Dwight Gooden

Mets Proposed 2020 Uniform Plan

Since the black jerseys were first introduced in 1998, they have garnered much debate amongst fans. For some, they are like the racing stripe jerseys. It is the jersey they associate the Mets wearing when they were on top of the world. Think back to it. The Mets wore the black jerseys for some really monumental occasions:

Robin Ventura‘s Grand Slam Single
Bobby Jones‘ one hitter
Mike Hampton clinching the 2000 pennant
David Wright celebrating the 2006 NL East clincher

There were many more moments as well. With the Mets soon to embark on the 20th anniversary of that 2000 pennant, there seems to be a recent push to bring back those jerseys. Certainly, it is something we saw Pete Alonso, Marcus Stroman, and some other brilliant writer bring up over the last few months.

Now there, were a few problems with the black jerseys. To a certain portion of the fanbase, it was an abandonment of the Mets true glory years. These were not the jerseys of Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. It looked nothing like the jerseys of Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, and Darryl Strawberry. Really, it was a complete abandonment of the Mets roots which was supposed to be a partial homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants.

On more than one occasion, we heard Howie Rose lament about the infrequency in which we all saw the pinstripes. That was truly bizarre as they remained the designated home jersey. The black jerseys were only supposed to be an alternate, but they were treated as anything but that. Throw in the awful cap, and you see things did need to be eventually changed.

Since 2011, the black jerseys have been retired. In that time, the Mets have had a welcome return of the pinstripes, and they finally added the blue alternates fans had wanted to see for years. Still, with the anniversary, it being the jersey many grew up seeing, and people liking the look of it, people also want to see the black jerseys. With Carlos Beltran‘s return, it does seem like the right time to do it.

What many don’t want to see is the black jerseys overdone. They also want to see the pinstripes and the blue alternates. To that end, as previously proposed, the black jerseys should become the Friday night jerseys. If nothing else, it would be a call back to this epic Mike Piazza homer, which not so coincidentally, was on a Friday night:

As for the blue alternates, the Mets should put Mr. Met back as a sleeve patch, and the team should wear them as part of the Family Sundays.That ensures the blue alternates don’t get lost in the shuffle, and as noted, the Mr. Met patch is a nice touch for the days when the team has the Mr. Met dash.

For the weekday games, the Mets should wear the pinstripes.

Aside from Friday and Sunday, this need not be a hard and fast rule. The team could catch fire in one jersey leading to the team wearing them more as a good luck charm. The team could opt to feature one as part of a national showcase game for Fox or ESPN. The one caveat being it makes little to no sense to wear the black jerseys during hot summer days. But overall, this is the framework which really works well for the team.

Planning it all out this way, allows the Mets to do some advertising around it, and it seems to satisfy all fans. More than that, it gives the team an opportunity to really boost jersey sales. Overall, when this keeps everyone happy, and it leads to more money for the team, it is difficult to imagine why the team would not proceed with this plan.

It’s Okay Pete Alonso Isn’t A Unanimous Rookie of the Year

Pete Alonso officially joined Tom Seaver, Jon Matlack, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and Jacob deGrom as Mets players who have won the National League Rookie of the Year. With Alonso surpassing Aaron Judge‘s rookie record for homers, the honor was not only well deserved, but it made the announcement more of a coronation than anything.

Before Alonso was announced Yordan Alvarez was named the American League Rookie of the Year, and it was unanimous. When the announcement was made, we were all expecting to have two unanimous selections, but that didn’t happen as Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic was the only voter who voted for Mike Soroka.

Now, it should be noted Baggarly had a very sound basis for his decision. In addition to throw away narratives like Soroka being a real contender for the Cy Young Award, he also noted Soroka had a better WPA and WAR. He then explained how he was more impressed with Soroka keeping the ball in the ballpark than he was with Alonso hitting it out in an era of the lively baseball.

Even though Baggarly made the article more about himself and his concerns about Mets fans coming after him noting he had been warned by other writers “Mets Twitter is a special flavor of Twitter.” Still, even with the article being a bit too much “Look at me!” his justification for voting for Soroka wasn’t.

While 29 other voters and every single Mets fan alive disagrees, Baggarly made the determination Alonso was merely the second best rookie in the National League last year. At the end of the day, when decisions like this are made all you can ask from the voter is for due diligence and for their making a good faith argument.

That is exactly what Baggarly did here. Upon reading his article, you can disagree with his conclusions and the evidence upon which he relies. What you cannot disagree with is he didn’t undertake the analysis.

