The All-Time New York Mets Team – By Season

by JohnBowen

New York’s other team. They’ll have a tough time making the playoffs this year but at least they won’t lose 120 games!

Starting Lineup

Catcher: Mike Piazza, 2000
The game’s greatest offensive catcher, Mike Piazza was the driving force between back-to-back NLCS appearances after a decade of missing playoffs. The New York catcher hit .324 with a nifty .614 slugging percentage to lead his team to their first pennant since 1986.

1st Base: John Olerud, 1998
While everyone and their mom was steroiding 40 homeruns in 1998, it was easy to overlook John Olerud, who finished second in the league in batting (to a Rockie) and second in on-base percentage to some guy from St. Louis.

2nd Base: Edgardo Alfonzo, 2000
A model of versatility, Edgardo Alfonzo had a nice career going as a third baseman before the Mets acquired gold glover Robin Ventura before the 1999 season. Alfonzo took over the reigns at second base and hit .300 in each of his first two seasons there. Alfonzo clubbed 40 doubles and 25 homeruns while finishing 5th in the league with a .425 OBP.

3rd Base: Howard Johnson, 1989
Another model of versatility, Howard Johnson played 143 games at third and parts of another 31 at shortstop during the 1989 season. Any way to get him into the lineup was probably a good idea; Johnson put up a 169 OPS+ (a Mets record) and combined power and speed to great effect, knocking out 36 while swiping 41.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes, 2006
Jose Reyes has spent a fair amount of the last couple years on the disabled list so it feels like forever ago that we was one of the elite shortstops in the National League. In 2006, Reyes helped the Mets get to the NLCS from the leadoff spot, hitting .300 and using his speed to rack up a major league leading 17 triples and 64 stolen bases.

Leftfield: Cleon Jones, 1969
The 1969 Miracle Mets were an amazing story with Cleon Jones leading the way on the offensive side. Jones hit .340 with a .422 on-base percentage during the season and was even better in the NLCS, going 6 for 14 with a homer in the 3-game sweep. He struggled in the World Series, but played a pivotal role in the deciding game. He got hit by a pitch from Dave McNally proven by a shoe polish smudge and scored on a homer, then scored the go ahead run and caught the series-ending fly ball.

Centerfield: Carlos Beltran, 2006
The 2006 season is pretty much why the Mets signed Carlos Beltran to a 7 year, 119 million dollar contract before the 2005 season. He has underperformed for much of that time, but not 2006. Beltran hit a career-high 41 homeruns, had an OPS+ of 150, and played gold-glove defense in centerfield. The superstar finished fourth in the MVP voting and was a big reason why the Mets dominated the National League.

Rightfield: Darryl Strawberry, 1988
Strawberry’s ’87 season, where he barely missed starting the 40-40 club might have been better, but relative to his league, Strawberry was a little better the next year leading the league in homeruns, slugging and OPS+. Strawberry won a silver slugger and finished second in an MVP race that, barring a single postseason at-bat by Kirk Gibson that he probably would have won.

Batting Order
Jones (R)
Alfonzo (R)
Olerud (L)
Piazza (R)
Strawberry (L)
Johnson (B)
Beltran (B)
Reyes (B)

Starting Rotation

Dwight Gooden, 1985
At the time of this writing, I’m 21 years old. I can usually play a decent shortstop in my pick-up games with my friends and hit about 70 at the kids’ fastball tracker game at the ballpark. At one year younger than future hall-of-famer John Bowen, Gooden won 24 games with a 224 ERA+, led the league with 268 strikeouts and all in all had one of the greatest seasons ever turned in by a pitcher.

Tom Seaver, 1973
Tom Terrific had so many great seasons for the Mets that it’s hard to pick just one. He won 25 games in 1969 and had a 194 ERA+ in 1971. 1973 stands out to me because, in addition to leading the league in WHIP, ERA+ and strikeouts, Seaver took what otherwise might very well have been a last place team all the way to the World Series.

Jerry Koosman, 1969
Jerry Koosman was in his second year as a big leaguer when he helped take the Miracle Mets to the World Series with a 160 ERA+, 1.058 WHIP and 6 shutouts. Once they were in the series, he was instrumental to victory winning games 2 and 5 while giving up just 4 runs in his 17 and 2/3 innings.

David Cone, 1988
David Cone began the ’88 season as a reliever/spot starter. By the end of the year, he had emerged as the ace of the NL East champions, going 20-3 and finishing second in the league with a 2.22 ERA.

Johan Santana, 2008
Expectations were high for Santana coming over from the Twins for four players. Santana won the ERA title that year, led the league in innings pitched, and finished 6th in the league in WHIP.

