1980s Mets Teams Needed Second Wild Card

With the Mets beating the Marlins last night, the Mets have just the third 8-1 start in their 56 year history.  Judging from the other two times the Mets did this, this team could very well be flirting with 100 wins this year.

The last time the Mets started a season 8-1 was 2006 when the Mets won 97 games.  That team annihilated the National League en route to a disappointing end to the season as Adam Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran.

The other time the Mets started the season 8-1 was in 1985 when the Mets won 98 games.  Much like the 2006 season, that Mets team saw their chances of winning a World Series get vanquished by the Cardinals.  That year, the season effectively ended as Gary Carter flew out to right against Jeff Lahti.

Unlike 2006, this was not in the NLCS.  In case you are curious, this didn’t happen in the NLDS either. It couldn’t have because the 98 win Mets team did not make the postseason.  Baffling, right?

Nowadays, it’s relatively unheard of 90+ win teams missing the postseason.  Since the introduction of the second Wild Card, no 90 win team has ever missed the postseason.  Since the introduction of the Wild Card, the only 95+ team to miss the postseason was the 1999 Reds, and they missed the postseason because Al Leiter pitched a complete game two hit shutout in the play-in game.

Other than that, if you win 90 games, you are a sure bet to make it to the posteason.  Unfortunately, the Wild Card was not present during the greatest stretch in Mets history.

From 1984 to 1990, the Mets AVERAGED 95 wins, and they won 100 games twice.  In each of those seasons, they finished second or better in their division.  However, under the old two divisional format, there were no Wild Cards.  As a result, the Mets only went to the postseason in the two years they won 100 games – 1986 and 1988.

If the rules were re-calibrated and the current divisional format, the 1980s Mets very well could have been a dynasty; the dynasty everyone thought they would be in 1986.  Part of the reason why is that team would have been in the postseason every year:

Year Wins Result New Result
1984 90 2nd NL East NL East Champs
1985 98 2nd NL East NL East Champs
1986 108 Won World Series Won World Series
1987 92 2nd NL East NL East Champs
1988 100 Lost NLCS Lost NLCS
1989 87 2nd NL East NL East Champs
1990 91 2nd NL East NL East Champs

With three divisions and two Wild Card, those 80s Mets would have had a run similar to those 90s Braves.  Instead, they missed the postseason in five of those seven seasons.

Sure, we probably don’t see Keith Hernandez telling Jesse Orosco to not throw another fastball, and we don’t see Mookie Wilson hit a grounder between Bill Buckner‘s legs.  In lieu of this, there would have been other incredible moments, and who knows?  Maybe the Mets win multiple World Series with the Darryl StrawberryDwight Gooden core.

We’ll never know because they never got that chance.  However, these Mets, who have made the postseason two out of the last three years, may get their chance.  They’re going to need to take advantage of whatever challenge comes their wasy.

Mets Do Enough to Beat Marlins

After a huge sweep of the Nationals, Mickey Callaway put it to his veterans to see if the veterans wanted the day off after landing in Miami at 5 A.M.  In a promising sign for the season, the Mets players were not overlooking the Marlins, and they all wanted to get right back out there.

Certainly, after all the excitement in Washington, this series was going to be a bit of a let-down. The real challenge was not letting this become a trap series.  Fortunately for the Mets, they had Noah Syndergaard on the mound, which always gives the Mets a big advantage.

The one issue is Thor hasn’t quite been Thor this season.  Even in his Opening Day start when he struck out 10, he allowed four runs.  He didn’t see the fifth inning in his second start, and the early season troubles carried forward into tonight.

His troubles started in the fifth when Amed Rosario didn’t get his glove down on a Brian Anderson grounder.  With Michael Conforto playing deep in an expansive ToMarlins Park outfield that became a two base error.  After two quick outs, Syndergaard issued back-to-back two out walks to Bryan Holaday and Tomas Telis.  This led to a Miguel Rojas RBI single.

In the sixth, Anderson got to Syndergaard again doubling home Starlin Castro, who had led off the inning with a single.  Syndergaard would get out of the inning before allowing any further damage and with the Mets still having a lead.

His final line was 6.0 innings, five hits, two runs, one earned, two walks, and five strikeouts.  No, there is nothing wrong with that start, and with Syndergaard pumping in 94 MPH sliders, there wasn’t anything wrong with his stuff.  However, it just seems like something is just off.  And yet despite, that he got the win.

