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Mets Player Performance Meter: Position players, March 30-April 9

A quick review of how the Mets’ position players fared over the first ten games of the season.

Miami Marlins v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Hello, Amazin’ Avenue readers! It is the Monday after the first full week of the 2023 season, which means that meters are back! I will be publishing these meters—one for position players and one for pitchers—every Monday reflecting a snapshot of each player’s performance over the previous week’s games.

Over the first ten games of the season, the Mets are an even .500 and that’s about what the first position player meter looks like too. We have one red hot player and a couple of ice cold players, but most of the hitters are somewhere in between. The offense has looked mostly fine during the two series with the Marlins, but went silent in the team’s first two games in Milwaukee, in which the Mets were shut out. Other than a few personnel differences, the 2023 Mets offense is pretty similar in style to the 2022 Mets offense; they get on base often and the non-Pete Alonso contingent does not hit many home runs.

Before we get to the meat of this meter (see what I did there?), we’ll address the one significant injury on the position player side. Mets starting catcher Omar Narváez went on the injured list last week with a calf strain that will sideline him for 8-9 weeks. It’s a shame because Narváez had been hitting pretty well in his first few games as a Met—.286/.353/.286 with an 83 wRC+ in 17 plate appearances. Top prospect Francisco Álvarez has been called up from Triple-A to serve as part of the catching tandem with Tomás Nido. Álvarez has played in only one game so far and collected an RBI single in yesterday’s loss. Nido, meanwhile, has struggled mightily at the plate so far this season, posting a -38 wRC+ over 17 plate appearances—the lowest mark on the team. He has two hits, one RBI, and one run scored. Nido’s defense is always valuable and 2023 has been no different in that regard, but as usual, he is weighed down by his struggles with the bat.

The Mets’ hottest player by far in 2023 thus far is Pete Alonso. His five home runs match Bryan Reynolds for the league lead. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Alonso is the only player on the Mets with multiple home runs over the first ten games of the season. The Polar Bear’s 11 RBIs are also more than twice as many as anyone else on the team and he leads the team in runs scored (8) and wRC+ (156) over the first ten games of the season. Pete Alonso remains the most potent run producer and power threat in the Mets’ lineup.

That said, Alonso wouldn’t be driving in all of those runs without the guys ahead of him in the lineup doing their jobs and for the most part, they are. Brandon Nimmo hasn’t hit much so far this season; he has a .192 batting average in his first 38 plate appearances of 2023. But, a fact that will shock no one: he leads the Mets in walks with ten, which means he is boasting a robust .421 on-base percentage. Nimmo has scored four runs and driven in three so far this season. Perhaps most notably, Nimmo has also stolen two bases. Stolen base totals are up across the league due to the rule changes and the speedy Nimmo—who was never much of a base stealer in the past—may be one of the primary beneficiaries.

The stolen base leader over the Mets’ first ten games, however, is Starling Marte with four swiped bags. After lower body injuries limited his speed on the base paths last season, it looks like Marte’s legs are healthy and ready to run in 2023. Marte has gotten the job done with the bat as well. He leads the team in hits with ten and his 137 wRC+ is second only to Alonso for the team lead. Marte has also walked three times, hit a home run, scored five runs, and driven in two over the first ten games. A .303/.378/.485 batting line is certainly something the Mets will take from Marte all day long. Unfortunately, Marte had to exit yesterday’s game early after colliding with Jean Segura’s knee on a head first slide into third base, straining his neck. He is currently considered day-to-day and hopefully I do not have to put a red cross emoji next to his name for next week; that would be a big blow to the Mets’ offense.

Much like Nimmo, Francisco Lindor hasn’t quite gotten things going with the bat yet, but he is managing to get on base. His seven walks trail only Nimmo for the team lead. His five RBIs are also second to Alonso for the team lead—though it is a distant second. Though he has just seven hits in 43 plate appearances so far, four of those seven hits went for extra bases, including a home run—good for a 105 wRC+. Lindor has also scored five runs, stolen a base, and been impeccable defensively as always.

Daniel Vogelbach continues to be solid as the Mets’ DH against right-handed pitching. Like much of the rest of the Mets’ lineup, he is adept at getting on base; he is the only Met besides Nimmo with an on-base percentage over .400 in the Mets’ first ten games. He has collected three hits, including an improbable infield hit in the Mets’ home opener, and four walks in 17 plate appearances so far this season. He has scored one run and driven in one run. He holds a 116 wRC+ in the Mets’ first ten games.

After going 0-for-6 to start the season, Mark Canha broke out in last Saturday’s game in Miami, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs, three runs scored, and a walk in the Mets’ 6-2 victory over the Marlins that day. Canha has made up for his slow start by posting a 113 wRC+ overall over his first 42 plate appearances of 2023. Half of his eight hits went for extra bases, including one home run. The Mets’ resident foodie has also walked five times, scored five times, and driven in three runs.

Jeff McNeil has yet to find his stride so far this season, posting a very uncharacteristic .250 batting average over his first 42 plate appearances. Though he has just as many hits as Alonso (9), only three of them were for extra bases—good for a 99 wRC+. McNeil has kept up with the rest of the lineup by walking five times, though part of that may be facing a Marlins pitching staff prone to walking a lot of batters. McNeil has scored three runs, driven in three runs, and probably already uttered more than three obscenities after making an out with men on base.

The most notable slow start to the season by far, however, has been that of Eduardo Escobar. Escobar has posted a paltry 7 wRC+ over 33 plate appearances to start the season. Fairly or unfairly, his struggles are magnified by the fact that Brett Baty was sent down to Triple-A and is ripping the cover off the ball there. With his replacement breathing down his neck, Escobar did break out with an opposite field two-run homer in front of a sellout crowd at Citi Field that helped lift the Mets to a 5-2 victory on Saturday. That home run tripled his season RBI total, which now stands at three. Hopefully Saturday was a sign of a turnaround for the Mets’ third baseman, who was also very streaky in 2022.

Like last season, Escobar was already starting to lose at-bats to Luis Guillorme, but Guillorme has struggled pretty profoundly with the bat in the early going as well, posting a 22 wRC+ over his first 17 plate appearances. Of course, the bulk of Guillorme’s value has always been in his defense, which remains as stellar as ever, as evidenced by the pretty double play he turned with Lindor in yesterday’s game. But, Guillorme is going to need to do better than a .188/.235/.188 batting line to preserve his usefulness as the Mets’ stalwart utility infielder.

When Brandon Nimmo is not in the lineup, the Mets have been batting offseason acquisition Tommy Pham in the leadoff spot which has yielded mixed results. In last Sunday’s victory over the Marlins, Pham made Buck Showalter look like a genius, going 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and three total RBIs out of the leadoff spot. But, he went just 1-for-5 from the leadoff spot in yesterday’s deflating loss. Overall, Pham has posted a respectable, but unremarkable 91 wRC+ in 24 plate appearances so far in a Mets uniform. The three RBIs he amassed in his big day at the plate last Sunday are his total for the season so far. In all, he has collected five hits, two walks, and a stolen base.

Tim Locastro, the surprise member of the Mets’ Opening Day roster, has yet to collect a hit or walk in eight plate appearances, yet holds a .375 on-base percentage. That’s because he’s been hit by a pitch three times, leading the major leagues, despite having only eight plate appearances. In that regard, he fits right in. Those plunkings save Locastro from the dreaded poop emoji slapped upon Nido and Escobar because getting on base by any means necessary has enabled Locastro to score two runs and steal a base. But, he can’t stay hitless for long and escape the poop...