1 Stat That Sums Up Each New York Mets' Position Player's 2012 Season
The 2012 Mets have been a tale of two different teams for each of the two halves of the season.
They played well as overachievers in the first half by winning games in dramatic fashion and relying on both their starting pitching and David Wright to keep them in games.
For much of the first few months, the Mets were flirting with wild-card possibilities. The icing on the cake was the first no-hitter in franchise history that Johan Santana threw on June 1.
At the All-Star break, everything was looking good for the most part with the Mets.
Once the break ended though, the Mets turned into a completely different team. They only won four more games for the rest of July in what became an unbearable three weeks, and it continued into August.
A 12-16 record for that month did not make anything better, and by the middle of the month, the Mets were pretty much out of postseason contention. The whole team fell apart, between most of the starting pitchers, the entire bullpen and the majority of the lineup.
A once promising season turned into a lost season quicker than anyone had imagined.
Due the Mets not getting to the playoffs this season for the sixth consecutive year, 2012 had some great moments that fans can cherish. On the flip side, there have also been some more unfortunate moments that plenty of fans wish they could remove from their memory.
Statistically, there have been some surprisingly good numbers from certain position players in specific categories, while other statistics have not been as good.
Here is one statistic from each of the 2012 Mets' position players that has defined their individual seasons.
Defining Statistic: .198 Second Half Batting Average
In just his second full major league season, catcher Josh Thole has certainly not taken a step forward towards becoming a better player.
After batting .277 in 2010 and .268 in 2011, Thole has been disappointing this year with just a .239 average. He got off to a great start by batting .317 in April and all seemed to be going well until he suffered a concussion in early May. He then missed a month recovering and has not been hitting the same ever since.
Tholes' .198 average in the second half is an even larger indication that the concussion possibly had lingering long-term effects. His hitting and defense has gotten so bad that Kelly Shoppach now gets the majority of playing time behind the plate.
Defining Statistic: .525 Slugging Percentage since Being Acquired
For most of the 2012 season, Kelly Shoppach had been the Red Sox' backup catcher and had a decent season before getting traded to the Mets on August 14 for Pedro Beato.
Upon his arrival, Shoppach immediately began hitting for the Mets and has batted .275 with three home runs and nine RBI since the trade. His biggest moment as a Met was a two-run single he hit in Miami against the Marlins in what turned out be a come-from-behind victory.
Hopefully, the Mets will find a way to re-sign Shoppach in the offseason as either the Mets' backup or starter. He could fit either role very well, depending on whether or not the Mets could sign a better catcher.
Defining Statistic: .175 Batting Average
In just his second full major league season, Mike Nickeas was once again the Mets' original backup catcher. He always had great defensive instincts, but lacked the bat to be a starting catcher.
When Josh Thole suffered a concussion in early May, Nickeas became the starter for the rest of the month, while Rob Johnson was promoted as the new backup. However, he only batted .133 for the month and immediately went back to being a backup once Thole was healthy.
Nickeas' offense never improved for much of the season and he was later demoted in late July in favor of Johnson as a result of his hitting.
Kelly Shoppach was acquired shortly after, which kept Nickeas in the minor leagues until getting re-called in September thanks to the expanded rosters.
Defining Statistic: 19 of 26 Home Runs Away From Citi Field
Ike Davis has basically been two different players this season, ironically in the opposite fashion of the Mets as a team.
For the first two and a half months of the season, Davis was completely lost at the plate and could not get much going at all. He soon found himself getting benched and pinch-hit for against left-handed starters.
His lack of hitting was so bad that the Mets even considered sending him down to the minor leagues. They ultimately did not and in late June, Davis finally turned everything around.
In June, Davis showed signs of improvement with a .264 average, six home runs and 24 RBI for the month. Despite batting just .221 in July, he made the most of his hits with nine home runs and 15 RBI that month. His best month by far was in August, as shown by a .287 average, five home runs and 14 RBI.
Once considered the worst hitter on the Mets, he is now one of the best and has 26 home runs and 77 RBI. Davis' power splits have been quite different between Citi Field and other stadiums.