The Mets would score four runs even with the offense sputtering a bit against Jose Urena and the rest of the Marlins staff.  Despite getting the leadoff runner on in five of the nine innings and the team drawing five walks, they could only push four runs across home plate.  Fortunately, that was plenty.

Rosario got the first rally started with a second inning with a Todd Frazier lead-off walk.  He’d come home to score after ensuing singles from Asdrubal Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez.  The damage might’ve been greater, but Kevin Plawecki hit into a double play.  Cabrera scored on the play giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.

That lead grew to 3-0 in the third on a rally started by a long Rosario double that nearly went out to deep center.  For a moment, it appeared he wasn’t going to score after a Conforto flyout and a Yoenis Cespedes strikeout. Rosario still came to score on a Jay Bruce RBI single.

For his part, Cespedes, who is battling the flu had a tough game at the plate.  He was 0-4 with three strikeouts leaving five Mets on base.  Even with that, he did make a great throw in the outfield:

Really, the Mets should have blown the game open in the seventh.  Gonzalez had a lead-off walk off Junichi Tazawa, and Brandon Nimmo, pinch hitting for Sydnergaard, reached on a Justin Bour throwing error.  Rosario came up and brought home Gonzalez with the one out RBI single to give the Mets a 4-2 lead.

Conforto would then walk to load the bases, but no further damage would be done as Cespedes and Bruce struck out to end the inning.

There are games where the inability to tack on runs comes back to bite you.  With the way the Mets bullpen is pitching this year, today wasn’t that day.

Hansel Robles flirted with trouble in the seventh, but he got out of the inning unscathed.  Jerry Blevins and AJ Ramos combined for a scorless eighth, and Jeurys Familia recorded his sixth save of the season.

It wasn’t an easy save for Familia.  Derek Dietrich hit a double just past the outstretched glove of Bruce to put runners on second and third with one out.  With the tying runs in scoring position, Familia responded by striking out Rojas and Castro to end the game.

The Mets had a tough task ahead of them having to face a bad Marlins team.  Overall, the Mets did what good teams do – they did what they needed to do to beat the bad team.

Game Notes: Juan Lagares did not enter the game for defense in the ninth.  This is the third time in Mets history they started the season 8-1.  In 1985, the Mets won 98 games and missed the postseason. In 2006, they won 97 games en route to winning the NL East.

Callaway’s Third Managerial Test

If you look at the Mets first eight games of the season, Mickey Callaway has already been tested twice.  The first test came in the first five games of the season against the Cardinals and the Phillies.

In those five games, Callaway had to show everyone he wasn’t Gabe Kapler or Aaron Boone.  Put another way, he had to show us and his team he knew what he was doing.  He showed that mettle which has escaped both Kapler and Boone thus far in his putting his team in their best position to win a game.  More than that, he capably sat Brandon Nimmo after a big game and played Juan Lagares by justifying it to the media and his team rather than simply pointing to numbers.  Yes, Callaway used the numbers to inform his decision, but he handled his situation capably with no griping from the fans or team.

The next test came much earlier for Callaway than it comes for most managers. That test was whether he had the ability to manage in a big series.

We can argue whether an April series is ever truly a big series.  What we cannot argue is Callaway managed it like it was one, and his team responded in kind sweeping the Nationals and announcing this was a team to beat in the National League East.

Part of managing this like a big series was riding his bullpen arms hard.  Jeurys Familia pitched 1.2 innings for the save, and he has pitched six innings over his first five appearances.  Robert Gsellman pitched two games in the series, and he has made two two inning appearances over a four day span.

Seth Lugo was given the heaviest workload.  Two days after pitching two innings, he was used for an inning to close out an 8-2 game.  Three days later, he’s pitching three innings and picking up the win in a 12 inning game.

When it is a big series, and when you have short starts from both Matt Harvey and Steven Matz, you can certainly understand why Callaway rode his top guns the way he did.  The Mets had a chance to make a statement in that series, and they did.

Now, the Mets are not sneaking up on anyone.  We know they’re good, and the rest of baseball knows it now too.  The question is how does Callaway handle it.

Does he continue to ask his top relievers to keep going to the well, or do we start to see more innings from Paul Sewald (likely to be demoted when Zack Wheeler is activated), or Jacob Rhame, who made a statement of his own closing out Sunday’s win?  Really, how does this Mets team respond to success?

Do they continue looking like a team having fun grinding the salt and pepper shakers?  Are they going to be alright with splitting playing time or staying on the bench for stretches?

