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.