New York Mets Player Evaluations: Third Baseman J.D. Davis

The New York Mets found a new heavy hitter during the 2019 season with J.D. Davis emerged to have a career year. In 2020 it was a tale of two seasons for Davis, a tremendous start followed by a struggle to finish out the last month of the season.

Davis started the first eight games as the Mets everyday left fielder, but Jeff McNeil‘s struggles at third base forced the Mets to give Davis an opportunity there. Despite making some terrific plays there, Davis ranked slightly below average defensively. His arm was plenty strong enough for the position, but his arm could not make up for the lack of range.

Great Start, Tough Ending

Despite the power numbers not on the same level, Davis slash line through 28 games was .292/.405/.448 with four home runs and a BABIP of .364. One of the most encouraging signs was his increased walk rate. It kept him at the top of the order, combining as a run producer and table-setter.

Things were completely different over the last 28 games. His slash line dipped to .202/.336/.330 with only two home runs. Davis BABIP was still at a respectable .270, but his biggest flaw was hitting the breaking ball. It was a staple of his incredible 2019, hitting .313 with a .563 slugging on the breaking ball. During 2020, Davis dropped mightily to a .150 average with a .250 slugging, and it was prevalent during his slump.

It was his only glaring dropoff leading to his lack of production. His contact percentage in the strike zone increased, and chase rate decreased. Over a full season, those two should balance each other out. Davis finished the year at .247/.371/.389 with six home runs and 19 runs batted in.

It was a disappointing year for Davis because of how great it started for him. Davis .167 average with runners in scoring position encompassed the struggles of the Mets to push across runs. He put himself under a microscope because he batted third most of the time, which warranted run-scoring situations. As the Mets head into the offseason, he seems like an expandable player should the Mets look to improve their starting rotation or bring in better defense to their roster.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 45 (65), Look for Davis to have a good bounce-back season in 2021.

Power: 45 (60), It was odd to see his power drop off, but hopefully, the return of Chili Davis will revive it.

Run: 25 (25), He did produce the fastest sprint speed of his career in 2020.

Arm: 55 (55), Arm makes him playable in left field and third base.

Field: 40 (35), Liability in left field and below average at third base.

Overall: 45 (55), His added patience at the plate shows a bounce back for 2021.

New York Mets: deGrom Exits Early, Gimenez Gets Big Hit in 5-4 Win

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

Wednesday night’s matchup between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies featured a matchup of two longtime teammates. Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler faced each other for the first time, but Wheeler lasted a lot longer than back-to-back Cy Young winner did. For the Mets, if they wanted any hope at a postseason birth, they needed a victory.

From the beginning, it set up like another disappointing Mets loss. They went down 4-0 early, deGrom only lasted two innings, and their offense struggled against Wheeler. The Mets overcame all of that to pick up a huge 5-4 victory to move within 1.5 games of the Phillies. 

From the second pitch of the game, it was evident deGrom was dealing with some issue. deGrom sent glares towards the dugout, trying to let them know something was not right. After giving up three runs in the second, he did not make it back out for the third. deGrom left the game with right hamstring spasms and was visibly frustrated in the dugout.

Wacha to the Rescue

Michael Wacha gave the Mets everything they could have asked for when called into long relief duty. He gave the Mets four innings and held the Phillies to one run and kept the Mets in the game. Wacha worked around some trouble, allowing five hits, but his performance cannot go overlooked.

The comeback started with a simple Robinson Cano ground out, making it a 4-1 game. J.D. Davis made it a 4-3 game with a two-run opposite-field off Wheeler. As the game move into the late innings, Davis left his mark on this game.

With Michael Conforto on first base, his double tied the game in the eighth inning. The ball hung in the air forever, and it just made it over the glove of the leaping Adam Haseley. Conforto also had no clue on the number of outs, which made the play at the plate closer than it should have been.

Clutch Bullpen

In the bottom half of the eighth, Miguel Castro stranded runners on first and second with back to back strikeouts to move the game to the ninth inning. The Phillies made a couple of mistakes in the ninth inning to benefit the Mets. With a runner on first, Hector Neris balked to move the runner to second base.

They decided to intentionally walk Jeff McNeil to set up Andres Gimenez in his biggest spot with the Mets. The rookie came through to line a single to center field, giving the Mets a 5-4 lead. Edwin Diaz worked around a base hit to strike out three batters and pick up his biggest save of the season.

The Mets send Seth Lugo to the mound for the rubber game of this three-game series. Aaron Nola opposes him at Citizens Bank Park for the 7:05 p.m. ET start.