At Citi Field, he has batted just .181 with seven home runs and 30 RBI. Away from Citi Field though, he has a .259 average, 19 home runs (which leads the National League) and 47 RBI.
Hopefully Davis will put together some more consistent seasons in the future. Had Davis hit as well as he has in the second half for the entire season, he could have been close to 40 home runs. This only shows how much potential Davis really has to be a great slugger.
Defining Statistic: .346 Batting Average in Mets' Wins; .230 Batting Average in Mets' Losses
After batting .320 in 2011, Murphy has put together a very solid season this year as the everyday second baseman. His defense has improved a lot and for the most part, he has been a solid hitter.
One interesting aspect of Murphy's season this year is that he has hit well virtually every other month.
He got off to a great start by batting .298 in April and .303 in May. Then, in June, he got mired in a big slump and batted just .240. Murphy picked it up in July and had a great month that included a .360 average. In August though, he batted only .225. Now in September, he is batting .320 so far.
For much of the year, Murphy was not hitting the ball out of the park until he hit two in one game against the Cubs in late June. He now has five to go along with 55 RBI and 33 doubles.
Defining Statistic: .381 OBP in the First Half of the Season
Filling the shoes of a great Met like Jose Reyes would not have been an easy task for anyone, but Ruben Tejada has made the transition for Mets fans much easier than they could have ever expected.
Tejada has brought youth, energy, solid hitting and reliable defense to the Mets. He has exceeded all expectations and could be the Mets' shortstop for many years to come.
Tejada is more or less a hybrid of the Mets' last two everyday shortstops, Reyes and Rey Ordonez. He has the glove, throwing arm and lack of power and speed similar to Ordonez, but also has the youth and consistent hitting of Reyes, despite not having any triples this year.
Tejada missed most of May and June with injuries that were suffered in a base-running play. He hit well in April and July, when healthy, but has not hit as well since then.
The Mets and their fans will now be hoping for a few more similar seasons out of Tejada as they now feel comfortable with him there going forward.
Defining Statistic: .312 Batting Average Against Right-Handed Pitching
By far the Mets' biggest offensive star of the year, David Wright for a while looked as if he would be having a career season. Wright was hitting as well as anyone in the first half of the season and was batting close to .400 through most of May.
He continued his staggering offense through June as he quickly became an NL MVP candidate and was among league leaders in various categories by the All-Star break.
After the All-Star break though, Wright's season took a turn for the worse. He batted just .255 in July, but also hit seven home runs and drove in 21 RBI that month.
His month of August was dreadful though. Despite a .272 average, he had just one home run and seven RBI. So far in September, he is batting .261. Hopefully, he will at least have one more hot streak before the season's end.
Over the years, Wright has always hit very well against left-handed pitching, but in 2010 and 2011, he struggled against right-handed pitchers. This year though, Wright's hitting against right-handers has improved, which is a very good sign for the future.
Of course, in the upcoming offseason, the Mets will likely be paying Wright around $120-140 million to stick around in New York for another six or seven years. He has a team option for 2013, but it would be better for the Mets to sign Wright before he hits free agency.
Defining Statistic: .349 OBP
Backup infielder Ronny Cedeno has done a decent job in his role. At first, he made a good number of appearances as a late inning defensive replacement for Daniel Murphy at second base. However, as Murphy's defense improved, Cedeno's playing time diminished.
Known as a good defensive player with a weak bat, Cedeno has surprised some with his .349 OBP, four home runs and .316 average on the road.
It's unknown if he will be brought back next year, but he has been a solid backup middle infielder this season.
Defining Statistic: .350 OBP
Somewhat forgotten, former Mets' infielder Omar Quintanilla spent about a month with the Mets thanks to various injuries. Once those players were healthy, Quintanilla got traded to the Orioles.
After Ruben Tejada got hurt, Ronny Cedeno became the starting shortstop. Shortly after, he got hurt and went on the disabled list himself. Justin Turner got the next opportunity at shortstop, but got hurt as well. As a result, the Mets had no choice but to promote Quintanilla to the major league roster.
In June, Quintanilla turned out to be a better contributor than expected. He batted .257 with a home run and four RBI. However, his defense at shortstop was smooth and he was somehow always involved in big plays throughout the month.
