Can Mets and Nationals link up on Josh Bell trade?

josh bell, mets

Josh Bell has emerged as an All-Star with the National, and he’ll be a hot commodity at this year’s trade deadline:

When the New York Mets open their two-game series with the Houston Astros at Citi Field on Tuesday, it will mark the completion of the most difficult stretch on their schedule.

Despite that, the Mets will emerge from June with a winning record during the month and the best overall record in the National League.

The Mets lead the league in runs scored, averaging over five per game.

And yet, Sunday’s loss to the Miami Marlins had many fans frustrated by the back end of the team’s lineup.

The Mets’ 6 through 9 hitters, JD Davis, Eduardo Escobar, Luis Guillorme, and James McCann, combined for just 1 hit in 15 at-bats in what amounted to a one-run loss.

Escobar’s struggles have been well documented all season long. As have the struggles of the DH and catcher positions which have become dormant of any offensive production.

With that in mind, the Mets will surely be looking to add a bat as they enter a pennant race come September, and Josh Bell could be the perfect fit.

Bell, 30, is in his second year with the Nationals after spending the first five years of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Finishing 3rd in the 2017 NL Rookie of The Year voting, Bell was named to his first All-Star team in 2019, finishing the year with 37 home runs and 116 RBI.

Last year with the Nationals, Bell blasted 27 homers and drove in 88 runs for a last-place Nationals squad.

With the team now stripped to its’ bolts, Bell is one of the few bright spots in D.C.

This year, Bell is slashing .308/.390/.492 (.882 OPS) with 11 home runs and 46 RBI.

Meanwhile, the switch-hitting Bell has displayed a keen eye at the plate, drawing 34 walks compared to just 42 strikeouts in over 300 plate appearances.

With exit velocities consistently among the top in the league over the last few years, Bell has proven he not only can get on base at an elite clip but also hit the ball over the fence with the best of them.

The Mets’ approach of putting the ball in play and drawing walks has worked to produce one of the best offenses in the game this season.

With Bell, the Mets may just be able to add a player with a similar profile and the power to stake his claim on their designated hitter vacancy.

Could former Mets infielder be a solution at designated hitter?

brandon drury, mets, reds

After being DFA’d by the Mets last year, Brandon Drury is enjoying a break-out season with the Reds- could a reunion be in the works?

The New York Mets lead the National League with 45 wins and all of Major League Baseball in runs scored.

Their offensive approach of drawing walks, putting the ball in play, and taking the extra base has led to an average of 5.02 runs per game, behind only the New York Yankees for the league-best mark.

Despite that, the Mets have hit just 64 home runs this season, good for 18th in the league.

One big reason for that would be the lack of production the Mets have received from their designated hitters in 2022.

But could a former Met be the answer at the designated hitter spot for the team?

Brandon Dury spent the first three seasons of his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks before bouncing between the New York Yankees and ultimately finding a home with the Toronto Blue Jays from 2018-2020.

During that time, Drury hit just 16 home runs and slashed .205/.254/.346 over 167 games.

Drury signed a minor league deal with the Mets in the 2021 offseason, often being demoted to AAA Syracuse and recalled at various points throughout the season.

After signing as a non-roster invitee with the Cincinnati Reds this offseason, Drury has taken off.

In 213 at-bats, Drury has clubbed 14 home runs and driven in 35 runs. Drury is slashing .268/.332/.516 with an OPS of .848.

Just 57 games into the season, Drury is only two home runs off his single-season career-high of 16, which he accomplished with the Diamondbacks in 2016.

But is Drury’s season too good to be true? The metrics suggest that simply isn’t the case.

According to Baseball Savant, Drury ranks in the 87th percentile in hard-hit %, 80th percentile in barrel %, and 78th percentile in xSLG %.

Drury, 29, has spent time at all four infield positions this season, including 37 games at third base. He has also appeared as the DH seven times in 2022.

With the Reds enduring yet another miserable season, the team will surely look to capitalize on Drury’s break-out season and recoup prospects for the veteran.

With defensive versatility and a hot bat, a reunion with Drury may just be what the Mets need to put their lineup over the top.

