A look at the Mets’ best and worst players heading into the All-Star break.
The New York Mets are sitting relatively comfortably in first place in a weak NL East division and will look to continue this level of play upon returning from the All-Star Break.
It’s been an interesting season for them: they’ve had 20 players go on the IL at the same time, have seen star players disappoint, and have had unexpected players step up in big ways.
Here are grades for the most notable Mets’ players halfway through the 2021 season:
Pete Alonso, 1B
Pete Alonso is striking out at an above-average rate, but is walking at a similar rate, too. He’s hitting the ball hard, getting on base, and slugging at elite levels.
His defense has been above-average for the first time in his career.
He got off to a slow start and has been in a bit of a slump again lately, but was able to get his bat going in between and went through a nice hot stretch, particularly in June. Here’s to hoping the Home Run Derby doesn’t mess up his swing again.
Miguel Castro, RP
Miguel Castro’s numbers will show that he was good until his very rough recent stretch. He’s lucked into good fielding behind him, big time.
Castro’s slider used to be decent, but has only gotten worse. It’s his worst pitch, but also his most-used one. He should avoid throwing it in the second-half of the season if he hopes to look like the Castro fans welcomed to Flushing last season.
Michael Conforto, RF
Michael Conforto put up MVP-level numbers last season and everyone began to worry about his extension and how much the Mets would have to pay him. Both a blessing and a curse, it might not have to be much.
Conforto is walking at an elite rate and generally getting on base while playing good defense, but that’s about it.
He’s not hitting balls hard, hasn’t gotten into any type of groove, and missed a chunk of time due to injury.
The hope was that he would be good upon returning from the IL, but he still looks completely lost at the plate. The Mets will need him to figure things out during the All-Star Break. What a disappointment he’s been.
Jacob deGrom, SP
We don’t need to say much here. Jacob deGrom deserves the highest grade possible and is putting together one of, if not the, greatest seasons we’ve ever seen from a starting pitcher.
He’s given up more runs than usual as of late, but that could be due to the fact that he’s been suffering minor injuries. We should expect to see him come back from the break as strong as he was before.
Edwin Diaz, RP
Edwin Diaz hasn’t been perfect, but he seems to have left most of his struggles as a Met in the past and has been one of the best closers in baseball this season.
His slider has been elite and a key reason why he’s been so unbelievably good in save situations. His FIP will show that he’s been unlucky and that his numbers should be even better than they are.
Jeurys Familia, RP
Most Mets fans will probably say that they never thought they’d talk about Jeurys Familia being good ever again, but here we are.
His season has been a strange one. He’s given up runs in just a few outings, but some of these outings were rough and the reason why his numbers aren’t jaw-dropping good.
It’s safe to say, however, that Familia is having himself a bounce-back season and has been one of the Mets’ best relievers in 2021. Welcome back, Jeurys.
Robert Gsellman, RP
Robert Gsellman is another Met who’s having a surprisingly good year and it’s a shame that he’s out for an extended period of time, especially because his role on the team ended up becoming so important.
His walk rate, BABIP, and ERA are way down, and he’s lucking into some good fielding. He filled the shoes of injured guys like Seth Lugo valiantly, and fans will be counting down the days until he returns.
We can confidently say that the Gsellman we’ve been waiting years to see has finally arrived.
Luis Guillorme, UTIL
Luis Guillorme was incredible in a fairly limited role for the Mets last season. He hasn’t been as good in 2021, but he’s stepped up and continues to be a fantastic utility player.
He’s a good defender who seems to have figured things out at the plate and just keeps getting better. What a valuable player to have on a contending team.
Francisco Lindor, SS
The sole reason Francisco Lindor’s grade isn’t lower is his elite defense. He’s been a disaster in his debut season in Flushing.
Seeing such numbers from the guy who’s supposed to be the best shortstop in baseball is tough and he’s been a massive disappointment. Lindor did get hot recently, but cooled down again and will head into the break with a lot to figure out.
Lindor is supposed to be the best hitter on this team and he’s been everything but.
Aaron Loup, RP
Now here’s an offseason acquisition that’s actually worked extremely well.