We don’t know the answer to those questions yet.  However, we do see Callaway is the type of manager who can deftly handle these and all questions this team is going to face.  Hopefully, we will see Callaway pass this third test with flying colors like he did with the first two tests.

Meet The Mets Fan: Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas

The Mets Fan

I’m “the Uni Watch guy.” I write about uniform and logo design for ESPN and on my own website, Uni Watch.

How You Became A Mets Fan

I was born into a Mets family. One of the earliest life lessons I can remember getting from my big brother was that we rooted for the Mets and hated the Yankees. And thus has it ever been! I attended my first game — a 7-6 win over the Astros — in 1971 and still have the ticket stub to prove it.

Favorite Mets Player

When I first started rooting for the Mets, I somehow decided that I loved Tommie Agee. Not really sure why. Was also very fond of Jon Matlack during that period. Later became a huge Keith Hernandezfan. And always loved Ed Kranepool and thought they should have retired his number just because he played every season dating back to 1962. These days, I really like Jacob deGrom.

Favorite Moment in Mets History

The Buckner game, of course.

Message to Mets Fans

We all know we deserve better than the Wilpons, but the situation is what it is. Hang in there — we were in the World Series just a few years ago, so the pendulum can swing our way again.

Mets Let Nationals Know NL East Up for Grabs with Sweep of Nationals

All night long, it appeared Mickey Callaway was content to play with fire.  Tonight, he went too long with both Matt Harvey and Robert Gsellman, and it burned the Mets.  The question was whether it was going to cost the Mets the game.

Heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Mets had a 4-2 lead with both teams scoring runs off of big homers.  The Nationals came in the first when Bryce Harper, who once literally could not hit Harvey, hit a monster two run homer.

In the third, Tanner Roark completely lost the strike zone issuing three straight two out walks.  By the time he straightened himself out and threw a strike, Adrian Gonzalez wiould hit it for a grand slam giving the Mets a 4-2 lead:

The Nationals got a run back in the fourth against a laboring Harvey.  Harvey would allow an RBI double to Pedro Severino, and he had his chance to get out of the inning quickly with a Roark comebacker.  Harvey couldn’t make the play, but he would eventually get through the inning without allowing another run.  Part of the reason why was Anthony Rendon just missed a grand slam off the bat.

In the top of the fifth, Asdrubal Cabrera got a run back with a solo shot giving the Mets a 5-3 lead.

Surprisingly with Harper leading off the fifth, Callaway stuck with Harvey.  Well, Harper walked, and Matt Adams walked putting Harvey in immediate trouble.  For a split second, it seemed like Harvey would get out of it unscathed when Howie Kendrick hit into the 6-6-3 double play.  However, Trea Turner would deliver the RBI single to pull the Nationals within 5-4.

What is interesting is how things would be similar in the seventh inning.

After pitching a scoreless sixth, Callaway sent Gsellman out for a second inning even with Harper set to lead off the inning.  Gsellman wanted not part of him and issued a four pitch walk which set the inning off on the wrong foot.

Soon, it was runners on first and second with two outs, and it looked like the Mets were going to possibly get out of the inning.  Certainly, it seemed that way when a crossed up Todd Frazier was still able to get Harper out at third.  However, this time it was Michael Taylor delivering the key two out RBI single to tie the game at 5-5.

With that, a couple of questionable Callaway decisions helped turn this game into a dogfight and a battle of the bullpens.

The Mets bullpen, Seth Lugo specifically, came up huge in the ninth inning.  Harper led off the ninth because Anthony Rendon was picked off by Jerry Blevins.  This also meant Blevins was getting pulled from the game because his spot in the order was due up.

Like the rest of the Mets staff, and frankly, MLB, Lugo didn’t want Harper, and he walked him.  After throwing away a pickoff attempt and an Adams fly out to center, Harper was on third.  In response, Callaway ordered the bases loaded putting the hands directly in Lugo’s hands.  He responded with back-to-back strikeouts of Taylor and Severino to send the game into extra innings.

While Lugo was out there pitching great over three innings, the Nationals Sammy Solis was mowing down the Mets.  Over his two innings of work, he struck out five Mets.  With the way Solis was pitching, the turning point of this game was Brandon Kintzler coming into the game because the Mets have tattoed him in the first two games of this series.

It started again with a Juan Lagares bloop single to start the 12th inning.  He moved to second on a Amed Rosario sacrifice bunt.  The Nationals then walked Conforto to bring up Cespedes in a big spot.  Cespedes would deliver with the game winning RBI single to give the Mets a 6-5 lead.

