As the Mets are winding down the season, it’s time for the former teacher to hand out their report cards. Let’s see how my grades stack up with yours…
The Mets as a team are entitled to a vibrant cheer for the entertaining and fun season they have given us. Individually, some have stepped up while others have fallen back. Grading or rating anything is, of course, a subjective task. But, here goes. See what you think…
Note: This is the first of three installments.
Management And Coaches Report Card
Brodie Van Wagenen – General Manager C+
Van Wagenen started his first offseason as GM with a bang that turned into a dud. The trade for Robinson Cano (unpredictable and getting old) and Edwin Diaz (overworked by the Mariners) was ill-advised, and he didn’t do his homework. Van Wagenen rebounded by picking up J.D. Davis and later, Marcus Stroman. His work is incomplete, and he needs a good offseason to propel the Mets forward in 2020.
Mickey Callaway – Manager B+
Many will be surprised by this grade, but there are many sides to Mickey Callaway. His skills as a communicator came widely proclaimed at his hiring, and he has not disappointed. Ask the guys in the clubhouse if you don’t believe me. Callaway’s magic does not extend to in-game decisions he makes at times, and this is an area significant improvement is needed. A fan favorite at Citi Field, he makes himself available to fans before games.
Phil Regan – Pitching Coach A-
Regan came onboard midway through the season as a replacement for Dave Eiland whose only sin was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. At first, the butt of jokes, Regan quickly justified his appointment by first tending to the Mets bullpen, realizing the value of Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson. At 82, his endurance over a full season is questionable for next year. But Regan does appear to be the man in the right place at the right time.
The Wilpons – Team Owners F-
Mets ownership, even during the impressive run the team made in the latter part of the season, was nowhere to be seen. Disinterested in everything but the bottom line, the Mets continue to lead the majors in flailing ownership. I won’t waste time on this one – and I’ll put it in the vernacular – they suck. But the Mets shall overcome…
Starting Pitching Report Card
Jacob deGrom A+
With all due respect to Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom is the premier pitcher in the National League. Virtually faultless, deGrom, even with inadequate run support, goes out there every fifth day intending to pitch a perfect game. A perfectionist almost to a fault, deGrom has an idea behind every pitch. In the same vein as Tom Seaver, deGrom is a pitcher’s pitcher and a second Cy Young award is in the making.
Noah Syndergaard D
Noah Syndergaard needs to grow up. If he’s not an outcast to his teammates, he should be thankful for their graciousness. Even ESPN notices. John Smoltz once said of Syndergaard, “If you told him to go out and throw a complete game with no walks, he would do it.” But therein likes the problem with Syndergaard, he needs to be told. Thor, he is not. All the talent in the world and virtually nothing to show for it. I’d be stunned if he’s not traded.
Marcus Stroman C
Marcus Stroman is what he is. Diminutive in size, he makes up for it in heart and desire. A case of the hiccups characterized his time in New York this season. A reliable number three starter, 12-15 wins is within his grasp every year. But his overall record will look something like 15-12 with a three-plus ERA. Stroman’s mindset is something to behold. The Mets need more than what he has given them, making next year the make or break season in his final contracted year.
Steven Matz B+
No pitcher on the Mets staff has improved more than Steven Matz this season. Gone are the fiery temper tantrums we previously witnessed when he is on the mound. Discovered is a new command of his pitches and a newfound desire and ability to pitching into the sixth inning and beyond. Moving forward, Matz is the lefty complement to deGrom as the number two Mets starter. Good job, Steven, and welcome to the Mets.
Zack Wheeler B-
Zack Wheeler was probably as surprised as anyone he was still a Met on August 1. Wheeler pitched better this year and has shown the durability all teams require of their starters, regularly turning in six and seven-inning outings. As a free-agent come November, it is unlikely the Mets will part with the money Wheeler is going to command on the open market. The wild card in the matter, though, is Wheeler himself. Known to be resistant to change, Wheeler might be open to taking a hometown discount, and if that’s the case, the Mets should and will bite.
Well, there you have it. Tomorrow, we’ll do the infield and outfield. And then, in the last section, we’ll wrap it up with the bullpen and role players.