(7) Curtis Granderson – Upon signing with the Mets, said true New Yorkers were Mets fans. Started the fun We Follow Lucas Duda Instagram account. Had a great 2015 season and was true MVP of the team. Hit three homers in 2015 World Series and likely would’ve been MVP had the Mets pulled it out. Moved to CF to help team in 2016 and had a phenomenal finish to the season hitting .302/.414/.615 in September to help Mets grab Wild Card spot. One of the best people to ever wear a baseball uniform being the only man to win the Roberto Clemente Award in addition to multiple Marvin Miller Awards.
(10) Yoenis Cespedes – Was a sensation after joining the Mets helping them win the NL East. Nailed a player at the plate in Game 1 of the NLCS to help the Mets secure victory. Had a huge homer and epic bat flip in Game 3 of NLDS. Eschewed the Nationals to return to the Mets, and he repeated his 2015 greatness helping the Mets claim a Wild Card spot. Was always an interesting character with the cars, breakfasts, and ranch exploits. Forced to play one game on heels which needed surgery to DH against the Yankees and hit a homer. Lion King walk-up music was fan favorite.
With the universal DH coming in 2020 (to the extent there even is a 2020), the common refrain is the Mets are one of the few NL teams well situated for this. After all, J.D. Davis is a positionless player who was terrible at third and LF last yearRo, Yoenis Cespedes is coming off double heel surgery and a broken ankle,and Robinson Cano is 37 years old. They also have a player like Dominic Smith who may well be an everyday first baseman for many Major League teams.
While we hear those names in the mix, one name we don’t hear as a DH possibility in 2020 is Pete Alonso. While the possibility is ignored, it shouldn’t.
Looking at Alonso’s rookie season, he was much better than he had been advertised in some circles. Before his rookie season, some gave the impression Alonso could little more than just stand a first base. Truth be told, Alonso put in a lot of work on his defense, and he made very clear strides. As a result, we saw him make many highlight defensive plays in 2020:
This caused many to question those scouting reports and just how much those scouts knew. However, when you peel back the highlights, while Alonso is FAR from the inept defensive player he was portrayed in some circles, he was still not a good defensive player.
On the year, he was a -3 DRS and a -7 OAA. That had Alonso ranked as the third worst defensive first baseman in the game by DRS and the worst defensive first baseman by OAA. In the end, even with the defensive gems, Alonso was just not good at first base in 2019.
On the other hand, Smith was very good at first base. In his limited attempts there, Smith had a 1 DRS and 1 OAA. Both marks put Smith in the top 20 out of the 84 players who played first base in the majors last year. With Smith, his defensive reputation in the minors proved true as he played a good defensive first base.
Just looking at Alonso and Smith, if you are going to put one in the field and one at DH, wouldn’t it make sense to put the far superior player in the field? There really isn’t an argument on how playing Alonso at first base with Smith at DH helps the team win more than by putting the vastly superior defender in the field.
Admittedly, there are caveats to this.
With the Mets selecting Alonso as their first baseman of now and the future, you can understand the impetus to keep Alonso at first. After all, why would you sacrifice one year of development for Alonso at first for the sake of trying to win in 2020?
There is also the Cespedes factor. At the moment, no one knows if he can play at all in 2020. If he can play, no one is quite sure what he can contribute. However, if he can hit, we have seen they type of dynamic game changing bat he can be, and it is going to be difficult to keep him out of the lineup, especially when you can certainly play Alonso at first.
Even if Cespedes can play the field and play it at a near facsimile to how well he played it in his career, he is still likely going to need his days off. In the end, if Cespedes can play and hit, he is the obvious and probably the best choice for DH.
If he can’t the Mets are likely juggling between a group of first basemen and designated hitters on their team. While many see this as a possibility to load the Mets lineup with bats, the reality is this should be a way for the Mets to be able to put a very good defensive team on the field and surround them with very good bats.
With that being the case, the Mets ideally should have Alonso at DH, Jake Marisnick in CF, and Smith at first base. They can certainly move that around as needed based on match-ups and to give players like Cano a day off here and there. Certainly, injuries are going to play a factor. However, in the end this is the Mets best lineup to try to win the 2020 World Series . . . assuming the 2020 season ever gets played.
Yesterday, the Mets needed a ninth inning rally to beat the Braves. Today, things were not nearly as dramatic as Michael Conforto‘s RBI ground out in the second gave the Mets a 2-1 lead and the lead for good.
The Braves got out to a 6-1 lead against Marcus Stroman and the Mets. However, Stroman would not get saddled with the loss.
In the ninth, Amed Rosario got the game winning rally started with a lead-off double. Later in the inning, McNeil hit his second homer of the game. This one was a go-ahead three run homer giving the Mets a 7-6 lead.
Right now, we are talking about whether Matt Harvey is able to be able to be an effective Major League pitcher again after he has struggled due to TOS. However, starting back in 2012, we talked about Harvey as the next great Mets pitcher, one who was fairly drawing comparisons to Tom Seaver, one who could lead the Mets to their next World Series.
Harvey dazzled right from the beginning. In his Major League debut he flashed a slider like we’ve never seen, and he set a new Mets record by striking out 11 batters in his debut. In that start, we saw someone who could be the next great pitcher in the game and in Mets history:
That first season was just a glimpse. The 2013 season was the stuff of legends. In 2013, Harvey captivated Mets fans, New York, and eventually all of baseball.