With the 6-5 lead, Callaway turned to Jacob Rhame.  This was presumably because Jeurys Familia has been worked hard to start the year.  After retiring two straight, he allowed a Wilmer Difo double before getting Adam Eaton out to end the game.

It’s amazing.  The Mets went into Washington on a high after beating up on presumably lesser competition.  Now, they are 7-1 after sweeping the Nationals in their home ballpark.  Better yet, the Nationals had a chance in each game in this series, but the Mets just beat them because maybe, just maybe, the Mets are in fact the better team.

Game Notes: Opposing base stealers are a perfect 11/11 against d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Mets Making a Statement

In the Mets first two games against the Washington Nationals, they have let them know this isn’t going to be a repeat of the 2017 season.  The Mets are back, and they are once again a force to be reckoned with.

Really, this series has been a time warp back to August 2015.  There is Yoenis Cespedes hitting a big home run.  Jacob deGrom out-pitched Stephen Strasburg.  Every time the Nationals seem to get ahead, it seems like their bullpen lets them down while Jeurys Familia and the Mets bullpen steps up.

We’ve seen the Mets catchers in Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki do a masterful job pitch framing.  Their pitch framing has led to called third strikes directly leading to Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon getting ejected in consecutive games.  Yes, the Rendon one was suspect, but when you’re so frustrated, you’re flipping the bat at home plate, you create an opportunity for an over-eager umpire to eject you.

Sure, you can say the Mets are not beating the Nationals at their best.  Daniel Murphy is on the disabled list.  Arguably their best player to start the season, Adam Eaton, went on the disabled list.  They’re going to miss Max Scherzer in this three game set.

Name all the caveats you want, the Mets went to Washington, and so far, they have taken the first two games of this and the season series.  As a result, the Mets are off to their best start since 2006.  That season, the Mets were the best team in baseball, and they ran away with the division.

With Mickey Callaway at the helm, that and much more is possible.  That much has been proven with the Mets taking the first two games from the Nationals.

Mets Beat Nationals Bullpen Again, Familia Great Again

In the Mets first game against the Nationals, the Mets let the Nationals and all of baseball know that at their best, this Mets team is as good as any in all of baseball.  Now, that’s easy when you have Jacob deGrom on the mound, Michael Conforto returning to the lineup, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting homers.  The next question and perhaps the real question is what happens when these factors weren’t present.

Well, with Steven Matz starting and Mickey Callaway giving Juan Lagares the start, the Mets were going to find out.  As it so happened, those questions started to get answered in the second inning.

Brian Goodwin would draw a two out walk, and he’d quickly steal second base on the duo of Matz and Travis d’Arnaud.  On a 3-2 with a chance to get out of the inning, Pedro Severino singled up the middle, and the speedy Goodwin dared challenge Lagares’ arm:

That’s the Gold Glove Lagares who re-emerged last year.  Whether or not his new swing and approach are for rule almost seems inconsequential when he plays center this way.

Another note here is in this game, you got to see all that d’Arnaud is as a catcher.  When his pitchers aren’t even bothering to hold on base runners, much like Matz didn’t in this game, he’s not going to have a real shot to throw out anyone trying to steal a base.  The Nationals know that better than anyone, and they stole five bases in five attempts off of him.

However, he offsets that deficiency in other ways.  As we see in the Lagares play, he’s exceptional in fielding a throw, blocking the plate, and getting the tag down.  Really, he’s the best catcher in baseball on the front.  He’s also a very good pitch framer.  That came into play on a day when Mets pitchers would record 10 strikeouts while walking just three.

That pitch framing led not to not just a third inning strikeout of Anthony Rendon, it also led to his ejection on what was a horrible overreaction by Home Plate Umpire Marty Foster:

That ejection was the Mets gain because Rendon is a great player who kills the Mets.

Even with Matz pitching well, the Mets still could not get ahead of Gio Gonzalez.  That’s not unusual because he came into this game 14-5 with a 2.93 ERA against the Mets in his career.  That left the Mets with little margin for error. That margin of error went away on two plays centered around Todd Frazier.

The first play was in the fourth inning.  Jay Bruce hit a two out double to right.  The much maligned Glenn Sherlock could have sent Frazier to have him challenge Bryce Harper‘s arm.  It would make sense with two outs and Matz due up next.  Instead, Sherlock stopped Frazier, and Matz struck out.

