Five reasons to keep watching the Mets
August, 26, 2014
By Mark Simon | ESPNNewYork.com
AP PhotoChin up, Mets fans! Your baseball season isn't over quite yet.Why watch the 2014 Mets for the rest of the season? It’s a reasonable question given their performance and standing in the NL East -- and one for which we have five answers.
1. They've got awards potential
Two Mets have legitimate shots at awards of note.
Juan Lagares is the runaway leader among National League center fielders in defensive runs saved and has a strong advantage in the other advanced fielding metric, ultimate zone rating (UZR). The only way he doesn’t win a Gold Glove is if the voters favor the reputation of someone like Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez.
Lagares is trying to become the third Mets outfielder to win a Gold Glove, joining Carlos Beltran (who won three straight from 2006 to 2008) and Tommie Agee (1970).
This year’s National League rookie class is a bit weak, which gives Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom a reasonable chance to earn Rookie of the Year honors.
DeGrom is 6-6 with a 3.13 ERA and an NL rookie-best 101 strikeouts. He’ll need a strong finish to be a better candidate than Padres starter Jesse Hahn (7-3, 2.96 ERA), or even late-coming Cubs Kyle Hendricks (1.78 ERA in 50 2/3 innings) and Tsuyoshi Wada (2.56 ERA in 45 2/3 innings).
Their primary competition is Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton, who to this point is the only NL rookie to play in at least 90 games. If Hamilton wins, it will be on the strength of his 49 stolen bases. His offensive slashline of .265/.296/.382 is a bit underwhelming, as is that of Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (.245/.287/.385).
Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings has decent numbers (.271 batting average, six home runs) but hasn’t played in two months due to a shoulder injury, and outfielder David Peralta (.287 batting average) may not even play 100 games this season.
2. They could reach some statistical plateaus
The Mets' offense has struggled throughout the season, but two players can reach numbers deemed significant in the baseball universe.
Lucas Duda is currently on a 94-RBI pace and needs 24 RBIs in the last 31 games for his first 100-RBI season. He would be the first Mets player with 100 RBIs since David Wright had 103 in 2010 and would join Eddie Murray (1993), John Olerud (1997) and Carlos Delgado (2006 and 2008) as the only Mets first basemen to do so.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy leads the NL with 159 hits and needs 41 hits in the 31 remaining games to become the third Mets player to finish a season with at least 200 hits (Lance Johnson in 1996 and Jose Reyes in 2008 are the others).
Murphy could do this if he matches his pace from his past 31 games, during which he has 44 hits and is batting .338.
3. David Wright might snap out of it
The captain is currently in a miserable second-half slump, during which he’s hit .215 with two extra-base hits and no home runs in 135 at-bats and has dealt with both a shoulder injury and a neck issue that took him out of the Mets' series finale against the Dodgers.
Wright’s ability to drive the ball has disappeared for the past five weeks. It would make Mets fans feel a lot better if they had something to cling to with regard to that being a fluke, heading into this winter.
With rosters expanding to 40, there will be decisions to make for the Mets regarding whether to bring up top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, which probably wouldn’t come until after the minor league playoffs.
If he doesn’t come up, the pitcher most likely to get a few more looks will be Rafael Montero, who has thus far disappointed, with an 0-3 record and 5.23 ERA in seven appearances (six starts). Montero has shown moments of goodness, but he’s not yet shown the command that made him one of the organization's top pitchers the past two seasons. He needs to show he can keep the ball in the ballpark, which he hasn’t done so far (eight homers in 32 2/3 innings).
5. They could post a winning record ... at home
The current 61-70 record means that .500 is pretty much out of reach. The Mets would have to go 20-11 to finish even Stephen. They haven’t gone 20-11 over any 31-game stretch since they did so in 2010.
The Mets do have a decent chance to finish with a winning record at home, with their current mark standing at 30-32.
The Mets also have a chance to outscore their opponents this season, having been outscored so far, 509-502.
We’re guessing that’s unsatisfying to most Mets fans, but unsatisfying results have been a part of Mets-watching for quite some time now.