Last week, I was asked to contribute my take on the Mets 2011 season using a report card-style format, here it goes.
How many wins the Mets rotation earned this season does not tell the whole story. Durability is more like it. R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, and Chris Capuano were each able to take the mound more than thirty times during the 2011 season and gave the Mets some stability in the back-end of their rotation. Let’s just hope help is on the way with the addition of a healthy Johan Santana and a rested Jonathon Niese to shore up the front-end for 2012.
This grade to me was a no-brainer. After shipping out their closer, Francisco Rodriguez, the Mets bullpen became its own worst enemy. A closer by committee ensued with the end result being a very serviceable Manny Acosta. All kidding aside, right-hander Bobby Parnell overcame his bouts with poor circulation, Ryota Igarashi was shown the door while young lefty Danny Herrera, all 5’6”, 165 lbs. of him proved that it doesn’t take much to be invited to the MLB Fan Cave. This area of the Mets roster was one disaster after another, beginning with the signing of D.J. Carrasco to the lack of a set-up man. Even if K-Rod had stayed, chances are slim that he would’ve been capable of exercising his highly-publicized option with this crew.
Honestly, I gave the Mets catchers a “C” because the word, catcher, starts with C, meaning there’s not much to get excited about in this department. I’ll admit the signing of Ronny Paulino did raise the grade. However, Josh Thole’s bat was as unspectacular as his glove which isn’t saying much and the reason he was able to stay on the roster was due to his ability to catch the knuckleball.
If there was such a grade as “I” (I for infield, wink, wink, nudge, nudge) the Mets infielders would’ve earned it. But in this case, the letter “I” would be for inconsistency. Correct me if I’m wrong, but at one point in the season, all four of the Mets Opening Day starters, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Daniel Murphy, and Ike Davis, were either on the DL or unable to perform on a daily basis. However, there is a silver lining in all of this and it goes by the name of shortstop Ruben Tejada, the Mets version of a blue-chip prospect on the rise.
For this category, you could accuse me of judging lightly. Coupled with an underperforming Jason Bay and Angel Pagan (who further exemplified the injury woes that still plague this Mets team) and the Carlos Beltran trade, you could grade this category lower than it actually is. The saving grace, you ask? A budding star in Lucas Duda whom Mets fans anticipate will fill the void left by the departed Beltran and give the ball club some desperately-needed power.
Best Offensive Player
If ever there was a player who could define the phrase “limitless potential”, it would be Jose Reyes. In addition to his speed, Reyes was able to bring home the franchise’s first NL Batting title. Owner of the fan-favorite chant, “Jose, Jose, Jose,” Reyes was the star attraction the entire season, whether it was on the field, singing reggaeton, or nursing a very temperamental hamstring.
Dillon Gee. I know what you’re thinking, Gee is just a rookie and of course, it would be unfair to compare his rookie season with that of say, Hall of Famer Tom Seaver’s, but you have to be pleased with the competitiveness he showed on the mound. His ability to effectively change speeds and give MLB hitters different looks at the plate earned him an above-average first full season.
In summation, the Mets need bullpen help, bad!
Check out my baseball podcast, Mets Public Record, airing this Tuesday night at 11 PM EST!