One of the difficult things when analyzing the Mets offense this year is to separate the names from the numbers they have actually produced. Sure, yesterday’s lineup had Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and David Wright in it but is it accurate to consider the performance the Mets are receiving from these players in 2010 to what our mind thinks of when it hears Beltran or Reyes or Wright?
So, in order to help separate performance from reputation, I took the players position, games played level and OPS+ and used the Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com to come up with a somewhat similar player in team history to substitute in for comparison purposes. So, here are the Mets’ leaders by position with a substitute from the team’s past.
Ike Davis – 522 PA, 115 OPS+, .263/.349/.449
1995 Rico Brogna – 540 PA, 119 OPS+, .289/.342/.485
David Wright – 593 PA, 130 OPS+, .289/.361/.498
1987 Howard Johnson – 645 PA, 133 OPS+, .265/.364/.504
Jose Reyes – 524 PA, 101 OPS+, .286/.322/.427
2004 Kaz Matsui – 509 PA, 88 OPS+ .272/.331/.396
Angel Pagan – 556 PA, 109 OPS+, .289/.342/.432
1986 Mookie Wilson – 415 PA, 115 OPS+ .289/.345/.430
Carlos Beltran – 207 PA, 92 OPS+, .236/.338/.368
1997 Brian McRae – 162 PA, 92 OPS+, .248/.317/.414
Ruben Tejada – 201 PA, 44 OPS+, .188/.281/.241
1968 Phil Linz – 275 PA, 45 OPS+, .209/.243/.236
Alex Cora – 187 PA, 48 OPS+, .207/.265/.278
1963 Al Moran – 370 PA, 47 OPS+, .193/.274/.230
Josh Thole – 167 PA, 108 OPS+, .297/.377/.385
1963 Jesse Gonder – 134 PA, 110 OPS+, .302/.328/.405
The hardest position was shortstop, as the Mets have not had anyone play a significant number of games and record an OPS+ of 100 or more except for Reyes. There were players who were closer than Matsui to him in OPS+, but they did not have close to the SB or HR that Matsui did.
The comparison that surprised me the most was finding Agbayani show up for Bay. Most Mets fans have a soft place in their heart for Agbayani but few would go that far with Bay. And the most troubling one is to see Gonder show up for Thole. Gonder played 131 games the following season and had a 99 OPS+ as a 28-year old and then never had more than 174 PA the rest of his career.
This was a sobering exercise. To think that this year’s hitters are akin to Phil Linz, Kat Matsui and Rico Brogna is not anything Mets fans want to hear. For my own sanity, I’ll go back to thinking of them as Beltran, Reyes and Wright.