Constructing an All-Time, All-Underrated Mets Team

When going through the New York Mets history, there are often players who somehow become underrated. We all love to appreciate what players such as Tom Seaver, David Wright, Dwight Gooden, and Jacob deGrom have done for the franchise, but who is often forgotten about? 

Today, find out who makes the all-time, all-underrated Mets team. Every single one of these players has become criminally underappreciated by the fanbase and needs to be respected more. Let’s first start out behind the plate at catcher. (*Note that the player statistics are with the Mets only)

Catcher – Todd Hundley (1990-98)

.240 BA, .323 OBP, .481 SLG, 124 HR, 397 RBI, 104 OPS+, 1.8 dWAR

When Pete Alonso broke the Mets’ single-season home run record, he broke a record held by this catcher. Todd Hundley’s 1996 season in particular is one of the best offensive seasons in franchise history. Hundley hit 41 home runs that season while driving in 112 runs, finishing 18th in MVP voting. He would end up becoming a two-time All-Star with the Mets and currently ranks 8th on the franchise’s home run list.

First Base – John Olerud (1997-99)

.315 BA, .425 OBP, .501 SLG, 63 HR, 291 RBI, 142 OPS+, 0.2 dWAR

While only playing 3 seasons with the Mets, John Olerud currently has the highest single-season batting average in team history. In 1998, Olreud hit .354 at the plate, which saw him finish 12th in MVP voting. Olerud was also an iron-horse for the Mets, never playing fewer than 154 games in a season. He unfortunately never collected any accolades with the Mets, but his production shouldn’t discredit the impact he made with the team. Olerud is an incredibly underrated first baseman, who should’ve gotten serious Hall of Fame consideration.

Second Base – Jeff Kent (1992-96)

.279 BA, .327 OBP, .453 SLG, 67 HR, 267 RBI, 107 OPS+, 0.4 dWAR

Jeff Kent could’ve been the best second baseman in franchise history. In an infamous 1996 trade, the Mets sent Kent to Cleveland in one of the worst moves in team history. Kent would go on to have a border-line Hall of Fame career with the Giants, which saw him win the NL MVP in 2000. It’s a shame that the Mets got rid of Kent considering he could potentially end up in Cooperstown. He is one of the best offensive second baseman of all-time. 

Third Base – Howard Johnson (1985-93)

.251 BA, .341 OBP, .459 SLG, 192 HR, 629 RBI, 124 OPS+, -5.8 dWAR

If you’re talking about underrated Mets, Howard Johnson should be near the top. During his nine seasons with the Mets, HoJo finished top ten in MVP voting three times, was named an All-Star twice, and won two Silver Slugger awards. He accumulated three 30-30 seasons with the Mets as well, hitting at least 30 home runs and stealing 30 or more bases. He is currently top five in numerous franchise categories, including home runs, doubles, RBIs, stolen bases, and walks. 

Shortstop – Rey Ordonez (1996-02)

.245 BA, .290 OBP, .304 SLG, 8 HR, 260 RBI, 58 OPS+, 10.2 dWAR

While an underwhelming offensive player, you can make a case that Rey Ordonez is the best defender in Mets history. He is certainly the most underrated. Ordonez collected an insane 10.2 defensive WAR during his 7 seasons with the Mets, which saw him win three Gold Gloves. Although not a great hitter, his amazing defense contributed to the Mets’ World Series run in 2000. He is currently 18th on the Mets all-time hits list. 

Left Field – Kevin McReynolds (1987-91, 94)

.272 BA, .331 OBP, .460 SLG, 122 HR, 456 RBI, 120 OPS+, -4.0 dWAR

Kevin McReynolds was a key bat in the Mets lineup during the late 80s into the early 90s. While never the superstar-level player the Mets hoped he would become, McReynolds was still a fierce slugger. He hit over 20 home runs four times during his stint with the Mets, even finishing third in NL MVP voting in 1988. He is currently 9th in the franchise’s all-time home run list. 

Center Field – Lee Mazzilli (1976-81, 86-89)

.264 BA, .357 OBP, .396 SLG, 68 HR, 353 RBI, 112 OPS+, -6.9 dWAR

One of the positives during a dark Mets era, Lee Mazzilli represented the team at the 1979 All-Star Game. In the game, Mazzilli hit a game-tying home run in the 8th inning which became a high-point for a lowly Mets franchise. Mazzilli was one of the better hitters the Mets had during this time, which led to him becoming a fan favorite. He returned to the Mets during their 1986 championship season and received a ring. 

Right Field – Rusty Staub (1972-75, 81-85)

.276 BA, .358 OBP, .419 SLG, 75 HR, 399 RBI, 119 OPS+, -8.0 dWAR

Rusty Staub was a key contributor to the Mets’ 1973 World Series run, accumulating an insane 1.096 OPS over 11 games that postseason. One of the most underrated postseasons ever by a player. Nicknamed Le Grande Orange during his time in Montreal, Staub was a consistent offensive weapon to a Mets lineup that had very few at the time. Staub would finish 14th in MVP voting in 1975 after driving in 105 runs, which was the first time a Mets player had driven in 100+ runs. He returned to the Mets during the 1981 season and finished off his career as one of the best pinch hitters the team ever had. He was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1986.

Starting Pitcher – Sid Fernandez (1984-93)

1584.2 IP, 3.14 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 1449 K, 23 CG, 3.29 FIP, 113 ERA+

Sid Fernandez is one of the most forgotten pitchers in Mets history. During his time with the Mets, Fernandez was a key starter to those 80s pitching staffs, which was key to the 1986 championship team. Fernandez never had an earned run average above 3.81 during his time with the Mets and represented the team twice at the All-Star game. His most memorable games include Game 4 of the 1986 NLCS, where he dueled with that year’s Cy Young Mike Scott, and his relief appearance in Game 7 of the World Series.

Relief Pitcher – Skip Lockwood (1975-79)

379.2 IP, 2.80 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 368 K, 65 SV, 2.76 FIP, 126 ERA+  

Skip Lockwood unfortunately had to play during a dark time in Mets history. His effectiveness out of the bullpen during those mid-to-late 70s Mets teams has been forgotten by many fans and he is someone many aren’t aware of. Lockwood is one of the best relief pitchers in team history, and it’s a shame that he was never acknowledged for it. Lockwood’s best season came in 1976 where he pitched to a 2.67 earned run average over 94.1 innings pitched, which included 108 strikeouts and a 1.02 walks plus hits per inning. He pitched 90+ innings three times over his stint with the Mets, even reaching 104 innings in 1977. He sadly never made an All-Star team or even a Cy Young vote. 

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