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With the All-Star Game just around the corner, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin grades every New York Mets player's first-half performance.
Jose Reyes, shortstop
The strained left hamstring that sent Reyes to the disabled list last week offers a reminder of the shortstop's career-long susceptibility to injury and could slightly temper the bidding for him as a free agent. Still, there is no diminishing Reyes' first-half accomplishments. His .354 average leads the National League runner-ups by 30 points, and his 15 triples lead the majors.
Carlos Beltran, right field
Balky knees forced Beltran to miss the first half of the 2010 season to recover from surgery, then cut short the season a week when pain became too severe. And after continued knee nagging in spring training, who would have thought Beltran would lead the Mets in games played at the All-Star break, while putting up comparable numbers to his career totals? Beltran has been a positive clubhouse presence, too, in what is likely his final season -- or weeks -- as a Met. He made Terry Collins' life easy by willingly moving to right field in spring training.
Justin Turner, infielder
Turner, dispatched to Triple-A Buffalo to open the season, already has set a pair of franchise rookie records since his promotion. Turner had a streak of reaching base in 28 games snapped at Dodger Stadium. Earlier in the year, he drove in runs in a rookie-record seven straight games, besting Ron Swoboda's 1965 mark of six straight. His knack for clutch RBIs and ability to play second and third base have been valuable.
Ronny Paulino, catcher
Paulino began the season serving the remainder of a suspension for PEDs, then was transferred to the disabled list. Once activated, he has continued to show a knack for handling left-handed pitching. His performance, and Josh Thole's struggles, have prompted Terry Collins to use Paulino more than in a straight platoon.
Ike Davis, first base
Davis was having a terrific offensive season at the time of his collision with David Wright in Colorado (.302, 7 HR, 25 RBIs in 129 at-bats). The left ankle injury has taken far longer to heal than originally foreseen, but Davis has started to make progress toward a return and avoiding surgery. He ran for the first time on a treadmill bearing his full weight Saturday in his native Phoenix and could be a month from returning.
Angel Pagan, center field
Pagan is not duplicating his 2010 production, yet he is being asked to fill the leadoff spot in the absence of Jose Reyes, and the outfield alignment with Pagan in center field and Carlos Beltran in right field has worked out for the Mets.
Daniel Murphy, infielder
Say this for Murphy: He may not be an accomplished fielder, but he has been versatile, seeing action at first base, second base and third base this season. Murphy also has been asked to fill the cleanup role with David Wright and Ike Davis on the disabled list. He also has lifted his average above .300.
Scott Hairston, outfield
Hairston did deliver the decisive home run in the ninth inning Friday to beat closer Brian Wilson and the San Francisco Giants, but his moments have been few and far between. In fact, Terry Collins has struggled to find opportunities to get Hairston at-bats. During the final week of the first half, Hairston started doing pregame workouts at first base.
David Wright, third base
Wright had underwhelming numbers when he landed on the disabled list (.226, 6 HR, 18 RBIs), but how much of that was unknowingly playing with a stress fracture in his lower back? Wright is due to begin a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Wednesday, and should be back with the Mets after 30 to 40 at-bats in those games on the farm.
Willie Harris, outfield
The lefty version of Hairston, Harris had a monster opening series in Florida with Jason Bay opening the season on the DL with a rib-cage issue. He then cooled and had a .216 average as recently as June 8. If nothing else, employing Harris means he is not making game-saving catches against them for another division opponent.
Jason Bay, left field
Bay has performed solidly in left field for a second straight season, but that's not why the Mets committed at least $66 million over four years to the outfielder. Despite a recent uptick in performance, Bay has not displayed the power numbers the Mets expected, even when accounting for the more spacious dimensions at Citi Field.
Josh Thole, catcher
Thole has an MLB-high 12 passed balls. And his average sat at .223 on June 1. That's not a good combination. His offensive production has picked up in the past month. But the lefty-hitting Thole, originally projected to get the bulk of the playing time in a platoon with righty-hitting Ronny Paulino, has seen his playing time slip as a result of the disparity in production.
