The Major League Baseball season is arguably one of the most exhausting and mentally grueling seasons in sports.
The All-Star break, often seen as the midpoint in the season, has also served as the turning point for many players and teams. For the New York Mets, they have been on a surprisingly positive run recently.
It should be interesting to see how this young team competes in the second half.
There are also some regulars who have gone cold recently despite the good run of form for the team.
Fortunately, the Mets have more “hot” players than “cold” players right now.
Here are the hottest and coldest Mets players heading into the second half.
This team goes as David Wright goes.
It is no coincidence that the team has had a fairly hot run since mid-June, which is also when Wright started to heat up.
Wright was batting .273 on June 5th, which is decent but not up to Wright’s standards.
Since then, though, Wright has hit .325 heading into the All-Star break, upping his season average to .304. Over that span, Wright has also put up 14 doubles, six home runs, 14 RBI and 21 runs. Wright’s June line was a whopping .343/.402/.608, and his July line is .304/.426/.429.
Wright has been red-hot entering the All-Star break, and his All-Star starter selection was well deserved.
If the Mets are to keep up this good run, they need Wright to continue to produce at elite levels.
Relatively speaking, of course.
Before anyone comes hunting for my head, let me preface this by saying that Matt Harvey is still one of the best pitchers in baseball and well worthy of starting the All-Star Game.
That being said, however, his final two starts entering the All-Star break have been uninspiring.
After giving up one home run total in all of his June starts, Harvey has already given up a home run in both July starts. In his 13.0 total innings this month, Harvey has given up a very un-Harvey-like 15 hits, eight earned runs and four walks. That equates to a 5.54 July ERA and 1.46 WHIP.
Perhaps Harvey is suffering from his mammoth workload so far.
He has had just one start where he threw fewer than 90 pitches, and that was after 6.0 solid innings in a clear 8-0 blowout.
The All-Star break could not have come soon enough for Harvey. Aside from the workload, he is currently recovering from a blister on his index finger.
Nevertheless, Harvey is a complete all-around pitcher. He has mildly cooled off this month, but a pitcher like Harvey only needs one good start to go on a tear.
There is arguably no one on the Mets right now hotter than Marlon Byrd.
At the end of May, Byrd was hitting just .241 with a fairly respectable six home runs and 24 RBI.
Since then, Byrd has been on fire. He has hit .299 with eight doubles, nine home runs, 27 RBI and 24 runs. Byrd’s 2013 line is now .271/.316/.502.
By comparison, Justin Upton’s 2013 line is now .255/.353/.462, including 100 strikeouts.
If you asked anyone who would be leading the Mets in both home runs and RBI at the All-Star break, not many would have chosen Marlon Byrd.
But that is precisely the case. Byrd has 15 home runs and 51 RBI right now, which at this pace would give Byrd 27 home runs and 91 RBI.
Byrd is playing even better in July, where he is already hitting .322 with three doubles, one triple, three home runs, 11 RBI and 10 runs. Incredibly, he has had just one start this month where he hasn’t gotten a hit and three starts where he hasn’t scored a run.
All season, Byrd has looked like a serviceable outfielder who hustles and provides occasional pop. But his recent tear has lasted long enough where it does not seem to be a fluke.
If he can continue to put up these numbers, the Mets have locked up a stellar cleanup hitter for the second half for no price at all.
While Marlon Byrd seemed to go off after June 1, Daniel Murphy appears to have done the opposite.
At the end of May, Murphy was hitting .303 with 18 doubles, four home runs, 25 RBI and 34 runs.
Since then, Murphy has hit just .230 with four doubles, two home runs, 14 RBI and 18 runs.
Murphy’s 2013 batting average is now just .270. He is capable of being one of the better hitters on the Mets, but with only 17 walks this season he can contribute almost nothing when he is in a slump.
Indeed, Murphy’s on-base percentage since June 1 is an embarrassing .276.
Murphy is normally phenomenal at home, but he has struggled there all season long, hitting just .240 at Citi Field this season. In 2012, Murphy hit .322 at home.
The All-Star break should serve as a nice chance for Murphy to exhale and get his swing back to normal, but Murphy has been a disappointment for the past month.
Josh Edgin had an abysmal 9.64 ERA at the end of April, when he was subsequently sent down to Triple-A.
Edgin earned a call-up in early June, and since then has been unbelievable.
In 18 appearances since the call-up, Edgin has given up just one earned run. His 2013 ERA now stands at 3.96, and his WHIP has now gone from 1.82 to 1.44.
However, Edgin has had extremely mediocre command.
In Edgin’s 15.2 innings since his call-up, he has given up eight walks with just six strikeouts. But Edgin has made up for his poor command this time around with sheer grit, allowing just 11 hits and a .158 average with runners in scoring position.
