What Stood Out:- Matt Harvey’s emergence. After an excellent rookie campaign, Harvey has entered into the class of MLB’s elite, which includes Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg. Not since Johan Santana’s 2008 season have Mets fans seen such a great performance night in and night out. Harvey’s talent is only surpassed by his intensity. When walking back to the dugout after a half inning he looks straight ahead, never glancing into the crowd, and most likely pondering his failure to strike out the side. His drive for perfection has carried him and hopefully will continue to carry him to even greater heights. What I Liked From the First Half:- David Wright. The team’s star is on pace for a season which rivals the best of his excellent career in 2007 and 2008. After a few years with high strikeout rates and fluctuating power, average, and speed numbers, Wright has returned to a MVP-caliber level player.
* Projections based on a full season. - The walk-off is my favorite moment in all of sports. It represents the exciting culmination of nine or more hard fought innings. It often represents a comeback victory which is the sweetest in baseball. The Mets have seven such victories, and each one has been exciting as the last, if not even more nerve racking.- Progression on the farm. While there have been outliers, many of the Mets' top prospects have had good first halves. Prospects who have shown well in the first half.
|Pitching prospect (Upper level)||Pitching Prospect (Lower level)||Hitting Prospect (Upper level)||Hitting Prospect (Lower level)|
|Rafael Montero***||Noah Syndergaard**||Cesar Puello**||Kevin Plawecki*|
|Jacob deGrom***||Steven Matz*||Wilmer Flores***||Jayce Boyd*|
|Rainy Lara*||Cory Vaughn**||Dustin Lawley*|
|Matthew Bowman*||Travis Taijeron**|
|Gabriel Ynoa*||Darrell Ceciliani**|
*** With Triple-A Las Vegas** With Double-A Binghamton* With Single-A St. Lucie or Savannah - Eric Young trade and performance. The old adage of speed kills holds true for EY JR. Since coming to the Mets he has hit at the level he did while with the Rockies last season. If he can hit for an average of .270 with a .340 OBP, while playing multiple positions and running like a madman, Young may turn out to be a pickup that is with the team for years to come.- Bobby Parnell has been the Mets' most consistent pitcher this season besides Matt Harvey. He has given up runs in only 6 out of 40 appearances and doesn’t allow base runners. He allows 2.2 walks and 5.9 hits per nine innings. His WHIP is good for 14th in the league among relievers with at least 20 innings pitched. He has found a recipe for success.- Juan Lagares' defense. In only 50 games, Lagares has a 1.0 dWAR. He reminds me of Carlos Beltran when he first signed with the Mets. Now his offense has to catch up with his defense or he will be no more than a 4th or 5th outfielder going forward.- Zack Wheeler’s MLB debut. Wheeler hasn’t blown the competition away, but he has started to get his footing, giving up two earned runs over his last two outings. Wheeler has the stuff to be electric and it’s a treat watching him trot onto the Citi Field mound and light up the radar gun every fifth day. What I Didn’t Like From the First Half:- Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. I’m naïve, as I thought at least one and possibly both would prove themselves as legitimate forces in the middle in the Mets' lineup. Boy was I wrong. I could give a lot of stats on these two, but I think these four just about sum it up: Combined they strike out 32 percent of the time, their average is .203, they have a combined dWAR of -2.0, and for power hitters they have a combined slugging percentage of .351.- Ruben Tejada. He had a breakout season last year showing signs that he could be an above average replacement level player not just in the field, but also at the plate. However, before his injury, Tejada had a major regression and it’s up in the air as to what kind of player he will be going forward. Unfortunately, the Mets can’t find out until he recovers. If he can’t get on base at least a third of the time, he is nothing more than a utility infielder.- Injuries (d’Arnaud, Duda, Tejada, Niese, Familia, Santana). Injuries suck and for a team trying to rebuild and to figure out where pieces will slot in the future, they act as a roadblock for the Mets' eventual success.- Twelve extra inning games, 42 extra innings, five rainouts and one snow out. The schedule has not been kind for the Mets this season. What Surprised Me in the First Half:- Jeremy Hefner. The pitcher nobody thought was anything more than a triple-A player or at best a sixth starter, has the best ERA in MLB since June 6. His dominance, because that’s all his performance can be described as, is a remarkable achievement. Maybe it is the result of a couple extra mph on his fastball or maybe he has finally figured out the majors, but Hefner has inexplicably been the team’s second best starter this season.- Marlon Byrd's resurgence. His play is on the same level as Jeremy Hefner. Coming off a terrible season and a suspension from MLB he has re-invented himself into a good all-around player. There is no doubt he strikes out often and doesn’t walk; however, a team starved for a middle-of-the-order bat has one. Byrd, who easily could not have made the roster this spring, has the third best OPS and most home runs on the team. In addition, he hustles as much as anyone on the team in the outfield and out of the box, and that shouldn’t be understated.- The Mets' poor performance. I thought they would be better out of the gate, but the Mets came out of the blocks at 24-39. Not only were they 15 games under .500, but they were also playing a boring, mundane brand of baseball.- The Mets' turnaround. I’m as surprised at their recent success as I am at their earlier failures. They are six games over .500 in their last 26 games, but more importantly, they have been playing inspired, hard-nosed baseball. This revitalized team makes you want to watch even as they enter extra innings every other game. What to Look for in the Second Half:- To deal Bobby Parnell or not? For the right package of prospects, or as part of a bigger trade for an established player, I’m of the opinion Parnell has to be available. Closers have such a high flameout rate that it’s smart business to trade Parnell for a big haul. If no good deals arise, then keeping him is a pretty good option.- Josh Satin. I’m convinced Satin will be a career .486 OBP hitter. Okay, he is in store for a major regression, but to what extent? A John Buck-like fall back to earth or a Daniel Murphy gradual decline?- Can they keep it up? I’m excited to see if the team can continue to win series coming out of the All-Star break. At the very least, I think they can continue to play a fun brand of baseball, maybe calling up prospects like Montero, Flores, and d’Arnaud in the process.- Sandy Alderson please stand up. There have been rumblings that Alderson is ready to make a move to bring in an impact bat. Now let’s see what he can deliver, because if he doesn’t start making moves in the near future, I don’t know how much longer the Wilpons will keep his company.- What to do with Terry Collins? On the telecast Gary and Keith were strongly in favor of the Mets giving Collins a deal over the All-Star break. I don’t know if I would go as far as that, but to Collins' credit, he has taken an under-talented, under-performing roster and won games in recent weeks. You Can Follow Me on Twitter @danny_ss