The New York Mets All-Time 9

On 9/9/09, Major League Baseball announced a fan poll contest, called the All-Time 9. What that means is that fans can go to official website of their favorite teams and vote for the best single seasons at a position in team history, with the goal of putting together an all-time lineup.

After a quick jaunt to the Mets page, I found quite a nice list of memorable single season stats, some positions deeper than others. The second thing that I noticed is that an individual player can only have one nomination. For example, Mike Piazza’s 2000 season was nominated as one of the finalists for Met catcher, but one can make the argument that his 1999 season was better, you’ll see what I mean if you check out the website. Today we’ll take a look at the field.

First Base:

Avg. HR RBI R SB
Don Clendenon 1970 .288 22 97 65 4
Carlos Delgado 2008 .271 38 115 96 1
Keith Hernandez 1986 .310 13 83 94 2
Eddie Murray 1993 .285 27 100 77 2
John Olerud 1998 .354 22 93 91 2

These seasons were the best statistical seasons that these players had in their Met tenures, as well as better than any other seasons put up by Met first-basemen. The highest HR total is Delgado’s 38 in 06 and 08, though he finished with better numbers in 08. I have a bit of hesitation voting for Delgado after watching him struggle badly in the first half of 08, before Willie was fired. John Olerud had the highest batting avg. by far. Keith has the 2nd highest batting avg., but is beaten in every counting stat. BTW. Stolen bases are kind of irrelevant for 1B, so I’m not looking at it.

My verdict:  Delgado’s HR, RBI, and Runs are the best on this list, even though his Avg. is the lowest and his 1st half was miserable.

Second Base:

Avg. HR RBI R SB
Edgardo Alfonso 1999 .304 27 108 123 9
Wally Bachman 1986 .320 1 27 67 13
Luis Castillo 2009 .310 1 36 74 15
Ron Hunt 1964 .303 6 42 59 6
Gregg Jeffries 1990 .283 15 68 96 11
Jeff Kent 1993 .270 21 80 65 4

Edgardo Alfonso has the edge here in HR’s, RBI, and R. Castillo’s not-yet-completed season leads the field in SB’s. Wally Bachman leads Avg by 10 points over Castillo. Alfonso is simply strong in every category while leading three of them.

My verdict: Edgardo Alfonso.

Third Base:

Avg. HR RBI R SB
Howard Johnson 1989 .287 36 101 104 41
Ray Knight 1986 .298 11 76 51 2
Len Randle 1977 .304 5 27 78 33
Robin Ventura 1999 .301 32 120 88 1
David Wright 2007 .325 30 107 113 34

Since players can only have one of their seasons nominated, Wright’s 2007 and HoJo’s 1989 got in. I mention this because Wright’s 06 and 08, as well as HoJo’s 91 are better than Knight and Randle. Ventura had the most RBI’s on this list, but Wright and HoJo lead everything else. Wright and HoJo are the only 30-30 seasons here, but HoJo leads HR by 6 and SB by 7, while Wright has a 38 point advantage in avg. while leading RBI by 6 and Runs by 9. Wright also had the better OBP and OPS, while HoJo had the better SLG. Sidenote: HoJo’s 104 Runs in 1989 led the National League.

My Verdict: This was a fairly tough decision, but I’m giving it to Wright. Feel free to argue this one.

Shortstop:

Avg. HR RBI R SB
Kaz Matsui 2004 .272 7 44 65 14
Jose Reyes 2006 .300 19 81 122 64
Frank Tavares 1979 .263 1 33 89 42

There isn’t much choice here. No Met SS has had any season to compare to Reyes’s 06. Jose’s 05, 07, and 08 are better than anything put together by Kaz-Mat, Tavares, Ordonez, Santana, or Harrelson (among players who manned SS for years) as well. Though Reyes had 78 SB’s in 07, 06 was his best all-around year to date.

My Verdict: Jose Reyes by a mile.

Catcher:

Avg. HR RBI R SB
Gary Carter 1985 .281 32 100 83 1
Todd Hundley 1996 .259 41 112 85 1
Paul Lo Duca 2006 .318 5 49 80 3
Mike Piazza 2000 .324 38 113 90 4
John Stearns 1978 .264 15 73 65 25

Here is where I have my first real issue with a snub. Any way you look at, this list comes down to Piazza and Hundley, but Piazza’s 1999 was better than his 2000. As it stands right now, Piazza would beat Hundley in every category except HR, and Piazza takes a huge 65 point advantage in Avg. Now compare Piazza’s 2000 to his 1999 totals of .303/40/124/100/2. Piazza’s 1999 edges 2000 in everything relevant except Avg.

My Verdict: Mike Piazza, though I believe his 1999 was better.

Outfield (Pick 3):

Avg. HR RBI R SB
Tommy Agee 1969 .271 26 76 97 12
Carlos Beltran 2006 .275 41 116 127 18
Bobby Bonilla 1993 .265 34 87 81 3
Roger Cedeno 1999 .313 4 36 90 66
Lenny Dykstra 1986 .295 8 45 77 31
Cliff Floyd 2005 .273 34 98 85 12
Bernard Gilkey 1996 .317 30 117 108 17
Ricky Henderson 1999 .315 12 42 89 37
Lance Johnson 1996 .333 9 69 117 50
Cleon Jones 1969 .340 12 75 92 16
Dave Kingman 1976 .238 37 86 70 7
Lee Mazilli 1979 .303 15 79 78 34
Kevin McReynolds 1988 .288 27 90 82 21
Rusty Staub 1975 .282 19 105 93 2
Darryl Strawberry 1987 .284 39 104 108 36
Frank Thomas 1962 .266 34 94 69 2

Okay, so let’s make sense of this. Carlos Beltran has the most HR’s edging out Darryl Strawberry by 2. Cleon Jones has the highest Avg. by 7 points over Lance Johnson. Bernard Gilkey has 1 more RBI than Carlos Beltran. Gilkey, Beltran, Strawberry, and Staub are the only ones with 100+ RBI. Carlos Beltran has 10 more Runs than Lance Johnson. Beltran, Johnson, Gilkey, and Strawberry are the only ones with 100+ Runs. Roger Cedeno’s 66 SB’s beat Johnson by 16; Cedeno, Johnson, Henderson, Dykstra, and Strawberry are the only ones with 30+ SB’s. Strawberry and Beltran have the two greatest all-around performances. Next pick depends on what categories you consider important and break it down from there. Cedeno’s 66 steals are a big number, but he doesn’t have the strength in other categories, though his R and Avg. are nice. Lance Johnson is 2nd in Avg., Runs, and SB. Bernard Gilkey is strong all-around, though he doesn’t lead any categories.

My Verdict: Carlos Beltran, Darryl Strawberry, and Bernard Gilkey. To take that a step further, Beltran’s 2006 was the best season by any Met outfielder.

All in All: 1B Carlos Delgado 2008; 2B Edguardo Alfonso 1999; 3B David Wright 2007; SS Jose Reyes 2006; C Mike Piazza 2000; OF’ers Carlos Beltran 2006, Darryl Strawberry 1987, and Bernard Gilkey 1996.

Final Thoughts: I tried to focus only one position at a time when making judgments, and it appears that I picked a lot recent players, including players from the last four seasons. In fact, I didn’t realize it at the time, but all of my picks were in the last 22 years.

You can find the list of choices here. Now, the point with any list like these is to get you to think and to compare across the years and argue about it. Questions or disagreements, let me know.

Till Next Time