After a bad month of May for the New York Mets, we reluctantly decide who were the best pitchers and hitters for the team.
April was a great month for the New York Mets as they were 17-9 and 1.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. One month later, it has gone in the opposite direction for Mickey Callaway and company.
During the month of May, the Mets went 10-18 and are now five games behind the Braves for the NL East lead. Plus, they are now in fourth place behind the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies.
The problem for the Mets this month has been that the team has had its fair share of injuries. Throughout this month, their two top starters (Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard) spent time on the disabled list. On the offensive side, Yoenis Cespedes, Todd Frazier, and Wilmer Flores are all currently on the DL.
Without Cespedes and Frazier, the Mets offense struggled. They finished 12th in the National League in runs during the month (98) and their .245 average was around the middle of the pack in the league (ninth). They did add Jose Bautista to help out the outfield situation.
On the pitching side, the bullpen was one of the problems the Mets had during May. Due to those struggles, New York had a team ERA of 4.55 (12th in the NL) and opposing hitters had a .270 average against them (third highest in the league).
As we did for the month of April, let’s take a look back at the month and hand out some awards for best hitter, best pitcher, biggest surprise, and biggest disappointment:
Best Hitter: OF Brandon Nimmo (.266, five home runs, nine RBIs)
Before the season began, one of the big questions for the Mets was who would be their leadoff hitter. While the Mets needed an injury to Yoenis Cespedes to figure that out, Nimmo has been the sparkplug that New York needed at the top of the order.
Out of the 23 hits that Nimmo had in May (led the team), 13 of them went for extra bases. This included six doubles, two triples, and five home runs. His value to the Mets has come with his patience at the plate and the ability to draw walks to help set up the offense.
In May, Nimmo had 15 walks and an on-base percentage of .406. Plus, he has seen about four pitches per plate appearance, which is always key out of the leadoff spot. In terms of where he stacked up with the rest of the National League, he was tied for 10th in walks.
When Cespedes comes back, it will be interesting to see where the Mets find playing time for Nimmo when everybody is healthy. With that being said, he gives the team a chance to manufacture runs when the power isn’t clicking in a particular game.
As for an honorable mention for this spot, Asdrubal Cabrera would be the choice here. He won the best hitter award we did last month and he kept up that consistent production in May. In 28 games, he hit .269 with five home runs, 17 RBIs, and a slugging percentage of .481.
Best Pitcher: SP Jacob deGrom (1-0, 0.69 ERA in five starts)
DeGrom gets this award for the second straight month and it is hard not to give it to him for the way he pitched this month. Despite the bullpen messing up his chances at wins, the right-hander has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the early portion of this season.
Early in the month of May, deGrom had to go on the DL because of a hyperextended right elbow. Since that point, he has given up a total of two runs over his last 21 innings pitched. In those 21 innings, his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 29:5. This season, he has the best ERA in the National League (1.52) and the third most strikeouts (85).
With the state that the Mets rotation is in currently, the team has to do everything they can to win games that deGrom is pitching in to avoid those long losing streaks. The Mets ace battles when he doesn’t have his best stuff and still puts up a quality outing every five days.
An honorable mention for this award would go to Seth Lugo as he makes his return to the rotation on Thursday. Despite giving up a walk-off home run to Charlie Culberson in Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader, Lugo had a 1.47 ERA and struck out 21 batters to only two walks in 11 games (18.1 innings).
Since Mickey Callaway has had to use Lugo in the eighth inning of games this season, the Mets will have to re-configure how their bullpen looks if he is now getting stretched back out into being a starter. If that time has come, then give Lugo credit for keeping this team in the mix with the way he pitched in high-leverage situations.
Biggest Surprise: C Devin Mesoraco (.222, five home runs, 10 RBIs)
Back on May 8, the New York Mets acquired Devin Mesoraco in the deal that sent Matt Harvey to the Cincinnati Reds. No one could’ve guessed that Mesoraco would be one of the best hitters on the team in the three weeks that he has been in Flushing.
In May, his five home runs were tied with Cabrera and Michael Conforto for the most on the team and his 10 RBIs were tied with Amed Rosario for second in that category. He had a slugging percentage of .537 and an .OPS of .849.
After the disappointment that Mets catchers were in the month of April, Mesoraco brings the power to the position that desperately needed it. With Kevin Plawecki now back as the backup catcher, those two are not a bad duo to have behind the plate. Plus, it allows Tomas Nido to continue to catch every day in the minor leagues.
Plus, Mesoraco deserves a lot of credit for learning the pitchers in the rotation quickly without having spring training to figure everyone out. He may not be the All-Star that he once was with the Reds back in 2014. However, he has given the Mets offense a much-needed upgrade.
Biggest Disappointment: 3B Jose Reyes (.132, two RBIs)
It is hard to not bring up Reyes in this attention because the Mets haven’t gotten much production at third base with Frazier on the disabled list. As Reyes nears his 35th birthday (June 11), he is not an everyday player anymore and he doesn’t bring the speed aspect of the game that he once had.
Sometimes, it is tough for a player to adjust to a bench role after be has been a starter for the bulk of his career. In pinch-hitting situations this season, the veteran is a mere 1-for-14 at the plate (.071) with four strikeouts and one walk.
The problem for the Mets at this point is they do not have many other options that could replace Reyes on the roster. Luis Guillorme has done a good job since being called up to the Mets, but he is not to the point where he can be an everyday player in the field. The same goes for Flores, who the Mets use all over the diamond.
The expectations are low for Reyes. With that being said, putting him in the lineup at this point doesn’t bring many positive results. Once Frazier comes back from his rehab stint in Las Vegas, it will be interesting to see what the front office decides what to do with Reyes. He is not an everyday player and his pinch-hit at-bats leave a lot to be desired.