 

New York Mets: Segura Haunts the Mets Again in 9-8 Loss

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets made a miraculous comeback from 6-0 against the Philadelphia Phillies to earn a 7-6 lead. Unfortunately, they could not keep the lead, and a Jean Segura two-run home run in the tenth inning spoiled a must-win game for the Mets.

Miguel Castro continued to make general manager Brodie Van Wagenen look like a clueless mess. His prized acquisition gave up the home run to Segura, and it was confusing for Castro to be in the game. Edwin Diaz threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning on only 12 pitches, but manager Luis Rojas opted to go with Castro instead.

Ramirez Saves Bullpen

David Peterson struggled through two innings and allowed five runs. He needed 70 pitches to get through the start and had no command of anything he was throwing. Peterson’s shaky control has shown during his previous starts, but this was his worst.

Erasmo Ramirez made his Mets debut in long relief of Peterson. He gave the Mets a fighting chance and saved the bullpen by throwing five innings and his only run coming off a J.T. Realmuto home run. Ramirez only needed 54 pitches, and the outing certainly gives the Mets another starting rotation option.

Offense Clicks Again

The Mets offense did all they could after Zack Wheeler shut them down in the first four innings. They bunched together three runs in the fifth coming on RBI doubles from Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, and Dominic Smith. When Wheeler surprisingly came out after six innings and 84 pitches, the Mets jumped all over the Phillies bullpen in a four-run seventh.

A Didi Gregorius error got the Mets within two runs at 6-4 and allowed the Jeff McNeil to bat with two runners on base. McNeil channeled his power for the second consecutive game as his three-run home run gave the Mets a 7-6 lead and completed their comeback. The lead did not stick as Jeurys Familia gave up the lead in the following half-inning.

Despite the loss, the Mets showed their resiliency once again. After scoring a run in the 10th with a Brandon Nimmo single, J.D. Davis came within five feet of a walk-off home run. They split the four-game series with the Phillies, but they played great baseball for the final three games.

Andres Gimenez also continued to shine on both sides of the game. He recorded two more hits and played sparkling defense at shortstop. With a lefty on the mound for their first game against the Baltimore Orioles, it will be interesting to see if Luis Rojas continues to run Gimenez out there.

That lefty for the O’s is John Means, and for the Mets, they send the struggling Michael Wacha. The first pitch from Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

 

New York Mets: Late Mistakes Costly in 5-3 Loss to Phillies

The New York Mets finally got a good outing out of a starting pitcher but it could not mask the fatigue of the bullpen. One run allowed in the seventh and two in the eighth gave the Phillies bullpen enough wiggle room after Jake Arrieta pitched seven strong innings in the Mets 5-3 loss.

Manager Luis Rojas tried to push Jared Hughes through another outing but it did not work out. Over 1.1 innings he allowed three runs, four hits, and walked two. A two-out double led to a Roman Quinn RBI single to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.

In the eighth, Rhys Hoskins’s leadoff walk and a Didi Gregorius single set the table again for the Phillies. The inept Mets defense showed again when J.D. Davis made a poor throw to Dominic Smith on a Jean Segura infield single. The error gave the Phillies a 4-2 lead and an Adam Haseley hit by pitch by Brad Brach made it a 5-2 game.

Arrieta Flashback

Arrieta had an ERA above six heading to his start, but he did not show it against the Mets. He held the Mets to two runs over seven innings and also struck out seven. The two runs came on a Michael Conforto two-run home run in the fifth.

The Mets had an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth. Smith made it a 5-3 game with an RBI single and gave Robinson Cano and Pete Alonso opportunities to hit with runners on first and second with one out.

Cano’s hit a line drive that Hoskins snagged with a dive, preventing it from becoming an extra-base hit. It effectively killed the momentum the Mets had in the eighth. Alonso got to a 3-2 count but popped up a slider from Tommy Hunter to end the rally and continue his hitting struggles with runners in scoring position.

Rick Porcello had a strong start going six innings, allowing three hits, two runs and struck out six. He retired the last 12 batters he faced and gave the Mets exactly what they needed out of him. The Mets did not help themselves out by going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving six on base.

The Mets try to get back into the win column on Saturday by sending Seth Lugo to make the start. He faces Spencer Howard at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Alonso Delivers Walk-Off Homer in 9-7 Win

The New York Mets needed their offense to outproduce their pitching struggles once again. Before the game, the Mets had a tribute for the passing of Tom Seaver, and all players rubbed dirt on their right knees in his honor. Despite the tribute, Robert Gsellman performed anything but Seaver-esk.

They had to come back from a 7-4 deficit, starting in the eighth inning, to score five unanswered runs to win. It was all capped off with a Pete Alonso two-run walk-off home run that dropped through the building raindrops at Citi Field.