How Mets’ Carlos Carrasco Can Maintain His Pace For The Rest of The 2022 Season

carlos carrasco, mets

The New York Mets have been off to a fantastic start this season and are currently the best team in the National League with a 45-25 record. As fans are quite acquainted with, the month of May has all too often been a time where the Mets tend to severely underperform and have frequently jeopardized great starts they’ve put together in April.

But after going 19-10 in May and defying the odds of falling short in a month that haunts them every season, the Mets have maintained a high level of resiliency and execution with both their hitting and pitching that’s allowed them to succeed with utter dominance and authority well into the month of June.

Although the Mets are the best hitting team in baseball right now (they are first in hits, RBIs, and OBP), a feat that’s clearly spearheaded their early success this season, the Mets’ pitching has played an integral role as well into why this team has had so much success this year. With no Jacob DeGrom since the start of the season and without their newly acquired ace Max Scherzer (who’s been sidelined with an oblique injury following eight starts), the Mets pitching has still been able to stand strong, even amongst their starting rotation. And leading the charge has been none other than the veteran arm of Carlos Carrasco.

Following a 2021 season that was well below par, the 35-year-old transformed himself into a stabilizing cornerstone piece in the rotation and has looked the complete opposite from what he illustrated just a year ago.

To give you an idea, in the 12 games he started last year, Carrasco went 1-5 with a 6.04 ERA (his worst output since 2013), to go with a 1.43 WHIP, 36 earned runs, and 12 home runs in 53.2 innings pitched. In fact, Carrasco did so poorly that he finished with a WAR that was in the negatives (-0.8).

But in 2022, a lot has changed, and impressively so. Carrasco, who’s tied in second in wins this season (8), has been pitching much better than many have expected. Currently posting a 3.96 ERA in 13 starts with a 1.25 WHIP, Carrasco has gathered 75 strikeouts while only allowing six home runs, which is half of what he had the season prior despite logging in 25 extra innings. To add to it, Carrasco has only 16 walks (when he gave up 18 last year) and has a WAR of 1.2.

What he has managed to achieve has been incredible to behold. Though he won’t light up the radar gun with high 90s stuff, Carrasco’s control, precision, and bite to his pitches, has led him to have a big bounce-back performance so far that could very well place him amongst the All-Star reserves this year.

However, a vital factor that’s still up in the air is how Carrasco will fair over the course of a full season of work. Already this year, Carrasco has found it difficult to keep runners off the base paths, conceding an OBA of .280 or higher in the month of May and June. After posting a 3.60 ERA in May, Carrasco is averaging a 3.91 ERA in June and has given up 10 earned runs in 23 innings pitched when he only gave up 12 in 30 innings last month. Moreover, Carrasco has conceded eight walks so far in June, which is twice the amount he allowed in both May and April.

Although his recent shakiness might not be a grave concern, it has certainly setback his success to an extent, and at times, Carrasco has made some of his stretches on the mound a bit more challenging than they needed to be. Even though both Scherzer and DeGrom could be back in a matter of weeks, Carrasco has proven to be a very important part of this rotation and has still yet to demonstrate he’ll be as reliable headed into the second half of the season. We saw this with Taijuan Walker last year, and the Mets certainly don’t need a déjà vu of that this season with Carrasco.

That all said, can Carrasco continue to be this dominant for the remainder of the year? Though it’s hard to say just yet, the answer is yes, and for a couple of key reasons.

For starters, the Mets’ offense has been downright elite this year and has provided a level of support that’s been ideal, currently sitting in first in the MLB in runs (350). Just to give you an idea, aside from his second loss he sustained at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels, Carrasco has managed to secure five wins in his last six starts despite giving up three or more runs in three of those wins. In other words, even if he has a poor outing, the Mets offense can still bail him out with runs. And having that grants a pitcher a lot of confidence on the mound.

Secondly, Carrasco has shown that he has a better feel for his stuff as well as his command, which has made his pitching harder to go up against. Using his fastball the most (38.1%), Carrasco’s frequent integration of his changeup (23.6%) and slider (23.5%) have led him to have one lethal chase rate that is currently up in the 98th percentile. Though Carrasco has by no means matched the talent level of his 2017 or 2018 peak seasons, he certainly looks like his good old self and possesses a much stronger grip on his pitching control.