Aaron Loup has been nothing short of stellar for the Mets out of the bullpen and might be their most underrated player, as well as one of the best and most underrated relievers in the game.
He’s been great since making his Mets debut and is somehow getting better. Loup is the Mets’ best reliever and surely one of their MVPs halfway through the season.
Trevor May, RP
Trevor May hasn’t been as great as Loup, but he’s proving that signing him was a good move. He got off to a great start then struggled for a bit, but has been unhittable lately.
He’s doing what everyone had envisioned heading into the season and has helped bolster a bullpen that struggled not one year ago.
James McCann, C
James McCann has been almost as advertised: an excellent defensive catcher and mediocre hitter. Offensively, McCann hasn’t looked the best at the plate: he struggled greatly out of the gate and is striking out a lot.
However, he’s come up with some super clutch hits and has gotten much better lately. He’ll head into the All-Star Break in the midst of a nice hot stretch.
Jeff McNeil, 2B
Jeff McNeil is definitely heating up at the plate and has been one of the team’s best hitters since coming off the IL, but boy did he struggle early on.
McNeil has been one of the best hitters in baseball for a couple of seasons now, but didn’t look like it to begin the 2021 season. His serious hitting struggles and the fact that he missed so much time due to injury are the reason his grade is so low.
At least he looks good now and is playing good defense.
Brandon Nimmo, CF
The only reason Brandon Nimmo doesn’t get an A+ is because he was out for two months.
Nimmo has been one of the best hitters in MLB since last season and even though he missed so much time this season, he hasn’t skipped a beat since coming off the IL.
Nimmo has even improved defensively in center field, where he was terrible last season. He’s actually done a good job there in 2021. Nimmo is one of the most underrated players in baseball and shows how valuable he is to his team night in and night out.
David Peterson, SP
David Peterson exceeded all expectations in his rookie season and established himself as a core piece of this rotation heading into 2021. Now? The Mets are succeeding and their rotation has been one of the best in baseball in spite of Peterson.
He’s had a few good starts and has shown glimpses of his rookie-self, but overall Peterson has been a disaster. He’s currently on the IL and fans are going to hope he returns with confidence and the ability he exhibited last season.
Kevin Pillar, OF
The reason Kevin Pillar gets a C+ and not a lower grade is his amazing month of May, the fact that he proved to be a warrior after getting hit in the face, and some big, clutch hits.
He really hasn’t been great, otherwise, even defensively. He’s taken a big step down from his elite season last year, and it’s a good thing that he was brought into the team to be a bench player.
He was needed in time of emergency and stepped up, so this has already been a successful acquisition for the Mets.
Dominic Smith, LF
Dominic Smith emerged as a fan-favorite and one of the best hitters in baseball last season. He hasn’t been the same in 2021, but there sure is hope.
Smith has been a poor defender in left, there’s no doubt about that, and got off to a very slow start at the plate, but his hitting has been fantastic lately.
He’s been one of the team’s best and hottest hitters. The hope is that he can carry this into the second half of the season.
Marcus Stroman, SP
Marcus Stroman’s time with the Mets has been nothing short of interesting and filled with drama, but he’s quieted all of his critics this season.
Stroman has been so dominant on the mound and is one of the best pitchers in the league this season. The Mets are so lucky that Stroman opted in.
Jonathan Villar, 3B
We talked about Pillar stepping up for the Mets while they had so many players on the IL. Villar did the same, but was even better.
His defense hasn’t been great and he’s fallen off offensively lately, but he did what he had to do and more when the team needed him to.
Fans were excited about the signing because Villar would be a great addition as a strong utility player. He’s been just that and should continue to get many opportunities to play.
Taijuan Walker, SP
The Taijuan Walker signing was a good one as soon as it was made official, but not a soul could have predicted what happened next. Walker hasn’t been good, he’s been excellent.
Like Stroman, he’s been one of the best pitchers in the league and is a key reason why this rotation has been so good.
He was initially expected to be a solid depth piece, but has become one of the team’s best and most important players and probably should’ve been an All-Star.