Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
With the Mets at 17-20 and 4.5 games behind the Phillies for first place in the NL East, the team is in a dangerous spot. It's still very early, but if they don't right the ship soon, things could begin to spiral out of control.
And one of the reasons the Mets are 17-20 at the moment is the fact that they have gotten almost impossibly bad performances from a handful of players who were expected to be key contributors.
Those struggles are detailed below, with us breaking down what's going wrong and determining just how worried the Mets should be about each...
Of all the players who have underperformed, it's Ramos' play that has been by far the most alarming. While currently graded as one of the worst defensive catchers in the league, Ramos -- whose best attribute is his power at the plate -- has been virtually powerless.
He is hitting .227/.295/.282 with one home run in 122 plate appearances. Ramos' .282 slugging percentage is a whopping .151 points below his career norm. And his bad numbers aren't due to bad luck.
Ramos has a fly ball rate of 17.2 percent, which is a career-low and a major drop from the 24.7 percent it was in 2018. His ground ball rate is a career-worst 63.2 percent -- a jump of roughly 8 percent from 2018.
Ramos has averaged 22 homers and 25 doubles per 162 games during his career. This year, he is on pace to finish with four homers and 13 doubles. The power has vanished, as has his ability to get on base at a solid clip.
Panic Level: High
Aside from his masterpiece last week when he shut out the Reds in a thoroughly dominant performance that was one of his best ever, Syndergaard has not looked like himself.
He has allowed four earned runs or more six times already this season after allowing four earned runs or more just five times all of last season (in 25 starts).
While it's disconcerting for fans and Syndergaard (if you go by his expressions on the mound) for him to be getting hit this hard, his peripheral numbers (3.58 FIP, 9.92 K/9, 2.20 BB/9) show that he has been pretty unlucky so far this season. And like most pitchers early in the season, the cold weather hasn't helped.
There is still some cause for concern with Syndergaard, such as the velocity dip when it comes to his slider (that he's been struggling to harness) and curve. But his peripherals, track record, and brilliance just seven days ago means he's likely close to breaking out of this.
Panic Level: Low
Nimmo has had the strangest season of everyone, starting off in a horrible funk and striking out in 23 of his first 40 at-bats as his triple slash sat at .150/.306/.275 entering play on April 12.
After his terrible start, Nimmo went on a tear as his triple slash rose to .250/.368/.413 on April 28. Since then? Another awful funk that included an 0-for-27 clip. Nimmo has shown signs over the last two games, doubling in each and drawing three walks.
While the failure to make contact has been the most concerning part of this (and is why the panic level here isn't low), Nimmo is still getting on base (his OBP is .333) despite the uncharacteristically low batting average. And his line drive, ground ball, and fly ball rates are all relatively close to his career averages. Translation: As bad as he's looked at times, Nimmo should be fine.
Panic Level: Moderate
While Ramos has suddenly dropped off a cliff, Syndergaard has shown flashes, and Nimmo has had ebbs and flows, Frazier has been a black hole when at the plate -- and it continues a downward trend that began last season.
Frazier, who is hitting .143/.160/.265, has looked overmatched while striking out a whopping 34 percent of the time. As far as getting on base in other ways? Nope. Frazier has drawn a grand total of zero walks in 50 plate appearances.
When Jed Lowrie returns, Frazier will head to the bench.
Panic Level: High
The Mets traded for Broxton even though he was similar to Juan Lagares -- a defense-first, right-handed hitting outfielder.
With Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Nimmo in the outfield most games, Broxton hasn't gotten a ton of burn. But in the games he has played, he has been abysmal, hitting just .152/.220/.174 in 50 plate appearances.
Broxton is a career .217/.307/.406 hitter, which is far from great, but it's more than serviceable for a backup outfielder making close to the league minimum. But his inability this season to make contact (his strikeout rate is 42 percent) has made him a potential roster casualty when Lowrie is activated.
Panic Level: High