Latin Players Struggling Early for the New York Mets

Joe ScumaciCorrespondent IMay 6, 2008

The New York Mets have some big names playing in a high-expectation city. The diverse New York Mets are only a game out of first, but are looking for answers to their early underachievement.

David Wright, Brian Schneider, and Ryan Church were the lone three American players in the Mets' lineup yesterday. They combined for six strikeouts in the game.

This is not a racist article by any means, just something I have noticed while watching the Mets play baseball this year. If you look at the offensive woes of the Mets, you seem to find a trend in the early-season struggles.

Lead by Angel Pagan's .267 batting average, the remaining Latin batters on the Mets are surprisingly behind.

Some notable averages include the speedy Jose Reyes' .263, Carlos Delgado at .217, Moises Alou is hitting .267, and Luis Castillo is a pathetic .234.

Pedro Martinez has been a disappointment since joining the Mets, immediately getting hurt and sending the Met's rotation into chaos. Not to mention, Carlos Beltran has disappeared since the season began, and has been hampered by injury to go along with his .231 average.

Nelson Figueroa's latest start was just five innings, eight hits, five earned runs, and one home run allowed, in a start they badly needed against the red-hot Dodgers.

Oliver Perez, another Latin starter, has seen his ERA fluctuate and hover around five all year, as he continues to find his groove on the mound. Reliever Jorge Sosa has an ERA of 6.05, almost identical with fellow Latin reliever Duaner Sanchez. (6.00 ERA)

On the other hand, the Mets' best investment in the off season, Johan Santana, has not let them down so far. He is earning every penny with his 2.91 ERA and again, like every year, at the top of the league in strikeouts (47).

But you cannot blame these Latin players for the struggles of the Mets, because when they win, they are the first players to be praised. In today's game, where Latin players have been prospering across the country, 80 percent of the Mets payroll is spent on their big name players. But with a division as tough as the NL East, they will need every one of them to step up and play to their potential.

As far as predictions go, I think the Mets will be just fine. Their less than stellar averages will raise with the weather, and the return of Pedro should help out Willie Randolph's rotation big time.

Hopefully, they will all heat up at the right time, and avoid the late-September collapse.