To quote Bartok the bat in the 1997 classic animated film Anastasia, “I tell you what...wow!” After weeks of rather unsettling and sometimes outright depressing meters, we finally have an incredible week of Mets baseball to review. The Mets went 5-2 this week, starting the week off with two losses before ripping off five straight wins—all decided by one run. The Mets’ bats have woken up in a big way; despite the fact that the Mets still often seem to fall behind early, they have begun to finally show some fight, clawing back in front time and time again this week. Their recent success has been fueled by an infusion of youth, clutch hitting, and the long ball—the latter of which had been pretty much absent from the non-Pete Alonso part of the Mets’ lineup.
We’ll start with the aforementioned Pete Alonso who is one of the trio atop this meter awarded a fireball this week. I thought about not giving him a fireball because of his good, but unspectacular 128 wRC+ and mediocre .207 batting average this week in 30 plate appearances. But, the man hit four home runs—including a walk-off moonshot AND a grand slam—and drove in ten runs this week. And he did it all while battling a nasty cold. That’s kind of hard to ignore.
The legend of the Baby Mets is growing and the other two fireballs this week went to part of the youth contingent. Francisco Álvarez in particular absolutely raked this week, putting up a .333/.474/.800 batting line with a blistering 241 wRC+ in 19 plate appearances this week. Of course, like Alonso, he too was a huge part of Wednesday’s walk-off victory that started it all, launching a game-tying three run homer in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. It was one of five hits for Álvarez this week and two home runs; the other long ball was a solo shot in Friday’s victory that didn’t seem too significant at the time, but got the Mets on the board and turned out to be the beginning of yet another exciting comeback win. Over the past 30 days, Álvarez is the second-best hitting catcher in baseball. As Tomás Nido and Omar Narváez continue their rehab and inch closer to a comeback, the Mets will soon find themselves with a logjam at the catching position, but one hopes that with the way Álvarez is performing, he won’t be going anywhere.
As Nido and Narváez work to get healthy, Michael Pérez served as the backup catcher early in the week and caught one game, going hitless in three plate appearances. Pérez was sent down to Triple-A in favor of the newly-acquired Gary Sánchez, who the Mets had to roster lest they risk him exercising his opt-out clause. Sánchez appeared in two games and notched one hit—an RBI single—in four plate appearances.
Brett Baty rounds out the trio of fireballs this week and is the other Baby Met to receive one along with Álvarez. Baty had been going through a sort of mini slump, but turned things around in a big way this week, posting a 213 wRC+ in 21 plate appearances. Our trio of fireball recipients are also the only three Mets to go deep multiple times this week. Baty hit a solo shot in Tuesday’s loss that got the Mets on the board and went deep again on Friday to cut the Guardians’ lead to two runs. In all, Baty collected six hits, three walks, four runs scored, and three RBIs.
Mark Vientos was the latest Baby Met to get called up and he contributed right away, hitting a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game that helped get things started for the Mets and set the stage for their multiple comebacks. It was one of only two hits for Vientos in his first 12 plate appearances as a Met, but he did also draw a walk—good for a 94 wRC+ overall. For now, it looks like Vientos will be shielded from tough righties, but he has already looked far less overmatched at the big league level than he did last season.
When Vientos was called up, Luis Guillorme was optioned to Triple-A to make room on the roster. Guillorme did not reach base in his one plate appearance this week before he was sent down. While Guillorme’s defensive value is not in doubt (though his defensive metrics are down this year in a limited sample), the Mets needed a jolt offensively and his 77 wRC+ on the season wasn’t cutting it.
In order for Vientos’ skillset to be properly leveraged, Daniel Vogelbach needs to do his job against right-handed pitching and he hasn’t done that this week. Vogelbach has hit his first real skid of 2023 and though I was hesitant to hang a poop emoji on him for a 59 wRC+—which is mediocre, but not awful—this is partially about production. Vogelbach walked a team-leading four times this week, which bolsters his on-base percentage, but he had just one hit all week and no RBIs. He did score two runs this week, but the fact remains that the Mets are going to need more out of him than they are currently getting.
The other poop emoji this week goes to Mark Canha, who still hasn’t really figured it out and has lost a lot of playing time to Tommy Pham of late. And it’s for good reason; Canha had just three hits—all singles—in 17 plate appearances this week, which is good for an unsightly 26 wRC+. Though it’s not like Pham, who put up a 70 wRC+ in 14 plate appearances this week, has done that much better. Like Canha, Pham collected three hits this week, but one of those was for extra bases and he also walked once, drove in two runs, and stole a base. So it was overall at least a somewhat productive week for Pham.
I thought about hanging a poop emoji on Brandon Nimmo as well because a 19 wRC+ for the week in 33 plate appearances is quite ugly. But, like with Vogelbach, production has to be taken into account to a certain extent. Nimmo did hit a home run in Game 1 of yesterday’s doubleheader, which gave the Mets a much-needed extra run on their lead. He collected five hits overall and walked once, scoring three runs and driving in two runs. His production, minimal as it
By far the best performance of the Mets’ outfield contingent this week belongs to Starling Marte, who is finally starting to turn his season around. Marte’s signature game this week was in Game 1 of yesterday’s doubleheader, in which he went 3-for-4 with a stolen base and hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning that ended up to be the difference in the game. That capped off a week in which Marte posted a 145 wRC+ in 21 plate appearances. He notched six hits, scored four runs, and was the only Met with multiple stolen bases this week. Last season, when Marte went down in September was exactly when it seemed the team as a whole began to struggle; I do not think it’s a coincidence that Marte heating up in 2023 is coinciding with the Mets doing the same.
After a poop emoji performance last week, our batting champion is back to his old self. Jeff McNeil leads the team in hits this week with eleven and his .440 batting average leads the team as well. All eleven of those hits were singles, but McNeil is doing what McNeil does best: hitting it where they ain’t and doing it to all fields. McNeil walked twice, scored five runs, drove in three runs, and posted a 159 wRC+ in 28 plate appearances this week.
Francisco Lindor’s nine hits are second to McNeil for the team lead. Of course, one of those hits was a walk-off single in Friday night’s comeback victory. Lindor was also instrumental in the Mets’ victory in Game 2 of yesterday’s doubleheader, helping to give Justin Verlander the win by driving in both of the Mets’ runs—the first via a solo homer, Lindor’s seventh long ball of the season. Over 31 plate appearances, Lindor posted a 120 wRC+ this week and hit an even .300.
Eduardo Escobar continues to do well in a limited role after having his playing time cut into by Brett Baty and now, to a lesser extent, Mark Vientos as well. In 15 plate appearances this week, Escobar hit .385/.467/.615 with a 203 wRC+. Escobar scored three runs and drove in two runs this week, both of which came on a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in Tuesday’s loss. It wasn’t quite enough to spark an epic comeback in that contest, but it’s a wonder what Escobar can contribute when he is put in a position to succeed and not overexposed by playing every day.