The Mets have been socked with too many injuries and a fair share of adversity so far this season. When that happens, it becomes so hard to spot some of the good things that have also emerged out of all the drama and upheaval.
One such positive has been the outstanding pitching of Livan Hernandez. Who could have ever predicted how vital he would become to our rotation?
Another positive has been the emergence of Bobby Parnell who has become one of the most important weapons in our bullpen after Frankie Rodriguez.
However, this blog post will highlight catcher Omir Santos who came from near oblivion to being on the verge of capturing the everyday catchers job.
Omir was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 21st round of the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft, but he made his major league debut in 2008 for the Baltimore Orioles. After becoming a free agent, he signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets.
We saw a little of Omir Santos in spring training and he actually hung around until the final cuts were made, but ultimately was assigned to Class-AAA Buffalo where he took over as the Bisons’ starting catcher.
On April 17, Santos was called up to the Mets to replace the injured Brian Schneider, and it didn’t take long before we all started to take notice, and that includes Jerry Manuel too.
He has had a a few big moments in his short time as a Met:
April 27, 2009 - Santos hit his first career home run, a grand slam off the Florida Marlins’ Aníbal Sanchez. The home run also produced his first career RBI’s.
May 23, 2009 - Santos hit a clutch 2 run go-ahead home run off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon at Fenway Park in the 9th inning with 2 outs which was the difference maker in the game.
May 29, 2009 - Against the Florida Marlins, he hit a game-tying home run in the 5th inning, and then hit a game-winning single in the bottom of the 11th.
Right after that dramatic extra-innings win against the Marlins, the Mets traded longtime backup catcher, Ramon Castro, to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Lance Broadway. Castro’s five year run with the Mets had come to an end.
Mark Hale of the NY Post, spoke to Mets coach Sandy Alomar, who may have been very instrumental in Omir’s success this season. One of the things that Alomar said, really captures what Omir Santos is all about and why he is now among my favorite Mets.
“Let me begin by saying that the players that have discipline deserve all the credit,” Alomar told The Post. “Omir Santos has a lot of discipline. It has nothing to do with me. His work ethic is great. He never complains about anything. He’s always on time. He adjusted to everything we did in spring training, like right away. Santos has sound fundamentals and is a good receiver and calls a good game.”
Coming from a guy with such an impressive baseball resume, that is some high praise from Alomar. That lightning in a bottle phrase I used in my title, actually comes from Alomar who wondered the same thing.
Santos has a bit of an edge to him, something which hasn’t been lost on me. But to hear that he’s disciplined, has a great work ethic, and has sound fundamentals on top of that, well that just makes him all the more special in my book.