New York Mets' Biggest Winners and Losers of the Month of April
The New York Mets have exceeded expectations early in the season with a record of 15-11 heading into their last game of April. Their early record is due to some players having great months to help overcome other players who have struggled.
Presented in this slideshow are the Mets' biggest winners and losers for the month of April.
Whether a player was a winner or loser this month is determined largely by the expectations a player had coming into the season, meaning someone such as John Lannan who was designated for assignment was not considered a loser. I have also not included players such as Juan Lagares who have played great but have also missed time.
On the following slides are the Mets players in the spotlight.
Winner: Starting Rotation
The Mets’ starting rotation is the most responsible part of the team for its winning record in the month of April. The combined core of Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, Jonathon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Jenrry Mejia has either reached or gone beyond what was expected.
Colon currently has a 4.50 ERA, but it is deceptively high due to one extraordinarily bad outing. Excluding his start against the Los Angeles Angels in which he gave up four home runs, his ERA is an impressive 2.33. The Mets could not have asked for much more at this point.
Niese and Gee have both been their solid selves, as they have ERAs of 2.20 and 2.88, respectively. Over the years, they’ve solidified themselves as leaders of the Mets rotation and have acted as such so far in 2014.
Mejia and Wheeler have both flashed their potential as stars while putting together solid starts on a consistent basis. If these two stay healthy, they should both be members of the Mets rotation for a long time.
The starting rotation is the Mets’ greatest strength, and throughout 2014, the team could not have asked for a better month of April from the unit.
Loser: Curtis Granderson
As the Mets’ headlining offseason acquisition, Curtis Granderson has been one of the team’s most obvious losers of the month of April.
Granderson has had some bright spots near the end of the month with his walk-off sacrifice fly against the Atlanta Braves and walk-off single against the Miami Marlins, but even those moments can’t overshadow his .136 batting average and .216 slugging percentage.
The former New York Yankee has struck out at rate of 28.2 percent, and even when he has made contact, he has just one home run and five extra-base hits.
However, Granderson has a track record of success and has been somewhat unlucky early in his Mets career.
While he used to play in the power-hitter’s haven of Yankee Stadium, Citi Field is a much more spacious ballpark, especially in right center field.
On Sunday, Granderson hit a ball that was caught right at the wall in the deepest part of the ballpark, which Terry Collins claimed was “the sixth or seventh ball he’s hit [at Citi Field] that has been caught that across town [at Yankee Stadium] is a point.” While realistically Granderson has hit about two or three balls that would be home runs in the Bronx, he has still been hindered by his new home ballpark.
Granderson also has by far the lowest home run-to-fly ball ratio of his career of 4 percent. While playing for the New York Yankees, this ratio was understandably high, reaching a rate as high as 24.2 percent in 2012, but his current ratio was still much lower than when he was playing with the Detroit Tigers.
Granderson is a flawed player who will always strike out a lot and have a low batting average. He has been a big loser for the Mets in April. However, if he can start driving the ball more consistently, his extra-base power could catalyze the Mets offense the rest of the season.
Winner: Lucas Duda
Lucas Duda was a winner in his own mind in April due to Terry Collins dubbing him the starting first baseman, but he has been a winner for the Mets as well with his consistent play.
Duda is sporting a .253/.337/.446 line and is currently the team leader in home runs with four. While his batting line isn’t that far off from his career totals of .247/.333/.440, he has been one of the more consistent forces in the Mets lineup that is currently near the bottom of the majors in total hits.
Struggling stars such as Granderson and David Wright have overshadowed Duda’s consistency. He has been the greatest threat in the Mets lineup to change a game by going yard while at the same time driving in runs with base hits.
Duda has 13 RBI on the season thus far, already within 20 of his total last season. While his numbers don’t jump off the page, his consistency and above-average performance while playing for a weak Mets offense make Duda a big winner in April.
Loser: David Wright
While Wright is hitting a non-atrocious .262, the Mets captain is still one of the biggest losers of April because of his uncharacteristic lack of power production.
Wright has a career batting line of .301/.381/.503, but this season, his numbers are remarkably lower than that at .262/.314/.318. He has just four extra-base hits on the season, only one of which has been a home run.
As the centerpiece of the Mets lineup, the team will need him to start hitting for power soon if they want to continue competing in the National League East. New York has succeeded this season, despite a lackluster offense, something that needs to change if they want to remain relevant.
Fortunately for Mets fans, the fact that the Mets are 15-11 with one of the worst offenses in baseball and a rough start from Wright is a positive sign moving forward. Wright should be fine over the course of the season and start hitting for power soon, and with a productive Wright in the middle of their order, the Mets could become a tough team to beat the rest of the season.
Follow Sean on twitter: @SCunninghamPG.