When all is said and done, the real question here isn’t about why Baggarly thought differently than almost everyone. No, the real question is who cares?

In annals of baseball history, there aren’t two separate lists for Rookies of the Year and unanimous Rookies of the Year. In fact, the voting is something which typically fades from memory.

For example, did you know Seaver wasn’t a unanimous choice? Neither was Strawberry or Gooden. The Gooden decision was all the more wrong than Alonso not winning the award unanimously.

In the end, what matters is the honor. Seaver, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame with a higher percentage of the vote than any starting pitcher, is every bit the Hall of Famer Gary Carter (sixth ballot) and Mike Piazza (fourth ballot) are.

The same holds true for Alonso. He is every bit the Rookie of the Year Alvarez is and all those who preceded both players. In the end, all we should care about is he won, and better yet, all the things that are to come.

Rookie of the Year Today, World Series Tomorrow?

Tonight, Pete Alonso is going to be named the National League Rookie of the Year. The only question right now is whether or not it will be unanimous. Considering Jacob deGrom wasn’t a unanimous choice for Cy Young last year, we should not discount anyone making a dumb decision by not voting for Alonso.

When Alonso is named as the Rookie of the Year, he will join deGrom in a list of Mets who have won the Rookie of the Year award. Those other Mets are Tom Seaver, Jon Matlack, Darryl Strawberry, and Dwight Gooden. If you’ll notice, Alonso will join Strawberry as the only other Mets position player to win the Rookie of the Year. Alonso will also be the first infielder.

If you dig deeper, there is something else you’ll notice. Each and every one of the Mets players who have won a Rookie of the Year award have been part of a Mets pennant winning team. Of the group, Strawberry had to wait the longest with his appearing in the 1986 World Series three years after he won the award.

Alonso is a middle of the order type of bat who can power the Mets to a pennant in the near future. He broke all of Strawberry’s rookie records. He surpassed the Mets single season mark shared by Todd Hundley and Alonso’ new manager Carlos Beltran. He also passed the rookie first base mark held by Mark McGwire and the overall rookie record held by Aaron Judge.

With Alonso’s drive and determination, we can see him being the type of player who can help lead the Mets to a World Series. He has shown that ability. The question is whether the team is going to help him and his teammates get there. But that is a question for another day.

For today, it is about Alonso. He is going to receive an award he has well earned, and with that award comes promise for the future. No matter what happens, Alonso will always carry that promise with his bat. For that reason alone, today is a day to rejoice and to appreciate the slugger whose ability on the field may only be surpassed by his ability as a teammate.

Matt Harvey Was Absolutely Great Four Years Ago

November 1, 2015. That was the date of what was one of the greatest World Series starts we have seen from a Mets pitcher. Through eight innings, the Kansas City Royals had no chance against Matt Harvey. With the way he was pitching, you had to believe Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and the 1927 Yankees, or Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and the Big Red Machine would have flailed much in the same way that Royals team had.

This start was the start Mets fans had waited for nearly a year-and-a-half. This was our reward for having our hearts broken when he would need Tommy John surgery late in 2013.

That 2013 season was as great as we have seen any Mets pitcher. To put it in perspective, by FIP, it was better than Dwight Gooden‘s 1985 Cy Young Award winning season, and it was better than all three of Tom Seaver‘s Cy Young Award seasons. That is just how great he was, and that is why he was the starting pitching for the All-Star Game at Citi Field that year.

While Harvey was very good in 2015, he was not quite that pitcher in 2015. That was not until Game of the 2015 World Series.

After working through the first three innings, he rediscovered something in the fourth. He struck out the side that inning, and he would strike out three of the four batters he faced in the fifth. Over those four innings, Alex Gordon (walk) and Ben Zobrist (single) were the only Royals to reach base.

Terry Collins went with his heart instead of his head, and we know what happened from there. After the Eric Hosmer RBI double in the ninth, Harvey would walk off the mound to a standing ovation.

When Harvey walked off that mound, we knew that was going to be the last time we ever saw him pitch at Citi Field that year. What we didn’t know was that was the last time we would see the real Harvey.

In 2016, something just wasn’t right with him. There was discussion it was his mechanics, but it wasn’t that. There were some who wondered if it was something in this private life. but it wasn’t that either. No, Harvey had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Even after his surgery, things were no better, and in 2018, he would be designated for assignment by the Mets before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Devin Mesoraco. In Cincinnati, there was hope he was figuring things out as he had a 4.50 ERA in 24 starts.

