As of this writing, the Major League Baseball season is in a holding pattern with no end in sight, this has led to the creation of things like MLB The Show tournaments being played by Major Leaguers and sports channels all across America playing highlights of years past.
Rather than turning to electronic entertainment or watching re-runs of 2015 Mets games, I dove into the past performances of individual players to try to piece together the best Mets team possible using the past 10 seasons.
Now, I get a general understanding of WAR (wins above replacement): It is a statistic used to measure how many more wins a player would contribute to their respective team rather than a replacement-level player.
Whatever calculation or algorithm that is used to generate this number though is a complete mystery to me. However, it seems to be a pretty accepted scale across baseball to measure a player’s worth in a particular season, so that is the method I decided on.
I went through the statistics to try to find the player at each position who posted the highest WAR from 2010 – 2019.
My rule for starting pitching is that each pitcher was only eligible once.
For example, Jacob deGrom posted a WAR high enough to be on this list across multiple seasons, however, you will only see him once. The same goes for relief pitchers.
Barring any oversights, the below would be the best possible team the Mets could have pieced together across the last decade.
1st Base: Pete Alonso – 2019 (5.2 WAR)
This is one that required almost no research. Although Lucas Duda held down first base for the majority of the decade and produced at a respectable level, nothing he did match the Polar Bears rookie season. Blasting 53 home runs and setting a new Rookie Home Run record, Alonso took the Major Leagues by storm.
This 2019 campaign was easily the best season by a Mets first baseman in the last 10 years and could potentially still be the best in another 10. It was that special.
Runner up: Luca Duda 2014 (3.8 WAR)
2nd Base: Daniel Murphy – 2013 (2.5 WAR)
Second base has been a relatively weak position for the Mets over the last decade. Murphy took over the full-time role in 2012 in his age 27 season. Although he will always be remembered for his historic 2015 Post Season, and even though he was an All-Star in 2014 (the team’s lone representative) his best season in terms of WAR came in 2013.
Murphy was a pillar of reliability that season playing in 161 games while hitting .289. It might not be the sexiest season on this list, but for a franchise consistently bitten by the injury bug, some reliability would be nice.
Runner Up: Neil Walker 2016 (2.2 WAR)
3rd Base: David Wright – 2012 (7.1) WAR
A healthy David Wright in his prime seems like such a distant memory at this point for Mets fans it is almost hard to remember just how good he really was. At 29 years old David was putting up numbers that had him trending towards making a bid at Cooperstown someday.
David hit .306 with an OBP of .391 across 156 games this year while finishing 6th in the MVP voting. That was 6th place for a team that won 74 games. Rightfully so, David Wright takes the place at 3rd base on this list.
Runner Up: Todd Frazier 2018 (2.1 WAR)
Short Stop: Jose Reyes – 2011 (4.6 WAR)
In his last season of his first go-around with the Mets, Jose Reyes went out with a bang. He won the National League batting title and led the league in triples. In his prime, Reyes was easily one of the most electric players in the league.
As the Mets booth would say, he always had a way of filling out the score sheet. A single here, a stolen base there, and a run scored all before the end of the first.
Runner Up: Asdrubal Cabrera 2016 (3.3 WAR)
Catcher: Wilson Ramos – 2019 (2.2 WAR)
The catcher has been another position that the Mets never seemed to get a grasp on over the last 10 years. Travis Darnaud never stayed on the field long enough or produced enough when he did manage to stay healthy. Wilson Ramos provided the team with stability behind the plate for the first time in recent memory by playing in 141 games.
He also led the team in hitting with runners in scoring position as a plus. However, he was still subpar defensively and a slightly one-dimensional offense weapon due to his extreme lack of speed with a career-low of 24% of his hits going for extra bases.
