Friday, July 13, 2012

Playoffs look premature for Mets

I enjoyed the Mets' first half, but let's keep it in perspective. The 2010 team had a better record at the All-Star break. The 2010 Mets were 48-40 and the 2012 Mets are 46-40. The 2010 Mets were in second place, four games behind the Braves. The 2012 Mets are in third place, 4 1/2 games behind the Nationals and half a game behind the Braves.

The 2010 Mets were one of six teams within two games of each other for the wild card lead, while the 2012 Mets are one of five teams within a half-game of each other for the wild card lead.

The main thing the 2012 Mets have over the 2010 team is that there are now two wild cards.

The current Met team has more overachievers than underachievers. R.A. Dickey went 12-1 with a 2.40 ERA in the first half.  Johan Santana has been healthy and productive. Even Chris Young has made it through six starts, after only making it through four in each of the last two seasons.
David Wright is hitting .351 with a 1.004 OPS. Scott Hairston has 12 homers in 185 at bats. Is it reasonable to assume that all five players will continue to produce at this level?

Ike Davis leads the underachievers, and more was expected of Jon Niese as well. Ruben Tejada missed several weeks. Andres Torres is hitting .201.The  bullpen has been mostly a nightmare.  Davis has started turning it around and Tejada has been great since returning, so there's hope for more from this group.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis was overachieving for awhile, but now he's underachieving. Daniel Murphy has also been up and down, but is now about where you'd expect at .295.  I no longer qualify Jason Bay as an underachiever. I hope he is healthy for his sake, but don't see him helping the Mets.

This team looked likely to regress even before Dillon Gee got hurt. But now there's no way around it. The Mets only won 7 of Gee's 17 starts, so the regression might not be so bad, but it's hard to imagine them improving in the fifth rotation spot. By all accounts, Matt Harvey is not ready, so bringing him up soon could backfire for this season and for the future. The Mets already rushed Jennry Mejia up and we see how that worked out.

There's certainly a better feeling around the Mets than there has been in awhile. So far at least, losing Jose Reyes has not been as bad as I feared. Reyes and the Marlins are struggling. Ruben Tejada is hitting .325 and fielding well. I'm not saying Tejada has fully replaced Reyes, but it could be worse, say Torres (.201 batting average, 26 runs, 9 steals, 20 RBI, 1 homer) for Angel Pagan (now hitting .284 with 38 runs, 15 steals, 33 RBI and 5 homers).

And while it's great to have Zack Wheeler in the system for the future, the 2012 Mets outfield could certainly use 2012 All-Star Carlos Beltran.

Ultimately, the Beltran for Wheeler trade underscores the fact that the Mets are being built for the future, not the immediate present. I hope the future is not too far off for the Mets. But it doesn't look as if it is in 2012.

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