Dusting Off The Red Marker To Hand The Mets Some Grades

Pete Alonso Gary DiSarcina

I don’t do this very often, but this season I’ve decided to hand out some grades for the 2019 season. These come in no particular order, but let’s start with the obvious:

Pete Alonso: What can you really say about him that hasn’t already been said? Broke the rookie home run record while keeping his batting average well above Rob Deer levels. Played defense that didn’t completely kill the Mets (what have our internal scouts been smoking?) And has been a total mensch off the field. A+

Jeff McNeil: Really impressive that he has maintained his high offensive standards while bouncing around the diamond. McNeil wants to go .330/25/100 next season. Any reason to doubt him at this point? A

Wilmer Font: Yes, he played here too. INC

Juan Lagares: Save for one stretch in late August/early September, Lagares has been mainly a light hitting defensive replacement. Will be sad to see him go as he has been a player who sets the right example on the field. But surgery has sapped him of his plus throwing arm and is basically just a defensive replacement with range at this point. (Lagares was actually a minus dWAR player.) I hate this, but: D+

Adeiny Hechavarria: Lasting legacy is thanking God for leaving the Mets. Probably a botched translation, but why let that get in the way of a good joke? Good luck in the playoffs, Adeiny. C

Dusting Off The Red Marker To Hand The Mets Some Grades
An off-season flier turned into an in-season sensation. (Metstradamus)

J.D. Davis: Brodie threw a lot of spaghetti against the wall last winter, and this is the strand that stuck. Davis was first thought to be somebody who could pitch out of the bullpen once in a while, and turned into a .300 hitter. Slid somewhat comfortably into left field, save for a couple of missteps. But his bat played this season and probably should have played more down the stretch. B+

Carlos Gomez: Yee yee yee. INC

Wilson Ramos: Wilson has really provided some pop from behind the dish, which the Mets haven’t really had in a long time. His defense took a nose dive and was basically rejected by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, and has been kept away from Marcus Stroman down the stretch too. But boy can he hit. B

Chris Mazza: Two things stand out: His first ever relief appearance, a gutsy four inning outing against Atlanta in June, and his stirrups that he bought on Amazon. People have been known for a lot worse. C-

Luis Avilan: Might have been more effective had he been used the right way all season. He can’t face righties under any circumstances. But overall, Avilan did good work out of the pen. B

Robert Gsellman: Took a slight step back this season, which was derailed with injury. It’s only a slight step back because I thought he was better last season, which he really wasn’t by a whole lot. Might be a casualty if Brodie decides to blow up the bullpen. C

Dusting Off The Red Marker To Hand The Mets Some Grades
Todd Frazier swinging like this has been frustrating. This particular one turned out ot be a base hit against the Tigers. (Metstradamus)

Todd Frazier: When you think about when and why the Mets signed Frazier, they were coming off a season where they saw all of their leadership types traded at the same time (including Curtis Granderson). So the Mets put themselves in a position where they had to sign somebody because of his leadership and give him 600 at-bats. That guy was Frazier. When you think about what he’s done this season in the clubhouse where everybody seems to love the guy and he is a great teammate, he gets an A because that’s what he was signed for. He fulfilled his purpose. Should the Mets spend $17 million on leadership? Never. Frazier’s purpose was served. He just received way too many at-bats over the course of two seasons in the name of serving that purpose. But he did finish this season very strong and his game tying three run homer off Doolittle in August will always be remembered. B-

Michael Conforto: Good season. Improved to an .860 OPS. As discussed yesterday, were his numbers too low, or were are expectations too high? B

Marcus Stroman: Hard to judge two months of work when your best start was in Colorado. But hits and walks shot up upon his arrival in Citi Field. This had a definite Frank Viola ’89 vibe to it. Let’s hope next season resembles Frank Viola from 1990. C+

Tomas Nido: Very happy that he hit a walk off home run against the Tigers or else we might still be sitting in section 524 watching the 34,912th inning. Other than that, light stick and a decent defender behind the plate, though not the re-incarnation of Pudge Rodriguez as was somewhat advertised … at least not yet. C-

Justin Wilson: Turned his season around after coming back from injury to stabilize the Mets’ bullpen. Got tired at the end and fell apart. Was one of Brodie’s better moves over the winter, which isn’t really saying a whole heck of a lot. B

Dusting Off The Red Marker To Hand The Mets Some Grades
Photographic evidence that Keon Broxton played for the New York Mets. (Metstradamus)

