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Final Regular Season Grades -- New York Mets Position Players and Manager

Mike SteffanosTuesday, October 3, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Note: I feel as terrible about Orlando Hernandez' injury as anyone, but will take my cue from the Mets players and proceed with business as usual in this space. There are already enough in the media willing to wring their hands or twirl their moustaches over the latest bad news.

We'll finish our look at the Regular Season performance of the New York Mets today. This seemed an appropriate exercise at this time, since I consider playoff performance absolutely separate from regular season achievements. Although playoff accomplishments are the stuff that New York sports legends are made of, you can't do anything without making it there. This is a look at those that made it happened.

Keep in mind that my grade takes into account what a player has done compared with what he could have been reasonably expected to do when the year started. We tackled the pitchers last night, now we'll take a look at the position players and manager:

Manager Willie Randolph
Getting better and better at managing a game, and no one does a better job managing his players.
Grade: A-

Carlos Beltran
Stepped up to become what he is being to paid to be -- the best player on the team. His improvement offensively was self-evident, but he also picked up his game defensively, too. He had a knack for coming up with some of those 41 HRs in huge situations. My only minor quibble is that if he could learn to lay off breaking pitches out of the zone, especially from the left side, he could be a .300 hitter. Still, he did everything that could be asked this season.
Grade: A+

Jose Reyes
You've come a long way, kid, from the favorite whipping boy of numbers crunchers to arguably the most important player on the Mets. Let them spout their nonsense about Reyes being overrated -- I think many who don't follow the Mets regularly honestly don't have a clue what this kid brings to the table. Still only 23, it's scary to think how much better this kid could still get.
Grade: A

David Wright
It didn't come easy for Wright in the second half as his power numbers dropped off, as did his splits against lefties. I think he strikes out a little too much for someone with his ability, and then I remind myself he's still 23. Still prone to make the occasional wild throw when he has too much time to think about it, his defense is still light years improved over the first two years. There is still foreseeable upside in all facets of his game.
Grade: A

Jose Valentin
I can't think of a more pleasant surprise than Jose Valentin in all of my years in watching the Mets. Although he slumped some in September, he still finished with an excellent line for a middle infielder of .271/330/.490. He also worked himself into being a really fine defensive second baseman. He was also a great teammate and a nice inspirational story. And just how big were those 2 homers in the clincher?
Grade: A

Endy Chavez
Mr. everything off the bench. He brings terrific fundamentals to all facets of the game. His hitting approach has caught up to his defense and baserunning. His defense is so strong he's actually probably the best centerfielder on the team, and one of the best in the game. Insert your superlative here, this kid just deserves any accolade he gets.
Grade: A

Paul Lo Duca
We all feared one of Lo Duca's second half collapses, but it never came. Instead he led the team in hitting with a .318 average, and did everything you could ask out of a number two hitter. His defense wasn't great, but we knew it wouldn't be. He was terrific handling the 2,000 men who pitched for this team in 2007, and he was a real leader.
Grade: A-

Carlos Delgado
The numbers for Delgado were pretty good, despite enduring two really long slumps. His bat seemed to be a little slow at times as the season went on, but he had some big moments. The one thing that stayed consistent was his leadership. His effect on Beltran and Wright is hard to quantify, but indisputable. A really solid clubhouse presence.
Grade: A-

Julio Franco
He seems to be coming out of a long slump at just the right time. Like Delgado he has been a valuable team leader.
Grade: B

Ramon Castro
His production was down from last year as injuries limited him to 126 ABs.
Grade: C

Cliff Floyd
He just couldn't stay healthy for the team in 2006 as he battled all manner of leg injuries, causing a severe drop-off in contributions both at the plate and in the field. Here's hoping that he writes a great final chapter for his Mets career in the playoffs. Always one of the good guys. I'm probably at least a half-grade higher because of that.
Grade: C

Michael Tucker
Despite the low batting average, Tucker is a professional hitter who works the count and can give you some quality at bats. His defense is adequate.
Grade: C-

Shawn Green
He's been streaky but generally disappointing at the plate, and his defense is not much of an improvement on Nady's. That contract for next year isn't looking too good. He's a good guy and a good teammate, but he needs to produce offensively to cancel out sub-par fielding.
Grade: C-