As things stand right now, Carrasco could very well fluctuate over and under the 4.00 mark with his ERA. But unless it hits 5.00 or more, there’s no reason to panic over his durability, seeing how confident, composed, and consistent Carrasco has been so far. With a dangerous Mets offense to support him, Carrasco has everything in place to continue his excellence well into the month of September.

The Mets need to trade for this pair of Tigers relievers

Michael Fulmer, mets

The Mets have been an absolute force so far this season, holding the best record in the National League and second-best in the whole MLB. This, for the most part, has been done without star pitchers Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, as both have picked up injuries early in the season. The offseason acquisitions have really solidified the offense and made the Mets one of the most dangerous lineups in the league.

Ranking 3rd in fWAR and second in wRC+, this offense is the polar opposite of last year’s. A key to this improved offense is a new approach at the plate instituted by the new hitting coach Eric Chavez. He has emphasized situational hitting and lowering the number of strikeouts, which has proved extremely effective so far. The Mets have the 4th lowest K% and sit 15th in BB%. Even though this team has performed so well and looked unstoppable at times, there are specific needs at the trade deadline.

While the rotation will receive huge additions in the form of Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, the bullpen is in need of a few more reliable arms. The bullpen has put up a 3.69 FIP and a 3.25 SIERA. While these are decent numbers, championship contenders need to have a close-to-perfect bullpen to compete and capitalize on leads in the playoffs. To tidy up the arm barn, the Mets must trade for a pair of Tigers’ relievers. This trade would send Khalil Lee, Dominic Smith, and Jaylen Palmer to Detroit for Michael Fulmer and Alex Lange. The overview of the trade is listed below.

Michael Fulmer

Fulmer was originally drafted by the Mets in 2011 and now is a relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Currently, on a 1-year deal, Fulmer is an ideal trade candidate for any contender looking to bolster their bullpen. The righty has put up very solid numbers this year:

3.01 FIP 26.3 K% 75.2 LOB% 0.36 HR/9

Fulmer would fit perfectly into the back of the Mets bullpen as they are in need of a reliable setup, man. The setup role has rotated between Trevor May, Seth Lugo, and Adam Ottavino. None of the relievers listed have had consistent success and could benefit from competition for the role.

 

Alex Lange

It may be tough to pry the rookie reliever from Detroit, but it is definitely worth the steep asking price. The 26-year-old reliever had a difficult start to his rookie season but has experienced recent success as his velocity has risen. Lange could fit into a high-leverage role going forward as he continues to be dominant. His numbers are very promising as he’s become comfortable in the majors:

2.90 FIP 29.6 K% 81.7 LOB% 0.35 HR/9

I don’t see Lange becoming a setup man this year, but he could definitely fit into a 7th inning role and clean up innings with runners on base. With an aging bullpen, Alex Lange could provide a young weapon to solidify the staff for years to come.

 

You will never get two reliable bullpen pieces for a cheap price, so the Mets would be giving up three guys with high upsides to acquire the Detroit relievers. We know Dominic Smith has the potential to put up borderline elite numbers as he had a 134 wRC+ in 2019 and a 166 wRC+ in 2020. However, Smith has struggled to find a rhythm this year and was even sent down to the minors at one point. With Detroit not looking to contend this year, they could take a chance on him and hope he returns to his elite level.

The next part of the return for the Tigers is Khalil Lee. The 23-year-old prospect is listed at 7th on the Mets farm rankings. Lee has had brief stints with the major league team, the most recent being earlier this year when he got 2 plate appearances and hit a home run in his last. Lee absolutely tore up single-A putting up a 132 wRC+ and was heating up in triple-A before getting called up. The outfielder has great speed and above-average fielding, making him a prized possession.

The last player included in the return would be 3B/OF Jaylen Palmer. The 21 -year old was drafted in 2018 by the Mets and has impressed since entering the farm system. Palmer was ranked 14th in the farm rankings and has been very successful in his first few seasons. Palmer has consistently put up a wOBA around .300 and has all the tools to be a star in the making. His raw power and speed have impressed scouts, and as he settled into the higher levels of the minors, the results will reflect that.

 

Overall, this trade addresses both teams’ needs as the Mets need relief pitchers to help them win now, and the Tigers need young players to build a future. This should not be the only trade the Mets make at the deadline, but it would be a great start.

Should the Mets promote Francisco Alvarez to MLB?

francisco alvarez, mets

The last New York Mets catcher to hit 30 home runs in a single season was Mike Piazza in 2002.

