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New York Mets: Grading the 25-Man Roster

Alex OttContributor IDecember 9, 2014

New York Mets: Grading the 25-Man Roster

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    At five games over .500 and only 1.5 games back of first place, the New York Mets continue to surprise the baseball world with their solid play and infectious resiliency.

    Even with key players injured (that means you, Jason Bay) and struggling (cough—Ike Davis—cough), the Mets are hanging in the hunt for the NL East, a feat many thought was impossible even with a completely healthy team.

    With nearly a third of the season in the books, here is a report card for the 2012 Amazins.

The Surprising Stars: Mike Baxter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis

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    Baxter

    The 27-year-old is hitting .339 with 10 RBI as an unheralded producer for the Mets. With his impressive play and his ability to get timely pinch hits, it will be tough for Jason Bay to take over as the primary left fielder upon his arrival. Grade: A

    Nieuwenhuis

    At only 24 years old, the Mets have to be extremely excited about Kirk Nieuwenhuis.  He's hitting .294 with 2 HR and 15 RBI but it is his speed and defense that keep him in the lineup. With a bright future as a leadoff or two-hitter, Nieuwenhuis has definitely found his way into the Mets' long-term plans. Grade: A

The Lefty Specialist: Tim Byrdak

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    Byrdak

    At 2-0 with a 3.14 ERA and only one earned run over his past ten appearances, Byrdak has been nearly automatic as a lefty specialist and is quickly becoming one of the most reliable relievers in baseball. He's no closer, but he does his job well (and often). Grade: A

The Middle Infield: Ronny Cedeno and Daniel Murphy

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    Ronny Cedeno

    The backup-turned-starter Cedeno has had quite the roller coaster year.  He's hitting .231 with 1 HR and 7 RBI but is now on the DL for the second time early in the season. He had a tremendous homecoming against Pittsburgh but has come down to earth since then. Grade: C

    Daniel Murphy

    "Murph" started out incredibly hot, got equally cold, and now is finding his swing again.  He's hitting .301 with 19 RBI, but where is the power? Even though he's improving, fans still have to hold their breath when the ball is hit to him at second base. Grade: B

Hot and Cold Corners: David Wright and Ike Davis

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    Wright

    While he's finally returning to mortal status (.205 AVG over last 10 games), he's still hitting an incredible .365 with 5 HR and 30 RBI. Without him, it's hard to imagine the Mets being anywhere near as good as they've been so far. Grade: A+

    Davis

    Ike has easily been the biggest disappointment on the Mets so far this season. His power numbers aren't overly impressive (5 HR), but his average is borderline embarrassing. At .170, the rest of this season could be seen as a success if he finishes over the Mendoza line. Grade: D

The Bench Bashers: Justin Turner and Scott Hairston

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    Turner

    He's currently on the DL and hitting a mediocre .269, but it seems like every time Turner steps to the plate with a runner on base he delivers. He's hitting .438 with runners in scoring position and has been a tremendous asset in the field, playing first, second, third and shortstop. Grade: B

    Hairston

    He's already compiled a cycle against Colorado and now is second on the Mets in home runs despite not being an everyday player. His three home runs in his past four games provided New York with some much needed power with Davis struggling and Bay hurt. Grade: B+

The Big Two: Johan Santana and RA Dickey

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    Santana

    Boy, did the Mets miss Santana last year.  He's 2-2 with a 2.75 ERA but coming off one of his best starts in his New York tenure, a complete game shutout against the Padres. Seeing how the bullpen has been throwing lately, he might need to go all nine much more this year. Grade: A

    Dickey

    He already has seven wins and collected NL Player of the Week honors last week after compiling 21 strikeouts in his last two starts. At 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA, it's not far-fetched to believe Dickey could pitch in this year's All-Star Game. Grade: A

The Men Behind the Masks: Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson

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    Thole

    Before suffering a concussion, Thole was playing the best baseball of his New York career. His defense significantly improved and he collected a few timely hits, but being sidelined has definitely hurt the Mets. Grade: B

    Nickeas

    As his .148 average shows, Nickeas has struggled tremendously at the plate this season. However, while his battery mate, Johan, was en route to a complete-game shutout, Nickeas launched a grand slam that will hopefully propel him in the right direction. Grade: D+

    Johnson

    It's unlikely that Johnson will be an everyday talent, but he's made the most of his opportunities since being called up.  He's hitting .313, but his arm behind the plate is no threat for his opponents. Grade: B

Bad News Bullpen (The Old): Bobby Parnell and Manny Acosta

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    Parnell

    Bobby got off to a great start this year but has been fading fast in the past two weeks. He's 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA, but over his last 10 appearances it's been a 5.14. His fastball is electric, but he seems to struggle in big moments. Grade: B-

    Acosta

    For a Mets fan, few things sound sweeter than hearing that Manny Acosta was designated for assignment. At 1-2 with an 11.86 ERA, Acosta was a ticking time bomb when he entered the game. He was completely unreliable and it will be nice to see Beato or Mejia take his place. Grade: F

Bad News Bullpen (The New): Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch

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    Ramirez

    He's either been tremendous or terrible, but that won't cut it in a Major League bullpen. His 2-1 record doesn't seem too bad, but a 4.78 ERA and nights like Wednesday, when he allowed three earned runs without recording an out, are still major red flags. Grade: B-

    Rauch

    On my last report card, Rauch received an A. To say the least, he's dropped off significantly.  He's 3-4 with a 4.09 ERA and took the loss Wednesday night. He has the potential to be a great reliever, but he lacks consistency. Grade: C

The "Other Guys:'' Jon Niese and Dillon Gee

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    Niese

    Like so many other players on the Mets, Niese got off to a hot start, struggled, but now is regaining him form. He's 3-2 with a 4.55 ERA, which is fine, but far from worthy of the new contract he signed at the beginning of the season. Grade: C

    Gee

    At 4-3 with a 4.69 ERA, Gee's numbers are highly comparable to Niese's. On the bright side, he shaved the ridiculous goatee and has seen immediate benefits, allowing only three earned runs over his past 14 innings pitched. Grade: C

The Finisher (Most of the Time): Frank Francisco

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    Francisco

    He was lights out during opening week, converting all three of his save opportunities, but then nearly lost his job after a spell of blown saves. Since his struggles, Francisco has recovered nicely, converting each of his last six attempts. After getting himself into a jam against his former team, Toronto, Francisco struck out three batters in a row to secure the save, symbolic of his career as a Met. Grade: B

The Regular Outfield: Lucas Duda and Andres Torres

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    Duda

    He leads the team with seven homers (including two Wednesday night) and at .257 is maintaining a respectable average for a power hitter. His defense isn't nearly the liability fans thought it would be, a good sign for those that thought he would have to return to first base. Grade: B+

    Torres

    He slumped mightily for the majority of May but has begun turning things around, getting his average back to .213 after spending a week below the Mendoza line.  The most amazing part of Torres' season is that he is somehow maintaining a .346 OBP, meaning that he is still positively contributing despite his awful hitting. Grade: C-

The Rest: Vinny Rottino and Jeremy Hefner

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    Rottino

    Due to all the injuries and Ike's struggles, Rottino, the 32-year-old Minor Leaguer, finally gets his opportunity with the Mets. His average is low (.200), but he clobbered two home runs last week to keep himself in the lineup. Grade: C

    Hefner

    Who would have thought it'd be Hefner's hitting that would steal the show upon his arrival to the Majors? After he hit his first career home run, Hefner proceeded to defeat the Phillies with six strong innings. His 5.60 ERA is high, but it will likely fall when he accumulates more innings. Grade: C

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