The Mets would not have gotten to that spot without J.D. Davis revenge home run off Aroldis Chapman. He drilled Davis in the left hip during last weekend’s Subway Series matchup, and Davis continued the trend of revenge home runs against the Yankees.

The Mets offense was top notch for the second straight game. Amed Rosario and Todd Frazier both delivered three hits. All three of Frazier’s hits were for extra bases, including a home run, and Rosario drove in three runs.

Gsellman Struggles Once Again

The Mets gifted Robert Gsellman another start as the Mets continue their search for quality starters. He failed to get out of the second inning, allowing four runs before being yanked early. Chasen Shreve (2.1 IP) and Jeurys Familia (2 IP) saved the day. They combined for 4.1 innings of hitless baseball.

Edwin Diaz also had a dominant two innings out of the bullpen with four strikeouts. He continued his rampant strikeout rate and picked up the win, lowering his ERA to 2.25.

On Friday, the Mets begin a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies. Rick Porcello makes the start against Jake Arrieta in a 7:10 p.m. start from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Completely Outmatched in 6-2 Loss to the Phillies

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

The New York Mets faced an old friend in Zack Wheeler when he made his first start against his former team. Like Aaron Nola the night before, the Mets could not solve him for seven innings. Wheeler held the Mets to two runs, and that was all they needed in a 14 hit, 6-2 victory.

Rick Porcello had a similar fate to Saturday night’s starting pitcher, Steven Matz. It took an unlucky bounce to undo a strong outing. Porcello allowed seven hits through the first five innings but kept the Phillies to one run. J.T. Realmuto doubled off the third-base bag to lead off the sixth, and it got the Phillies going.

Alec Bohm drove him in with a double to tie the game at two. Andrew McCutchen, who replaced Jay Bruce in the fifth, deposited a hanging slider into the left-field bleachers. It was McCutchen’s first home run in over a year and put a damper what built up to be another strong outing for Porcello.

It was another disappointing game for a team that consistently plays with low energy night in and night out. Two errors from J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith contributed to the two Phillies insurance runs in the sixth. Despite how bad the Phillies bullpen is, four runs seemed like 40 to the Mets. There’s no sense of urgency from anyone on the team outside of Jeff McNeil, who only had the chance to show it in the final at-bat of the game.

Guillorme Leads the Offense Again

In a disappointing year, Luis Guillorme has been a bright spot for the Mets. His two-RBI single drove in the only two Mets runs and moved his average to .458 on the season. The Mets did not have many chances to score past the fourth and went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, leaving five on base. Table setters Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto combined to go 0-for-8 with five strikeouts.

Despite falling to 9-14, they head to Miami still four games behind the first-place Marlins. Robert Gsellman takes the mound to open up the series against a starter to be announced, most likely Jordan Yamamoto. Game one of the four-game series opens up from Marlins Park at 7:10 p.m. ET.

 

New York Mets: Middle of the Order Carries the Mets to an 8-4 Victory

The New York Mets longed for a game where the middle of their lineup finally broke out in a big way. Their 3-4-5 combination of J.D. Davis, Pete Alonso, and Michael Conforto combined for a home run each and drove in all eight of the Mets runs in their 8-4 win over the Miami Marlins.

Davis moved his hitting streak to 12-games with his third-inning single. He also flashed the leather and his strong arm at third base, proving his defense at third improved significantly from last season. Alonso’s home run was a lined shot that came of the bat at 116.9 mph. He also drew a walk on the night, though he is not entirely out of his slump, the last three games are very encouraging.

Peterson Staying Strong

Mets starter David Peterson struggled with his command throughout the night but managed to hold the Marlins to two runs over five innings. Their poor decision making on 3-0 counts also bailed Peterson out twice during his outing. Despite struggling with his command, it was encouraging to see a young pitcher battle and keep his team in the lead through his start.

In the sixth inning, Jeurys Familia walked three batters but had help from Drew Smith to get out of the inning, keeping a one-run lead. In the final three innings, the bullpen held the Marlins scoreless, and Robert Gsellman also made his season debut.

The Mets hope to take the series on Sunday afternoon when Jacob deGrom takes the mound at 1:10 p.m. ET. Pablo Lopez makes the start for the Marlins as he attempts to keep up with the day game warrior that deGrom is.