Chris Woodward
Woody plays solid defense at several positions but really came up short with the offense this season. In key spots he always seemed to be in an 0-2 hole. He also strikes out excessively for a guy with little power -- 55 times in only 222 ABs with a miniscule .311 SLG. I like Chris, but my gut feeling is that the Mets could find a utility infielder that would give them more offense and equivalent defense.
Grade: C-

Lastings Milledge
His first taste of the bigs wasn't exactly a resounding success. He has a lot of growing up to do, but then again, most of us did at his age.
Grade: C-

Anderson Hernandez
I love the defense, but he's overmatched against major league pitching. He'd need to lift his average 100 points just to be a competent utility infielder.
Grade: D

Ricky Ledee
Batted under .100 for the Mets in 32 ABs. What more needs to be said?
Grade: F

Mike DiFelice
Actually batted 14 points lower than Ledee.
Grade: F

This post is being discussed in the MetsMerized Mets Talk Forum.

Comments (7)

Sorry mike but your grades are wrong for some players

Cliff: He is hurt all the time. .250 ba 11 hr....sad numbers for him GRADE D

Julio Franco: This man is a DP hitting machine. Old, slow, Was a Brave

Here are some other grades you have wrong..lol

Reyes: One of the best short stops in baseball. He is the Man!!

Chaves: Man is this sub good. Is there a better bench player in baseball? How did you not give him an A+?

Milledge: Ill just get right to it..GRADE F-.......Yeah thats right an F-. bad hitter, cant field, off field problems, team seems to have some problems with him......what more can i say. Way more negstive about him then positive.

again. fantastic.

I cant really disagree ...much. but some of your blurbs bear room for comment. 1. beltran has had the finest all around season of any met EVER and could have been better but for injury. He embodies the lightbulb theory...he CAN turn it on/off. Reyes has revived comparisons to rickey henderson.

on green: again his arrival revived delgado and Wright. Floyd has post season experience and he is due. di felice-ledee-even tucker is an 'no grade;

Lastings: Should be an incomplete. He was never supposed to see Shea this yr. Yet in Sept he hit approx .280. He brings youth and energy. (see Melky Cabrera). Ditto for Ahern who has always had a slow learning curve yet maybe a strong defensive utility infielder.

Agree with Ed regarding Lastings. I believe Milledge will be sort of a test for the Mets. He clearly has a world of ability; and just as clearly has a long list of things yet to learn, like situational hitting and running routes in the field. How the Mets bring him along, and whether the Mets can inspire the player while tempering the dunb kid behavior, will tell us a lot about the management of our favorite team.

Am I the only one who believes that Anderson Hernandez might have gotten over his private mountain? A kid who could hit over .300 in AAA last year should be able to hit at least a little in the Show; but Hernandez was intimidated by his surroundings. Until September that is; he managed to come through a few times, and I'm hoping for more and better from him next year.

I giggle when I think about how good Reyes can be.

No. Seriously. I honestly giggle thinking about where this kid will go. In 30 years of watching baseball I've never seen someone actually improve so much from game to game. And certainly not someone who is the athlete Reyes is.

Nobody knows what his ceiling is!

Last year Pedro said, "Maybe someday he'll hit .300 and 20 HR. I'm not saying he will, but he could." Think about that. Just a year ago people were hoping Hosey's peak would be .300 / 20 HR. He did that in just one year. What's he gonna do next?

I think his June '06 performance could be the norm. .384 / .433 / .609. This guy could lead the league in OPS.


Lead the league in OPS, steal 65 bases and win a gold glove.


cool breez - I give Cliff credit for hanging in there with all his problems, which I mention with the grade. Franco has the toughest job in baseball and has made some contributions, plus he is a great clubhouse leader and gets credit for that. All grades are subjective, anyway. I'm tough in giving out A+ grades. Lastings was rushed a little, you need to give him a chance.
Ed - The bottom line about Green to me is that he didn't hit, and isn't a very good outfielder. I have nothing against him, and hope that he turns it around in the playoffs. Lastings played enough to get a grade, but not enough to write him off as some have done.
Anonymous - Anderson Hernandez was graded on what he did this year. It wouldn't be surprised if he managed to turn a corner next year. I hope he does, I like the kid.
bmc - I'm giggling right there with you.

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