Finally we have just about reached the mid-way point of a very shaky first half of the season for the New York Mets. With the changes in positions, management, and attitude I thought (credit given to Evan Brunell for the idea) it would be fun to look at the first-half award winners for the New York Mets.
Most Valuable Player: David Wright
- Average: .285
- Home Runs: 17
- RBI: 70
- Walks: 56
David Wright, now in his fourth full season with the New York Mets, is showing that he is the real deal. Even after a "slow start," he has turned it on as of late to produce great numbers, helping to keep the Mets as close as they are in the East.
He is among the league leaders in RBI and leads the team in both walks and home runs. With many players on the team struggling during the first half of the season it seemed that Wright was always the guy to turn to for a pick-me-up.
Another, more intriguing quality of David Wright is his leadership and respect. Just listening to him being interviewed over the past few weeks, it seems that his attitude toward other players and toward himself is of the highest level.
Chris Russo (WFAN's Mad Dog) recently spoke to David Wright about the error that was made just before Johan Santana gave up the grand slam to Felix Hernandez.
David said something to the regards of: I would expect him to be mad at me, I have to make that play. This just shows a great level of respect for his teammates, and for the game.
Runner Up: Ryan Church (without the injury probably would of been MVP)
Cy Young Award: Johan Santana
- Innings Pitched: 126.2
- Strikeouts: 114
- ERA: 2.84
- Record: 8-7
Johan Santana came to the Mets in the offseason for a flock of young talented prospects. All that the Mets looked for in return was a definitive ace, something they have lacked since the days of Al Leiter.
The other hole to fill would be the 200+ innings lost when Tom Glavine went back to Atlanta.
Santana has proved that he is the ace and can fill both of these holes for the Mets. His record is not very strong, but he has been the victim of very low run support. His ERA, innings pitched, and strikeouts tell the real story.
Without Johan there would be a lot more pressure on pitchers such as Pedro Martinez and John Maine. With the pressure off, these other pitchers have performed very well during the first half.
Moral of the story, when you lead the team in innings pitched, strikeouts, and have the fewest walks on the team, you are the Cy Young winner.
Runner Up: Mike Pelfrey
Rookie of the Year: N/A
The Mets are one of the few teams in the league that have not started a rookie for an extended period of time this entire season. There are some young players but no one that would qualify as being in their "rookie season."
Least Valuable Player: Luis Castillo
- Average: .261
- RBI: 26
- Walks: 40
- Hits: 64
After signing a pretty large four-year contract with the Mets, Luis Castillo has not performed well this season. He was thought to be a mentor to Jose Reyes and a veteran leader on the team.
He has about 100 fewer at-bats than Carlos Delgado with 245.
His other numbers are also down all across the board. He is considered a "speed guy," yet this season only has three more stolen bases than David Wright. Also, his mere six doubles trails Church, Delgado, Beltran, Wright, Reyes, Pagan (1/3 of the at-bats), Chavez, and Easley.
This is a guy the Mets look to to set the table along with Reyes, and so far this season he has done very little good in New York.
Runner Up: Billy Wagner
Disappointment of the Year: Moises Alou
- Average: .347
- RBI: 9
- At Bats: 49
This was a very close race. I believe that there are three equally disappointing stories for the Mets this year. This one has had the largest impact on the Mets.
We all know that Alou never plays an entire season, but this is now out of hand.
Coming into the season he was expected to play in left field, and the most disappointing part of his story is that for the very brief times he has been in the lineup, he has hit very well.
He still has a lot of talent with the bat, but clearly just cannot stay healthy. His only chance to continue his career will be next year in the American League.
Runners Up: Angel Pagan and Pedro Martinez
A brief thought on our runners up. Many of you may be wondering why Pagan was considered here. To me, a player having a great start to a season and then going down with injury is as disappointing as it gets.
That was Pagan—brought in to start in left and replace Alou, he went down with an injury just 91 at-bats into the season.
Pedro is the obvious other disappointment, expected to pitch the second game of the season, he left early in the game, and was out for well over a month.
