Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets have had only small pockets of success over the last 20 seasons -- 2000, 2006 to 2008 (despite how those seasons ended), 2015 to 2016, a resurgence in 2019 -- but there have been plenty of terrific players to root for during the last two decades.
Some of them (like Jacob deGrom, David Wright, and fan favorites like Wilmer Flores and Benny Agbayani) are revered.
Others, despite being really, really good players, don't receive the credit they deserve and are instead underappreciated by large swaths of the fan base.
Here are five of them...
Brandon Nimmo, 2016-present
When it comes to Nimmo, it seems some simply are having disagreements with numbers that are staring them right in the face.
To many, Nimmo's elite on base percentage doesn't matter because he relies on walks (you know, the skill of drawing them). And to many, what Nimmo did in 2018 -- when he was one of the most valuable outfielders in all of baseball -- doesn't matter because he did it while batting .263.
Nimmo, who had a very good season in 2017 during what was his first big taste of the majors, slashed .263/.404/.483 in 140 games in 2018 before having his 2019 disrupted by a neck injury.
After playing through that neck injury (and seeing his numbers suffer for it), Nimmo returned late in 2019 and did what he does when healthy -- hit at an elite level.
Yet, many still refer to Nimmo as a fourth outfielder. It's truly puzzling.
Matt Harvey, 2012-2018
The first thing many Mets fans associate with Harvey is that he flamed out. And often, the second thing most Mets fans associate with Harvey is his failure to finish what would've been one of the all-time best pitching performances in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field.
Down the road, it's fair to believe most will look back at Harvey with the proper perspective. But years shouldn't have to pass for fans to realize how special Harvey was, and to stop blaming him and/or piling on him for how his career turned out -- due in large part to thoracic outlet syndrome.
In 2012, Harvey was the bright light that emerged one night in Arizona as the Mets started their march from the misery of another rebuild to what would be their most recent World Series run. In 2013, Harvey started the All-Star Game at Citi Field before Tommy John surgery cut him down later that summer. He came back from surgery in 2015, with a vengeance, and arguably irreparably damaged his career by throwing 216 innings that year between the regular season and postseason.
From 2012 to 2015, Harvey was simply one of the best pitchers in baseball, posting a 2.53 ERA (2.65 FIP) and 1.00 WHIP with 449 strikeouts in 427 innings. Once the injuries set in, that was it (barring a miracle mid-career resurgence).
Was Harvey perfect off the field? Far from it. Did he buy into his own hype? Yep. But the same can be said for most members of the 1986 Mets, who are revered to this day due in part to their arrogance and debauchery. And while Harvey wasn't an angel during his time in New York, that isn't what did him in.
Lucas Duda, 2010-2017
Like Harvey, most Mets fans associate Duda with a bad moment -- his wild throw home in Game 5 of the World Series that allowed the Royals to tie the game in the ninth inning.
But instead of blaming Duda for that game, Mets fans should probably blame Terry Collins for not lifting Harvey after he issued a leadoff walk. Or they can blame Daniel Murphy for costing them Game 4 of that series. But I digress...
During Duda's time with the Mets, though dogged by the reputation of being "streaky" (which literally every hitter is), Duda slashed .246/.343/.457 with 125 homers and 146 doubles. That included a career-high 30 homers in 2014 and 27 homers in 2015.
In Queens, Duda first separated himself from Ike Davis and then became one of the most reliable first basemen the Mets ever had.
Carlos Beltran, 2005-2011
It's a joke that Beltran is on this list, but he belongs on it because so many still fail to recognize the greatness that was Beltran in orange and blue.
Like Harvey and like Duda, Beltran is remembered by many for a bad moment -- striking out looking to end Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS at Shea Stadium.
Instead, Beltran should be remembered for the home run that won Game 1 of the NLCS, the two home runs he hit in Game 4 of the NLCS, and the numbers he put up in 2006 (.275/.388/.594 with 41 homers) and during his Mets career overall (.280/.369/.500 with 149 homers).
Oh, and they should remember that he was also the smoothest-fielding center fielder the Mets ever had, and a likely Hall-of-Famer who could enter the Hall of Fame with a Mets cap on his plaque.
Rick Reed, 1997-2001
Reed will never be forgiven by many fellow players for crossing picket lines and being a "scab" during the 1995 lockout. But as far as Reed the Met? He was really damn good.
An anchor of the starting rotation during one of the few times in franchise history when the Mets had five-straight winning seasons (including four-straight where they truly contended), Reed posted a 3.66 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 888.2 innings (138 starts) with the Mets, including a 2.89 ERA in 1997.
A poor man's Greg Maddux when he was on, Reed pitched very well in the NLDS against the Diamondbacks and NLCS against the Braves in 1999.
In the 2000 playoffs, Reed turned in strong starts in the NLDS against the Giants and World Series against the Yankees, with his only blemish being a rough start in the NLCS against the Cardinals that the Mets won anyway.
In his highlight as a Met, Reed took a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Devil Rays in 1998 at Shea. With two outs, it was broken up by Wade Boggs, who hit a double to center field.