I took a little break from my franchise WAR leaders series, but I'm back today with the relatively uninspiring history of the New York Mets (I'm sorry, it just is). Previously, I covered the Red Sox, Twins, White Sox, and Rangers. As usual, all numbers are from Rally's WAR database. Let's just jump right in and kick things off with career WAR.
By total WAR:
Wait, that's it? 37.7 WAR? Even thehad a pair of guys above that. I also can't believe that Edgardo Alfonso is second in club history. I almost forgot he existed. Seriously, I'm not sure what to say, besides "Wow, the Expos really got the prime of Gary Carter's career". Oh, and boy do I have a ton of Lenny Dykstra cards somewhere.
Okay, now we're seeing something. I'm guessing there won't be many franchises where three pitchers had more WAR with the team than the top hitter. Seaver stands out as the gem of the franchise's history—which makes the story of his trade to theall the more facepalm-inducing. The 1988 season was the first where, as a kid, I could pretty much tell you the numbers of any player. That Mets rotation really stood out to me—and it does here, too. Gooden (#3), Fernandez (#5), Cone (#7), Darling (#8), and Ojeda (#19) are all in the Top 20. In case you were wondering (I know you weren't), Nolan Ryan was worth 3.7 WAR as a Met.
By WAR used as a rate stat
The Wins Above MVP Level). The Senators/ and had three apeice while the Senators/Rangers had two. The Mets only have Carlos Beltran. Darryl Strawberry, David Wright, and Keith Hernandez also stand out above the rest. Then we get Alfonso again—still impressive once normalized over 700 PAs. Anyone else surprised to see Dave Magadan rank that highly? This list goes all the way down to Todd Hundley and his 2.66 WAR/700. Luckily, the pitchers are better.had seven players above 6.0 WAR/700 (aka
Pitchers are supposed to have a tougher time compiling career WAR. Not if you're a Met! After the token closer at the top of the list (Benitez), we get a quartet of impressive starters in Santana, Seaver, Saberhagen, and Hampton. Hampton was only a Met for one year, but he pitched enough to make the list. Among starters with a significant number of innings, Al Leiter, Dwight Gooden, Jon Matlack, and Sid Fernandez stand out. Considering his career WAR is on the high end for relievers, I'm surprised to see John Franco's WAR/200 doesn't look that good.
By WAR components (for position players)
Strawberry stands atop this list but figures to be challenged by Wright at some point. If Wright keeps at his current pace this season, he should hover around 210 Batting Runs through his age 27 season. This is not the only component that Keith Hernandez ranks well in.
These numbers are from the start of the 2010 season and Baseball-Reference's updated data has Reyes now tied with Mookie.
Not sure how many clubs are going to have a first baseman ranked first all-time in Total Zone. But Hernandez did it. In fact, he ranks among the all time greats in Total Zone regardless of position. We begin to see why Alfonso ranks so highly in career WAR—he brought an excellent glove along with an impressive bat (for a second baseman). Great to see glovemen like Ventura and Olerud, who were Mets somewhat later in their careers, still flash that leather that made them so underrated.
Joel Youngblood, of course, played for two teams in the same day. That is the most interesting thing about this list.
Again with the Gary Carter! Turns out, he was worth a run below average with the Mets while he was worth 106 runs with Montreal. Yikes. The #1 catcher on this list, John Stearns, actually started as the backup for (and eventually replaced) the #2 catcher, Jerry Grote. Grote, of course, backstopped the 1969 Amazin's while Stearns was a four-time All Star and actually held the NL stole basen record for catchers (with 25) until Jason Kendall passed him. Stearns also got in a fight with Gary Carter after a collision at the plate in 1979 (Carter was with the Mets). Turns out Carter was no match for him on this list.
By WAR in a single season
Well hey, Bernard Gilkey. I'll admit I didn't see that one coming. Surprisingly few seasons from the 2000s here. Many other teams had certain players appear on this list multiple times. This one... not so much. I count three appearances by Darryl Strawberry and Edgar Alfonso and two apiece by David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and Keith Hernandez. Beyond that, a bunch of one-timers. It seems that in the somewhat rare event a player is a star for the Mets, it doesn't last all that long. Hence the lack of repeat single-season WAR leaders and low overall total of the career leaders.