By the All-Star break, Tejada and Cedeno had both been activated from the disabled list, which made Quintanilla expendable. He has been a backup infielder for the Orioles ever since getting dealt away.
Defining Statistics: 26 Starts Combined at all Four Infield Positions
After being a solid second baseman last season, Justin Turner has become an ultimate utility infielder for the Mets this year.
Turner has made 10 starts at first base, 12 at second base, seven at shortstop and another seven at third base. He has filled in to give the regulars a breather, but earlier in the year, he played first base against left-handed starters while Ike Davis was struggling.
Offensively, Turner is batting .288, mostly as a pinch-hitter. It's an improvement from the .260 average he had last year, although he did have a lot more playing time then as well. He hasn't been a run producer at all, but he can get on base and move runners over quite well, which can be helpful at times.
In 2013 spring training, Turner might be adding the outfield positions to his repertoire. With this being said, Turner will likely become the first complete utility player the Mets have had since Joe McEwing.
Defining Statistic: 5 Pinch-Hit Home Runs
If anyone has provided youthful energy to the Mets this year similarly to what Jose Reyes did for almost a decade, it would be the rookie Jordany Valdespin.
Valdespin got called up in May and immediately made a name for himself with his clutch pinch-hit home runs in late inning situations. He now holds the Mets' single season record with five pinch-hit home runs this year. As a result, those hits were what really kept him on the major league roster for most of the season.
Aside from the dramatic hits he has had, the rest of Valdespin's season hasn't been as consistent. Used more than expected as a replacement for disappointing teammates, Valdespin has found more time in the outfield than his natural position at second base.
With stopgaps at every infield position and a very underachieving outfield, the Mets had no choice but to use Valdespin as an outfielder.
Despite his speed, Valdespin has had some issues with reading fly balls and playing the outfield. He is not as bad as Daniel Murphy once was in 2009, but it's become clear that Valdespin should not be an outfielder for the long run.
Assuming the Mets make some outfield upgrades in the offseason, Valdespin might find himself next year with a bench role once again. However, with the late inning heroics he has had, it could be something he will continue to be good at.
Defining Statistic: .165 Batting Average
By far the Mets' biggest offensive disappointment over the last three seasons, Jason Bay has virtually done nothing productive offensively with the Mets. He has been lost at the plate, has not particularly hit for power and underachieved mightily in run production.
As if Bay's 2010 and 2011 seasons were bad enough, this year has been the icing on the cake. Despite missing a good chunk of the season on two separate disabled list stints, Bay has batted just .165 in 170 at-bats. Seven of his 28 hits though have been home runs, but the lack of hits has not been fun to see. His 18 RBI are not good enough as well.
To Bay's credit, he has worked hard on the field and has made some nice defensive catches. However, in order for the fans to be pleased, they would need to see major offensive contributions from him. At this point though, it's highly unlikely he will ever produce as a Met.
Bay still has one more year left on his four-year contract, but it will be fascinating to see if the Mets end up releasing him before the 2013 season.
Regardless, Bay has been one of the biggest offensive disappointments for the Mets in the last decade and for quite a few reasons, they would be better off without him.
Defining Statistic: 10 Stolen Bases
Acquired by the Mets with Ramon Ramirez in exchange for Angel Pagan last offseason, Andres Torres was expected to be the Mets' center fielder and leadoff hitter this year. He was also expected to be the Mets' top base stealer as well. In virtually every aspect, Torres has become a bust for the Mets.
Torres played on Opening Day and scored the Mets' first run of the season, but he was later removed from the game due to a calf injury. He was immediately placed on the disabled list and did not return until April 30.
When he returned, he became a part-time outfielder due to the emergence of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the power of Lucas Duda and the hitting of Scott Hairston.
Torres' presence allowed the Mets to slide Nieuwenhuis to left field, but Torres never really got it going at the plate, which led to more time on the bench. What was worse was that Torres has only batted .182 as a left-handed hitter, compared to .297 on the right side. The differential was so bad that he even batted right-handed against a right-handed pitcher in one game.