League-wide, the position has become void of offensive talent, with the exception of a few standouts.

Since the beginning of the 2021 season, Mets catchers, including James McCann, Tomas Nido, Patrick Mazeika, and four appearances from Chance Sisco last season, have combined for a slash line of .195/.251/.289 and unsightly .540 OPS.

But the Mets may not have to wait much longer to finally get some production from the catching position because Francisco Alvarez is knocking on the door.

The 2017 international signee out of Venezuela is hitting the cover off the baseball in AA Binghamton and could push the Mets to promote him sooner than later.

 

Last season, Alvarez hit 24 home runs and drove in 70 RBI, slashing .272/.388/.554 in 99 combined games between Advanced-A ball and Single-A Brooklyn.

He’s steadily climbed the MLB prospect rankings on a yearly basis, ranking as high as the 10th best prospect in baseball entering 2022, according to MLB and Baseball Prospectus.

Beginning this season with Binghamton, Alvarez has handled his promotion to Double-A with aplomb.  After a minor slump at the end of May, Alvarez has continued his strong season with 13 homers, 35 runs batted in, and an OPS of .894 in 53 games this season.

Alvarez hasn’t been shy about expressing his wish to play in the Majors this season, “I think Vladdy, Acuña, Tatis Jr. — those guys were in my spot, and they’re already in the bigs,” Alvarez said recently through an interpreter, alluding to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ronald Acuña Jr., and Fernando Tatis Jr. who all made their MLB debuts as 20-year-olds.

But at 20 years old,  Alvarez has just two and a half seasons of professional baseball under his belt.

Catching prospects typically require more seasoning and development than other positions given the added responsibilities of handling the pitching staff.

One of the main concerns about Alvarez was his defense behind the plate, specifically his pitch framing.

However, this year, Alvarez has made leaps in his ability to steal extra strikes for his pitchers from behind the plate.

Additionally, Alvarez has received high praise from his Binghamton battery mates for his game plan and pitch calling during games, “He’s my favorite catcher in the organization to throw to,” minor league pitcher Josh Hejka told Mets Minors’ Michael Mayer.

McCann is set to begin a rehab assignment starting at catcher for AA Binghamton on Thursday. Alvarez has been bumped to the DH spot for the time being.

With McCann still under contract for two more seasons after 2022 and Tomas Nido providing quality defense behind the plate, a promotion of Alvarez may simply be a matter of roster construction rather than his big league readiness.

3 relievers the Mets could target at the trade deadline

mets

With a 41-22 record, the New York Mets are enjoying one of the strongest starts to a season in franchise history.

New York has one of the best offenses in baseball and a rotation that figures to become exponentially better with the returns of Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer imminent.

Meanwhile, Mets relievers have performed reasonably well. In fact, they rank 4th best in the National League with a 3.76 ERA.

Edwin Diaz is finally living up to the expectations that the club had for him after acquiring the reliever following his historic 2018 season with the Seattle Mariners.

However, getting Diaz the ball with the lead has been a precarious tightrope for Buck Showalter to walk.

With Trevor May on the injured list, Drew Smith looking less effective of late, and Joely Rodriguez, Adam Ottavino, and Chasen Shreve having their own struggles, the Mets could certainly look to upgrade the back end of their bullpen.

Here are three relievers that the New York Mets could target to improve their relief corps as they look to make a deep playoff run.

Jorge Lopez, RP Baltimore Orioles

Jorge Lopez entered this season looking to make a case to even remain in the big leagues.

After debuting with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015 and being traded twice, once to the Kansas City Royals and then to the Baltimore Orioles, Lopez was the owner of a 6.04 ERA over his first 104 career appearances.

This year, Lopez has made a full 180 and is one of the best relievers in Major League Baseball.

In 26 games for the Orioles, Lopez has a minuscule 0.88 ERA over his first 30.2 innings this season. A former 2nd-round pick by the Brewers, the  29-year-old may finally have put it all together.

Lopez is striking out nearly a batter per inning with 28 punchouts compared to his 13 walks issued this season.

According to Baseball Savant, Lopez is in the 93rd percentile in opponents’ average exit velocity, 98th percentile in opponents’ hard-hit percentage, and 97th percentile in fastball velocity.