New York Mets Series Preview: Miami Marlins (8/7-8/9)

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets return to Citi Field after an off day to play the first-place Miami Marlins. At 6-1, the Marlins have had plenty of games postponed due to their COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the hot start, the quarantine period for some of their players will be a lot to overcome.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday, (8/7) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Humberto Mejia (MLB Debut) vs. Michael Wacha (1-1, 6.00 ERA)

Saturday, (8/8) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. David Peterson (1-1, 3.86 ERA)

Sunday (8/9) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Jacob deGrom (1-0, 2.12 ERA)

The Mets get Jeff McNeil back into the lineup after sitting out the last couple of games dealing with an intercostal strain. Even more interesting for the Mets is the switch of J.D. Davis to third base and McNeil to the outfield. Davis shined with the glove at third in his one start on Wednesday, and McNeil has been a liability to start the season.

Jacob deGrom gets to pitch another day game, which is a specialty for the Mets ace. He has an ERA under two during the day time starts. With a lineup as weak as the Marlins currently is, it should be easy pickings for the two-time Cy Young winner.

Matchups to Lookout For

Jacob deGrom vs. Lewis Brinson: 4-for-20 (.200), Double, 8 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Jon Berti: 5-for-12 (.417), 3 Doubles, 2 Strikeouts

New York Mets: Porcello, Lugo Shut Down the Nationals in 3-1 Victory

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

The first two starts of Rick Porcello‘s New York Mets career could only be summed up by one word: atrocious. Porcello rebounded in his third start and pitched like the 2016 Cy Young winner he once was. He only needed 81 pitches to get through seven innings, holding the Washington Nationals to one run.

He kept the ball out of the middle of the plate, working in. Porcello also pitched inside more than he did in his first two starts combined. After allowing two hits and a run in the first inning, he only allowed three hits in the following six innings.

Porcello left the game prematurely with 81 pitches, but Seth Lugo picked up where he left off. Lugo shut the door, striking out two batters and retiring all six he faced to record the two-inning save. Porcello and Lugo combined to retire the last 16 Nats to finish the game.

Defense All-Around

The biggest play of the game came in the fourth inning, where Michael Conforto threw out Juan Soto at third base. Soto tried to test the arm on an Asdrubal Cabrera single, and it was the last scoring chance the Nats had as Porcello cruised from there.

J.D. Davis received his first start at third base since June 16, 2019. He showed no rust, making plenty of great defensive plays and showing why he originally was a third baseman. Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez also stabilized the defense up the middle. With the success of a defensive driven lineup tonight, it will be interesting to see if Luis Rojas opts for more defensive centric lineups.

The major story for the Nationals was Max Scherzer‘s exit after one inning due to a hamstring injury. It was clear his velocity dipped, but it was also noticeable that his arm was trailing behind him. Scherzer usually has a rapid arm motion, but it was slow from the start.

Erick Fedde warmed up with Scherzer before the game then replaced him in the second. Scherzer calls the injury “minor,” but any injury to him is a significant concern with Stephen Strasburg already injured.

Yoenis Who?

Dominic Smith showed why he deserves to be the everyday designated hitter. Smith drove in two of the three runs on the night. His sac fly opened up the scoring in the first and then provided an insurance run with his RBI double in the seventh. Guillorme’s RBI single was sandwiched between Smith’s RBI hits.

Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto also set the table at the top of the order once again. Despite only hitting .227, Nimmo’s three walks moved his on-base percentage to .424. Conforto record a single which continued his on-base streak and kept his average above .300.

The Mets receive a day off on Thursday before playing 17 straight games without a day off, starting on Friday with the Miami Marlins.

 

New York Mets Ride Peterson’s MLB Debut to 8-3 Win

The New York Mets opted for David Peterson to make his MLB debut against the Boston Red Sox, and he did not disappoint. Peterson had the longest Mets outing of the season and became the first rookie since Steven Matz in 2015 to get a win in his first career start.

The rookie left-hander continued to ease the stress the Mets had thinking about the starting rotation. Peterson threw 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits, two runs and struck out three. He was not dominating by any means, but his line is what the Mets want out of their fifth starter. Peterson also received help from his defense, which turned two double plays for him.

Red Hot Offense

The Mets’ offensive struggles from opening weekend seem far behind them now. Much like Monday’s victory, they used a crooked number in the second inning to build a lead they never gave up. J.D. Davis led the way with a two-run homer and a double. It was a well-rounded effort as Jeff McNeil and Robinson Cano each recorded two hits and a double.

The only two Mets who failed to record a hit were Pete Alonso and Yoenis Cespedes. While Alonso drew a walk, both have started the season 2-for-20 and 2-for-14, respectively, with half of their hits coming via the home run.

Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances continued to look strong out of the Mets bullpen, each hurling a scoreless inning. Drew Smith also struck out the only batter he faced in relief of Peterson.

After taking the first two games in Boston, they return home to face the Red Sox at Citi Field. They put themselves in an excellent position to build a lead in the division as Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz will throw the next two games. The first pitch between deGrom and Nathan Eovaldi is Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. in Queens.