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New York Mets 1st Half Recap #LFGM

Mets fans, take a deep breath. I know we’ve been here before. In fact, we were pretty much at this exact spot this time last year; the Mets, on one of their hottest starts in a decade, still can’t seem to shake a divisional opponent that continues to creep up. However, while a good amount of dysfunction (as well as some imaginary raccoons) ran through the Mets clubhouse last year, I think this team has the maturity and the talent to make a deep run this fall.

When looking at what makes this team so fun to watch every night, I first gravitate towards the offense. While still not without their occasional slumps, withholding run support on career nights from guys like Scherzer, the Mets are one of the most exciting teams at the plate when everything clicks. Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor have finally become the 1-2 punch in the lineup we were expecting last spring, accounting for just under 35% percent of the team’s total RBIs this season. While at times I feel like these two bear a bit too much of the offensive production, guys like Jeff McNeil, Mark Canha, and Brandon Nimmo have all been consistent enough to help get runs on the board. Defensively, this team is clicking like I haven’t seen in a very long time. Luis Guillorme, despite his inconsistency at the plate, has been a walking highlight reel at second base, and their various combinations in the outfield have been a massive improvement from last year. At the All-Star break, the Mets outfield has an Outs Above Average rating of +3 (Courtesy Statcast). For reference, the Mets outfield finished 2021 with an OAA rating of -5.

As for the pitching, I think it’s a bit of a mixed bag, though one with more positive aspects to it than negative. Of course, we first have to talk about Max Scherzer, whose veteran presence resonates throughout this team even when he’s not on the mound. Of course, when he is on the mound, he’s probably the most consistent starter we’ve got, frequently recording 8+ strikeouts per game while bringing a unique intensity that seemingly does not come with an ego. Chris Bassitt, even with his June slump, Tylor MeGill, Carlos Carrasco have also been huge standouts this year, holding down the fort pretty well in Scherzer’s absence, and just in time for Jacob DeGrom’s impending(?) second half return.

In terms of my favorite moments from the season, a few stick out to me. First, the slew of jams that the Mets have gotten themselves out of in the spring. A walk-off win against the Giants, a top of the ninth rally against the Cards, and several heroic moments against the Phillies, both home and away. Next, I’d probably say I’ve loved the leadership of Buck Showalter. Buck is a major advocate for this team, a never-ending fountain of great quotes, and a man with a much clearer vision for this team than we’ve seen from the last few managers. Finally, like I mentioned in the beginning of this recap, it’s the fact that the Mets really feel like one cohesive unit. These guys clearly enjoy playing together and winning together, and the fans have taken notice.

Trades/Second half analysis:

As we enter the All-Star Break, and trade talks all around the majors continue to heat up, the Juan Soto carrot now finds itself dangling in front of the Mets’ face. In all honesty, there is no reason for the Mets not to make this trade. He’s one of the hottest players in all of baseball, the NL DH will make sure that the outfield isn’t too overcrowded, and we’ve got plenty of prospects to sweeten the deal for Washington. Of course, I do love a lot of the prospects that would probably get traded, but this is a win now move that I feel like is definitely worth it.

Aside from Soto, I think the Mets really need to bolster their bullpen. I gushed a lot about this team in my first half reflection, and rightfully so, but mainly because I wanted to share my biggest gripe of the season for this section. Aside from Edwin Diaz, who has been as close to a perfect closer as you can get this season, the bullpen has been pretty much all over the place. Adam Ottovino has his moments, but can be wildly inconsistent. Chasen Shreve started off hot, but fizzled out quickly before being designated for assignment and then released. Overall, I think if the Mets can grab one or two guys that are consistent enough to preserve leads, I think the Mets should be one step closer to raising a pennant in 2022.

One Word to describe the first half: Topheavy

1st Half of the Season Thoughts

As I write this, the Mets just lost their first half season finale to the Cubs, however took ¾. Definitely a sour way to end the first half, however, should not overshadow how fun this team was in the 1st half. The Mets currently sit at 58-35 and have a 2.5 game lead in the NL east. This game was a stinker because the Braves also lost to the Nationals. It would have been nice to gain a game on the Braves with the Padres series after the break, however it is nothing to be to dwell about. The Mets 58-35 record is the 2nd best 1st half record in franchise history, only behind the 1986 team, and we all know how that story ends.

I have two MVPs so far from the first half. The first MVP is Edwin Diaz. Edwin Diaz has been the best closer in baseball this year. Diaz has bounced back from his shaky 2021 season and become a dominant closer. It has been amazing to watch, especially as the Diaz trade was starting to become skeptical in some Mets’ fans eyes. Diaz had some solid moments in 2021, however the biggest problem for him was consistency. He had a 3.45 ERA and when he came in for the save there was definitely an uneasiness that swept through Citi Field. This year, he has been beyond consistent and currently has a 1.69 ERA and is headed to Los Angeles for the All-Star game. I’ve really enjoyed him finding his identity in the first half of the season and becoming a fan favorite. Diaz will be a free agent after this season and has expressed his desire to stay in NYC, so here’s to hoping that the front office can get it done. I’d imagine if Diaz continues his impressive season, he will get the BAG from the front office, and deservedly so.