The right-hander is under team control through 2025, so the cost to acquire him could be hefty. Given the short sample size of his success, it could be a risk to trade valuable assets for him. But, a team looking to put themselves over the top for 2022 may see a once-promising prospect that’s just now hitting his prime.

Scott Barlow, RP Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals are bad (I will never not enjoy taking a shot at this team after they broke my heart in the 2015 World Series). And bad teams trade their productive MLB players to help jump-start a rebuild.

Scott Barlow is one of those players. Barlow debuted with the Royals in 2018 and has quietly flown under the radar as a solid relief pitcher in his three seasons at the big league level.

From 2018 to 2021, Barlow owns a 3.46 ERA in 170 games. This year, Barlow has taken a jump into the upper echelon of elite relief pitchers.

In 26 innings this season, Barlow has pitched to a 1.73 ERA. Despite a lower strikeout rate than his career average, Barlow has the lowest WHIP of his career at 1.15. Further, Baseball Savant has Barlow in the 96th percentile in chase rate and  88th percentile in average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage.

Barlow, like Lopez, is under team control through 2025. The last-place Royals will most certainly be selling at this year’s trade deadline, though, and the Mets could make a bid to add Barlow to the back end of their bullpen.

Dennis Santana, RP Texas Rangers

This one could be a bit of a stretch.  After stumbling out of the gate, the Texas Rangers have corrected their course and are a somewhat respectable 28-32 on the season. Further, Dennis Santana is under team control through 2026.

Should Texas decide to sell, Santana would be a primary target for teams looking to add to their bullpen.

Santana was drafted as an international free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers before being traded to the Rangers last June. After joining the Rangers, Santana was excellent, pitching to a 3.63 ERA in 39 appearances with Texas last year.

This year, Santana has a 1.46 ERA over 24.2 innings with a WHIP of 0.68 (!!!)

While his strikeouts are down, so too are the number of home runs he’s surrendered. Santana has yet to give up a long ball this season.

Baseball Savant has Santana ranked in the top 90th percentile in five different categories and within the top 88th percentile in three others.

His FIP of 2.65 suggests there will be some regression to the norm, however, a team looking to add a quality arm for the stretch run this season could find themselves a dominant solution in Santana.

When will the Mets get Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer back?

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

With their victory on Sunday evening against the Los Angeles Angels, the New York Mets completed a stretch of 22 games in 23 days in which they went 14-8. Monday provided a much-needed off day for a team that played 16 of those games in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones.

Despite winning 14 of those 22 games, the Mets starting pitching has not been up to snuff of late.

Chris Bassitt will take the mound tonight for the Amazins as they open a three-game set with the slumping Milwaukee Brewers.

Bassitt, however, is looking to work out of his own slump. Over his last 7 starts, Bassitt has pitched to a 7.60 ERA, including getting roughed up for six runs in 3.1 innings in his last outing against the San Diego Padres.

Overall, Mets starting pitchers have pitched to an ERA over 5 in the month of June. While the Mets have done well to withstand the season-long absence of Jacob deGrom, losing Max Scherzer has made it all the more difficult.

But could the Mets be on the verge of getting both of their aces back before the end of this month?

Max Scherzer Could Begin Rehab Assignment This Week

Scherzer was seen throwing from his delivery in the Citi Field outfield Tuesday afternoon, according to SNY’s Danny Abriano.

Scherzer was removed from his May 21st start vs the St. Louis Cardinals after suffering an apparent injury. MRI’s revealed an oblique strain for the 37-year-old right-hander with an initial diagnosis of a 6-8 week recovery process. Scherzer now appears ready to begin a rehab assignment in the coming days which would put him on pace to return within the shorter end of that timeline.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner has started 8 games this season with a 2.54 ERA over 49.2 innings.

Jacob deGrom Still In Limbo

For all the good news surrounding Scherzer’s recovery, the news on Jacob deGrom is ambiguous at best.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Pat Ragazzo, Jacob deGrom had begun his mound progression on June 4. deGrom has since thrown multiple bullpen sessions with an eye toward facing live batters soon. However, according to Ragazzo, deGrom has still not been cleared to face live batters, which is the next step in his rehab process.

In a contradictory statement, SNY reports that deGrom could potentially be nearing a rehab assignment after throwing multiple bullpen sessions with live batting practice “expected soon.”

