. He was one of three Mets to collect eight hits, which is second only to Escobar’s 13 for the team lead. Only one of McNeil’s eight hits went for extra bases, which is fine because McNeil is continuing to do what McNeil specializes in—hitting it where they ain’t. Despite the lack of extra base hits, McNeil’s six RBIs this week are still second-most on the team, as he continues to move the line along with men on base. McNeil also scored three runs and stole two (!!) bases this week. McNeil’s .322 batting average is now third in the league behind only Paul Goldschmidt (.325) and Freddie Freeman (.331) for the batting title.

The team leader in RBIs this week is the Mets’ leadoff hitter, Brandon Nimmo; he drove in seven runs this week and put up a scorching .304/.448/.609 batting line with a 199 wRC+ in 30 plate appearances this week. Unsurprisingly, Nimmo led the Mets this week in walks as well with six. Of his seven hits this week, three went for extra bases, including two home runs—one representing the Mets’ only two runs in Tuesday’s loss and the other which got the Mets on the board in the second inning of yesterday’s game. Yesterday was a big day in general for Nimmo; he collected two hits, walked twice, and also stole his first base of the season. One of those hits should have been a triple, but he was sent back to second base on a bizarre ground rule double call by the umpiring crew. Nimmo has put together quite the season in his walk year and the Mets have made it no secret that they would like to bring him back.

Rounding out our fireball brigade is Tyler Naquin, who has gotten the opportunity to play almost every day with Marte sidelined. Naquin had been struggling heading into this week, but has taken advantage of the opportunity he’s been given in a big way, posting a 202 wRC+ in 22 plate appearances. He notched six hits, half of which went for extra bases, and also walked three times. Naquin had a big game in the day game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, belting a three-run homer that put the extended the Mets’ lead to 4-0 and going 2-for-4 in the game overall. Naquin scored three runs and drove in four runs in total this week.

Mark Canha was similarly productive, as he continues to thrive playing every day after getting regular days off during the early part of the season. His and Nimmo’s continued durability this season has been more important than ever as the Mets ride out Marte’s absence. Canha posted a 163 wRC+ over 27 plate appearances this week. Like Naquin, he collected six hits and three walks and half of his hits went for extra bases. Canha was right in the middle of Saturday’s offensive explosion, hitting the first grand slam of his major league career, which represents all four of his RBIs this week. Canha also scored five runs in total this week.

Saturday was also a big day for Francisco Lindor, who—despite grounding into a couple of key double plays this week—posted very good numbers overall. On Saturday, Lindor went 3-for-5 and fell just a triple shy of the cycle, hitting a home run, driving in two runs, and scoring three runs. Overall, he put up a 182 wRC+ in 27 plate appearances. Like McNeil, he was one of three Mets to collect eight hits and half of those went for extra bases. He walked twice, scored five runs, and drove in five runs this week.

The third Met with eight hits under his belt for the week is Pete Alonso, who showed improvement this week after a couple of rough weeks. Alonso had been in a bit of an RBI drought, but he added three to his massive total this week, bringing his season total up to 109, which is a three-way tie for second in baseball. Overall, Alonso posted a 127 wRC+ over 27 plate appearances this week. His biggest hit this week unfortunately came in a Mets loss; his two-run homer in the sixth inning of Friday’s game brought the Mets within a run, but unfortunately the Mets failed to capitalize on opportunities later in the game and some poor relief pitching let the game get out of reach. Alonso also walked once and scored two runs this week.

Now to address the elephant in the room: the Mets still are getting almost nothing out of their DH spot. Darin Ruf continues to be basically hopeless at the plate and would have earned a second straight poop emoji in a larger sample size, but as it stands, he went hitless over his eight plate appearances this week. Daniel Vogelbach has not fared much better. He had just four hits—all singles—and a walk over 21 plate appearances—good for a 30 wRC+. Vogelbach scored two runs and drove in a run this week.

When Starling Marte hit the injured list, the Mets brought up prospect Mark Vientos to potentially help boost production out of the DH spot, especially to make up for Ruf’s deficits. Vientos made his debut yesterday and failed to reach base in five plate appearances.

Deven Marrero and Terrance Gore, who usually only come in games to pinch run or play defense, actually logged a couple of plate appearances apiece this week since the Mets had a few laughers. Neither reached base in either of their two plate appearances.