My second MVP is Pete Alonso. Pete has been my favorite Met for a while and there is nothing I want more in this world than Pete to be a Met for life. If you haven’t read his Players’ Tribune article, I highly recommend it. I will link it here. The article really showed that Pete loves the city of New York and the Mets organization. In the first half of the season, Pete broke the franchise RBI record in the first half of the season. Who did he pass? My other favorite Met: David Wright. Pete led the MLB in RBIs in the 1st half of the season with 77! He also has 24 homers (he had 37 total in 2021) and a .265 batting average. The average might seem a bit low, however these stats really do not show how awesome Pete has been this year. He has had some slumps from time to time, however I think he has been one if not the most consistent player offensively for the Mets in the 1st half. His defense has also SIGNIFICANTLY improved at first base and it has made a huge difference for the Mets in the field.

I asked the Mets community on Twitter who their MVP of the 1st half was and here are the answers I got:

  • Pete (x5)

  • Diaz (x4)

  • David Peterson (x2)

  • Trevor Williams

  • Buck ShowWalter

  • Lindor (x2)

  • Jeff Mcneil

I think it is great that we have a couple of options here. Obviously the team has some holes, but to see a nice mix of players that shows we have a solid balance and not one guy is carrying all the weight.

One word to describe the first half: Exhilarating

Any moves you want at the deadline?

When looking at this team, I see a big weak spot at the DH position. JD Doofus and Dom Smith are horrible and the true weakness of this team. JD Doofus could not hit a fastball if I served it on a gold platter with a fork and knife. Dom has had some solid moments here and there, however when you finally think he might be getting back in the groove, he just sinks back down and is utter trash. Those two are two players who arguably should not be in the MLB. We need to sign a competent DH at the deadline to really shape the lineup. Right now the DH position is an instant out and it really doesn't help when you have Mazeika/Nido, Luis and Escobar right there in the lineup with them. In some games, the bottom of the order is just immediate outs. Another thing we need is one more arm in the bullpen. Besides Diaz, no one in the bullpen has been amazing. Our bullpen will have bright spots, however there is always somebody who f**ks it up. Whether it is Drew Smith, Ottavino, Lugo, etc, there is no one besides Diaz who you can really trust. Every single time they come in, you kinda just roll your eyes and hope for the best. Now don’t get me wrong, they have had some solid stints, however the key is consistency. I am pretty nervous when one of them comes in the game when it is a 1 or 2 run game, which displays they lack consistency. The perfect trade deadline for this team would be to get rid of JD Doofus and Bum Smith, get a competent DH, and get one more solid arm in the bullpen.

Expectations/hopes for the second half?

I think my biggest hope for the team is that they can stay HEALTHY. Degrom’s return will hopefully be in the Padres or Subway series, and I am just hoping that he can stay healthy. With Degrom healthy, we have a deadly rotation. Degrom, Max, Walker, Cookie, and Bassit are all very solid and it allows Williams to stay in the bullpen where he has been pretty good. Special shoutout to Trevor Williams and Drew Peterson in the 1st half as well. They really held it down during difficult times in the first half, especially on the west coast road trip. Williams had a great game against the Dodgers on the road trip that is one of my fondest memories of the 1st half of the season. Walker has been incredible as well and was snubbed of an All-star spot. If he can continue to dominate in the 2nd half, the rotation will be deadly. Health is gonna be the key for this team down the stretch. Right now the catcher position is a bit thin. With Mcann on the IL and Nido dealing with some injuries, we have Mazeika and that's it LOL. It really puts the question out there if the Mets will call up Franciso Alvarez from Syracuse. Or maybe they will make a move at the deadline and get rid of James Mccant. He has spent a lot of time on the IL and when he is not on the IL, he isn’t doing much offensively for this team. I know a lot of Mets fans have entertained the idea of Wilson Contreras and getting rid of James McCant. It will be very interesting to see what this front office does at the deadline. There are a couple different routes they can take and it will be interesting to see it unfold.

As far as my expectations for this team, I’m expecting them to continue to roll in the 2nd half, especially as the schedule starts to soften up. The trade rumors will swirl after the All star break, especially with the Juan Soto news. The Mets apparently are one of the teams that the Nationals are considering trading Soto to. I know a lot of Mets fans, including sometimes myself, get really connected to the prospects, especially Alavarez. However, there is a big part of me that would really like to see Soto in Queens. I think it would be a great fit, and our lineup with Soto would look something like this:

CF - Nimmo

RF - Marte

DH - Soto

1B - Alonso

SS - Lindor

2B - McNeil

LF - Canha

3B - Escobar

C - A bum

Second half of the season will hopefully be a fun time, and I am really looking forward to some more Mets baseball, which hopefully includes the playoffs this year! LFGM!


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