Thursday, December 15, 2022

Uncustomed Heroes of 2022: Mets


In early June of 2022, the New York Mets, heavily regarded as the best team in the NL, were battered in 2 out of 3 games during a series with the San Diego Padres. At the time, it was seen as a misstep. In actuality, it was an omen.

The Mets, as big as they were, as powerful as they were, and as skilled as they were under Buck Showalter, with help from Max Scherzer, Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar and Chris Bassitt, were always going to have a comeuppance. The Astros were good enough to avoid this, but the Mets managed to have two consecutive comeuppances, first losing the division in the final seconds to the Braves, and then losing a playoff series that they original didn't think they'd need to play to a team they didn't think they'd have any trouble with. The Padres lapped them handsomely and lost in the NLCS to the Phillies, a team the Mets frigging no-hit earlier in the year.

I think the biggest Mets piece I didn't get to customizing this year was Luis Guillorme, which is proof that I got pretty much all the big guns during the season. Guillorme once again played the role of the stellar backup infielder in Queens, and though some midyear struggles robbed him of a completely impressive year, he still hit .273 with 81 hits in 102 games. Basically, Guillorme is the backup infielder that the Mets wish Dom Smith was.
2023 Prediction: I see Guillorme playing a similar role, though of Escobar, Lindor and McNeil, one of 'em's gonna get injured and Guillorme's gonna make the best of it.

Speaking of making the best of it, James McCann underwhelmed and got hurt, and in the interim between that and the inevitable Francisco Alvarez promotion, Tomas Nido was the starting catcher for the Mets. He did alright! He hit .239 with 68 hits in 98 games, and he played passable defensive catcher, but he was embraced by the fans as a favorite.
2023 Prediction: Back to backing up McCann, I think. I'm not sure if the Mets are gonna DH Alvarez for a bit like they did this year and eventually bring Alvarez in when McCann's really unreliable. That might be next year actually.

The Mets' top bullpen asset this year was friend of the program and former Yankee Adam Ottavino, who's been consistent as hell since leaving New York. Ottavino had a 2.06 ERA in 66 appearances, and he struck out 79. Ottavino and Edwin Diaz made for some magical relief energy, and the Mets probably want to recapture that as best they can.
2023 Prediction: The Mets re-sign him and he has a slightly more hectic, though still excellent, age-38 season.

Now onto the deadline guys. Tyler Naquin was probably the most versatile August get, as the former Reds outfield bat added to the team's outfield flexibility, and hit 13 RBIs and 4 homers in a backup OF role. 
2023 Prediction: I think he's phasing out of full usefulness, and may get a small deal somewhere in a minor role.

Then there was Darin Ruf, whose trade, parting the team with surer defensive bet J.D. Davis, baffled many Mets fans when it happened. Ruf, as good as he was off the bench for the Giants, was never known for his defense. As mediocre as Ruf's first half was, his second half in Queens was somehow worse, as he hit .152 with 20 strikeouts, 7 RBIs and, shockingly, no home runs. His biggest claim to fame from this time was being the only Mets pitcher not to give up any runs during that catastrophic August 15th match against the Braves. 
2023 Prediction: Who knows? Minor league deal in Seattle? Starting DH in Pittsburgh? Hitting 30 more homers in Korea? I literally have no idea how to predict this guy anymore. 

I don't think there's any question that the single best thing to happen to the Mets in the second half was Dan Vogelbach. Vogey is the kind of power hitter who can fit in everywhere but gloms onto certain markets more than others. Mets fans flocking to Vogey was honestly inevitable. Look at this guy, he looks like a lot of Mets fans I know. Vogey flocked to the starting DH position, and in 55 games he hit .255 with 38 hits, 25 RBIs and 6 homers. What a fun player. Glad the Mets seem to be holding onto him.
2023 Prediction: 30+ homers. Vogey's gonna take a big chomp out of that apple in center field. 

Tomorrow, if you can believe it, there are some Washington Nationals that are notable enough for me to make customs of after the fact.

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