3 random A+ grades the Mets deserve after the first 81 games of the season

The official midway point is here. Where have the Mets earned an A+?
Houston Astros v New York Mets
Houston Astros v New York Mets / Luke Hales/GettyImages
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The New York Mets have played 81 games. Math tells us they have another 81 left to go. We’re at the official midway point of the season, conveniently taking place at the start of a new month.

There isn’t a shortage of analysis to make. Free agent signings from the offseason. Player performances. Decisions by the front office. All deserve to be discussed. 

We’re in an unexpected place with the Mets on July 1 with the team right there in contention for a Wild Card spot. Rather than say anything negative about them, which there has been plenty, let’s stick with only the good. These three random aspects of the 2024 season all deserve an A+.

1) Give Carlos Mendoza and A+ for his starting lineup changes

Carlos Mendoza saw a puzzle with the starting lineup. Comically, we began with a regular lineup of Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Jeff McNeil. The arrival of J.D. Martinez added a new kind of element, but it wasn’t the kick the Mets needed.

Mendoza began to mix up the lineup. A struggling Lindor and Alonso were moved. Lindor took off. Alonso was okay. Nimmo did poorly in his new role batting third. Then came the more recent change. The foursome of Lindor, Nimmo, Martinez, and Alonso in that order seemed to fit them all perfectly. Lindor gets to go back to the spot in the lineup where he had the most success in his career. Nimmo more naturally fit in as a number two hitter rather than three. Martinez and Alonso get to drive in the runs in their spots.

The only part of this process that wouldn’t deserve an A+ is how long it took. Throughout the first few weeks of the season, the Mets stuck with a predictable starting lineup. Not until the changes did we begin to see life in the bats, starting with Lindor as the most significantly improved.

Mendoza adds some extra credit for successfully mixing Harrison Bader in and out of the starting lineup. He has been kept healthy thanks to playing a little less than the average starting center fielder. Pass along a high-five for Tyrone Taylor for being able to manage Bader and Marte’s load when they needed a breather.