New York Mets Players to Watch in the Second Half

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COMMENTARY | Mets manager Terry Collins thinks his club can finish the 2013 season with a .500 record. How these players perform will go a long way in determining what happens over the final 71 games of the season:

Ike Davis - No Mets player has been more of a disappointment in 2013 than Davis, who was hitting so poorly (.161 average at the time) that the Mets sent him down to the minors in early June. In 26 at-bats since his return to the majors, Davis has five hits, no home runs, and two runs batted in. His future with the Mets depends on how he hits in the second half.

Lucas Duda - On the disabled list since June 22, the Mets may have lost a bit of pop, but their lineup has actually improved in Duda's absence. Not good for a guy who has 11 home runs, but only 23 runs batted in with a .235 average and 68 strikeouts in 226 at-bats.

Ruben Tejada - The Mets don't seem like they're in any rush to give him back the shortstop job that was his to lose. Tejada was placed on the disabled list at the end of May, and Collins has said that he'll have to earn his job back after he hit just .209 in 50 games. His replacement, Omar Quintanilla, is hitting .238 and playing good defense in Tejada's absence. Still, you have to think at some point Tejada will get another shot.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis/Juan Lagares/Eric Young Jr. - The goal for Nieuwenhuis this year was to cut down on the strikeouts. He struggled with that early on and he was sent to the minors as a result. He's gotten a few big hits since he returned but he's still hitting just .209 and not getting on base nearly enough (.281 on-base percentage). The Mets would be wise to give him a good long look in the second half. Lagares can play defense but he'll need to show the Mets that he can hit (.234 average, .255 OBP). Since he joined the Mets in June, Young has provided a spark at the top of the order (.308 average, .380 OBP). You might as well let him play and see what he can give you.

Jeremy Hefner - One of the biggest surprises of the first half, Hefner (3.33 earned run average) has turned into a reliable starter. In each of his last eight starts, he's allowed no more than two earned runs. He doesn't have Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler stuff, but the Mets don't need him to be a top-of-the-rotation guy. With a little more run support, his record (4-6) would be a lot better.

Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

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