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Inside Mr. Met's Head


March 5, 2010 6:26 PM

The Mets Top 25 Man Roster Over the Last 25 Years (Part One)

mlb_g_mpiazza_300.jpgI was extremely bored the other day and since baseball season is just beginning, I decided to build the best overall 25 man roster for the New York Mets, using players from the past 25 years. The rules were as follows: each player could only be used once and only one player could be picked from each year. There were a couple of pretty huge surprises on the list. I decided to use OPS and OPS+ for the offense. For pitchers, I used FIP and ERA+. Overall, I think this team is actually surprisingly good considering how many lean years there were, especially between 1987 to 1998 and 2001 to 2005.

Catcher: 2000 Mike Piazza
.324/.398/.614 155 OPS+

Starting off, I picked the overall best offensive season in Mets history. Mike Piazza was an obvious choice for this list because he is quite possibly the best offensive catcher in baseball history. 2000 was overall his best offensive year with the Mets, even though he hit two less home runs than the year before. Piazza is probably the most popular Met of all time and is beloved by an entire generation of fans who lived through those exciting 1999 and 2000 years. Add his unforgettable home run after the terrorist attacks in 2001 and you have a player who belongs in the Hall of Fame wearing orange and blue.

First Base: 1998 John Olerud
.354/.447/.551 163 OPS+

Perhaps best known for his good defense and wearing a batting helmet on the field, John Olerud also had a really great bat. His nearly 1.000 OPS was the best of any Mets first baseman over the past 25 years. Perhaps not the flashiest or most remembered Met, Olerud was an excellent all around ball player.

Second Base: 1999 Edgardo Alfonzo
.304/.385/.502 125 OPS+

Signed in 1991 as an amateur free agent by the Mets when he was 17, Edgardo Alfonso was one of the core members of the late 90s Mets. While he never put up superstar numbers for a long period of time, Alfonzo was well loved by Mets fans. While 1999 wasn't his best season (2000 saw a nearly 80 point jump in OPS) his year just couldn't compete with Piazza's.

Shortstop: 2008 Jose Reyes
.297/.358/.475 115 OPS+

While Rey Ordonez might have been much better defensively than Reyes, no shortstop on the Mets in the last 25 years compares with his electrifying play and fun-loving attitude on the field. A polarizing, love-him-or-hate-him player, Reyes has been one of the most exciting players in baseball (when healthy). Although 2009 saw him miss almost the entire year and this year his thyroid and HGH-connection issues, Reyes is still young and should continue the great play from his past if his issues aren't serious.

Third Base: 2007 David Wright
.325/.416/.546 149 OPS+

There is very little that needs to be said about David Wright. A superstar since his promotion in 2004, Wright has been classy off the field and a pretty damn good player on the field. 2007 was an easy choice considering it was his best overall offensive year. In 2009, his power seemed to be non-existent but it's not the first time he's had long term power issues (the second half of 2006 after the All Star Break comes to mind)

Left Field: 1996 Bernard Gilkey
.317/.393/.562 155 OPS+

That's not a typo -- Bernard Gilkey was actually really good with the Mets for a year. I remember him most as the baseball player who got hit in the head with a baseball during the climax of Men in Black. 1996 was his best year by far and his only excellent offensive year. Afterwards, he severely declined and was out of baseball only five years later. So it goes.

Center Field: 2006 Carlos Beltran
.275/.388/.594 150 OPS+

Signed in 2005 in order to turn the Mets around from a laughing stock into an actual contender, Carlos Beltran was mediocre in his first year. Quickly considered a bust, Beltran silenced his critics by turning it around within a year. His .982 OPS was obviously great, but he was also very good defensively, posting a 5.2 UZR/150. His 41 homers that year were also the most by any Mets CF. He will definitely be missed for a month or two but hopefully all will go well in his rehab and he will continue raking.

Right Field: 1987 Darryl Strawberry 
.284/.398/.583 162 OPS+

Darryl Strawberry may be more remembered by Mets fans for his off the field issues earlier in his career rather than his offensive prowess. However, there is little discussion that Straw was an excellent ballplayer for the Mets. In 1987, he hit the most home runs of his career (39) and was a member of the lucrative 30-30 club with 36 stolen bases. It's a shame that his career was derailed by cocaine and other problems. Who knows what kind of player he could have developed into.

The Bench:
C 1997 Todd Hundley
.273/.394/.549 148 OPS+

1B 1986 Keith Hernandez
.310/.413/.446 140 OPS+

UTIL 1989 Howard Johnson
.287/.369/.559 169 OPS+

LF 2003 Cliff Floyd
.290/.376/.518 134 OPS+

3B 1994 Bobby Bonilla
.290/.374/.504 128 OPS+

RF 1993 Jeromy Burnitz
.243/.339/.475 117 OPS+

Some strange choices on the bench. Todd Hundley's 1997 wasn't his best but it wasn't as good as Bernard Gilkey's that year. Keith's OPS+ in 1986 was the highest of his career and also makes it as a fan favorite. Howard Johnson's 1989 is excellent and might actually be better than Wright's 2007. However, his overall OPS isn't high enough so he stays on the bench as an excellent utility player. Floyd, Bonilla, and Burnitz all make the team because there weren't any better options on those teams. They each had decent years (except for Burnitz who really only played 89 games that year). 

Pitchers will be next week.

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