Poll: Which Mets player had the best unexpected hot streak this decade?

However big you think you are, baseball will humble you. Barry Bonds once went 23 ABs without a hit. Gary Carter went 247 PA between his 299th and 300th career homers. Willie Mays started his career 1-26. The flip side of that is if you stick around long enough, every dog has his day. Let’s check in on some of those the past few years with the Mets.

James Loney was a solid player for a number of years but in 2014 he lost 62 points of OPS from the year before and in 2015 he dropped 36 more, causing the Rays to cut him despite his contract, which would have been the second-biggest on the club. He put up a sub-.800 OPS in the hitter-friendly PCL before being rescued by the Mets. In 2016, Loney played 100 games in the majors. In his first 15, he put up a .254/.290/.339 line. In his last 71 games, he produced a .250/.289/.349 line. That first streak was a .629 OPS and the latter one was a .638 mark. But for 14 glorious games in between, Loney hit a jaw-dropping .346/.404/.673 in 57 PA.

In 1,498 PA in the majors, Juan Lagares has a .664 OPS. He was called up in 2013 and in his first 90 PA, he had a .507 OPS. In his final 218 trips to the plate, he put up a .545 OPS. But from June 20th thru August 1st, a span of 113 PA, Lagares posted a .340/.384/.524 line, thanks to a .442 BABIP and 15 extra-base hits in 103 ABs.

John Buck played 11 years in the majors and had a two-year peak in 2009-10 when he put up a .796 OPS over 639 PA. But he wasn’t very good either before or after that period. Before he had a .697 OPS and afterwards it was a .656 mark. For the Mets in 2013, he had a .652 OPS. But his first 25 games of the year, Buck had a .263/.294/.611 line, thanks to 10 HR in 95 ABs. He hit just five more homers in 305 PA for the club before being sent to the Pirates in late August. For the rest of his career after the trade, Buck totaled 1 HR in 121 trips to the plate.

These certainly aren’t the only out-of-nowhere hot streaks for the club. Others considered include Rod Barajas, Matt den Dekker, Wilmer Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. But Barajas’ big streak for the Mets in 2010 was exceeded by what he did when traded to the Dodgers later that year. den Dekker has had only intermittent playing time since his big streak in 2014. Flores hasn’t had any PA since his season-ending binge, meaning we have no idea if it was a hot streak or the start of something better. And Nieuwenhuis started off his Mets career on fire in 2012 and also had another great streak when he returned to the club in 2015.

Who had the biggest surprise hot streak?

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9 comments for “Poll: Which Mets player had the best unexpected hot streak this decade?

  1. TexasGusCC
    January 11, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Daniel Murphy, when it counted most!

    • January 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Yeah, I struggled with an appropriate phrase and the way I worded it, Murphy definitely applies.

      But given what Murphy did last year, he’s not really what I had in mind.

      • TexasGusCC
        January 11, 2017 at 7:23 pm

        Can you believe he said that he never rooted so hard for the Phillies in his life like he did when they played the Mets in late September? Wow, talk about bitterness. And here we are still endearing him.

        It’s ironic that when he was a Met, it was the Nationals that all spoke most admirably and affectionately of Murphy calling him “Daniel” and “Murph” rather than just Murphy, like most adversaries refer to each other, by last name, not first name or nicknames.

  2. Jon Lapin
    January 11, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I would choose a certain knuckleball pitcher who put together a Cy Young season after a very good year before. In 15 or so seasons in the majors he has never approached what he did then, and garnering us Syndegaard, et al in exchange was worth it.

    But looking at history, the most outlandish single season in Mets history has to be Joe Christopher in 1964!

    • January 11, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      It’s my fault for not doing a better job of explaining what I was going after.

      But the three guys in the poll had a brief (2-5 weeks) period where they were totally performing head over heels better than they had at any other point in the year or in the immediate past or future.

      Dickey was great in May but he was equally great in June. And even if you wanted to do it season-long, he had a 2.73 ERA in 2012 and a 2.84 ERA in 2010. So I don’t think he’s really what I had in mind.

      And obviously Christopher wasn’t in the last decade.

  3. Hobie
    January 11, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Decades removed, but I always think of Mike Vail as the all-time Met flash-in-the-pan.

  4. Jim OMalley
    January 11, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    I voted for Lagares but would Marlon Byrd also fit in as a write-in choice?

    • January 11, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      I don’t think he’s quite in the same category as the other three.

      From 5/25 – 6/18, Byrd had a 1.132 OPS, which you would think would qualify. But from 7/8 – 7/31, he had a .978 OPS. The first one is definitely better but the second one is a darn good one, too.

      But it’s definitely a good call and deserves an honorable mention.

  5. January 11, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    I couldn’t vote for Lagares because I think he has more offensive potential than most analysts and some fans give him credit for. And once upon a time Loney was a highly-rated prospect and a solid all-around first baseman.

    John Buck ran into some home runs and disappeared.

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