Runner Up: Travis Darnaud 2015 (1.5 WAR)
Outfield: Angel Pagan – 2010 (5.3 WAR); Juan Lagares – 2014 (5.2 WAR); Curtis Granderson – 2015 (5.1 WAR)
Who would have ever thought these would be the three names to end up on this list? Angel Pagan moved to CF for the Mets in 2010 after an injury to Carlos Beltran and had his best season in the Big Leagues. This was equal parts to his success at the plate along with good defense in CF. For what it is worth, Baseball-Reference has him credited with 21 defensive runs saved in 2010.
Juan Lagares actually led the Mets in WAR in 2014. At just 25 years old it seemed as if the Mets had their CF of the future. Juan held his own at the plate hitting over .280 and swiping 13 bags. However, it was on the other side of the ball where Juan made his money (literally). He won the National League Gold Glove in CF and saved a whopping 25 runs defensively. In the words of Gary Cohen, Juan Lagares was where extra-base hits went to die. Unfortunately, this would be the apex of Juan’s career, and he would never get close to reaching it again.
Curtis Granderson, in my opinion, was the most underappreciated Met in their 2015 World Series run. Lost amongst the excitement of the young pitching staff, Yoenis Cespedes’ arrival, and the movie like second half run the team went on, Curtis did the little things. He drew more walks that year at age 34 than he ever had in his career, played in 157 games, and drove in 70 runs out of the leadoff spot. Cespedes and the pitching get most of the credit for their success that season, but Curtis was an integral part.
Runners Up: Brandon Nimmo 2018 (4.2 WAR); Michael Conforto 2017 (3.6 WAR); Carlos Beltran 2011 (3.4 WAR)
Utility: Jeff McNeil – 2019 (4.9 WAR)
This is kind of cheating, but I needed a way to get Jeff McNeil on the list, as he deserves to be. McNeil spent 2019 playing all over the field, and that alone makes him one of the most valuable pieces on the Mets’ current roster. Then you can also throw in the fact that he batted .318 last year with 23 home runs and 75 RBI’s primarily out of the leadoff spot as the icing on the cake.
Offensively, he might have been the most important piece to the Mets lineup last year, and that includes Pete Alonso.
Sean Gilmartin – 2015 (1.2 WAR)
In his first season in the Big Leagues, Sean Gilmartin posted a 1.2 WAR, his only season in which he managed a positive WAR. He was arguably the team’s second-best reliever prior to the deals that brought in Addison Reed and Tyler Clippard. Gilmartin saw his innings decline after that, only throwing 2/3 of an inning in the postseason.
Bobby Parnell – 2012 (1.3 WAR)
Bobby Parnell was a mainstay in the Mets bullpen from 2009 to 2013. He experienced his best success in 2012 when he posted a 2.49 ERA across 68.2 innings. He didn’t strike out many people for as hard as he threw but he still sported a 3.55 career ERA from 08-13 before Tommy John surgery essentially ended his career in 2014.
Jeremy Blevins – 2017 (1.4 WAR)
Our second lefty on the list Jeremy Blevins was a solid bullpen piece in both 2016 and 2017. He struck out 69 over 49 innings pitched in 2017, largely in part to his slow sweeping curveball. He was the prototypical lefty specialist, holding them to a slash line of .197/.250/.205. When utilized properly, you can count on Blevins to get his job done.
Francisco Rodriguez – 2010 (1.8 WAR)
Fresh off their second of back to back late-season collapses in 2008, the Mets signed one of the best relievers in baseball to a three-year deal. K-Rod did perform very well for the Mets, even if the rest of the team did not.
After an All-Star appearance in 2009, K-Rod followed up in 2010 with a 2.20 ERA and a 10.5k/9. It is a shame his most remembered moment as a Met will always be Luis Castillo dropping an Alex Rodriguez pop up in the Bronx.
Seth Lugo – 2019 (2.4 WAR)
After a subpar attempt at continuing his career as a starter in 2017, Seth Lugo has really found his home in the bullpen across the last two seasons. 2019 saw Lugo solidify himself as one of the best under the radar relievers in Major League Baseball. A multi-inning threat, Lugo threw 80 innings and fanned 104 batters. It was too little too late when Mickey Callaway transitioned Lugo to the everyday closer role, but it is something that should be considered moving forward.