Bench Players Award: Fernando Tatis
- Average: .288
- Home Runs: 3
- RBI: 42
Any Mets fan reading this right now is shrugging their shoulders. They don't understand why Endy Chavez or Damion Easley are not in this coveted spot.
The fact of the matter is that these two have not been on the bench. They have been playing a lot of games, and making a huge impact in the absence of Church, Alou, and Pagan.
Tatis has come out of nowhere to help the Mets in more ways than one, or even 10 for that matter. He has come up with game-winning hits and big defensive plays, and is another great veteran voice in this young clubhouse.
This season he has played 3B, LF, RF, 1B, and 2B to help plug gaps left by injuries.
Runner Up: Marlon Anderson
Second-Half Revelation Needed Award: Carlos Beltran
There are three different players this award could have gone to. Two of their names are Carlos. I believe that although Beltran has not had the worst first half, he needs to turn up the heat in the second half.
As Wright, Reyes, and yes, even Delgado have begun to heat up coming into the All-Star break, it is now Beltran's turn to get the fire lit and start putting up superstar numbers.
The one critique I have of Beltran is to stop looking at third strikes. He has a nasty habit of this, and if he were to swing at some of these, he might produce more.
Runners Up: Pedro Martinez and Carlos Delgado
Surprise of the Year: Damion Easley
- Average: .287
- Runs: 18
- RBI: 22
- Hits: 50
So my surprise of the year has two parts. The title really should have looked like this: Surprise of the Year: Second Base.
Who would of thought that coming into the All-Star break Luis Castillo would be on the bench, while Damion Easley starts at second Base.
When he is in the lineup he produces, that's all there is to it. When Castillo's injuries began flaring up, Damion stepped in and did a fantastic job plugging the hole.
Although he will probably loose the job to Castillo when he is 100 percent, Damion has earned the playing time he's had, and deserves to play until his production falters.
Runner Up: Mike Pelfrey
A quick note on the runner up Mike Pelfrey. He has been the runner up in two categories now and deserves his spot. Pelfrey has pitched as good as any pitcher in baseball during the month of June and now into early July.
He has been a huge surprise to some fans, but not to people that follow young pitching.
Pitchers always need time to develop, and some take longer than others. You had to realize that eventually Pelfrey would put the pieces together and become a top of the rotation starter. His time has come.
Dysfunctional Member of the Team: Willie Randolph
OK, so maybe this was not called for, but hey, he seems to be the low man on the pole now. Jerry Manuel has stepped up and inspired a team of superstars, who have begun to play up their potential.
It seems that if someone didn't fit in, it was Willie. There's only so many times I can watch Torre 2.0 make the wrong move, and hear the boos from the crowd.
Runner Up: Aaron Heilman (he was not traded after all and has been the most lights out reliever over the past month. As long as he stays in New York he will always be somewhat dysfunctional).
Fan's Pet: Endy Chavez
Don't get me wrong, Chavez has played very well this season, and has helped the Mets as they begin to climb back into the race. But he is the undisputed Fan's Pet.
After making "the catch" over the wall in left field, he will always be adored by the New York Mets' faithful.
I've never seen a bench player get so much applause when he enters a game as Chavez does at Shea.
Runners Up: John Maine and David Wright
Steady Eddie Award: Ryan Church and Brian Schneider
Yes, we have a tie for the most steady player on the Mets. Both of these players have defined what it means to be a steady player. They go out there each day and play (when Church is not injured), and you know what your going to get.
Although Brian Schneider has a low average, he was brought in as a defensive catcher, and has been just that. He calls a great game, and knows just what to say to a struggling pitcher to work him through an inning.
This type of catcher is needed with the emotional pitchers (John Maine and Oliver Perez) and with the young pitching of Mike Pelfrey.
Ryan Church got off to an amazing start to the season and as I said earlier, if not for the injury he would have most likely been the MVP of the first half. He goes out there when he can, and plays a solid right field paired with solid middle-of-the-order hitting.
Those are my first half 2008 New York Mets awards. Please let me know what you agree with and disagree with.