By Todd Singer @breakingbadfish on July 14, 2014
Despite a slow start to the beginning of the season that had them nine games under .500 as recently as a few weeks ago, the New York Mets have gradually started to rebound. New York completed an 8-2 homestand to head into the All-Star break only five games under .500 at 45-50 and are playing their best baseball of the season. It remains to be seen whether they can keep this up when play resumes, but here are the rating for the team at break.
Travis d'Arnaud got off to a very rocky start this season, but since returning from a brief demotion to triple-A Las Vegas, he has hit safely in 14 of 16 games and has looked much more composed at the plate. Anthony Recker has basically been a non-entity this season and hasn't displayed the same pop he did last year.
Lucas Duda has made the Mets look good for choosing him over Ike Davis as their first baseman, as he leads all regulars in OPS and leads the team in homers (tied with Curtis Granderson) and RBIs. Playing his natural position of first base instead of being out of place in left field, Duda has finally begun to deliver the consistent production the Mets have hoped for.
Daniel Murphy has been the Mets' most consistent hitter all season and enters the All-Star break only two hits behind league leaders Andrew McCutchen and Casey McGehee for most hits in the National League. Murphy has been competent defensively at second, a question entering this season, and will make his first All-Star appearance as the Mets' lone representative.
Ruben Tejada had a dismal start to the season, but when the Mets brought up Wilmer Flores to take his job, it seemed to kick Tejada into gear. Tejada has been one of the team's better hitters over the last month and change and has the third-highest OBP among major league shortstops. His defense has also been much better lately, allaying concerns that shortstop had become a black hole.
David Wright has had an inauspicious start to the season with several nagging injuries slowing his trademark production. Wright's numbers are still decent, but his recent hot streak after coming back from a shoulder injury could mean that he's ready for a big second half. Eric Campbell has been a jack-of-all-trades for the Mets and has been phenomenal with the bat, posting an .833 OPS in 103 ABs.
This is perhaps the biggest problem area on the field for the Mets as the one-year signing of Chris Young has not panned out as they hoped. Chris Young enters the ASG hitting under .200 and his namesake, Eric Young, Jr., isn't much better at .236. Nieuwenhuis, however, has been a revelation and has looked like a different player since his recall, posting a .989 OPS in limited ABs. If he continues to play this well, he could begin to see more.
Coming into the season, everyone knew Juan Lagares was a magician defensively and that he was perhaps the best defensive outfielder in all of baseball. The questions, however, surrounded the consistency of his bat, which would have to hold its own if he was to remain the everyday CF. Despite dealing with some injuries, Lagares is hitting .293 with a respectable .734 OPS to go with his gold-glove caliber defense.
After a horrific April, Granderson has been one of the Mets' best hitters for the better part of the last two months. Granderson is tied with Duda for the team lead in homers with 14 and is second to Duda in OPS among team regulars. Abreu has been a solid pickup for the Mets as, even at 40 years old, he has been able to post a .352 OBP and drive in some key runs for the team.
The Mets' rotation has gone through a lot of flux this season thanks to injuries and other shuffling, but the current cast has performed tremendously as of late. Wheeler is putting together the most consistent stretch of starts in his young career, while Gee and Niese have alternated effectiveness when they're not on the DL. Colon has had his ups and downs, but he's been a stabilizing force for the young kids and deGrom has been a huge surprise.
After a horrific start to the season, the Mets' bullpen has been one of the strengths of the team in recent months with an almost complete overhaul of the culprits from the early season woes. Mejia has done an admirable job moving from the rotation to closing, replacing the injured Bobby Parnell, while Familia has been one of the best relievers in baseball. Black, Edgin and Matsuzaka have all come up and done yeoman's work as well.
While the Mets are currently five games under .500, Collins has them playing hard headed into the All-Star break. Collins has made his fair share of boneheaded in-game moves, and his bullpen usage has drawn questions as to whether he's burning out some of his relievers. But so long as the team keeps playing well, he'll keep getting his share of the accolades.
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