The New York Mets’ 2023 season is not going the way that the team had envisioned. With just about 25% of the Mets’ season completed, New York doesn’t have a winning record. For a team that has MLB’s highest payroll and championship aspirations, the Mets are off to an underwhelming start, to say the least.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the Mets’ 19-20 start. New York is struggling in all aspects of the game. The Mets rank 12th among 15 National League teams with a .706 OPS. A disappointing 4.63 ERA ranks 10th in the NL through 39 games.
It’s going to take more than a few players to turn things around in order for the Mets to finally reach expectations. With that being said, let’s take a look at a few Mets who shoulder the most blame for the team’s poor start to the 2023 season.
Without a doubt, Max Scherzer has been the most disappointing Mets player on the field in 2023. One of the greatest pitchers of his generation, Scherzer posted a career-low 2.42 ERA with New York in 2022. A year later, the 38-year-old might be headed for the highest ERA of his Hall-of-Fame career.
Scherzer is 2-2 with a 5.56 ERA in five starts. The veteran’s WHIP has ballooned from 0.91 last season to 1.41 this season. Scherzer has 20 strikeouts in 22.2 innings. He’s yet to go beyond 6.0 innings in a single start. The Mets skipped Scherzer’s last start because of a neck injury.
With Justin Verlander injured to start the season and Carlos Carrasco on the IL, the Mets needed Scherzer to be the ace that he’s been for the last decade. Instead, Scherzer has pitched like an aging No. 5 starter. He also missed 10 games with a suspension for using an illegal sticky substance on the mound.
Maybe it’s unfair to put Francisco Lindor on this list. Brandon Nimmo is the only Mets’ position player with a higher WAR than Lindor. The shortstop even ranks ahead of Pete Alonso in that category. Alonso, on the other hand, has 13 home runs and a .855 OPS. Lindor hasn’t been consistent enough at the plate for New York to overcome its other deficiencies.
Lindor’s .223/.314/.426 splits are all well down from where they were at the end of the 2022 season. He only has four stolen bases, despite MLB’s rule changes. It’s no coincidence that the Mets have gone into a bit of a tailspin while Lindor struggles at the plate. New York is 5-13 in its last 18 games. Lindor has a .214 batting average and two home runs during that stretch.
Lindor has a .819 OPS in the Mets’ wins. His OPS falls to .652 in losses. If Lindor can get back on track, the Mets’ record will follow.
Starling Marte doesn’t have a Hall-of-Fame resume like Scherzer or Verlander. He doesn’t have the same responsibility in New York’s lineup as Lindor or Alonso. But Marte is among the highest-paid players on the Mets, and his production hasn’t come close to matching his salary.
Marte is signed to a contract that includes an average annual value of $19.5 million, making him the fourth highest-paid player on the most expensive team in baseball. Through 34 games, the outfielder has been New York’s least productive everyday player. Marte is the only mainstay in the Mets’ lineup who has a negative WAR. He’s hitting .226/.294/.282. Marte has just one home run and eight RBI in 124 at-bats.
Marte dealt with a neck strain earlier this season. Maybe injuries have played a role in his disappointing start. In 118 games for the Mets last season, Marte hit .292/.347/.468 with 16 home runs.
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