Bench

C – Gary Carter, 1985: Lower OPS than Piazza but much better defense
1B – Keith Hernandez, 1986: Someone from that team had to make it…
IF – Robin Ventura, 1999: Would probably replace Reyes with Johnson at short
3B – David Wright, 2007: Combines .424 OBP with joining 30-30 club.
OF – Bernard Gilkey, 1996: 77 extra-base hits and 117 RBI
OF – Kevin McReynolds, 1988: 27 homers and 21/21 in stealing
OF – Richie Ashburn, 1962: Did you know he was an expansion Met?

Bullpen
Closer – John Franco, 1997: Currently 4th all-time in saves
Setup – Armando Benitez, 1999: Earned closer’s job with 128 K in 78 IP
Fireman – Tug McGraw, 1971: 11 wins, 201 ERA+ in 111 innings
Fireman – Jesse Orosco, 1983: Actually finished 3rd in Cy Young balloting
RHP – Francisco Rodriguez, 2010: Going with a current season because this pen actually needs more righties.

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14 Responses to “The All-Time New York Mets Team – By Season”

  1. Raul Says:

    John Olerud was a hell of a player.

  2. JAD Says:

    Why not Ron Taylor of 1967 or 1969 for the righty in the bullpen instead of K-Rod? Nice job remembering Richie Ashburn.

  3. Chuck Says:

    No way Beltran hits seventh.

    Nice job remembering Cleon Jones.

  4. Hartvig Says:

    I’d have gone with Tommie Agee’s 1969 season over Ashburn. Still, that was one heck of a way to end a career. All star appearance, hit over 300 and, if I’m not mistaken, didn’t he homer in his last at bat? And run the bases backwards?

    And you’ve got to have Casey as the manager with Gil & Yogi as coaches.

  5. Chuck Says:

    My great, great grandfather and Richie Ashburn’s grandfather were brothers.

    I’ve done some research on him, and, quite frankly, I’m glad I never met him.

    He was, by all accounts, an asshole.

  6. Chuck Says:

    Famly trees are sometimes such a mess.

    My great, great grandfather on my mothers side, and Richie Ashburn’s grandfather on his father’s side were brothers.

    He was still an asshole.

  7. Mike Felber Says:

    I recall that ‘73 season, a ‘lil kid just coming to some real baseball consciousness. Getting so far on a .509 W-L %, w/no wild card. Ya gotta believe!
    I looked up the standings: Seaver w/his massive 9.5 WAR would have certainly saved them from 2nd from the cellar, which was only 5 games back. Basement was only 11.5 games down.

  8. Hossrex Says:

    Mike Felber: “Ya gotta believe!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XISj03HREFo

  9. Mike Felber Says:

    You are up on the kid’s animation Hoss. A bit 1 dimensional compared to Mr. Screwball’s war cry, but engaging.

    Is adjusted pitching wins less than WAR mainly due to it being calulated on a different scale, like an average vs. a replacement player? Most pitcher’s supply little value outside of the mound. Can anyone explain the technical reason for the discrepancy?

  10. Hossrex Says:

    Mike Felber: “You are up on the kid’s animation Hoss.”

    *looks at his Playstation 1 copy of Parappa the Rapper that was released exactly two days after his 19th birthday, and hopes no one notices that he’s about to turn 32*

    How the hell could popculture references that came out during my “adult” years be 13 years old?

    I found a friend on Facebook today whom I haven’t seen for literally 17 years… turns out he’s a photographer just I myself (which is odd, since neither of us had the tendency all those years ago). I went to his website and saw how good his stuff is… while all mine is just babies, high school graduates, and the (too rare) wedding.

    I didn’t add him as a friend.

    The other friend (we were a trio) from when I was 13 is a musical engineer in Seattle.

    I didn’t add him either.

    Bastards. I bet neither of them know Ted Williams career OBP.

  11. Hossrex Says:

    Next on Dugout Central, Chuck talks about being the one who came up with “Mmm Mmm Good.”

  12. Seven Says:

    Petey was 1st in NL in WHIP and 3rd in K’s in 2005. Thought Al Leiter woulda made it onto this roster as well.

    I love these teams, John. But I was thinking you should let us know which uniform(year) the team will be wearing. Obviously this team would be wearing the ‘86 unis with the racing stripes. The Astros would sport the ‘85 creamsicles, Padres would rock the poop brown and mustard yellow from 1980.

  13. Kerry Says:

    I would have switched Gilkey and Jones (i.e., put Jones on the bench).

    And since Ashburn was an a-hole, how about replacing him with the 1964 Joe Christopher (?!): OPS+ much better, more PA (Ashburn was just under 500 PA, only 135 games) — his only decent season, but a damned good one. There are other who are even better, but they didn’t play all OF positions (1976 John Milner, 1979 Lee Mazzilli).

    Todd Hundley had a great 1997 at the plate (if not behind it).

  14. Patrick Says:

    I would probably start the 2006 Carlos Delgado.

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