The Mets did something different this year which gives me hope for next season. Instead of starting off strong and floundering to the end of the season, they actually floundered through much of the schedule and then got better towards the end of the season. In fact, the Mets were five games over .500 in September with a 15-10 record.
It also sounds great to be able to say that the Mets finished in second place, which they did. The truth, however, is that other than the Nationals the division was pretty weak. The Mets' 79-83 record was identical to that of their one time nemesis, the Atlanta Braves. Seeing the Phillies finish in last is also satisfying after years of abuse from Philly fans. Their dynasty sure fell apart real fast.
Despite all this, it was the 6th straight losing season for the Mets and the fans showed their frustration in the form of many, many, many empty seats. The rebuilding plan that Sandy Alderson spoke of is taking a lot longer than initially thought and it's time for the Mets to move forward and start winning. (With the Yankees sliding in to irrelevance, the Mets have the chance to win back the city....but will they capitalize on it?)
Here's a look at the grades for the 2014 New York Mets:
GM Sandy Alderson
Alderson talks a good game, but his moves this past off season were terrible. His free agent signings included Curtis Granderson who finished the season with a .227 batting average and 141 strikeouts. Even worse was the acquisition of outfielder Chris Young. Young was a .235 career hitter and somehow managed to hit even worse than that...he was designated for assignment in August with a measly .205 average.
Alderson made the right call on Lucas Duda over Ike Davis and the Mets' farm system looks like it's full of young players with lots of potential.
Overall Grade C
Manager Terry Collins
Collins appears to have the respect of the dugout, as well as the news media. Collins, however, can only do so much with the team that he's been given. Of course there were questionable decisions made at points throughout the season, but Collins has handled himself with class all season. It would be great to see how Collins would do if the Mets can start hitting.
Overall Grade B
With Matt Harvey lost for the entire season, there were definite worries for the Mets' starting rotation. The Mets signed 41 year old Bartolo Colon and he was a work horse for the team. He threw 202 innings and picked up 15 wins on a team that had difficulty scoring runs.
Jon Niese, Zach Wheeler and Dillon Gee all had decent seasons and gave the Mets plenty of quality starts. The breakout star, however, was Jacob DeGrom. He began the season in Las Vegas and once called up, never left. He is almost certain to win Rookie of the Year after going 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA. He also had 144 strikeouts including 8 in a row versus the Marlins which tied a Major League Record set in 1986. DeGrom also proved that he could hit. He ended the season with a .217 average, which is 10 points higher than what Chris Young hit!!!
The Mets' pitching staff combined for a 3.49 ERA which was the 9th best out of all 30 MLB clubs. They were 8th in strikeouts with 1303.
Overall Grade B+
It's hard to believe that one of the Mets' strongest parts this season was the bullpen. After all those years of blown saves, Armando Benitez, blown saves, Aaron Heilman, blown saves, etc. etc. etc. the Mets' bullpen was solid.
After Bobby Parnell went down at the start of the season, the bullpen situation looked dire. Instead, a bunch of journeymen and no names combined to put up great numbers.
- Josh Edgin 1.32
- Buddy Carlyle 1.45
- Jeurys Familia 2.21
- Vic Black 2.60
- Carlos Torres 3.06
- Jenrry Mejia was given the closer role and flourished. He ended the season with 28 saves and 3.65 ERA
The Mets' bullpen combined for a 3.14 ERA which was the 8th best out of all 30 MLB clubs.
Overall Grade A-
I admit it, I was wrong. I blasted the Mets for trading Ike Davis and keeping Lucas Duda. Davis continued to stink with the Pirates, while Duda began to look like a legitimate power hitting first baseman. He still needs to work on increasing his batting average and hitting in clutch situations, but his 30 home runs and 92 RBI's were a bright spot in an otherwise pitiful offensive season.
Overall Grade B-
Daniel Murphy began the season being ridiculed for skipping a few games to be with his wife who was having a baby. He got the last laugh as his actions led to him being invited to speak at the White House about parenting and he was the only member of the Mets to be chosen to play at the All Star Game.
Murphy was once again consistent at the plate and finished the season with a .289 average and 172 hits. If not for a spell on the disabled list, Murphy was on pace to reach 200 hits for the season. He had 9 homers, 37 doubles and 13 stolen bases. His only blemish was his team leading 15 errors.
Murphy is one of the most reliable bats in the Mets' batting order.
Overall Grade B
Ruben Tejada proved that the Mets made a mistake in not resigning Jose Reyes a few seasons back. Tejada was terrible at the plate with a .237 average and was jettisoned to the bench. He had a brief emergence in September where he hit .325 with 2 home runs.
Wilmer Flores was better at the plate hitting .251 with 6 home runs.
Mets' shortstops combined for 13 errors.
Overall Grade D
By his usual standards David Wright had a really bad season. He batted .269 with just 8 home runs and 63 RBI's. He also tied Murphy with 15 errors. Mets fans can't be too hard on Wright, however, as he's carried this team throughout most of his career. He was hurt most of the year and played through the pain before missing the last two months of the season. Hopefully he'll rehab and get back to his usual numbers.
Overall Grade C
A major weak spot for the Mets this season. The previously mentioned Chris Young stunk up the joint for half of the season while Eric Young and an assortment of bench players filled in the rest of the year. Eric Young did steal 30 bases, but his .229 average is not worthy of an every day role. This is a spot where the Mets need to get a player with power that can hit for average.
Overall Grade D
Juan Lagares was another one of the bright spots for the Mets. His defense alone was top notch, but he also proved that he can handle himself at the plate. He hit .281 in 416 at bats and stole 13 bases. He also came through many times in the clutch. He showed flashes of power with 4 homers and 24 doubles. His season ended early through an injury.
Lagares was platooned often early in the season, but hopefully will be given the chance to be the everyday center fielder next season. It'll be great to see what he can produce given the chance to play everyday.
Overall Grade B
Curtis Granderson came to the Mets with a lot of fanfare. He was a slugger for the Tigers and the Yankees and the hope was that he would be a leader of the offense. While he did hit 20 homers, they seemed to come with no one on base. When the game was on the line, he usually struck out, which he did 141 times. There is a TON of room for improvement here.
Overall Grade C-
Travis d'Arnaud came to the Mets in the R.A. Dickey trade with Toronto. He came with a lot of expectations and talk of him being a future star. He had a rough season early on and was sent down to the minors hitting under the Mendoza line at .180. The demotion seemed to have an effect on d'Arnaud. After returning to the club he hit .272 with 10 home runs. In fact, over his last 30 games he was batting a robust .300. d'Arnaud also played through injury and just had surgery on his right elbow.
The fact that he improved so much after his demotion is a good sign that he may yet fulfill his promise. He should get that chance in 2015.
Overall Grade C
In the end, the 2014 Mets were lacking in run production. The team average of .239 was the third worst in all of baseball. They also need help with power as their 125 home runs ranked them 20th out of 30 MLB clubs.
If the Mets can fix their offensive problems and keep their pitchers healthy, the Mets may legitimately have a chance to challenge in 2015
In the end, the Mets won 5 more games in 2014 than they did in 2013 and appear to be heading in the right direction. Hopefully Sandy Alderson and the front office will give fans the opportunity to watch a winning team next season.
New York Mets Overall Team Season Grade C