The New York Mets All-Time 9

An article by posted on September 15, 2009

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.HRRBIRSB
Don Clendenon1970.2882297654
Carlos Delgado2008.27138115961
Keith Hernandez1986.3101383942
Eddie Murray1993.28527100772
John Olerud1998.3542293912

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.HRRBIRSB
Edgardo Alfonso1999.304271081239
Wally Bachman1986.3201276713
Luis Castillo2009.3101367415
Ron Hunt1964.303642596
Gregg Jeffries1990.28315689611
Jeff Kent1993.2702180654

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.HRRBIRSB
Howard Johnson1989.2873610110441
Ray Knight1986.2981176512
Len Randle1977.3045277833
Robin Ventura1999.30132120881
David Wright2007.3253010711334

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.HRRBIRSB
Kaz Matsui2004.2727446514
Jose Reyes2006.300198112264
Frank Tavares1979.2631338942

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.HRRBIRSB
Gary Carter1985.28132100831
Todd Hundley1996.25941112851
Paul Lo Duca2006.318549803
Mike Piazza2000.32438113904
John Stearns1978.26415736525

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.HRRBIRSB
Tommy Agee1969.27126769712
Carlos Beltran2006.2754111612718
Bobby Bonilla1993.2653487813
Roger Cedeno1999.3134369066
Lenny Dykstra1986.2958457731
Cliff Floyd2005.27334988512
Bernard Gilkey1996.3173011710817
Ricky Henderson1999.31512428937
Lance Johnson1996.33396911750
Cleon Jones1969.34012759216
Dave Kingman1976.2383786707
Lee Mazilli1979.30315797834
Kevin McReynolds1988.28827908221
Rusty Staub1975.28219105932
Darryl Strawberry1987.2843910410836
Frank Thomas1962.2663494692

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

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