The 2023 New York Mets will go down as one of the most disappointing teams in the history of New York Sports. A team with great expectations along with the highest payroll in league history, failed to make the playoffs and ended up being a seller at the trade deadline. The season was such a disaster, that manager Buck Showalter was fired, and general manager Billy Eppler was overtaken by newly hired president of baseball operations David Stearns. Eppler resigned days later due to accusations of using the “Phantom IL” for non-injured players. Even though the team as a whole didn’t perform, which players were more of a reason of the failure of the season than others? Who contributed positively? Today, I will be grading how the New York Mets performed individually using the standard A through F grading system.
Justin Verlander – Grade: B+
Verlander’s season got off to a rocky start as he missed April with a shoulder injury and struggled in May. But as the season turned to the month of June, so did the results. In 16 total starts, he had a very good 3.15 ERA for the Mets before they shipped him off to the Houston Astros in the deadline purge. Verlander was one of the only players who did their job well when the games mattered.
Max Scherzer – Grade: D
Scherzer’s 2023 in New York was nothing short of a complete mess. Scherzer not only pitched to a 4.01 ERA before he was traded, but he was suspended by the league for a sticky stuff violation in April and fought with the league the whole way. He made excuses for his performance when things went poorly and didn’t take accountability. He also dealt with nagging injuries and played through them, which made things worse. Scherzer also had a tendency to fail in the big games and never could be the stopper he was in Washington in his heyday. He was a constant distraction and annoyance, and things got quiet in New York when he became a Texas Ranger.
Kodai Senga – Grade: A+
Senga was one of the best starters in the league this year. He gets extra points from me as considering he was adjusting to a new league, baseball, and culture. His 2.98 ERA was sparkling, and his sexy ghost fork was as advertised. He could not have performed better.
Carlos Carrasco – Grade: F
20 starts. 6.80 ERA. That’s the write up.
Pete Alonso – Grade: B-
Alonso hit 46 home runs, which was the 2nd highest total of his career. However, his offensive output as a whole was down. His batting average of .217 just is not good enough, even if the home runs helped him have a slightly above average season regardless. He was still a good player, but he wasn’t his best, especially when the games mattered.
Francisco Lindor – Grade: B
Lindor had a rough first 2 months, but recovered and salvaged his season to make it a good one. He had a 30-30 season, hitting 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases. He also played gold glove defense, while playing nearly a full season. Lindor remains a good player, but his offense is still a little short of how he performed in Cleveland. In his prime in Cleveland, he was nearly a .900 OPS guy as opposed to the nearly .800 OPS guy in New York. Still really good, still a valuable piece, but still lacking the Cleveland offense.
Francisco Alvarez – Grade: C+
All things considered; Alvarez had a better than average season for a 21-year-old catcher. Hitting 25 home runs while not looking like lost behind the plate at his age was truly remarkable. However, his overall offense could still use a lot of improvement. He barely hit over the Mendoza line for the season (.209), and there were some months he was so overmatched, there was no business for him to be playing on the field. However, I think the good outweighs the bad considering his youth and upside.
Brett Baty/Mark Vientos/Ronny Mauricio – Grade: D
I combined the other three young met hitters because they all struggled in their major league opportunities. They hit a combined batting average of .217 and hit closer to a .500 OPS than a .600 OPS. None of them solved the answer to the Mets third baseman problem which has been in turmoil since David Wright’s retirement. They will all be competing for the job next spring training.
Starling Marte – Grade: D
Marte’s season was a joke mostly because the organization brought him back too early from his double groin offseason surgery. He struggled all year long at the plate and playing defense in right field. The defensive play was especially alarming because not only was he physically affected but was mentally affected by playing timidly and overthinking to protect his body. Under normal circumstances he would receive an F, but after his groin was still bothering him by the end of the year, you wonder how badly the Mets botched his recovery or the surgery itself.
Brandon Nimmo – Grade: A-
Nimmo was still the Mets faithful leadoff man, getting on base at a high level like he always does. This year, he added the power element to his game, and had a career high in-home runs as a result. He crossed the 20-home run barrier for the first time ever, ending with 24. He also continued to hit well and play above average center field defense. He deserved his new 8 year contract he received last offseason.
Tommy Pham – Grade: A-
When Tommy Pham was first signed, I cringed. His reputation as a locker room problem and inconsistent hitter left a sour taste in my mouth, and I was not looking forward to seeing him play. But to my surprise, Pham was one of the best players on the team this season. Pham’s hardnosed and hard-working attitude made him really well liked by the fans, and his positive performance on the field was even more appreciated. He was able to perform so well, he was traded to the playoff bound Arizona Diamondbacks. A great story in a season filled with sorrow.
Tylor Megill/David Peterson – Grade: F
Megill and Peterson were absolutely horrendous and were huge culprits in the season playing out as it did. Both of them had ERAs over 5 by the trade deadline, and their 2nd half surge was very telling about how they can’t perform in the big moments and when the lights shined the brightest. Megill’s velocity went up and down like he has his whole career, which effected his performance. Peterson continued to lose the strike zone and walk the ballpark every five days. Each of them lost important in division games at multiple junctures this season, which sunk the Mets into mediocrity. Both of them need to be minor league depth in 2024 as far as I’m concerned.