Just about everyone and their mother has done a piece on what the Mets’ all-time team would look like, and they all look pretty much the same.
However, when you adjust this all-time team to include the best season at every position, it looks a little bit different– and the numbers are even more impressive. Between decades of losing seasons, the Mets have actually had several fantastic individual seasons that have set both franchise and league records. So with that being said, here’s the All-Time Mets Seasons Team:
Catcher: Mike Piazza, 2000
Piazza was at the apex of his career in 2000, and put up numbers that few catchers– or any batter, for that matter– will ever put up. He batted .324/.398/.614 with 38 home runs, 113 RBIs and a 1.012 OPS. That 1.012 OPS was the third-highest ever by a catcher, and it helped bring the Mets to their fourth World Series in team history. Piazza’s 1999 season, in which he set a club record with 124 RBIs while blasting 40 home runs, could also have easily been swapped into this spot.
First Base: John Olerud, 1998
He was the guy who wore the helmet in the field. Remember him?
Olerud only played on the Mets for three seasons, but definitely made his presence felt while he was in Flushing. In 1998, he batted .354/.447/.551 with 22 home runs and 93 RBIs, giving him the highest single-season batting average in Mets history. His fWAR of 8.1 is 2.3 wins higher than any other first baseman’s season in Mets history as well, making this season a clear choice.
Second Base: Edgardo Alfonzo, 2000
Another pivotal part of what Sports Illustrated dubbed “The Best Infield Ever,” Alfonzo batted .324/.425/.542 with 25 home runs and 94 RBIs in 2000. Those aren’t numbers you often see a second baseman put up. Fonzie’s average, on-base percentage and fWAR from this season are all franchise records for second basemen, and his slugging percentage, home runs and RBI marks are all second.
Shortstop: Jose Reyes, 2006
Reyes did it all in ’06. He batted .300/.354/.487 as the team’s leadoff hitter, and led the league in triples with 17 and stolen bases with 64. That alone would qualify as an all-time great season, but Reyes also hit a career-high 19 home runs to go along with 81 RBIs. This was a Rickey Henderson-esque statline that may never again be seen in Mets history.
Third Base: David Wright, 2007
There are several Wright seasons that could take this spot, but 2007 takes it for a couple of reasons. First, Wright set a franchise record for all position players with an 8.4 fWAR. Second, his .325 batting average, .416 on-base percentage, .546 slugging percentage and .963 OPS were all career highs. He also became the third player in Mets history to join the 30-30 club, as he hit 30 home runs and stole 34 bases.
It’s unlikely Mets fans will ever see Wright play like this again– if he ever does play again. But it’s fun to look back on how truly dominant he was in his heyday.
Outfield: Carlos Beltran, 2006
The only thing a lot of people might remember about Carlos Beltran in 2006 is him staring blankly at Adam Wainwright‘s curveball. That’s definitely a shame, because Beltran’s 2006 was one of the best seasons of any offensive player in Mets history.
Beltran batted .275/.388/.594, tied a franchise record with 41 home runs, drove in 116 runs and stole 18 bases to go along with all of that. Oh, and he also won a Gold Glove in center field. Beltran was easily the best player on the Mets in 2006.
Outfield: Yoenis Cespedes, 2015
Maybe Cespedes shouldn’t even be on this list since he only was a Met for two months in 2015. But it’s hard to argue that any offensive player in Mets history had more of an impact in one season than Cespedes did in 2015– even if it was just for two months. The team was 38-22 after the Cespedes trade; it was just 52-50 before the trade.
Cespedes batted .287/.337/.604 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 57 games after the trade, with the .604 slugging percentage being the third highest in Mets history. He was on a 162 game-pace for 49 home runs and 126 RBIs, which both would have been franchise records. The Mets probably could not have made the playoffs in either of the last two years without “Yo,” and might not make them anytime soon if they don’t re-sign him.
Outfield: Darryl Strawberry, 1988
“Straw” was one of the brightest stars in baseball in the 80s, and 1988 may very well have been his brightest season. He led the league in home runs (39), slugging percentage (.545), OPS (.911) and OPS+ (165) all while stealing 29 bases and getting on base at a .366 clip. He finished second in MVP voting to Kirk Gibson that year, despite Strawberry out-homering and out-slugging him despite having a comparable on-base percentage. This definitely provided a bit of foreshadowing for that October, when the Dodgers shockingly beat the Mets in the NLCS.
Starting pitcher #1: Dwight Gooden, 1985
Gooden’s 1985 season is easily one of the five best in the liveball era. His stats are so amazing that they don’t even need to be put into words. So I’m just going to leave them alone so that you can bask in their greatness:
24-4 record, 1.53 ERA, 16 complete games, eight shutouts, 268 strikeouts in 276.2 innings, .0965 WHIP, 229 ERA+. These numbers need no context or qualification. They’re amazing.
Perhaps the most impressive of those stats is the 229 ERA+. For those of you that aren’t up on your Bill James, 100 is always the league-average ERA+. So that means Gooden was 129 percent better than the league-average pitcher in 1985. That’s almost unfathomable.
If the “All-Time Mets Seasons Team” were compiled again in 100 years, most of the guys on this list would probably be replaced by a new century of Mets baseball. But it’s safe to say that Gooden will still be on here.
Starting pitcher #1A: Tom Seaver, 1971
Can’t have an all-time Mets list without Tom Seaver. Just can’t do it.
You could pretty much put any of Seaver’s seasons from his first stint with the Mets on here, but 1971 definitely stands out as the best– despite the fact that he didn’t win a Cy Young this year. He went 20-10 with a career-best 1.76 ERA, a career-high 289 strikeouts and a 194 ERA+. Seaver is bar none the best player in Mets history, and this is bar-none his best season.
Closer: Jeurys Familia, 2016:
The last month-and-a-half of Familia’s life has turned what was once a good reputation upside down. For much of this season though, Familia was as good a closer as the Mets ever had.
Familia set a Mets record with 51 saves, and held a 2.55 ERA and 161 ERA+. He also had the second-longest streak of consecutive saves in baseball history this year, which was snapped in July at 52.
His season, kind of like Beltran’s 2006, will be remembered for its worst moment that manifested on the highest stage: The three-run home run he allowed to Gillaspie. But he was fantastic for just about all of the regular season– especially considering the Mets’ weak history in the bullpen.