This decision was magnified in the fifth when Frazier threw a ball away on a Michael Taylor grounder.  After a Goodwin sacrifice bunt, Severino plated him with an RBI single giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead.

What made the game interesting and the start of this season interesting was how the Mets immediately responded.  In the sixth, Frazier atoned for his error by hitting an opposite field one out double that nearly went out.  He’d then score on a d’Arnaud RBI single (the other aspect of his being a complete catcher) tying the game at 1-1.  The Mets would have a chance to get the lead, but Jose Reyes could not deliver in a pinch hitting situation.

On came Hansel Robles.

To start the 2018 season, he has been a bit of a revelation.  He went from send down to Triple-A to start the year to getting a big sixth inning opportunity against Harper.  Mets fans expected him to melt down and point to the sky.  Well, in his defense, it was a a really good pitch:

All this proved was Harper is a great player.  What Robles proved from there was he could settle in, limit the damage, and give the Mets a chance.  The Mets took that chance with some exceptional base running in the seventh.

Amed Rosario led off the inning with a single up the middle, and he’d fly around the bases on the ensuing Asdrubal Cabrera RBI double getting just ahead of the Severino tag.  Not to be outdone, Cabrera would go from second to third on a Cespedes grounder to short.  Knowing Ryan Zimmerman can’t throw, the Cabrera, who can’t really run, read the situation perfectly and took the extra base.

After the pinch hitting Conforto was intentionally walked,  Cabrera scored on a Frazier RBI groundout.  The Mets finally had the lead at 3-2, and it was time to see if this so far improved Mes bullpen could hold the lead.

First up was AJ Ramos, who pithced a 1-2-3 seventh.  Surprisingly, the next test went to Jacob Rhame.

Rhame proved up to the task by getting former Met Matt Reynolds to groundout.  What was surprising was where Rhame succeeded, Jerry Blevins didn’t as he issued a one out walk to Harper.  This set the stage for Jeurys Familia.

In what was his biggest moment since he faced Conor Gillaspie in the 2016 Wild Card Game, Familia was in a position to get a big save.  With him needing to get five outs, he was going to be tested.  That should say tested in theory.  The Nationals were no match for him, and as a result, the Mets came away with a 3-2 victory.

It’s April and the season is barely a week old.  However, this is a different Mets team.  They’re getting the most out of every ounce of their ability.  They’re playing smart baseball.  They’re fighting.  They’re special.  They’re showing that to the Nationals, and they may soon show it to the rest of baseball.

Game Notes: Mets pitching has recorded 10 or more strikeouts in six of the seven games they have played.  The one time they did not record 10 strikeouts was in their sole loss of the season.

Strange But True Mets Minor League Facts

As we head into the 2018 season, we have seen some of these Mets prospects for a few years now, and we have made some assumptions about these players. Some of those assumptions are right on the money, and some of them, not so much. There may be some facts when brought to life which may surprise many of us. With that in mind, here are some facts about the Mets minor leagues which are sure to surprise you.

No. 1 Sandy’s First Draft Produced 11 Major Leaguers

When Sandy Alderson was entasked with rebuilding the Mets farm system, he and his staff went right to work with the 2011 draft. That draft was quite effective with the Mets producing 11 Major Leaguers from that draft.

1st Round: Brandon Nimmo & Michael Fulmer
2nd Round: Cory Mazzoni
3rd Round: Logan Verrett
4th Round: Jack Leathersich
8th Round: Daniel Muno
13th Round: Robert Gsellman
15th Round: Phillip Evans
21st Round: John Gant
34th Round: Seth Lugo
35th Round: Chasen Bradford

Almost as incredible, between trades and play on the field, nine of those players either played for a Mets team that made the postseason or were traded for a player who contributed to a Mets team that made the postseason.

No. 2 Vientos Same Age As Kranepool Was When Kranepool Debuted in the Majors

Last year, Mets second round pick Mark Vientos was the youngest player drafted at 17 years old. Amazingly, this is the same age Mets Hall of Famer Ed Kranepool was when he made his MLB debut. As a matter of fact, Kranepool was just a little more than four months older in his MLB debut than Vientos was when he made his debut in professional baseball playing in the Gulf Coast League.

No. 3 Alonso Only Player to Homer off Smith Prior to the Trade Deadline

When the New York Mets traded Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays for right-handed relief prospect Drew Smith, the one stat which immediately jumped off his Baseball Reference page was the fact he had allowed just one home run all season. The person who hit that home run was his future teammate Peter Alonso. On the home run, Smith would tell MMN’s Mathew Brownstein, Alonso “brings it up probably once a week (laughs). But that’s just part of it.”

