Can the Mets Catch the Nationals Now That They Have Yoenis Cespedes?
For the third time in a calendar year, Yoenis Cespedes is playing for another team. I'm assuming he has a mover on speed dial.
After a tumultuous 72-hour period which saw the New York Mets nearly trade for the Brewers' Carlos Gomez, only to pull out of that trade because team doctors didn't like his medicals (Gomez later signed with Houston, who had no issue with his health at all), the team finally pulled the trigger on a bat and dealt for Cespedes, sending two prospects, Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa, to Detroit.
At last check, there were no Mets players crying on the field for this one. And it's a good thing this trade happened, too. Had it not, Mets fans may have rioted in the streets.
The 29-year-old free agent-to-be is hitting .293/.323/.506 with 18 homers and 61 RBI, a weighted on base average (wOBA) of .354 and a weighted runs created (wRC+) of 125, both of which are career highs. His nERD of 1.71 means that a lineup full of Cespedeses would score 1.71 runs a game more than a lineup full of league average players. Not only that, the Mets were able to obtain him without giving up one of their prized pitching prospects, Zack Wheeler.
Make no mistake, the Mets desperately need Cespedes. They rank dead last in the Majors in runs scored, batting average (.235), slugging percentage (.364), and wOBA (.291). They are tied for 28th in on-base percentage (.300) and tied for 18th in home runs. And not only does Cespedes help the Mets' offense, he also helps their defense, which was already pretty good.
.@Mets OF defense looking good Céspedes/Granderson rank 1st among LF/RF w/ 11 DRS each in 2015 Lagares 1st among CF with 58 last 3 years— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 31, 2015
There are some drawbacks to his game, specifically a 4.4% walk rate that is among the lowest of everyday players in the Majors.
However, According to ESPN Stats & Info, he has more home runs this month (eight) than all of the Mets' right-handed hitters combined (six). So perhaps the walk rate is not of primary importance to New York at the moment.
While the Mets didn't have to give up Zack Wheeler or their number-one prospect, starter Steven Matz, they did lose a potential impact pitcher in number-seven prospect (according to MLB.com) Michael Fulmer. Fulmer is 22 years old and has swing-and-miss stuff, putting up a 1.88 ERA in 15 Double-A starts this season, with 83 strikeouts in 86 innings.
Cessa is a 23-year-old starter who has spent time at both Double and Triple-A with a 3.98 ERA in 18 starts, with 85 strikeouts and 21 walks in 101.2 innings. He is their 16th-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.
But it's a price the Mets were willing to pay for a rental who could help them hunt down the Washington Nationals, who they are just three games behind in a very winnable NL East. As it stands, the Mets have the 11th best odds in all of Major League Baseball to make the playoffs.