For the first time so far, we see a guy appear on this list twice. Generally speaking, if you get on this list your chances should have run out. Not Doug Flynn. Flynn was a horrible, horrible hitting second baseman (-236 batting runs) who won a Gold Glove award in 1980. The thing is, he was good in the field in 1980 (8 runs according to Total Zone), but he wasn't really ever good any other year. He rated as -22 for his career. In 1979, he was -31 runs at bat and -8 in the field. In 1977, he was worth -30 and -6. He rarely crossed over into positive WAR, finishing his career with a jaw-dropping -12.1 WAR. That right there is the second worst mark of all time, behind Bill Bergen.
Okay, now we're starting to see some repeats. Seaver is on here ten times, taking five of the first seven spots. Koosman places three times while Matlack appears twice. Dwight Gooden takes the #1 spot outright by a lot, but surprisingly doesn't appear on the list again.
Ouch. Paul Wilson. Not only was he taken first overall in 1994, but he flopped miserably in his rookie year (to the tune of the worst pitching performance in club history). He wasn't much better in Tampa or Cincinnati, either. His 2.5 WAR year with the Reds in 2004 saved him from a career below replacement level. He finished with 1.1 WAR. With Anderson, you'd expect a lot of the '62 Mets (40-120) pitchers to be south of replacement level. But they really weren't. Roger Craig was worth 3.4 WAR that year (while losing 24 games) while Al Jackson was worth 3.1 (he lost 20). Anderson and Ray Daviault (-1.2 WAR) were the only pitchers with over 40 innings to be below replacement level. And yes—that's the same Randy Jones who was starring for theonly a couple years earlier.
All Time Team
- Catcher: Mike Piazza (24.6 WAR, 4.4 WAR/700)
- First Base: Keith Hernandez (26.5 WAR, 5.1 WAR/700)
- Second Base: Edgardo Alfonso (29.1 WAR, 4.7 WAR/700)
- Third Base: David Wright (27.2 WAR, 5.3 WAR/700)
- Shortstop: Jose Reyes (21.1 WAR, 4.1 WAR/700)
- Outfield: Darryl Strawberry (37.7 WAR, 5.9 WAR/700)
- Outfield: Carlos Beltran (26.6 WAR, 6.4 WAR/700)
- Outfield: Kevin McReynolds (17.0 WAR, 3.7 WAR/700)
- Starting Pitcher: Tom Seaver (75.8 WAR, 5.0 WAR/700)
- Starting Pitcher: Jerry Koosman (41.8 WAR, 3.3 WAR/700)
- Starting Pitcher: Dwight Gooden (41.2 WAR, 3.8 WAR/700)
- Starting Pitcher: Al Leiter (26.3 WAR, 3.9 WAR/700)
- Relief Pitcher: John Franco (12.8 WAR, 3.6 WAR/700)
- Relief Pitcher: Armando Benitez (10.6 WAR, 6.1 WAR/700)
I'll be honest. It's not a club you're going to fear. It was really hard picking a third outfielder after Strawberry and Beltran. But McReynolds had the right mix of total and rate WAR (sad as that is). It's funny that I would have rather stuck John Stearns in the outfield than McReynolds. The starting ptichers were pretty easy while it was a bit tough to leave Tug McGraw off the reliever list. But Franco had the longevity and Benitez had the dominance.
The total for this all-time Mets team is 65.3 WAR. As medoicre as the Rangers were, I'm kind of surprised they finished behind this pretty rough group. Seaver, Beltran, Strawberry, Wright, and Benitez carried this group. Here are the totals so far:
- Red Sox (88.9 WAR)
- Twins (71.6 WAR)
- White Sox (68.5 WAR)
- Mets (65.3 WAR)
- Rangers (63.7 WAR)
So, who's next? In the queue we have:
I'm looking forward to seeing the results of each of these. I'm guessing each will be among the top teams in the series. They've all been around a long time and had some huge stars.