Keon Broxton: One of the strands of spaghetti that didn’t stick for Brodie. Was kinda right when he said that he was hurt by irregular playing time. But when he played, it wasn’t pretty. D

Brad Brach: Another pick-up that helped the Mets down the stretch after Phil Regan fixed him. I’ll be gentle with him because he grew up a Mets fan. B-

Jeurys Familia: Lawd. D-

Jacob deGrom: After a tough April, deGrom went 9-5 with an ERA of 2.07 and a WHIP of 0.91 in 178 innings. In his final four starts of the year, deGrom threw 28 innings with an ERA of 0.32 and a WHIP of 0.50, with three of those starts coming with the Mets still in the race. I wasn’t sure that he would end this season as a clear Cy Young favorite, but that’s exactly what he’s done. Simply stellar. A

Noah Syndergaard: As I’ve said before: I’m a Noah Syndergaard apologist. I hope they don’t trade him, and he has always come up big when the chips are down. I don’t think his mental toughness on the mound is up for debate. But he didn’t have it this year, and he wilted down the stretch: Whatever you think about the whole controversy regarding Syndergaard’s catchers, the pure fact is that Noah didn’t get it done down the stretch this season, and as a whole his season was inconsistent. Because of the expectations, I have to be tough on him here. C-

Travis d’Arnaud: The Mets paid the bulk of his contract this season. So a portion of my season ticket money went to pay for Travis d’Arnaud’s great season … with Tampa Bay. So I should really be able to give him an A … but it’s more like a f***ing A, as in “f***ing A, d’Arnaud … really?” (By the way, you still can’t get a Travis d’Arnaud Rays jersey on the Rays website because it keeps telling you to enter a valid name.) INC

Dusting Off The Red Marker To Hand The Mets Some Grades

Dominic Smith: Very good hitter. Great teammate. See this for more. B+

Robinson Cano: When he hit a home run off Max Scherzer to lead off his season, little did we know that would pretty much be the best part of his season outside of a random 3 HR game. The rest of his season has been a disaster, with every hot streak ending after about four days because of an injury. The Cano/Bruce/Swarzak portion of the big trade has turned into a worse disaster than we thought, only topped by the other part of the trade. But at least he mentored Amed Rosario, which was the least he could do. C-

Joe Panik: Served his purpose. Nice that he could come home. Will be interesting to see if they keep him around as a bench player next season. C+

Dusting Off The Red Marker To Hand The Mets Some Grades
Yes, even Luis Guillorme gets a grade. (Metstradamus)

Luis Guillorme: Hit a big homer off Fernando Rodney. Happy he’ll be known for that instead of his walk-up song or catching a flying bat in spring training when it’s all said and done. C

Zack Wheeler: Really seemed to come into his own down the stretch to finish off a 4.1 WAR season. Was really impressed with his Sunday night start against the Dodgers in September. Seemed like graduation. He’s going to make himself a lot of money this winter. I’m not convinced it won’t be the Mets, but wherever he goes, he’s earned it. B

Aaron Altherr: Hit a home run in his first at-bat as a Met. Otherwise, just was kinda there holding a place. INC

Jason Vargas: What a weird Mets tenure it’s been for Vargas. A terrible 2018 which was saved by the last couple of months. A decent 2019 which included a shutout against the Giants, and was marred by threatening to knock out a reporter. Was traded for peanuts which shows you what they thought of Vargas. C

Tyler Bashlor, Drew Gagnon, Chris Flexen, Corey Oswalt, Steven Nogosek: I’m convinced these are the same person. D-

Jacob Rhame: He has goggles and he triggered Rhys Hoskins so he’s a different guy than the five listed above. D

Dusting Off The Red Marker To Hand The Mets Some Grades
The stats may not show it, but Steven Matz made strides this season. (Metstradamus)

Steven Matz: The overall stats may say he took a step back: his H/9 has shot up from 7.8 to 9.4. But I saw a lot of encouraging signs from Matz. He’s walking less batters (BB/9 down to 2.7 from 3.4), and doesn’t seem to let bad innings get to him anymore. His struggles have been entirely from bad pitches and not from trying to throw his way out of innings and mental lapses. And if you take that one awful start in Philadelphia away where he gave up six earned runs in no innings, his season is just about where it was last season. Still has work to do, but he’s getting there. If you strip the notion of Matz as one of the “five aces” and just think of him as what he is: a mid-rotation starter, he’s about where he should be. B-

Jed Lowrie: Never heard of him. INC

Walker Lockett: Came in the Kevin Plawecki trade. Just couldn’t break through the threshold of being somebody that could consistently help the team. D

