The New York Mets struggled through the month of May. Which players contributed to those hard times the most, and which others fought through it to put up some big numbers?
The 2018 MLB regular season is just over two months old, and the New York Mets have already produced two very different kinds of performances as a squad.
Manager Mickey Callaway watched his club post a 17-9 record through April 30, which had them atop the National League East standings. The month of May was much less enjoyable — New York went 10-18. While they’re fighting to stay in the playoff picture, just keeping their record over .500 is proving to be too much at the moment.
There have been more tough times than fun ones over the past month for the organization, but it hasn’t all been bad, you know. With this in mind, let’s see which Mets players performed the best and which performed the worst at the plate and on the mound.
When using wRC+ as our measuring stick with a minimum of 20 plate appearances, here were the top three Mets hitters in May.
Brandon Nimmo is the obvious winner here, especially since he was handed that imaginary award over the weekend. We can get a glimpse as to how badly the offense was overall this month based on the guys highlighted beneath him, though.
Yoenis Cespedes hasn’t played in a game since May 13, while Jose Bautista didn’t even debut with the club until May 22.
New York will welcome Cespedes back into the lineup with open arms whenever he’s able. A lot has been made about his 32.9 percent strikeout rate thus far in 2018, but his performance prior to hitting the disabled list was actually rather encouraging. The veteran outfielder bumped up his walk rate in May to 10.3 percent while limiting his strikeouts to just a 17.9 percent clip — which was much more in line with his career norms.
How about on the other end of the spectrum? Here are the three hitters who disappointed the most over the past month.
This sure was a race to the bottom, wasn’t it? The tough year for Jose Reyes continued, and just when you think his numbers couldn’t have possibly gotten worse, they did. What’s interesting here, though, is how his quality of contact in May compares to April.
Through the season’s first month, Reyes owned a soft-hit rate (25.9 percent) that was much higher than his hard-hit rate (18.5 percent). While his soft-hit rate went even higher (28.1 percent) in May, his hard-hit rate improved to 34.4 percent. Unfortunately, having a ground-ball rate above 50.0 percent for the season isn’t helping matters — especially when he’s produced a -84 wRC+ on that batted-ball event.
It won’t be surprising in the slightest to see Jacob deGrom at the top of the Mets’ pitching staff over the past month. But who else slotted in behind him among hurlers that accumulated at least 10 innings of work (based off fWAR)?
The importance of Noah Syndergaard to this pitching staff can’t be overstated, which we also mentioned when news of his trip to the disabled list broke. That’s also why Seth Lugo‘s performance is even more intriguing.
He’s proved to be a valuable weapon out of the bullpen. However, the right-hander has a desire to be in the rotation and only helped his cause the other day with four shutout innings in a start — even if he’s headed back to the ‘pen for now. The biggest change in his approach has been a spike in curveball usage. He’s been tossing that pitch at a 30.9 percent rate, and opposing hitters own just a four wRC+ against it.
There are a couple of relief arms that have distinguished themselves from the rest of the group in a bad way, which is just shocking to see (insert sarcastic tone here).
Initially, seeing Steven Matz and his 2.25 ERA here doesn’t make sense, but his peripherals tell a much different story. He managed to keep his ERA that low in May thanks to. a .224 BABIP allowed and a 98.5 percent strand rate.
While Paul Sewald kept his walk rate very low, he just couldn’t leave anybody on base. His 61.8 percent strand rate was the second-worst mark among all Mets pitchers that threw at least 10 innings in May.
The Mets have their first off day in about two-and-a-half weeks on Monday, and man, do they need it. Prior to this stretch, we noted that it was crucial for them to perform well. It started great with a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks, but it ended with New York losing 11 of the 15 games that followed.
Even though the calendar has already flipped to June, things probably aren’t going to get easier anytime soon, either.
On the surface, what needs to happen is simple — the Mets need to get their stars healthy and have them perform up to expectation. But judging from how the last month has gone, it’s not that easy for them.