Written by Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
New York Mets First Half Awards
With the MLB All-Star festivities upon us, it is a bit slow in the sports world. With no major news breaking, what better way to pass time than to take a look back at the first half of the season?
For the Mets, it has been an up-and-down season thus far, as they entered the All-Star Break with a 45-50 record. Things have been looking up for the Amazins’ since falling a season-high 11-games under .500 July 5th against the Texas Rangers, finishing the first half with a strong 8-2 home stand to keep them in the playoff picture. The Mets are giving their fans hope, something that has proven time and time again to be a false prophecy. Will this be the season the Mets finally build towards the right direction? We will just have to find out.
MVP: Daniel Murphy
The Mets lone All-Star this season is a no-brainer for first half MVP of the team. With a slash line of .294/.342/.413, Murphy has been the most consistent hitter thus far for a Mets offense that has struggled more often than not. He also continues to be sneaky on the base paths, swiping 11 bags thus far in 15 tries. The All-Star nod this season is a testament to how far Murphy has truly come, as things looked ugly at times with him as a second baseman, but he has quietly become one of the better ones in the MLB.
Off the field, Murphy’s performance could also be a huge boon to the Mets. With some playoff teams desperate for hitting because of a lack of performance, injuries, or both, Murphy’s name has come up in trade rumors. If the Mets do indeed entertain offers and look to move Murphy, they could get back quite a haul to help re-load their minor league system and add MLB-ready talent.
LVP: David Wright
Having the face of your franchise as the least valuable player of the first half the season explains a lot of the struggles they have had. Wright is on pace for career low numbers almost across the board in which he played enough games to qualify for awards. His homerun power has diminished greatly, and his batting average has waned as well. His on-base percentage and slugging are no different, as both are at career-low levels as well. When your highest paid player is not performing up to their salary, especially a team as money conscious as the Mets, you have to get more production, even at the age of 31.
Cy Young: Jon Niese
If not for an extended DL stint that was originally expected to be two weeks, Dillon Gee could easily be in this spot, but Niese is just as deserving as well. Niese has pitched masterfully for the Mets, picking up the nominal ‘ace’ title with Gee sidelined. He has been consistent for the Mets, pitching to a 2.96 ERA in the first half. The offense has done him now favors and is a big factor in why his record stands at a paltry 5-4. In a four-start stretch from late May-early June, Niese pitched to the tune of 2.22 ERA, yet was winless. He is currently on the DL, but it Niese says it is a non-issue and should come back right when eligible in Seattle following the All-Star break.
(Some applause needs to also be given to the revamped Mets bullpen. Since going with a youth movement focusing more on Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia at the back end, things have really picked up.
Not Cy Young: Zack Wheeler
This speaks volumes just to how productive the Mets pitching staff has been after getting rid of the likes of Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Valverde and Scott Rice. Wheeler hasn’t been bad persay, he just has been the least consistent starter for the Mets this season. For example, in a five start span, Wheeler set career-lows for innings pitched in a started game with his first career complete game shutout and another 6.2 inning shutout performance thrown in. It is that inconsistency that lands Wheeler here, coupled with a rough May. Wheeler is also tied for most losses on the team with eight. More than likely at the end of the season he will not be in this spot, as he headed into the All-Star break with three straight strong performances, further proving the inconsistency he has shown this season.