This year, he would sign with the Los Angeles Angles. After a 7.09 ERA over 12 starts, he was designated for assignment. Eventually, he would be released, and he wouldn’t latch on with anyone until he was reunited with Sandy Alderson when the Oakland Athletics gave him a minor league deal.

Now, Harvey is a free agent with a very uncertain future ahead of him. Maybe it would behoove him to rejoin the Mets. Certainly, it would help to once again work with people like Phil Regan. Then again, even if he returns to the Mets, Harvey will never return.

That Harvey has been long gone, and it is a real shame. However, no matter how far gone that pitcher is, nothing can take away the memories of just how great Harvey was in a Mets uniform. Nothing will take away the memories of moments like Game 5.

Jerry Koosman’s Number Being Retired Opens The Door For Five Other Mets

In a shock to everyone, the New York Mets announced they were going to retire Jerry Koosman‘s number 36. Previously, as was the case with Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza, the Mets standard for retiring a player’s name was their induction into the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap. Now that the standards have officially been lowered, there are a number of other Mets who deserve consideration for the same honor as Seaver, Piazza, and Koosman.

#5 David Wright

Wright is the Mets all-time leader in WAR among position players, and he has set team records in at-bats, plate appearances, run scored, hits, total bases, doubles, walks, RBI, and a number of other categories. He was a consummate professional, a real face of the franchise, and a player who stuck around even when the team was rebuilding.

If not for injuries, Wright would have been a Hall of Famer. He is one of the most, if not the most, beloved Mets to put on the uniform, and he is only one of four captains in team history.

#8 Gary Carter

Under the previous standard, Carter’s number would have been retired had the Hall of Fame not forced him to go in as a Montreal Expos player instead of as a Mets player as he had wanted. Of course, lost in the Hall of Fame’s decision was one of the reasons Carter was even inducted into the Hall of Fame was his time with the Mets.

Carter proved to be the missing piece which would push the Mets over the top in 1986. Speaking of 1986, he was the guy who got the two out single against Calvin Schiraldi to get that rally started. His contributions in that series were much more than that as he led all players in homers and RBI.

Carter was also noted by several of the Mets pitchers as being what helped put that pitching staff over the top. Dwight Gooden said of him, “I relied on Gary for everything when I was on the mound.” Ron Darling said, “With all the sabermetric numbers that we use today, when Gary came over, he brought his own National League computer with him — it was his brain.” (ESPN).

With Carter, the Mets had their greatest run in franchise history, and he was a leader on that team. He was the second captain in team history, and he is one of the most important players who ever put on the Mets uniform.

#15 Carlos Beltran

The people largely against this are fixated on that strikeout, but what those people overlook is the Mets are nowhere near that position if Beltran doesn’t have what could be the greatest season a Mets position player has ever had. That includes his hitting .296/.387/.667 in that sereis. That year and during his Mets career Beltran played like the Hall of Famer he will officially be once he is eligible.

Beltran is the greatest center fielder in team history, and he was a true five tool player winning three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers while being a member of the Mets. That was part of him being named an All-Star in five of his seven years in Queens.

When you break it all down, Beltran is a Hall of Famer who had his best years with the Mets, and everything being equal, he would wear a Mets cap on his plaque.

#17 Keith Hernandez

While Carter was largely viewed as the player who put the Mets over the top, Hernandez was seen as the player who taught a young talented Mets team how to win. Of course, lost in that narrative was how Hernandez was a driving force in helping those Mets teams win.

In his seven years with the Mets, he had seven Gold Gloves, which is the most in team history. He was more than his glove having a the third best OBP, fifth best OPS+, and 10th most RBI in team history.

He was a fiery leader who famously warned Jesse Orosco to not throw another fastball to Kevin Bass. Of course, his leadership was much more than that, which is one of the reasons why he was the first ever player to be named captain.

Of course, we cannot discuss Hernandez without acknowledging his work in the booth. His color commentary has made him an even more beloved Met. If his playing career wasn’t sufficient, certainly his being a vital part of “GKR” puts him over the top.

#45 John Franco

Franco is the greatest closer in Mets history. He has the most appearances and saves in Mets history. In fact, his 424 career saves ranks as the most saves ever by a left-handed reliever. While he played for a number of bad Mets teams, he would come up big many times when the Mets needed him most.

