A continuation of the series of retrospectives looking back at the regular season and how teams fared. They will be presented, from first to last, in order of their run differential as given by the BaseRuns formula and adjusted for strength of schedule, which I feel is the best measurement of a team’s actual talent level.
Number Ten: New York Mets
Our fourth consecutive National League team ends our top ten. The Mets are a return to our balanced ball clubs ranking 11th in runs scored and 10th in runs allowed.
The Mets defense certainly helped the pitcher’s cause as aside from the obvious one, there wasn’t much success in those ranks. Johan Santana started out slowly on the year, but really came on late and though his strikeouts were markedly down in 2008, he managed to raise his groundball rate and a slight uptick in missed bats means that we might see his strikeout rate climb back up in 2009.
Aside from Santana, Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine managed to combine about 500 innings of average NL pitching which isn’t stunning but is always appreciated. The big problem in the rotation this year was Pedro Martinez, concluding his little-used four-year contract in a poor fashion.
Billy Wagner was an asset in the bullpen, but not a very durable one, missing the end of the season with injury. Aside from him however there was far too much durability from some members of the pen, who helped contribute to yet another Mets collapse. One wonders how much that will pressure the Mets to splurge over the winter for relief help.
On the hitting side, it was a season of rejuvenation for Carlos Delgado who seemed surely on his way to getting bought out at the end of this season and now walks away a near lock to have his option picked up. David Wright and Jose Reyes had another stellar season on the left side of the infield. Carlos Beltran added another underrated performance when combined with his position (center field) and glove ability.
When you have Wright, Beltran and Reyes to build around, three tremendous offensive and defensive studs, along with the payroll afforded to a New York franchise, it’s a wonder that the Mets aren’t dominating the National League.
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