The New York Mets have struggled in recent years, only making two postseason appearances since 2000. Several large-ticket free agent signings led to the promise of better things to come, but several of those signings didn’t pan out according to plan (Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay, to name a few).
However, the Mets have had stars who have shined in the spotlight of the big city since the beginning of the 21st century, and still more are attempting to blossom now as well.
Here are the top six players who have starred thus far for the Mets since the beginning of the new millennium.
6. Johan Santana: 2008-Present
Since the trade that brought starting pitcher Johan Santana over from the Minnesota Twins for four players in February, 2008, Santana hasn’t quite replicated the success that saw him win two AL Cy Young Awards in four seasons, however he also hasn’t been bad, either.
In three seasons, Santana is 40-25 with a 2.85 ERA for the Mets. Santana underwent shoulder surgery in Sept. 2010 and missed the entire 2011 season, but is expected to be at full health by spring training.
5. Carlos Beltran: 2005-2011
Outfielder Carlos Beltran was much maligned for the debilitating knee injuries that limited him to just 145 games between 2009 and 2010, however for the four previous seasons and even this past season, Beltran delivered.
Beltran was an All-Star selection his first four years with the Mets, winning the Gold Glove Award three consecutive seasons and the Silver Slugger Award twice.
In 2006, Beltran hit a whopping 41 HR with 116 RBI, and followed up with two more seasons driving in 100-plus. While his injuries clearly changed his style of play, Beltran will still effective in the 2011 season as well, hitting .289 with 15 HR and 66 RBI before his trade to the San Francisco Giants.
4. Al Leiter: 1998-2004
For his seven seasons with the New York Mets, starting pitcher Al Leiter was durable, consistent and an innings eater.
Leiter averaged almost 14 wins a season, almost 195 innings per year, and rarely missed a start. Leiter was a steady and consistent presence in the Mets’ rotation, and enjoyed the best years of his career while with the Mets.
3. David Wright: 2004-Present
It’s hard to dispute the value of David Wright in a New York Mets uniform. A five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner, Wright has become a mainstay and anchor in the Mets infield.
In his eight seasons in New York, Wright has distinguished himself as one of the best third basemen in the National League, and a consummate professional for the Mets organization.
2. Mike Piazza: 1998-2005
It’s also hard to dispute the value of Mike Piazza during his eight seasons in New York with the Mets as well. A key offensive force throughout his career, Piazza helped lead the Mets to the 2000 World Series against the New York Yankees, and was an All-Star for six of his eight seasons.
Over half of Piazza’s 419 lifetime home runs were hit as a member of the Mets, and fans have clamored for the Mets to retire Piazza’s number for the past several years.
1. Jose Reyes: 2003-Present
If Jose Reyes is indeed signed by another team this offseason, it will spell the end of a great career as a member of the New York Mets.
Reyes rebounded from an injury-filled couple of years to capture the National League batting title, hitting .337 and leading the leagues in triples for the fourth time in his career.
There has never been a shortstop in New York quite like Reyes, and there may never be another one like him in the future.
This post is submitted by Jason Carib, a Manhattan native and Mets fanatic. He works as a writer with the Phoenix Bats Company, which creates world-class wood baseball bats for amateur and professional ballplayers around the globe.