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Rating the Season: The Position Players

Mike SteffanosMonday, October 3, 2005
By Mike Steffanos


As we begin our year-end wrap-up, we'll toss in our two cents on how we feel the players performed. We'll begin with the position players, both regulars and bench players.

David Wright

If you're a real Met fan and you don't love this kid you're just plain crazy. It's almost eerie how a 22-year-old can do almost everything right, both on the field and off. His work ethic is on par with his superior talent. The sky is the limit with this kid. He's already easily in the top ten all-time position players for the Mets right now; he can easily top that list before he's through.

He cleaned up his act in the field over the second half of the season, despite the melodramatic pronouncements of over-paid radio personalities he looks to be a better-than-average third baseman, if not quite the future Gold Glove winner that he was hyped to be coming out of the minors. Then again, with his work ethic, I wouldn't bet against him winning it one day, similar to how Wade Boggs made himself into a great third baseman.
Grade: A

Jose Reyes

161 games played; a hair under 700 at bats. No significant injuries. We hope that he can do better than 27 walks next year, but don't minimize what this kid has accomplished. It's hard to say just how good he might be some day, but if he can stay healthy he has as much chance as anyone without the initials DW on this team to be a true impact player. It's amazing how much impact he has already for a kid with so much to learn.

Despite an occasional lapse of concentration on defense he has really become a superior Major League shortstop. Early in the year he made some bad mistakes when he tried to be a little too fancy in the field. That didn't happen much later in the year -- Willie and his coaching staff made a lot of progress with the kid. Still, for the low on base % I probably should grade a little harsher, but with bonus points for surviving a full season:
Grade: A-

Carlos Beltran

Out of all of the position players, this is probably the toughest grade to give. Despite all of his struggles, I respect Beltran for the effort he put forth and the way he handled all of the adversity of this season. He played hurt. I fully expect him to contribute much more next year, to provide more leadership and to handle the pressure better. I keep in mind that he is only 28 years old.

For all of that, $17 million per has to by more than the pedestrian numbers he managed this season.
Grade: C-

Cliff Floyd

Cliff had a little bit of an up and down year, alternating periods where he would carry the team with times that he looked lost. He stayed healthy for a full season, and reached 550 ABs for only the third time in his career. He had 34 HRs and 98 RBIs. He had 15 assists in the outfield and made several web gem caliber catches over the season. He was a leader to the team, especially to the young guys like Wright, and always a breath of fresh air in an interview. I don't know what more we could have asked from him.
Grade: A

Mike Piazza

He's not even close to the offensive force that he was 5 years ago. Still, he had 19 HRs and 62 RBIs in just under 400 ABs. I'd sign for those numbers from next year's catcher right now. I guess there is still a chance that he can come back in a diminished role, but if you listen closely to what everyone is saying it's hard to really believe that.

He will remain in my mind the prototype of the classy superstar, and I won't even pretend that sentiment didn't influence this grade. I only wished he could have stayed healthy and reached 400 HRs with us.
Grade: A-

Kaz Matsui

Sigh...

I spent a lot of time defending this guy to other fans. I think the Mets overrated and over-hyped Kaz when they signed him, and his play at shortstop in 2004 just buried him with many Met fans. For all that, I think he evolved into a decent second baseman this year and is a reasonable offensive threat when healthy...

But I'm losing hope that this guy can stay healthy, and deal with the vocal group of fans that boo his every move. Even Willie seems fed up.
Grade: D

Miguel Cairo

A great teammate and a solid pro. Some Met fans just expected too much from him and held it against him when he didn't give them what they hoped for. I'll take him back next year in a second, provided it is as the backup role player that he is best suited to be.
Grade: B-

Mike Cameron

He strikes out way too much. For as great a fielder as he is most of the time, he is prone to the occasional super bonehead play. He's a damned good base runner and a great teammate. I don't know what the future holds, but I'll take him back next year in a heartbeat.
Grade: B+

Victor Diaz

I like this kid, and I can live with the growing pains in the outfield. You can't help but see the potential, and you love the way the ball jumps off his bat. But sometimes he just looks so BAD at the plate, with 82 Ks in 280 ABs. He's got decent speed, but hits into a lot of DPs. I wonder what his role will be next year if he doesn't wind up as an off-season trade chip. Intriguing and frustrating...
Grade: B-

Doug Mientkiewicz

Dougie, we hardly knew ye. Hurt for so much of the year, unproductive for most of the rest. His honesty was refreshing, funny and incredibly painful to witness -- all at the same time. His defense was disappointing: great at digging out bad throws, but only average in plays where he had to make a throw. A good team leader, and I think if he got a chance here next year he'd do a lot better, but I don't think he'll get the chance.
Grade: C

Marlon Anderson

Got off to a tremendous start as a pinch hitter, then cooled off some as the season went on. Not the best fielder, but a valuable bench player that provided a spark all year. A great pick up.
Grade: A

Chris Woodward

Played all 4 infield positions and outfield, too. Had some clutch hits, too. Another great bench player.
Grade: A

Ramon Castro

A solid defensive backup catcher with a decently potent bat. Had some big clutch hits. Maybe one of the worst baserunners ever, but no one is perfect.
Grade: A-

Jose Offerman

Had some pinch hits. Some awful fielding and base running plays. It wouldn't break my heart if he wasn't here next year. No, let's rephrase that: please, there has got to be a better player than this out there.
Grade: C-

Gerald Williams

A respected clubhouse presence. As a player... yawn... Maybe it's time to go into coaching.
Grade: C

Mike Jacobs

The kid gave us an intriguing 100 ABs. His defense needs a lot of work -- he made 4 errors in a relatively short period of time though he did look fairly smooth out there. At the plate, he's shown power, patience, and the ability to go the other way with the pitch. He has earned his way into the mix next year, if he's not traded in the off-season. I hope he isn't. A great swing and that intangible of confidence make me want to see more from this kid.
Grade: A-


Next...

Rating the pitchers.

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