He has a 1.88 postseason ERA for the Mets. Included in that was his striking out Barry Bonds, and his getting the win in Game 3 of the 2000 World Series. As big as those moments were, it is possible his biggest moment was his getting the win the first game back after 9/11 wearing an FDNY cap honoring his friends who died that day.

It should also be noted Franco was a rare closer who was also a team leader. He famously not only surrendered his 31 for Piazza, he would also make sure to make him feel welcome in New York. That was certainly a factor in Piazza staying. It was also a reason Franco was named the third captain in team history.

With respect to Franco, it should be noted his predominantly wearing 31 could mean the team could retire that number in his honor as well. The team also has the option of retiring 45 in both his and Tug McGraw‘s honor. The same tactic can be used for number 5 with Davey Johnson also arguably deserving the honor for arguably being the best manager in team history.

Beyond this group of five players, there are certainly more players who could be argued with everyone having their favorite players and other players having had a significant impact on the team and its history. Of course, it should be noted this list includes players who are no longer playing. If we were to expand it, we would have to also include Jacob deGrom on this list.

The one thing we know is the next player who will have his number retired is Koosman. It is an honor befitting one of the greatest Mets in team history, and it should lead to more emotional days at Citi Field honoring Mets greats.

Chick-fil-A Foul Poles Show Mets Hold Nothing Sacred

When it comes to the New York Mets ownership under the Wilpons, one thing which becomes increasingly clear is just how little they think of their fanbase. When Citi Field was built, it was an over-the-top tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers with very little honoring the history of the New York Mets.

The exterior of the ballpark was an homage to Ebbets Field. There was the Jackie Robinson Rotunda but nothing honoring Tom Seaver or other Mets greats. The Mets Hall of Fame was nowhere to be seen. They actually removed Dwight Gooden‘s signature from the wall and invented a lie that there would soon be an autographed wall with signatures from Mets greats. There were also many obstructed views. On that front, the Mets made matters worse:

Looking at the image, aside from home plate, first base, and a good portion of right field, what you cannot see is the new advertisements added to the foul poles at Citi Field. Here’s another image to show the new minor league park like advertisements the ballpark now has:

Now, there are many reasons why people would be justifiably angry with these advertisements in the ballpark. On that front, it is beyond amusing to consider one of the reasons purportedly offered for the Mets not wanting to keep Daniel Murphy was his comments on this topic. Perhaps if he offered back part of his contract to advertise on the foul poles, the Mets would have won the 2016 World Series.

Social issues aside, there are other reasons to be annoyed with this. First and foremost, there are now obstructed view seats in the ballpark where there weren’t previously. This means if you bought a ticket for full price to sit in those two areas, you know have an obstructed view seat. Of course, if you go to the Mets website, it should be noted these seats are not designated as obstructed view nor are they discounted to reflect their new status.

After all, if that was done, this could not be as effective a money grab as the Wilpons wanted this to be.

Another factor not discussed is the orange foul poles were uniquely Mets. They are the only team in baseball with foul poles which were not yellow. Even with all the Brooklyn Dodger nonsense around Citi Field, the Wilpons actually kept the orange foul poles keeping something uniquely Mets in their new home. To some Mets fans, those foul poles are iconic. Now? Well, their effect is as obstructed as the views which are now being blocked.

These foul poles are another cash grab much like putting an Amway office in Citi Field was. Like that Amway office, this is another way the Mets have actively tried to make themselves a joke at the promise of another dollar. Already, people are rushing to make the joke that neither Chick-fil-A or the Mets work on Sunday. While the Mets go out of their way to make themselves a laughingstock, sorry  more of a laughingstock, like the David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes insurance proceeds, this is another buck which the Wilpons will pocket and not reinvest in the team.

Overall, the Chick-fil-A foul poles represent everything wrong with the Mets under the Wilpons stewardship, so in the end, the new foul poles are perhaps more fitting that originally contemplated.

 

Congratulations Pete Alonso

One of the burdens for a first time dad is figuring out just how you can make your child a Mets fan. The Yankees have long owned New York, they win, and they always have the bigger stars. As a parent, you make do with what you have.

Back in 1983, that was Darryl Strawberry.

Strawberry was the biggest thing to happen to the Mets since seemingly Tom Seaver. He was the first overall pick of the 1980 draft, and he was hailed as the black Ted Williams. He’d be called up in 1983, and he’s actually live up to the hype that year.

Strawberry electrifying baseball and the Mets made selling the team easy to young impressionable baseball fans. The ensuing run for the team made it all the easier. While we talk about players like Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, and Gary Carter, and justifiably so, Strawberry was the first to burst onto the scene and give everyone a glimpse into what would soon be.