Paul Sewald: Unfortunately, his 2019 campaign will be known for his role in the blown six run lead in Washington. But with a FIP of 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.09, his season hasn’t been all that terrible. When the Mets remake their bullpen next season, Sewald could possibly be a part of it if he can harness his slider. C-

Rajai Davis: One of those veterans you just like to have around. Numbers weren’t that good but got a huge hit to beat the Dodgers when the Mets were still clinging to a playoff race. And we also found out that Davis used to blow dry between his toes in the locker room because “these are the money makers”. I know that doesn’t count towards his final grade but man, that’s impressive. C-

Hector Santiago: The symbol of Brodie’s “all-in” philosophy. His role in the failed bravado is purely by proxy. D+

Dusting Off The Red Marker To Hand The Mets Some Grades
Daniel Zamora couldnt reach out and grab a lefty specialist role. (Metstradamus)

Daniel Zamora: Really expected him to play a bigger part in the bullpen this season as a lefty specialist. D+

Ryan O’Rourke, Donnie Hart: The search for a guy that can consistently get lefties out defines the 2019 bullpen as much as anything. INC

Tim Peterson: One of those guys that will be brought up constantly in five years on Twitter when everybody starts throwing out “random Mets who you forgot about”. INC

Brooks Pounders: Loved the big guy. I can’t explain it. INC

Rene Rivera: His 2019 is defined as one of the focal points of the Noah Syndergaard controversy which was leaked by “a source”. I like it better when he was Rene Rivera of the Raging Riveras. INC

Ruben Tejada: He came back? INC

Seth Lugo: Really saved the Mets after the rest of the bullpen fell apart. The big question will be whether he stays in the bullpen or gets moved to the starting rotation. His numbers are obviously better in the bullpen. But if he continues to need two days off after two innings of work, then the Mets have to decide if his talents can be better deployed in another role … or if he needs to be that pure one inning closer so he can affect the outcome of more games positively. A

Sam Haggerty: Scored a go-ahead run as a pinch hitter. His grade his INC, but the video of him getting called up will resonate for a long time.

Edwin Diaz: I’ve said all I need to say about his season. And you’ve probably heard all you need to hear about his season. F

Mickey “Handsome Art Howe” Callaway: The defenders will say “he got his team to play”. Unless you’re in the locker room, it’s impossible to know what that entails. And if you’re in the locker room, you’re probably a player who isn’t going to throw a manager under a bus. With those caveats in mind, Handsome Art Howe did keep his team playing and interested after 40-51, guiding them to a 46-25 record since, and it might be enough to save his job.

But was way too liberal with his double switches, taking J.D. Davis out of multiple games, seeming just to prove that he knew what a double switch was. Also, let Luis Avilan face way too many righties. And his decision to take out Matz after six inning when he was cruising so that Seth Lugo could go two innings which would only have gotten them to the eighth was a death blow in the middle of what could have been a miracle run. Way too many decisions that show his lack of feel for in-game management, which is probably why Brodie is burning up the bullpen phone with his couch. C

Brodie Von Monorail Van Wagenen: His off-season will be scrutinized a lot over the next few weeks, and the Edwin Diaz trade will be scrutinized forever. It was questionable at best when it happened, and it has turned into a complete pile of 2019 manure. Even if Diaz and Cano turn it around, in the context of the 2019 season, this trade cost the Mets the season.

There were highlights to the off-season. J.D. Davis was a revelation. Justin Wilson, when healthy, was a vital part of the bullpen. Wilson Ramos was a major contributor. But Jeurys Familia was a big miss, and Keon Broxton only lasted 53 plate appearances. The in-season moves fared better. Marcus Stroman was uneven but had his moments. Joe Panik filled in nicely when Cano went down. Brad Brach was useful out of the pen. The one thing that Brodie was victimized by was the earlier trade deadline. The Mets were 52-55 on July 31st as Brodie made trades for 2020. If teams were able to make waiver deals in August when the Mets were getting good, I wonder if Brodie would have made a couple of waiver deals to fortify the ‘pen after the Mets went on their streak.

In just about any other situation, you’d say a general manager’s first season where the club improved by nine games would be an unmitigated success. But Brodie made this an all-in season with the Diaz trade, and not only did it fail, it was the difference in the season as four blown saves ultimately were a deciding factor in finishing three games behind the Brewers for a playoff spot. You can’t ace the class by doing all the extra credit and failing the big project, which is what Brodie seemed to do. C-


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