As for stealing bases and being a great leadoff hitter, Torres has failed in those aspects as well. His .325 OBP is decent, but definitely not the rate the Mets would prefer him to be at.
Furthermore, his 10 stolen bases have been very disappointing, especially because he was expected to be one of the top base-stealers for the Mets. The Mets' lack of speed this year compared to 2011 has certainly not been good.
Torres will be eligible for arbitration in the offseason, but it's very unlikely the Mets will give him a contract with the rebuilding they are working on in the outfield.
Defining Statistic: .189 Batting Average after the All-Star Break
Expected to be a big power bat in the lineup, Lucas Duda got off to a solid start this year and was arguably the Mets' best power hitter in April and May. He hit four home runs in April, three in May and four more in June.
In July though, Duda got mired in a very big slump and ultimately got demoted later that month to the minor leagues. He returned to the Mets in late August, but this time as a left fielder and has been hitting better since then.
Speaking of left field, one of the main reasons Duda was sent to the minor leagues was to learn the position. He had been playing poorly in right field, so the Mets felt such a change was necessary. Thankfully, Duda's presence in left field has limited Jason Bay's playing time even more.
If Duda wants to be the Mets' everyday left fielder next year, he will have to hit better against left-handed pitching, drive in runs more consistently and play well defensively.
The talent and potential is there. All Duda has to do is put it to good work.
Defining Statistic: 98 Strikeouts in 282 At-Bats
Kirk Nieuwenhuis probably did not expect to get called up to the major leagues as soon as he did, but when Andres Torres went down with a calf injury on Opening Day, the Mets had no choice but to call up Nieuwenhuis.
Nieuwenhuis responded by batting .325 in April with two home runs and eight RBI. He hit for power, got on base, ran the bases well and played great defense in center field. After batting .263 in May, Nieuwenhuis only batted .238 in June, but he did hit five home runs and drive in ten RBI that month.
In July though, Nieuwenhuis' hitting was not the same. He was batting .105 for the month before getting sent down in late July to the minor leagues with Lucas Duda. Exactly a week later, he got hurt with a foot injury while in the minor leagues in August and will miss the rest of the season.
The one troubling number in Nieuwenhuis' rookie season was his 98 strikeouts in 282 at-bats. Even when he was hitting well, he was still striking out a lot.
If Nieuwenhuis plans on being a part of the Mets' outfield next year, he will have to improve this rate significantly.
Defining Statistic: .476 Batting Average as a Pinch-Hitter
Mike Baxter made his Mets' debut late in the 2011 season and quickly became known as a solid left-handed pinch-hitter. It helped him have a more regular role as a part-time outfielder and part-time pinch-hitter this year.
For most of April and May, Baxter was primarily used a pinch-hitter and he did very well in that role. However, on June 1, as the starting left fielder, Baxter made an amazing catch against the wall, but injured his shoulder while doing so and missed almost two months of the season.
Upon his return by August, Baxter began getting more regular playing time in a platoon role due to the struggles of Jason Bay and Andres Torres. On August 4, he tied a National League record with five walks in a nine-inning game. He also tied the Mets' franchise record for most walks in a game.
Baxter's best moments overall though have been as a pinch-hitter. He is batting .476 as a pinch-hitter this year with seven RBI. Hopefully, he can continue to do this and become the pinch-hitting extraordinaire for the Mets that former players like Rusty Staub, Lee Mazzilli and Matt Franco once were.
17. Scott Hairston
Defining Statistic: .912 OPS vs Left-Handed Pitching
The best outfielder for the Mets this year by far has been Scott Hairston. Originally expected to be a platoon player that mostly plays against left-handed pitchers, Hairston has found even more playing time due to the struggles of the Mets' other outfielders.
He has continued to hit well against southpaws with a .308 batting average, nine home runs and 27 RBI in those at-bats. His hitting has died down a bit since earlier in the year, but he is still a dangerous presence against left-handed pitchers.
The Mets thankfully did not trade him away in July and will hopefully try to re-sign him this offseason. The Mets certainly need more power and consistency from the right side and Hairston could provide just that as a platoon player.
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