Some of Strawberry’s Mets rookie records still stand today. That includes his 26 homers, which was 26 if his still team record 252 homers as a Met.

The latter still stands, but for who knows how long. In today’s 10-2 route over the Cubs, Pete Alonso hit his 26th homer of the season tying him with Strawberry atop the Mets all-time rookie leaderboard:

With 85 games remaining in the season, Alonso is not just assured to surpass Strawberry, he’s going to obliterate the record. In fact, Todd Hundley‘s and Carlos Beltran‘s Mets single season home run record (41) is in jeopardy.

Other records like Beltran’s and Howard Johnson‘s 80 extra base hits or Mike Piazza‘s .614 SLG may fall as well. Seeing how these power records are in jeopardy, you understand why Alonso’s at-bats have become must see TV. You have to stop to watch him hit because you don’t know what’ll happen next.

Combine that with his being a great teammate, and his doing fun Step Brothers spoofs with Jeff McNeil, you see how he and his epic home run blasts have made him a fan favorite. Much like Strawberry, you not only see how he provides hope for the future, but you also have a seminal figure who makes it cool to be a Mets fan, which is a relief to fathers everywhere.

So, with him hitting his 26th homer congratulations to tying a record which had stood for over 35 years and a record which exists for a franchise which is 57 years old. More than that, congratulations are in order for being a terrific ballplayer whose skills are only surpassed by being the teammate he is. Overall, congratulations to Alonso for being Alonso. As we see, that’s a very special thing to be.

Let Fans Pick Their Own All Star

In an effort to make the All Star voting more enticing and draw interest to the game, Major League Baseball has changed the voting for this year. Essentially up until June 21, the fans get to vote like they always did. After that, there will be a “Starters Election.” The Staters Election has the fans vote for the starters from the now reduced list over a 28 hour window.

This is a change for its own sake, and it gets it partially right (more on that in a moment). Really, if Major League Baseball wants to get fans interested in the game, let the fans pick their own All Star. In this instance, their own All Star means the player they want to represent their favorite team.

Take the Marlins for example. Are any of their players really All Star worthy? Maybe Brian Anderson who has a 1.8 WAR this season. The problem there is Anderson is 10th among NL third baseman in WAR meaning if he’s selected a worthy player is going to be left off in his stead.

Now, that’s the way it is and will always be so long as every team is represented. If this is going to continue to be a fan spectacle, you do want to see every team represented. After all, even a team like the Marlins, who draw worse than some Triple-A teams, has fans, and you want them to tune in to watch. You want to see Anderson, or whoever their representative is play in the game.

But if you’re going to want to entice the Marlins fans to watch, why not let them pick who they want to watch. For them, it could be Anderson, Miguel Rojas, Caleb Smith, or whomever else it might be. If you boil it down, if you are keeping a representative for every team to keep fans engaged, let them pick their representative.

By doing so, you not only keep them engaged, but you also prevent them from seeing a player they don’t want to see in the game. For example, Mets fans saw Bobby Bonilla as their lone All-Star in 1993 and 1995 despite the fans likely wanting to see players like Dwight Gooden, Rico Brogna, or John Franco in the game. Remember, if you are trying to entice fans, you should entice them with players they want to see play.

That includes being able to vote for pitchers. There are logistical issues with pitchers being available to pitch in the game. However, that should not prevent fans from having their favorite players on the roster even if they cannot participate in the game.

Remember that this would create a pool of just 15 players on a 34 man roster. That’s just seven additional players. Certainly, you could accommodate this by adding six more roster spots if deemed necessary. After all, September rosters are 40. If a manager can handle 40 players in September, there’s no reason he cannot handle that in an exhibition game where managers try go get everyone into the game.

Really, when looking at it that way, there’s no real reason why fans couldn’t or even shouldn’t pick their own team’s representative. Let the Marlins pick their one guy. Mets fans seem to want to push for Pete Alonso. Let them see him in the game. Let Yankees fans send CC Sabathia for one last All Star appearance before his possible Hall of Fame career ends. Again, let fans see who they want to see who they want.

You can do a results show on MLB Network announcing those players. You can then do another show announcing the pool of elected players. Then, you can do the Staters Election Major League Baseball has implemented. Only this time, fans are picking from the actual All-Stars. Then, you can hold the results until the game.

