3 key Mets players for the second half
1. Third baseman David Wright (.285/.344/.421, 8 homers, 48 RBIs)
Delivered another productive first half despite a clear drop-off in power. But the bigger question remains: Has Wright, at 31, reached the post-prime portion of his career? The second half should offer more clarity. His slugging percentage (.421) is 80 points off his career norm, though he said recently that his 24 doubles are an indication that his power potential remains. Health will be an even bigger factor. Wright received a cortisone shot just before the break to calm a balky left shoulder that cost him a week in the first half. Will that be enough?
2. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud
Needed to hit rock bottom before finally showing the talents that made him such a sought-after prospect. After a nearly three-week exile at Triple-A Las Vegas, d'Arnaud is hitting .295/.338/.525. In 16 games since returning to the majors, d'Arnaud, 25, has as many homers (three) as he did in his previous 39 games, a confidence-breaking nightmare during which he hit .180/.271./273. The Mets need his bat to lengthen a lineup that underperformed in the first half.
3. Pitcher Zack Wheeler
(5-8, 3.90 ERA)
Has endured the typical challenges of a pitcher in his first full season in the big leagues. But throughout his ups and downs, Wheeler, 24, has impressed the Mets with his ability to learn from his mistakes and maintain his composure. If the progress continues, the Mets will have quite the tag team atop the rotation when Matt Harvey comes off his rehab from Tommy John surgery. If Wheeler settles into a rhythm, he could help the Mets make noise in the second half.