Starting with the numbers, his 2.01 FIP led the league. It is important to keep in mind that was better than Clayton Kershaw, who was back then in his prime and legitimately in the conversation as one of the best pitchers in baseball history (he still is). Between his greatness and the fact the game was being held at Citi Field, Harvey started the All-Star Game pitching two scoreless innings.
There are just so many great stories from that 2013 season. There was the “Harvey’s Better!” chants directed at Stephen Strasburg. There was the bloody nose game(s). There was the almost perfect game spoiled by Ruben Tejada not playing an Alex Rios grounder properly. To sum up how the Mets were then, Harvey didn’t even get the win despite allowing that one infield single over nine innings while striking out 12 because the Mets couldn’t score until the 10th inning.
That 2013 season remains one of the best in Mets history by any pitcher. At the time it happened, his FIP was the third best in team history, and his WHIP was the best ever. He was subsequently passed in both by Jacob deGrom. His K/BB is the best out of any non strike shortened season in team history. To put it succinctly, Harvey was absolutely dominant and pitching at a level only deGrom, Dwight Gooden, and Seaver could replicate.
Unfortunately, Harvey’s season ended with him needing Tommy John surgery. He resisted initially but eventually opted for the surgery. He pushed to pitch in 2014, but he would instead be held back and was ready to go in 2015.
Once again, Harvey taking the mound represented hope for the Mets franchise. While there may have been some early trepidation from fans, he quickly assuaged them by shutting out the Nationals over six innings in his first start of the season. It was the beginning of a strange and great year for Harvey and the Mets.
With this being the Mets and Scott Boras being Scott Boras, it was not one without controversy. First, there as Harvey uncomfortable with the six man rotation. Then, it was Boras trying to enforce previously agreed upon innings limits only for the Mets to get amnesia and try to prod Harvey to pitch anyway.
So Harvey continued to pitch, and he pitched more than anyone else has in their return from Tommy John surgery. He pitched and picked up the win the day the Mets clinched the National League East. He pitched and won a pivotal Game 3 of the NLDS. He pitched a great game against the Cubs to open the NLCS:
Over 7.2 innings, he allowed two earned on four hits and two walks while striking out nine. In that start, he set the tone. The Mets pitching was going to dominate the Cubs, and the Mets were going to sweep their way to the World Series.
In Game 1, even with Yoenis Cespedes completely misplaying a routine Alcides Escobar fly ball into an inside the park homer, he pitched well enough for the Mets to win, and they almost did that coming within a Jeurys Familia blown save and Bartolo Colon 14th inning meltdown of doing that. When Harvey took the mound again in Game 5, he gave everything he had to keep the Mets alive:
This was the moment Mets fans foresaw in 2013, and Harvey delivered with the type of game you expect from an ace. He pitched like an all-time great pitcher. At that time in history, it certainly seemed like Harvey was that and/or was going to be that.
Little did we know at the time that was going to be it for the 2015 Mets, their World Series window, and Harvey’s career. Things were just not right for Harvey in 2016. We eventually found out he suffered from TOS. That began a sad downward turn in his career, and it eventually led to his being traded to the Reds for Devin Mesoraco. In his limited time with the Reds, Harvey pitched well giving us all hope he has one more act in his career.
Before the TOS, Harvey was all over the Mets top 10 lists for pitchers. As it stands, he is still in the top 10 in BB/9, K/9, and K/BB. While not an official category, he is among the Mets leaders in giving a fan base hope and providing them with huge moments. Overall, he is the best Mets player to ever wear the number 33.
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter
9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns
13. Edgardo Alfonzo
14. Gil Hodges
15. Carlos Beltran
16. Dwight Gooden
17. Keith Hernandez
18. Darryl Strawberry
19. Bob Ojeda
20. Howard Johnson
21. Cleon Jones
22. Al Leiter
23. Bernard Gilkey
24. Art Shamsky
25. Pedro Feliciano
26. Terry Leach
27. Jeurys Familia
28. Daniel Murphy
29. Frank Viola
30. Michael Conforto
31. Mike Piazza
32. Jon Matlack
MLB The Show 20: Mets vs Diamondbacks, Game 42 https://t.co/ORb9vpDVA1
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 13, 2020
After signing with the Mets, Michael Wacha got a chance to face his former team in a simulated game, and he would come out on top.
Edwin Diaz made it an adventure in the ninth allowing a run, but he would still lock down the Mets 3-2 win.
Rick Porcello had what was probably the best start of his computer simulated baseball career allowing just one earned to the Cardinals over 6.2 innings.
Even though he had allowed just three hits up until that point, Luis Rojas went to his bullpen. Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances kept the Cardinals off the board heading into the ninth for Edwin Diaz, who converted the save.
In this 2-1 Mets victory, Brandon Nimmo hit a second inning RBI single against Cardinals starter Daniel Ponce de Leon scoring Wilson Ramos. In the fourth, Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo homer, which proved to be the game winner.
Sometimes, we may forget how unrealistic video games and simulations can be. This game between the Mets and Reds is a perfect example of that.
Not only did Jacob deGrom enter the game with a 3.89 ERA, but he’d be knocked out of this start after allowing five earned over 4.2 innings. As if that wasn’t all ridiculous enough, the Mets gave him some run support.