They missed it by just one home run… In 1987, Mets right fielder Darryl Strawberry crushed a career high 39 home runs in what was arguably the best season in his career. Second on that team was Howard Johnson, who in his first taste as a regular player belted 36 home runs. Newly acquired left fielder Kevin McReynolds would hit 29 homers in his first of six seasons with the Mets.
Just one more home run by McReynolds and the Mets would have had three players wallop 30 or more home runs in the same season for the only time in franchise history. It would have been a rare and remarkable achievement.
As it stands now, the Mets have had two players hit at least 30 homers in the same season seven times: 1987, 1996, 1999, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2016.
But what if I told you that that the Mets have a really good shot at having FOUR players club 30 or more long balls in 2018?
Believe it or not it could happen. Let’s examine the probability…
Beginning with right fielder Jay Bruce, here’s a slugger who has surpassed the 30 homer mark in each of his last two seasons, and has done it five times in his power laden career. Now back in Queens with a brand new three-year deal after a short hiatus with the Cleveland Indians, Bruce is smack-dab in the middle of his prime years. Before all is said and done, Bruce could surpass 500 major league home runs if he manages to avoid any long stints on the DL.
A sore quad kept Yoenis Cespedes from hitting 30 homers in 2017 for what would have been a third consecutive season. Nobody can crush a baseball harder than Cespedes, and if he can get into 140 games this season, I have no doubt that Yo will return to the Thirty Homer Club again in 2018. He spent the entire offseason focusing on that troublesome quad, swapping his extreme weight training program for an aerobic workout regimen to help increase his flexibility. All arrows are pointing up for Cespedes, who was one of the earliest arrivals to camp.
Newly acquired third baseman Todd Frazier presents an interesting case. Last season, while toiling for both the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox, Frazier missed the 30 homer plateau by just three dingers. However, in his two previous seasons in 2015 and 2016, the Toddfather registered 35 and 40 homers respectively. He comes to the Mets extremely motivated to put on a good show for the Flushing Faithful and with the hot corner all to himself he could go on few homer-happy stretches. Plus he’s as durable as they come, having averaged 152 games over the last five seasons.
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Michael Conforto was well on his way to his first thirty homer campaign until he was derailed by an unfortunate shoulder injury in the second half of last season. The young slugger finished with 27 homers in just 109 games while boasting an OPS+ of 145. Few doubt that there will be many 30 homer seasons in Conforto’s future, but the big question in 2018 is how much time will he miss before he’s 100 percent healed from his injury? He has yet to begin swinging a bat. That said, if the soon to be 25-year old were to miss only the first month of the season, there’s a good chance he’ll finally reach that thirty homer mark for the first time in 2018.
So there’s my case, flimsy as it may be, for the Mets to do something they’ve never done in their 56 year history – having four players hit 30 or more home runs in the same season. Heck, they haven’t even had three players do it. But I believe there’s a good chance we’ll see the Mets achieve at least one of those remarkable accomplishments in what promises to be a power-packed season in 2018.
Did You Know: That Daniel Murphy led the Mets with only 12 home runs in 2009? He also had 38 doubles in his first full season while logging time in left field and first base.