Yet all is not lost for the 2008 New York Mets, and at 14-11 they are only .5 games out of first place in the NL East. To assess the state of the Mets, and to try and make some sense of what has been an odd season to date, I submit the:
2008 New York Mets Report Card Through 25 Games As Presented By A Completely Knee-Jerk-Reaction-Prone And Superlative-Abusing Fan
Jose Reyes, SS. Grade: D-. Why does Reyes swing at every pitch that is thrown to him? Reyes even swings at pitches that are not thrown to him. Damion Easley struck out on two pitches the other night, and the umpire explained that Reyes, who was on deck, was so aggressively swinging at the incoming pitches while in the on-deck circle that the ump was crediting Easley with an extra strike. I was going to go with the "F" here, but Reyes did get on base six times last night (3 for 3, 3 BB), raising his OBP from .272 to a whopping .312. This guy is supposed to be one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, and he is, to date, arguably the worst leadoff hitter in this division. He is beginning to show some patience at the plate, but his production across the board in April has been a half-step above miserable. And, as we all know (because Gary won't shut up about it) - "As Reyes goes, so go the Mets." (side note: is it really that surprising that when your leadoff hitter gets on base and scores runs your team generally wins more than it loses? Is this unique to the Mets? Are the Phillies better when Jimmy Rollins goes 0-for-5?).
Luis Castillo, 2b. Grade: C. Castillo's knees and legs are being held together by pretzel rods, and I know that Open Bar is furious that Ryan Church is not batting second (with good reason: the Mets win when Church bats second), but this guy has performed pretty well in the past week or so. In fact, six stolen bases is tied for the club lead, and he is pretty sure-handed in the field. That said, the one thing he is supposed to be very good at, bunting, appears to have totally escaped him this year, and he is about as likely to hit a home run as Mr. Met. In any event, this guy is an awkward slide away from the 60-day DL, so let's keep Easley loose.
David Wright, 3b. Grade: Heart. (Glancing upwards, sighing contentedly). [Insert doodles here of my first name and David Wright's last name over and over again].
Carlos Beltran, CF. Grade: Die. Here's a fun fact: Beltran has 19 hits in 2008 and has struck out 20 times. Beltran does a great job of drawing walks (20 of them this year), but refuses to try and steal (only twice this year), which is why he has that ridiculous record for most successful base stealer of all time. Hey dumbass, if you only steal when you are guaranteed to make it safely, you will have two things: (a) a meaningless record, and (b) my scorn and contempt. Ass. Get that thing removed.
Ryan Church, RF. Grade: A. Talk about coming out of left field (or right field, as the case may be). Church has performed better than I think anyone could reasonably have expected. It certainly appears that the Mets picked up Church at the right time in his career, just as he was maturing into a solid every day player. If we can get .290, 25, 95 out of this guy this year, not to mention continued spectacular defense (he has made some sick catches this year), that trade with Montreal (yes, I still call them that) looks brilliant. My bad, Omar.
Carlos Delgado, 1b. Grade: F. .194, 3, 12 (19 K's). To quote David Spade, who was in turn paraphrasing MC Hammer: do-do-do-do. do-do. do-do. It's over.
Raul Casanova, C. Grade: whatever. I like this guy, but, you know, whatever.
Angel Pagan/Endy Chavez, LF. Grade: B-. I don't have anything funny to say about either of these guys (which assumes, I guess, that I have had something funny to say about others, which is debatable). Both have been good, not great; Pagan perhaps a bit better than expected, Chavez perhaps a bit worse (but hitting his stride). I think the platoon in left makes sense here for the rest of the year (Alou is done): solid defense, great speed, and acceptable offense. I have no idea why Willie felt the need to shit on Pagan the other day, but whatever.
Johan Santana. Grade: B-. I don't want to hear it from the Johan supporters, the bottom line is that this guy has been good but not great, and has been a bit of a disappointment so far. This is not Brandon Webb or Jake Peavy or any of the other lights out pitchers in the National League. Maybe when the weather warms up things will pick up for him, but he gives up way too many home runs, has lost a mile or two of his fastball, and is not unhittable. None of these things are unreasonable, except for a guy who just got signed to a multi-year deal worth north of $20m per year. At that level, we should expect 1998 Pedro, 1986 Doc, etc. Stay tuned.
Oliver Perez and John Maine. Grade: C+. Throw some strikes. Both of you. (side note: I swear on whatever you want me to swear on that I wrote this before this afternoon's debacle for Perez, which merely reinforces what I wrote).
Nelson Figueroa and Mike Pelfrey. Grade: A or C. If the criterion is "how good are they compared to what you expected", these guys both get A's, no question, especially Figgy (side note: can we end this nonsense with his family being at every game and the camera cutting to them every time he throws a strike? We get it. He was out of American baseball for a while, is a local guy, and is now pitching at a very high level for his hometown team. It's a nice story. Let's move on). If it is, how good are they going to be in August based on what you have seen so far, they both drop off. These guys have pitched well, but the league is going to figure them both out and start hitting them(especially Pelfrey). Hard.
Bullpen. Grade: D. See my Heilman comment above. There have been four grand slams in the NL this year, and the Mets bullpen has surrendered three of them. 'Nuff said.