Dillon Gee, RHP
Sure, Gee slowed down as the break approached, posting a 6.35 ERA in his final four starts. After taking over for Chris Young, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder, Gee raced to a 7-0 record -- the best opening to a season by a rookie starter in the majors since the Angels' Jered Weaver went 9-0 in 2006. The only better beginnings to a season in franchise history (starter or relief): Terry Leach's 10-0 in 1987, Dwight Gooden's 8-0 in 1988 and Pat Maholm's 8-0 in 1999.
Chris Capuano, LHP
GM Sandy Alderson gave Capuano ($1.5 million) and Chris Young ($1.1 million) modest base salaries, with opportunities for each to lift their earnings to as much as $4.5 million by staying healthy and accumulating starts and innings. While Young's shoulder gave out, Capuano has thrived with some distance from the second Tommy John surgery of his career.
Jonathan Niese, LHP
Niese finished the first half strongly, going 6-3 with a 2.73 ERA over his final 10 starts. He also rallied to lift his record above .500 at 8-7. Niese did have a mild health scare at Texas, when a rapid heartbeat resurfaced, but he was exhaustively checked during the team's next stop, at Detroit, and doctors found nothing alarming.
R.A. Dickey, RHP
Dickey revived his career with the Mets in 2010, and was rewarded with a two-year, $7.8 million contract. Fighting through a torn plantar fascia in his right foot that requires injections to manage, a strained left glute and fingernail issues, Dickey has offered a credible first-half performance with a 4-7 record and 3.61 ERA, but it's not a duplication of a year ago.
Mike Pelfrey, RHP
After racing to a 9-1 start a season ago, Pelfrey stumbled this year. He did toss a complete game against the Angels on June 18, during a stretch when he threw strikes, amassed low pitch counts and pitched deep into games. Because Pelfrey is making $3.925 million and is arbitration-eligible, there's a reasonable chance he gets traded by spring training.
Jason Isringhausen, RHP
When Isringhausen showed up at spring training for a tryout, the Mets initially figured they would offer him a spot in minor league camp. They instead decided on a major league camp invite and eventually chose Blaine Boyer for the final bullpen spot on Opening Day. At 38, Isringhausen may lack durability. He notes he's always one pitch away from breaking down. But where would the Mets have been without Izzy during the first half?
Pedro Beato, RHP
Beato began his major league career without allowing an earned run in 18 2/3 innings. He has shown to be mortal since then but nonetheless has been a find for the organization. Beato's acquisition cost the Mets only $50,000 -- the price of selecting him from the Baltimore Orioles' minor league system at the winter meetings in December. The Mets went 1-for-2 in those Rule 5 selections. They pulled the plug on second baseman Brad Emaus in mid-April.
Tim Byrdak, LHP
No one was going to duplicate what a healthy Pedro Feliciano did for the Mets in recent seasons. But Byrdak's performance, coupled with Feliciano's injury as a Yankee, has meant there has been no lamenting the southpaw succession. Byrdak has been the lone lefty in the pen for significant stretches of the season.
Bobby Parnell, RHP
This grade is a weighted average of Parnell's early season work and his solid output since returning from the minors following a bout with numbness in his right middle finger. Parnell threw a fastball at an eye-popping 103.5 mph in Detroit. More importantly, he's pitching with a better rhythm on the mound and throwing strikes.
D.J. Carrasco, RHP
Other than R.A. Dickey signing a two-year deal to avoid arbitration, Carrasco received the only multiyear deal during the new front office's first offseason in charge -- two years, $2.4 million. While that's hardly a whopping amount by MLB standards, it has not paid dividends. Carrasco spent more time at Triple-A Buffalo than in the majors during the first half and is largely relegated to long relief.
Terry Collins, manager
Collins has managed just fine in his first stint in the majors since 1999. He navigated a potential minefield in spring training when Carlos Beltran volunteered to shift to right field. And he has guided the Mets to an above-.500 record at the break despite David Wright, Ike Davis, Johan Santana and Chris Young missing action. Collins and Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle could be NL Manager of the Year candidates.
Sandy Alderson, GM
Much of the reason the Mets have been managed to remain over .500 in the absence of star players is the performance of players who predated Alderson with the organization -- Justin Turner, Ruben Tejada, etc. He hit with Chris Capuano. Chris Young became injured, although the contract was structured to insulate the Mets from that risk. Of course, much of Alderson's early tenure will be judged by a decision yet to play out: What happens to Jose Reyes?