You get fans tuning in a little earlier to find out exactly who the starters are because they won’t know until player introductions. If all done properly, you get more interest because fans are seeing who they actually want to see, and you get more people tuning in earlier in order to see the results. Ultimately, this is the best way to handle every team represented and creating the highest possible level of fan interest in the game.

 

Syndergaard Misses The Maddux, But Gets The Syndergaard

The Mets offense has been bad of late, and with their recent usage, the Mets bullpen was without Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo heading into the game. This is the exact type of situation where a team needs their starting pitching to just completely take over a game.  That is exactly what Noah Syndergaard did today.

Syndergaard pitched a complete game shut-out against the Reds. In the game, the Reds managed just four hits and one walk. There was really nothing they can do as evidenced by their 10 strikeouts. When you see the stuff Syndergaard had today, like in his strikeout of Joey Votto to end the eighth, you understand why:

For as good as Syndergaard was on the mound, the Reds pitching staff were nearly up to the task. Reds starter Tyler Mahle allowed just one earned on four hits. One of those hits was a Syndergaard homer:

Overall, Syndergaard would come one just five pitches short of the Maddux. While he didn’t get the Maddux, he would get the Koosman. The Koosman is hitting one out and shutting them out. It is called that because former Mets starter Jerry Koosman used to say it was a starter’s job to hit one out and shut them out. That’s exactly what Syndergaard did today.

It should be noted that while that is what Koosman used to say, Syndergaard has become the first pitcher in Mets history to win a game 1-0 where the pitcher homered and shut out the opponent. In retrospect, maybe we should now call this the Syndergaard.

Game Notes: With his second homer of the season, Syndergaard now has six homers. That has him tied for second place with Tom Seaver and one short of Dwight Gooden on the Mets pitchers home run list.

deGrom Was At His Best With d’Arnaud

Since Jacob deGrom burst onto the scene in 2014, he has emerged as easily one of the five best pitchers in Mets history, and he is arguably third behind just Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden (although Jerry Koosman would like a word here). Going through his career, there are a number of signature performances from deGrom, but as we sort through them all, there are two games which should stand as his signature performances.

The first is Game 1 of the 2015 NLDS. In that game, deGrom out-pitched Clayton Kershaw. In his seven shutout innings, he allowed just one walk and five hits while striking out 13 batters. It was as dominant a postseason performance any Mets pitcher has ever had.

That game set the Mets on a path which had them winning the pennant that year. Of course, they do not win the pennant if deGrom does not survive and get the Mets in position to win Game 5 of that series.

It seemed deGrom was in trouble all six of the innings he pitched that night. What’s insane to think about is deGrom did not have a 1-2-3 inning that game until the sixth. Worse yet, in each of the first five innings, the Dodgers had a runner in scoring position with less than two outs.

Despite all of that, deGrom somehow managed to keep the game tied going into the seventh inning setting the stage for Daniel Murphy‘s homer, Noah Syndergaard coming out of the bullpen throwing 100 MPH, and Jeurys Familia with the six out save.

While deGrom had an all-time Cy Young winning season last year, arguably, the 2015 NLDS was deGrom at his best. One night he went out there, and he just dominated the Dodgers. The next, he used guile to get through that lineup to pick up the win. That series was everything you think of when you think of deGrom, and it happened in the postseason.

His catcher in that series? Travis d’Arnaud.

It’s easy to forget, but d’Arnaud has caught deGrom, and he has caught him well. It was d’Arnaud behind the plate when deGrom emerged from seemingly out of nowhere to win the 2014 Rookie of the Year. It was d’Arnaud behind the plate in the 2015 postseason. It was d’Arnaud behind the plate when deGrom was coming back from ulnar transposition surgery.

There are many reasons why d’Arnaud has caught deGrom well. First and foremost, deGrom is a great pitcher. As we have seen this season, deGrom can pitch great to Wilson Ramos and to Tomas Nido. Second, d’Arnaud has proven himself to be an excellent pitch framer, which allows an already lethal pitcher like deGrom ramp up his game to an unfair level.

Overall, d’Arnaud is a very good receiver who has a rapport with these Mets pitchers. If he didn’t, the Mets would have non-tendered him and kept the much cheaper Kevin Plawecki this past offseason, or they would have stuck with Devin Mesoraco. That goes double considering d’Arnaud was coming off Tommy John surgery.

Overall, the point is deGrom is great because he is great, and as we have seen time and time again, he’s even better with a catcher behind the plate who can steal those extra strikes for him. Ultimately, this is why we have seen deGrom at his best with d’Arnaud behind the plate.