No. 4 Nimmo Drew More Walks Than Rosario in Triple-A

Last year with all of the injuries, it seemed as if Nimmo spent most if not all of his 2017 season in the majors. To a certain extent that is true with him playing just 42 games in Triple-A. That was actually 52 fewer games than Amed Rosario had in Triple-A last year. Overall, Rosario would have 227 more plate appearances for the 51s than Nimmo would have. And yet, despite all of that, Nimmo would draw 10 more walks than Rosario did in Triple-A.

No. 5 DeFrancesco’s First MLB Win Came Against the Mets

In the offseason, the Mets hired the Houston Astros Triple-A Manager Tony DeFrancesco. DeFrancesco had been a manager in the Astros organization since 2011, and during that time, he did get a 41 game opportunity to manage the Major League club after the team fired Brad Mills. After beginning his managerial career losing five straight, his Astros came to New York to face the Mets. With the Suffern, New York native’s family in the stands, his Astros team won the game 3-1.

Conforto Should Bat Lead-Off

With Michael Conforto coming off the disabled list, there was a question where he should hit in the Mets lineup.  Traditionalists wanted to see him in more of a classic RBI spot in the lineup like third or clean-up.  Sabermetrically inclined fans who saw Conforto as the best hitter on the team wanted him to hit second in the lineup.

His manager, Mickey Callaway, decided to bat Conforto leadoff.  It was the right decision.

Recently, teams have ever so slowly been moving away from the classic leadoff hitter.  It’s not longer about speed and stolen bases.  Now, it’s about the ability to get on base, and it’s about the ability to drive in runs when the lineup flips over.  Teams who have constructed their lineups as such have had success recently.

The 2015 Mets went to the World Series with Curtis Granderson (.259/.364/.457, 26 homers, 70 RBI) as their leadoff hitter.  The following year, Callaway’s Indians went to the World Series with husky first baseman Carlos Santana (.259/.366/.498, 34 homers, 87 RBI) as their leadoff hitter.  The reigning World Series MVP is George Springer (.283/.367/.522, 34 homers, 85 RBI).  Each one of these players were top three on their team in OBP, homers, and RBI.

With few exceptions like Bobby Bonds and Brady Anderson‘s steroid fueled 50 homer 1996 season, these types of hitters typically hit in the middle of the lineup.  Now, teams, especially analytically driven teams, have rethought that model, and they want these types of hitters atop the lineup.

Conforto is one of these types of hitters.

Before tearing his posterior casule, Conforto was hitting .279/.384/.555 with 27 homers and 68 RBI. Like Granderson, Santana, and Springer before him, he was top three on his team in OBP, homers, and RBI.  Also like that trio, Conforto did his damage from the leadoff spot.

One thing that was lost with Conforo was how much he found a home in the leadoff spot.  In the 68 games he had led off for the Mets last year, Conforto hit .279/.386/.555 with 20 homers and 45 RBI.  That was good for a 149 wRC+. That’s higher than the 54 wRC+ he has batting second or the 137 wRC+ he has batting third.

Really, Conforto is at his best when he is leading off.  That extends to leading off games where he hits .305/.397/.712 or leading off an inning where he hits .282/.373/.554.

In theory, Conforto should bat second.  Given his ability and his 2017 stats, he’s the best hitter in the Mets lineup – even better than Yoenis Cespedes.  However, part of his being the best hitter in the Mets lineup is his being in a spot in the lineup he is most comfortable and produces.  So yes, Conforto should even hit leadoff whenever Brandon Nimmo cracks the lineup.

Given his skill-set, how successful teams have been using similar hitters atop the order, and how he thrives in that spot, Conforto should be the Mets leadoff hitter.

Trivia Friday: 2015 Mets Pitchers Remaining

Yesterday’s win over the Washington Nationals had a very August 2015 vibe to it with Yoenis Cespedes hitting big home runs and seeing the Nationals lose their cool and seeing their bullpen collapse.  Another part of that was seeing the Mets starter out-pitch the Nationals one.

Once again, this Mets team is built upon pitching, but not necessarily the same exact pitching which was present in 2015.  Overall, there are just seven Mets pitchers remaining from that 2015 season.  Can you name them?  Good luck!


Jacob deGrom Noah Syndergaard Matt Harvey Steven Matz Jeurys Familia Jerry Blevins Jenrry Mejia Hansel Robles Rafael Montero