If asked to name the biggest fluke season by a batter in Mets history, you might answer 1996 Bernard Gilkey or Lance Johnson from the same season. But what if we framed the question in a different way? What Met regular – defined here as someone who amassed at least 2,500 PA in their Mets career – had the most fluke numbers in a season with at least 100 games?

In some cases, fluke isn’t necessarily the right term. Some of these guys were really good players who were very consistent and had a year that was slightly better than others. But some of these guys, the word fluke definitely fits. With that out of the way, let’s run the chart of all of the hitters to amass 2,500 PA with the Mets and their career numbers in blue and oragne.

Name PA BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
David Wright 6872 .339 .296 .376 .491 .373 133
Ed Kranepool 5997 .271 .261 .316 .377 .309 95
Jose Reyes 5931 .305 .282 .334 .433 .331 103
Bud Harrelson 5083 .268 .234 .324 .287 .287 79
Cleon Jones 4683 .315 .281 .340 .406 .336 112
Howard Johnson 4591 .268 .251 .341 .459 .348 122
Darryl Strawberry 4549 .283 .263 .359 .520 .378 143
Edgardo Alfonzo 4449 .306 .292 .367 .445 .357 115
Jerry Grote 4335 .285 .256 .321 .329 .295 85
Mookie Wilson 4308 .320 .276 .318 .394 .316 100
Mike Piazza 3941 .296 .296 .373 .542 .385 134
Keith Hernandez 3684 .323 .297 .387 .429 .363 132
Carlos Beltran 3640 .294 .280 .369 .500 .370 127
Daniel Murphy 3619 .314 .288 .331 .424 .327 108
Lee Mazzilli 3496 .288 .264 .357 .396 .340 114
Wayne Garrett 3361 .264 .237 .348 .343 .321 100
Kevin McReynolds 3218 .270 .272 .331 .460 .346 120
Rey Ordonez 3216 .270 .245 .290 .304 .259 53
John Stearns 3081 .274 .259 .341 .375 .325 104
Rusty Staub 2965 .272 .276 .358 .419 .349 119
Felix Millan 2954 .284 .278 .326 .337 .305 90
Todd Hundley 2904 .268 .240 .323 .438 .328 101
Lucas Duda 2895 .287 .246 .343 .457 .347 123
John Milner 2755 .253 .245 .339 .415 .343 115
Wally Backman 2704 .325 .283 .353 .344 .319 103
Tommie Agee 2687 .311 .262 .329 .419 .338 112
Hubie Brooks 2620 .300 .267 .318 .372 .308 94
George Foster 2610 .277 .252 .307 .422 .320 103
Dave Kingman 2573 .235 .219 .287 .453 .329 106

This chart is interesting all by itself. First, 2,500 isn’t all that big of a number – about four years of full-time play – so it’s a tiny bit surprising that only 29 players made the cut. And six players didn’t even reach a lifetime 100 wRC+ with the Mets, with one of them being primarily a first baseman – yuck. It’s interesting how Wright (133), Piazza (134) and Hernandez (132) all had very similar production in their careers with the Mets. Also, it was a surprise to me that Foster had more PA than Kingman. But perhaps the biggest surprise to me was that Doug Flynn didn’t make the list, as he had just 2,269 PA with the Mets. It seemed like he grounded out 1,000 times more than that.

Now let’s run another chart. Let’s take this group of 29 players and instead of looking at their career numbers with the Mets, this time we’ll look at their best individual season in BABIP, wOBA and wRC+. Then we’ll compare that to their lifetime marks in those categories and look for the biggest differences.

NameI BABIP wOBA wRC+ Difference BABIP wOBA wRC+
Wright .394 .413 156   .055 .040 23
Kranepool .331 .352 123   .060 .043 28
Reyes .353 .376 142   .048 .045 39
Harrelson .300 .313 95   .032 .026 16
Jones .367 .405 154   .052 .069 42
Johnson .308 .406 166   .040 .058 44
Strawberry .306 .412 162   .023 .034 19
Alfonzo .335 .418 150   .029 .061 35
Grote .347 .332 112   .062 .037 27
Wilson .363 .350 129   .043 .034 29
Piazza .355 .432 168   .059 .047 34
Hernandez .343 .383 146   .020 .020 14
Beltran .297 .408 148   .003 .038 21
Murphy .345 .354 126   .031 .027 18
Mazzilli .325 .378 137   .037 .038 23
Garrett .298 .367 122   .034 .046 22
McReynolds .278 .367 144   .008 .021 24
Ordonez .285 .282 62   .015 .023 9
Stearns .277 .353 125   .003 .028 21
Staub .298 .367 129   .026 .018 10
Millan .296 .318 100   .012 .013 10
Hundley .304 .396 143   .036 .068 42
Duda .326 .368 136   .039 .021 13
Milner .278 .373 136   .025 .030 21
Backman .345 .344 119   .020 .025 16
Agee .345 .363 129   .034 .025 17
Brooks .306 .333 112   .006 .025 18
Foster .303 .346 123   .026 .026 20
Kingman .254 .358 126   .019 .029 20

We should note that these are the best marks in these three categories in a season with 100 games. Often, like with Jones in 1969, all three numbers came in the same season. But it didn’t have to be that way. Agee had his three numbers come in three separate seasons. Also, you’ll see players with best season marks nearly identical to their career numbers. They could be extremely consistent. Or they could have years with fewer than 100 games played with great numbers, which helped bring up their lifetime with the Mets marks. For example, Beltran had a .352 BABIP in 81 games in 2009 and a 150 wRC+ in 98 games in 2011

The Mets regular who had one season where the hits fell in at the biggest difference from his lifetime mark with the club was Grote in 1968. The year before, Grote had a .226 BABIP and the year afterwards, he checked in with a .285 mark. It’s interesting to compare guys who played the same position and see what numbers they put up. While Grote was nearly able to match Piazza in BABIP in their best seasons, Piazza held a 100-point edge in wOBA and a 56-point advantage in wRC+. Grote held a 70-point BABIP advantage on Stearns yet had a 21-point deficit in wOBA and a 13-point shortfall in wRC+ in their best seasons.

Another interesting position comparison is at first base with Duda and Milner. Duda held a 48-point edge in BABIP in their best season but their wOBA and wRC+ numbers were nearly duplicates of one another. And while he’s not a position match, Staub’s best seasons in these numbers falls in the same vicinity as Duda and Milner. My guess is that no one reading this would have considered Duda’s best hitting season was equal, or slightly better, than Staub’s.

The season that had the biggest difference from career mark in wOBA was Jones’ big year in 1969, which just edged out Hundley’s monster 1997 season. Hundley played more games in 1996 and put up better counting numbers in the earlier season. And if you recall from the beginning, ’96 was the year that Gilkey and Johnson had the big fluke years. The Mets that year had a pretty good big three for a team that lost 91 games, as Gilkey had a 155 OPS+, Hundley had a 140 and Johnson had a 125. For a comparison, the 2004 team also lost 91 games and their top 3 OPS+ marks were 119, 111 and 109.

Finally, the biggest wRC+ surplus in an individual season was the 44 points above career average by Johnson in 1989, the only time in his eight seasons where he played 100 games where he had a BABIP over .300, as he had a .308 mark. Just imagine the numbers he would have put up that season if he had Grote in ’68 BABIP luck. Still, Johnson put up a 7.0 fWAR in ’89, tied with ’08 Wright for the seventh-best mark by a hitter in Mets history. Gilkey in ’96 had a 7.6 mark.

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