These may simply be two different spins and ways of wording the same report, but it’s clear the Mets are being very cautious with how they approach deGrom coming off his scapula injury, which has held him out for nearly a full calendar year.

With the toughest part of the Mets schedule behind them, they may be able to ride things out a bit longer without deGrom and Scherzer. But given the recent struggles of their rotation incumbents, fans will be hoping they both return sooner than later.

3 players the Mets should target at the trade deadline

andrew benintendi, mets

The Mets stumbled in the final two games of their series with the San Diego Padres as their road trip record dipped to 3-4. However, the greatest loss was that of Pete Alonso and Starling Marte.

The Mets received good news Wednesday on Alonso and Marte. Both players’ MRI’s coming back negative. However, hours later, the Mets were once again buried by the Padres early, as they roughed up Chris Bassitt and later Stephen Nogosek, cruising to a 13-2 victory.

With Max Scherzer, Jacob Degrom, Tylor Megill, and Trevor May all down, the Mets have managed to patchwork themselves to the best record in the National League.

As the hits keep on coming, the team got a glimpse into a world without two of their most important offensive pieces. Given the team’s injury history, here is one-hitter, one starting pitcher, and one relief pitcher that the Mets could target at the trade deadline to improve their depth.

Andrew Benintendi, OF Kansas City Royals

The Royals were foolish to ever believe they were only a piece or two away from competing for a playoff spot last year. The team went 74-88 in 2021 and currently has the worst record in baseball at 18-37. Man, that feels good to write after the 2015 World Series…

But the Royals pulled the trigger anyway on a trade that brought former Boston Red Sox Andrew Benintendi to what they believed would be a competing club. While the Royals have been dreadful the past year and a half, Benintendi continues to be an excellent player.

Through 200 at-bats this year, the right-handed-hitting outfielder has slashed .315/.382/.405 to go along with a 1.6 WAR. Benintendi has an OPS+128 and is performing better than his career averages as far as BB%, K%, and hard-hit %.

After winning a gold glove in left field last season, Benintendi has spent all of his time there in 53 games this year. To keep Starling Marte, Brandon Nimmo, and Mark Canha healthy, the Mets could look to acquire Benintendi, a free agent, after 2023. Though Nick Plummer has filled in serviceably for a Travis Jankowski, adding a playoff-tested player like Benintendi, who brings a high on base percentage, speed, and quality defense, could behoove the Mets down the stretch.

Drew Smyly, SP Chicago Cubs

Many Mets fans still dream about Luis Castillo or Frankie Montas. But with the Mets rotation getting healthier by the day and quality fill-in starts from Trevor Williams, they’re less likely to need a big splash than they are a depth arm.

Journeyman Drew Smyly of the Chicago Cubs may perfectly fit that bill.

After spending the 2021 season with the Atlanta Braves, Smyly signed a 1-year deal worth $5.25 MM dollars with Chicago this offseason. So far in 2022, Smyly has pitched to a 3.80 ERA over his first nine starts. His ERA+111 suggests he has been about 11% better than the league average.

In addition, Smyly would give the Mets a left-handed option in their rotation, something they do not currently feature (Mets fans likely don’t want to see Thomas Szapucki pitching at the big league level again). While Smyly’s metrics suggest he may not be pitching as well as his traditional numbers show, he could be a featured as a spot starter, swingman out of the ‘pen, or next man up should their starting pitching injuries persist.

Michael Fulmer, RP Detroit Tigers

Funny how time works. It seems like yesterday, the Mets’ trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Gomez was reversed, and the Mets pivoted to pull off a last-minute deal with the Detroit Tigers to land Yoenis Cespedes at the 2015 trade deadline. Cespedes went on a historic run leading the team to the NL Pennant that year, while Michael Fulmer won the 2016 Rookie of the Year Award in the American League.

Since then, Cespedes has been nearly gored by a boar, went AWOL from the Mets, and is out of baseball. Meanwhile, Fulmer has struggled to remain healthy or effective as a starting pitcher and keep his own footing in the big leagues.

However, since being moved to the bullpen last season, Fulmer has been excellent as a reliever for the Tigers.

In 2021, Fulmer appeared in 48 games in relief, pitching to a 2.53 ERA. In 57 innings, Fulmer struck out 66 batters and earned 14 saves.