Addison Reed – 2016 (2.7 WAR)
For some reason, the trade for Addison Reed in 2015 is not talked about enough. In 2016 he ended up being the team’s best reliever and a workhorse and it deserves more recognition. He threw over 77 innings and managed an incredible 1.97 ERA. The Mets run towards the second wild-card spot late that year likely would not have been plausible without Reed’s dominance.
Jeurys Familia – 2015 (2.9 WAR)
The Mets’ best single-season relief campaign over the last decade belongs to Jeurys Familia. It is not a coincidence that it happened to occur during the Mets’ most successful season as well. It is also not a coincidence that Familia’s best season saw him post a career-low in walks per nine.
Familia was the lynch-pin for the Mets pen in 2015 and the game was all but over when he took the mound in the 9th. His 1.85 ERA was his career-low as was his 6.8 hits per nine.
Johan Santana – 2010 (4.9 WAR)
Santana’s last full season in the Major Leagues came with the Mets in 2010. Although it wasn’t on par with his Cy Young seasons in his younger days, it was pretty good. He kicked off the decade for the Mets with a 2.98 ERA over 199 innings pitched.
At this point in his career, Santana’s fastball velocity was diminishing and his strikeouts were plummeting when compared to his prime. However, his elite changeup still allowed him to get outs and compete at a high level. Santana’s career leaves a lot to be desired when you consider the trajectory he was on when injuries began to take their toll.
Matt Harvey – 2013 (5.0 WAR)
Harvey would likely find himself higher on this list if Tommy John hadn’t cut his season short. He was limited to 26 games and 178 innings pitched in his Sophomore season and still finished 4th in the Cy Young voting. Harvey’s career has been well documented at this point but if you look at this season in a vacuum, it is easy to see why the hype training got rolling so fast.
Harvey seemed to be ready to contend with Kershaw as the best pitcher in the NL in 2013. He was going to be the Ace of extremely talented staff and things look extremely bright in 2013.
Noah Syndergaard – 2016 (5.7 WAR)
In 2016 Syndergaard looked every bit the Norse God his nickname made him out to be. In a season that saw Harvey, deGrom, and Matz all sidelined with injuries, Syndergaard looked like he was blossoming into the ace-caliber pitcher he was supposed to be. He led the league in minimizing home runs and hard contact. He struck out 218 batters in 183 innings pitched and posted a career-low ERA of 2.60.
After his impressive rookie season where he finished 4th in ROY voting, it looked as if Syndergaard was on his way to superstardom with the way he carried the staff in 2016.
R.A Dickey – 2012 (5.7 WAR)
In one of the most unlikely scenarios in a long time, 37-year-old knuckleballer R.A Dickey won the Cy Young award in 2012. It is not like in was undeserved, it was just hard to believe the season he compiled.
Dickey led the National League in complete games, shut outs, innings pitched, and strikeouts. He also tossed back to back one-hitters at one point. When it was all said and done, Dickey finished the season going 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and took home the National League Cy Young award. R.A Dickey is the man who got in the way of Clayton Kershaw winning the award four consecutive times. Unbelievable.
Jacob deGrom – 2018 (10.3)
Dominance. That is really the only word that can describe deGrom’s 2018. His statistics are otherworldly, and they almost don’t even do it justice. 1.70 ERA. 11.9k per nine. 0.4HR per nine. 24 consecutive quality starts. You can know all of those things and still not realize how great of a season this really was. Every single pitch he threw this season was under duress. The stats don’t tell you that. He struck out Anthony Rizzo on a slider that fooled him so bad it hit him in the back leg after he swung.
The stats don’t tell you that. You had to sit there and watch every start of his to really get a feel for how dominant he really was.
Featured Image: --- All Statistics: Baseball-Reference.com