he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Mets First Half Report Card: Infieldersh

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mets First Half Report Card: Infielders

We are at the all-star break, and that means it's time for the Mets players to evaluate how their first half of the season went, and if they are earning their paycheck or not. My grade system works as follows:
A- This player has not only exceeded our expectations, but he has proven that without him in the lineup or rotation the Mets would not be nearly as good.
B- He has been a good player all around, but on a given day the Mets can win without him.
C- Doing his job, but is not standing out or making his name known to the fans,
D or F- This player should be released or he will have to have a great second half just to stop the booing.

Paul Lo Duca- B+
LoDuca has been an important fixture in the Mets' lineup, but his short amount of rbi's earns him a grade just under an A. His .302 average is impressive for a catcher, and his .342 OBP is above average, but the Mets have shown more than a few times that they could win without LoDuca starting. However, when taking into account his abillity to call a game and his defense (despite his arm) has been very good. LoDuca has definitley become a fan favorite.
Ramon Castro- C+
Castro has done a good job as the backup catcher this year, but not nearly as good as he did last year. He has played good defense, especially with his terrific arm behind the plate. Castro is getting solid amounts of playing time, and he should get more in August and September when the Mets rest LoDuca more because of the toll catching takes on your body, so expect Castro to have a big second half.
Carlos Delgado- B-
Delgado's first month and a half is the main reason his numbers look so good, but he has been "tredding water" as Keith Hernandez says. His .252 average is a far cry from his .301 average last year, and Cliff Floyd is only 2 points behind in batting and Floyd hit under .200 for the first few weeks. I expect Delgado to have a big second half as well, starting the first game back in Chicago.
Julio Franco- C+
Franco has been a great pinch hitter for the Mets this year, and his spot starts have come a lot more often then we expected but Franco's offensive production masks his actual clubhouse presence. Franco has had a big part in the Mets season, from calming down Jose Guillen to telling Carlos Beltran to take a curtain call Franco is more a coach then a player. One problem I have with Franco this year is that he hits only .229 against lefties, and most of his spot starts come against left handers.
Jose Valentin- B+
Talk about a pleasent surprise. Valentin has risen from the depths of 0-15 to start the season to hitting .275 with 9 HR and 36 RBI, while playing a position he had never played consistently before. Valentin has had more than a few big games for the Mets, most recently this past Saturday, recording seven rbi. Valentin still strikes out a lot but he is only getting paid $900,000 so you won't get the perfect player.
Chris Woodward-C
Woody hasn't done much this year, especially after being the Mets most important bench player last year. His .232 average is due to a low amount of playing time, because Endy Chavez and Eli Marrero are the bench players for the outfield, and David Wright and Jose Reyes never take days off. Unless Valentin struggles the second half I wouldn't expect much from Woodward.
Jose Reyes-A-
The first A of the day goes to Reyes, who has been absolutey unstoppable the past month and a half. His .302 average and .357 OBP is vastly improved from 2005, and his defense and base running has even improved. His 39 steals and 12 triples are both tops in the majors, and his 41 rbi is on pace to break the Mets all time rbi record for shortstops. When Reyes hits the Mets win, unless of course Valenitn knocks in seven runs.
David Wright-A
It's hard to fight the urge to give Wright an A+, but he is slumping a bit recently even though he hit a game winning three run home run on Sunday. His average has dropped about 20 points to .316. However that average is 10th in the NL, his 74 rbi is fourth, his tremendous .961 OPS is eighth, and his 20 home runs is tenth in the NL. Wright is probably the runners up MVP to Pujols right now but as for NY thirdbaseman Wright is runner up to no one.

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