This year, Fulmer has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen and has cemented a role for himself. In 21 appearances, Fulmer commands a 2.57 ERA over 27 innings. The Mets could come full circle, adding a familiar face and strengthening their bullpen as they enter the final two months of the season.

Why JD Davis will steal the Mets’ DH spot permanently

j.d. davis, mets

The New York Mets are enjoying one of the greatest starts to a season in franchise history. With a 38-19 record, the Mets find themselves staked to a nine-game lead over the 2nd place Atlanta Braves in the National League East. All of this, with zero starts from Jacob deGrom and just eight from Max Scherzer.

Had you posed this situation to any Mets fan before the season, they’d likely ask, “What’s the catch?”

No catch. The Mets under Buck Showalter are playing like a first-place team in nearly every aspect of the game. Thanks to the additions from Billy Eppler this offseason, the Mets offense has blasted off. Mark Canha has been excellent all season long. After sluggish starts for Starling Marte and Eduardo Escobar, they both have been scorching at the plate.

Perhaps the one overlooked position during an otherwise brilliant offseason was designated, hitter.

Mets brass, after bearing the brunt of defensively challenged players for the last four years, believed that a mix of Robinson Cano, Dom Smith, and JD Davis would make a fine trio to take the DH at-bats.

Davis is the last man standing of that trio. And he might just be on his way to seizing the position for the remainder of the season.

The first 22 games of the season did not treat Davis well. In his first 46 at-bats, Davis hit .217 with just 1 home run and 4 RBI. However, even then, his .362 OBP was evidence of a potentially productive bat.

More impressive was Davis’ 69.4% hard-hit rate, higher than his career average by a 25% mark. Davis’ max exit velocity of 110.3 MPH falls into the 74th percentile in Major League Baseball.

Since May 13th (the 23rd game of his season), Davis has appeared in 15 games and is slashing .278/.322/.389 with a .711 OPS. Davis has put up good at-bats of late. On Monday, Davis drew a bases-loaded two-out walk after beginning the count behind 0-2. The walk brought in the first of the Mets’ three 1st inning runs off Blake Snell.

Going back to 2021, Davis barreled just 14 pitches. So far this year, Davis already has 9. While the power is still lacking (He’s still only hit 1 this season), Davis’ barrel percentage and exit velocity are evidence that he may be just hitting into some bad luck.

While Nick Plummer will certainly get some opportunities in the Mets lineup, JD Davis may be on the verge of entrenching himself as the Mets’ permanent designated hitter.

Breaking: Mets option Dom Smith to AAA

dom smith, mets

The New York Mets announced Tuesday afternoon that they have optioned first baseman Dom Smith to AAA Syracuse. The Mets have recalled reliever Adonis Medina to replace Smith on the roster.

It’s been a struggle for Smith this year, slashing .186/.287/.256 (.543 OPS) in his first 86 at-bats. In 39 games this season, Smith has been worth a -0.1 WAR, according to Fangraphs.

The Mets were faced with a decision at the beginning of May when roster sizes were cut down from 27 to 26. With Robinson Cano, Travis Jankowski, and Luis Guillorme all on the bubble, it was Smith who may have bought himself more time with a four-hit game on the eve of roster cut-down-day.

Since then, Smith has just five hits in his last 39 at-bats. His playing time has dwindled in the last two weeks, even without a clear-cut favorite to overtake the DH responsibilities. Smith has not homered in nearly a full calendar year, his last coming on July 21st, 2021.

A former first-round pick by the Mets, Smith has not lived up to expectations. The 2020 abbreviated season was a hopeful sign when he hit over .300 with 32 extra-base hits in 50 games. Since then, Smith has just a .301 on-base percentage and 11 home runs in nearly 600 plate appearances dating back to last season.

With Nick Plummer’s MLB career off to a fast start, and contributions from Luis Guillorme, the Mets bench has provided a lift when its regulars are out of the lineup. Smith simply has not provided that this year.

On two separate occasions this year Smith has expressed his wishes to be an everyday player for a Major League team. With his trade value nearly non-existent at the moment, the Mets are hoping he can find his swing in Syracuse. Whether that be to up his value in a potential trade or to be given another shot with the Mets is to be determined.