April was a rather up and down start for the New York Mets, but exiting the month with a winning record and playoff positioning is great. The team suffered through injuries, most notably losing their closer Bobby Parnell for the year, and still has some roster issues, but they have played well. They have gotten by using great base running and very good starting pitching.
Mets Player of the Month: Lucas Duda
The Mets’ best hitter was definitely Juan Lagares, but he lost several weeks to a leg injury from which he is due back soon. Picking up the offensive slack was Lucas Duda, who instilled enough confidence in the team to trade former starter Ike Davis. One of the pair had to go, and Duda has come through by leading the team in home runs and extra base hits, and placing second to David Wright in RBI. Offensively, the Mets are not a powerhouse at all, but Duda did as good a job as could have been asked.
Mets Pitcher of the Month: John Niese
As opposed to their offense, the Mets actually had multiple pitchers deserving of recognition. Both Niese and Dillon Geehad an ERA below 3.00, but Niese has an edge in strikeouts, walks, and home runs allowed. Niese is a solid and consistent starter who has been a fixture in the Mets’ rotation since his age 22 season. Niese may not keep a sub-3.00 ERA all season long, but he is a dependable starter on a team that must rely on its pitching.
Disappointment of the Month: Curtis Granderson
It is getting to the point of piling on, but there is not a nicer way to describe Granderson’s start as a Met. He has had moments of glory, such as his game winning sacrifice fly against the Atlanta Braves at home, but his month as a whole was one of the worst of his career. He is not hitting the ball solidly yet, nor showing any signs of simple bad luck or that he is about to break out of the slump. His line drive percentage is the lowest of his career, his infield fly percentage is the highest of his career, and he has struck out at least once in 20 of his 25 games this season. The longer it lasts the more worrisome the trend becomes.
Surprise of the Month: Jenrry Mejia
Mejia is not exactly a newcomer to the Mets, in spite of his young age. Making his debut in 2010, mostly out of the bullpen, Mehia appeared in 33 games as a 20-year-old rookie. In 2011 he underwent Tommy John surgery, and after being named the fifth starter this year Mejia has taken advantage of his health and opportunity. One of several young righties the Mets have successfully groomed, Mejia is eighth in the National League in strikeouts per nine innings, has been one of the best back-of-the-rotation starters in baseball, and is already only a few starts away from surpassing his career high in innings pitched.
The team goals going into May have to be focused on beating their division foes. New York has four series within their division over the next month, three of which are on the road. A strong start is great for the team’s confidence, and the Mets are in as good a position as they could have hoped.
Commentary by Brian Moore
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering New York Baseball