We put a bow on the New York Mets 2018 season by giving you our awards for the month of September, where New York had great success.
The 2018 season for the New York Mets ended up being a disappointment as they finished 77-85 and in fourth place in the NL East. With that being said, Mickey Callaway’s team did have a strong finish to the season that had to make fans wonder where was this in the early portion of the year.
In the month of September, the Mets went 18-10, which was their most wins in any month of the season and a reverse of the 10-18 record that they had in May. During September, they allowed fewer than 100 runs for the first time this year (97).
One of the reasons for the team’s September success was the starting rotation. As Anthony DiComo of MLB.com pointed out on Sunday, the Mets ended up finishing with the lowest rotation ERA of any team in the second half:
Noah Syndergaard throws a four-hitter in Game 162. The Mets won consecutive 1-0 games over the Marlins to end things.
They went 31-20 over their last 51 games — a bandage over a bullet hole, perhaps, but enough for the Mets to enter the offseason with optimism.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) September 30, 2018
As far as overall team ERA, the Mets finished second in the National League in September (3.14) and they led the league in strikeouts (269). Also, they had the lowest batting average against any team in the NL (.206).
Meanwhile, on the offensive side, the Mets had a .231 batting average (10th in the NL), tied for fourth in home runs (31), and they were seventh in runs (120). That number was the second most runs New York scored in any month (145 in July).
There will be plenty of time to take a look at what lies ahead for the New York Mets this winter. For now, for the final time in 2018, let’s take a look at the best and the worst in the month of September:
Hitter Of The Month: OF Michael Conforto
As mentioned in our article over the weekend, Conforto bounced back in the second half of the season after a difficult first half. That was especially true during September. He had a slash line of .286/.365/.616 with eight doubles, a triple, nine home runs, and 29 RBIs.
His 29 RBIs were not only the most on the team, but it was the second most in the entire National League behind Christian Yelich (33). In addition to driving in runs, Conforto did a good job drawing walks as he was one of four players on the Mets that had double-digit walks (13).
If the Mets are going to contend in 2019, they are going to need Conforto to have months similar to the one he had in September. He is going to have to be the focal point of the offense and be one of the main run producers.
An honorable mention would go to Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo only hit .237 in September with two home runs and seven RBIs. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. He drew a team-high 29 walks (second in the National League) and had an on-base percentage of .468. When he is doing that, it sets the tone for the rest of the lineup.
Pitcher Of The Month: SP Jacob deGrom
The likely Cy Young winner was a frequent recipient of this award throughout the season and for good reason. He made five starts in September and went 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA. In 35 innings of work, he had 45 strikeouts to five walks and held opponents to a .129 batting average.
Before Monday’s tiebreaker games in the National League, deGrom was tied for fourth in the NL in strikeouts during September and he had a minuscule WHIP of 0.57.
During his final start of the season against the Atlanta Braves on September 26, deGrom was able to secure the 1,000th strikeout of his career. In that outing, he threw eight shutout innings, allowed two hits, and struck out 10. He had eight or more strikeouts in four of his five starts and allowed one run or fewer in three of them as he likely locked up the NL Cy Young.
As an honorable mention, Noah Syndergaard had a good finish to his season. In his six starts, he was 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA. He had 38 strikeouts, walked 14, and held opponents to a .186 average over the course of 41.2 innings.
Syndergaard did not allow a single run in three of his final four starts and he threw a complete game shutout against the Miami Marlins in the final game of the season. That success could be a springboard into next year and it gives the Mets a dominant trio of Syndergaard, deGrom, and Zack Wheeler.
Biggest Surprise: 2B Jeff McNeil
McNeil’s success in the major leagues should not come as much of a surprise since his promotion was a spark to the offense. With that being the sense, the surprise is that he was one of the team’s best hitters in the second half.
In 27 games, McNeil had a slash line of .340/.375/.472 with five doubles, three triples, one home run, and nine RBIs. His 36 hits were the most of any player on the Mets and the third most in the NL behind Anthony Rendon (37) and Charlie Blackmon (38).
Time will tell whether or not McNeil is the future at second base in Flushing, but he should have the chance to win the job in spring training. Clearly, his promotion was a big spark to the offense and it made fans wonder what could have happened if he was called up sooner during the season.
Biggest Disappointment: The Bullpen
You could argue that the weakest unit in the organization this season was the bullpen. Well, that trend continued in the month of September as most of the relievers had an ERA over four.
Now, there were some bright spots in the bullpen. One of them was Seth Lugo. In nine appearances, Lugo had a 1.35 ERA and struck out 18 batters to just one walk in 13.1 innings while converting both of his save chances.
On the disappointing side, Robert Gsellman had a rough month. In 10 appearances, he had an ERA of 7.71 and opponents had a .366 batting average over the course of 9.1 innings. Now, he did convert five of his six save chances. With that being said, the workload appeared to get to him down the stretch because it is something he isn’t used to.
In addition to Gsellman, Jerry Blevins (9.39) and Paul Sewald (9.53) both struggled in September. This unit will most likely get an overhaul by whoever is the general manager this winter and they need to add high impact pitchers in the bullpen if they want to compete in the NL East in 2019.