The final road trip of the season is upon us, meaning the Mets will face the best team in baseball in Boston. The Red Sox series not only marks the end of interleague play for New York, but also the last time they play a non-NL East opponent. The Red Sox recently became the first team to eclipse the century mark for wins, and their division title is all but sewn up. With that inevitability in mind, it is probably not inappropriate to start handing out some awards, which we do in this stats preview.
The How Is This Guy This Bad On A Team This Good Award… goes to Eduardo Núñez. After posting well above average years in his age-29 and -30 seasons, Núñez’ bat has fallen on hard times. The last two seasons, Núñez had VORPs of 30 or greater, but this season his VORP is -1.9. His WARP is -0.4, and considering he has been given 484 plate appearances, this level of “meh” on a team poised to break the franchise win total is amazing.
The Veteran Presents Award… goes to Brandon Phillips. His addition to the roster last week probably had Red Sox fans questioning how much he would contribute, but he quickly cashed in on his opportunity to return to the big leagues. In his first game for Boston, he hit a go-ahead home run to cap a six-run comeback against Atlanta to clinch a sweep. Even if the moment is his only one worth noting for the Red Sox, it will leave quite a memory in Boston fans’ minds.
The If Only Injuries Weren’t a Thing Award… goes to Chris Sale. If it seems like Sale is always the bridesmaid, never the bride in the Cy Young voting, it’s because he is. As a starter, he has never finished worse than sixth in the voting, and this year looks like it could be another close call. His pace through the first four months of the season set him on a path to win, but he missed a month with a shoulder injury and possibly missed his chance at his first Cy Young. His 5.34 WARP is fifth in the AL, but three of the four pitchers ahead of him have thrown at least an extra 40 innings (a little more than a month’s worth). He still has a shot at the award, but if he does not win, it will leave him wondering what could have been.
The Good: Boston’s offense has scored at least 40 more runs than every other team.
The Bad: Drew Pomeranz has the eighth worst K-BB% (4.9%) among pitchers with 50 or more innings.
The Ugly: Nunez has only walked in 3.1% of his plate appearances, the second worst walk rate among qualified batters.
If draft pick watching is your thing, the Mets have the tenth worst record in baseball (before games Thursday). That position is important, because the top ten picks are protected from forfeit in case the Mets spend money and sign a qualified free agent this offseason (Ha!). They are within five games of three teams ahead and behind them, which means they will almost certainly end up picking somewhere between 7-14 next June (the Braves have a compensation pick at 9 for not signing their 2018 first rounder, which pushes the Mets’ pick down unless they have one of the eight worst records).
Photo credit: Evan Habeeb – USA Today Sports