The strength so far this season for the New York Mets have been Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran. Beltran is hitting up around .400 and Santana has been the most dominant pitcher in the National League the first month of the season. He even won NL Pitcher of the Month.
The Mets ended April with a little bit of a disappointment. David Wright got his hits but somehow forgot how to hit with runners in scoring position. Even Carlos Beltran forgot how to slide.
But May has been a different story. The Mets have won four in a row, including a sweep of the division rival Phillies. As of Friday May 8th, the Mets are a half game out of first place.
Jose Reyes should have developed into a more complete player we all thought he would be by now. He is getting his steals but his average should be up and his on base percentage has to improve. His job is to set the table for the Mets and get on base. When he does, he is a different player because of the electricity he can bring to the basepaths.
Luis Castillo has been hurt of late. Considering the way he performed last season, his .309 batting average is more than anybody expected. Alex Cora does a good job filling in for Castillo, but its good to see Castillo back in the lineup.
Carlos Delgado is another player coming off an injury but one cannot realistically expect him to put up the same numbers he did last season. I expect more like he performed in 2007.
I for one was not in favor of the Gary Sheffield signing. I think he is way past his prime and his .158 batting average may be proving me right. He is a DH playing in the National League so anytime a ball is hit to him in the outfield you have to hold your breath if he makes that catch. It was a nice highlight of this short season to see a player hit his 500th home run in a Met uniform.
I am in favor of getting Ryan Church more at bats. Last season before he got hurt he was one of the team's hottest players. This season he was doing well but when Sheffield was ready to play, they started a part time platoon and Church's average dropped to his current .265. I think if Church plays more regularly, he can be a more effective hitter.
Brian Schneider is a very good defensive catcher but his offense needs much improvement which is evident by his .143 batting average. He does make an improvement behind the plate to the young or inconsistent pitchers on the Mets. Oliver Perez's lone victory this season was proof of Schneider's leadership on the field. Ramon Castro is a backup catcher and Omir Santos is a career minor league player, so the Mets may have some up and downs at the catcher position the rest of the season.
The team did improve on the biggest fault from last season, which was the bullpen. Bobby Parnell looks like to have taken over Sean Green as the 7th inning guy. J.J. Putz was a dominant closer and shows he has no regret taking the job of the set up man. Francisco Rodriguez is the single season saves record holder and is showing he has not lost any of his dominance with his 9 for 9 in saves opportunities and his 2 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio.
The baseball season is a marathon and this Met fan is at ease being only a half game out before Mother's Day. We have lots more baseball to play and Mike Pelfrey and John Maine have been better as of late. Lets just hope Dan Wharton can right Oliver Perez. Then we can all be happy with the winter free agent signings. Our biggest worry would be that win column and hopefully not another September collapse to the hated Phillies.