If Edgin can continue to keep runs off the scoreboard, he has a firm place in the Mets bullpen for the second half. But if he starts giving up more hits and more runs, Edgin’s lack of command will be magnified greatly.
After a solid eight-game hitting streak shortly after Omar Quintanilla’s call-up in late May, his offense has taken a free fall.
Quintanilla was hitting .325 at the end of his hitting streak, but his batting average now stands at a paltry .238.
Even worse, Quintanilla is hitting just .186 at Citi Field. He will have a tough time going on more hitting streaks if he is a complete non-factor at home.
Interestingly, Ruben Tejada has also struggled for the Mets before injuring his quad. But since his recent return, the Mets have opted to move Tejada to Triple-A in favor of Quintanilla.
Quintanilla’s biggest asset is his defense right now. He has been superb on defense for the Mets, and that is likely the primary asset keeping him in the majors right now.
He must improve drastically on offense though. If Tejada goes on a run himself in the minors, it is only a matter of time until he overtakes Quintanilla and reclaims his starting role.
Without a doubt, Bobby Parnell has solidified his role as the full-time closer for the Mets.
Parnell has been utterly dominant all season long, and his first half stats are a stellar 2.30 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 17 saves.
Since June 9, Parnell has had just one appearance where he has given up a run. More impressively, in nine of those 15 appearances, Parnell did not even allow a single hit.
Parnell has given up just three hits and two walks in all of July, and he enters the All-Star break red-hot.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Ike Davis is in a slump.
Davis got off to another nightmare start in 2013—similar to the start he had in 2012.
While Davis was able to turn things around greatly in 2012, the Mets sent Davis down to Triple-A this season. Davis caught fire in Triple-A and was back with the Mets in less than a month.
But after going 3-for-5 with two RBI in his first game back, Davis has been in a 2-for-21 slump.
More importantly, Davis stopped playing with the patience and plate discipline that saw him earn an astronomical .424 on-base percentage and .667 slugging percentage.
Davis has begun to chase off-speed pitches early in the count, and it appears he may already be mentally rattled again.
Meanwhile, Josh Satin’s current production has cut into Davis’ playing time, which could become a theme of the second half.
Davis, as well as Mets fans, may not be able to recover mentally from another prolonged slump, and he must fix things quickly in the second half.
Jeremy Hefner, like many Mets players this season, became a different player in the month of June.
After posting a mediocre 1-5 record and 4.74 ERA by the end of May, Hefner has looked like an ace with a 3-1 record and 1.76 ERA since then.
Hefner has been extremely efficient in this recent run. He had just one game with more than one walk, and in that game he gave up only two walks in 7.0 innings in a convincing 9-1 victory.
Hefner’s ERA now stands at a solid 3.33 this season, which is second in the rotation to ace Matt Harvey.
The 27-year-old is in the form of his life right now. The second half will prove how good Hefner truly is, but, for now, Mets fans can enjoy his wonderful run.
Another positive move for the Mets this season was the acquisition of Eric Young Jr.
Young was hitting .242 with poor plate discipline in 57 games for the Colorado Rockies while struggling to get consistent playing time.
But Young has been a different man since joining the Mets.
In 24 games, Young has a superb .308/.380/.402 line and has been the dynamic leadoff hitter the Mets have longed for.
Young has been very consistent in July, as well. He did not record a hit in just three games this month, hitting .300 with four doubles, one triple and 12 runs. Young also already has seven stolen bases this month.
The Mets have not provided much protection in the lineup for David Wright in recent years. But a guy like Young is precisely the kind of weapon that Wright needs, and he has only needed a month with the Mets to show that.
Josh Satin is perhaps the biggest surprise of the Mets’ first half.
In 61 at-bats, Satin has an unbelievable .361/.487/.557 line with nine doubles, one home run, eight RBI and 13 runs. Satin already has an incredible 15 walks, which is extremely rare for an excited young player with little major league experience.
At this point, Satin has hit himself into the Mets’ lineup. Whether he ends up playing first base, second base or a corner outfield spot, Satin is undoubtedly a full-time player.
There are two fundamental reasons why Satin deserves to be a regular with the team: an ability to dominate left-handed pitching and strong stats at pitcher-friendly Citi Field.
Satin is hitting a ridiculous .448 with a 1.233 OPS in 29 at-bats against lefties, with seven doubles, five RBI and seven runs. At home, Satin is hitting .375 with a 1.115 OPS.
Mets fans should be drooling to see more of Satin in the second half. And with the recent cold streaks of players like Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis, Satin’s chances should come in bunches.
Stats and/or info via ESPN.com, mlb.com, baseball-reference.com