Hardball Retrospective – The “Original” 1986 New York Mets

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Ozzie Smith is listed on the Padres roster for the duration of his career while the Senators II / Rangers declare Jeff Burroughs and the Rays claim David Price. I calculated revised standings for every season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition.  Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.

Expanding on my research for the book, the following series of articles will reveal the finest single-season rosters for every Major League organization based on overall rankings in OWAR and OWS along with the general managers and scouting directors that constructed the teams. “Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com.

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here.

Terminology

OWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “original” teams

OWS – Win Shares for players on “original” teams

OPW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “original” teams

Assessment

The 1986 New York Mets          OWAR: 59.3     OWS: 299     OPW%: .589

GM Frank Cashen acquired 54% (27/50) of the ballplayers on the 1986 Mets roster while Joe McDonald procured 34% (17/50). Based on the revised standings the “Original” 1986 Mets cruised to the pennant with 95 victories, easily outdistancing the runner-up Phillies and pacing the National League in OWAR and OWS.

The Metropolitans’ rotation featured two future Hall of Fame hurlers (Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan) alongside the 1985 and 1986 NL Cy Young Award winners (Dwight Gooden and Mike Scott). Scott wielded a wicked split-finger fastball against the opposition and the results were astonishing. He led the Senior Circuit with a 2.22 ERA, 0.923 WHIP and whiffed 306 batsmen in 275.1 innings. Gooden aka “Dr. K” followed his dominant 1985 campaign with a 17-6 record and a 2.84 ERA while recording 200 strikeouts for the third consecutive season. Floyd Youmans tallied 202 punch-outs and notched 13 victories despite allowing a League-worst 118 bases on balls. Roger McDowell posted 22 saves and accrued 14 victories in relief. Jeff “Terminator” Reardon contributed 35 saves and Calvin Schiraldi fashioned a 1.41 ERA while closing out nine contests. Greg A. Harris added 10 wins and 20 saves as a part-time closer.

ROTATION POS WAR WS
Mike Scott SP 8.3 26.61
Dwight Gooden SP 4.06 17.76
Tom Seaver SP 2.79 10.2
Floyd Youmans SP 2.68 13.06
Nolan Ryan SP 2.26 11.31
BULLPEN POS WAR WS
Calvin Schiraldi RP 2.37 10.45
Greg A. Harris RP 2.16 14.78
Roger McDowell RP 1.15 15.71
Juan Berenguer RP 1.07 5.42
Jeff Reardon RP -0.17 10.26
Tim Leary SP 2.47 10.83
Neil Allen SP 1.72 7.95
Rick Anderson SP 0.81 3.75
Roy Lee Jackson RP 0.55 3.57
Rick Aguilera SP 0.54 5.91
Jay Tibbs SP 0.51 7.68
Cliff Speck RP 0.26 1.78
Dave Von Ohlen RP 0.07 0.82
John Pacella RP 0.03 0.51
Rick Ownbey SW 0.02 1.61
Jeff Bittiger SP -0.03 0.48
Doug Sisk RP -0.03 4.2
Wes Gardner RP -0.04 0
Randy Myers RP -0.05 0.3
Bill Latham SP -0.35 0

Lenny “Nails” Dykstra achieved full-time status in his sophomore season and responded with a .295 BA with 31 stolen bases. Darryl Strawberry slammed 27 long balls, knocked in 93 runs and pilfered 28 bags from the cleanup slot. Jody Davis drilled 27 doubles and 21 circuit clouts. Mookie Wilson (.289, 25 SB) wreaked havoc on the basepaths and Wally Backman contributed a .320 BA. Kevin “World” Mitchell delivered a .277 BA with 22 two-base knocks in a utility role.

Seaver ranked sixth among pitchers according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” Eight ballplayers from the 1986 Mets roster placed in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings including Ryan (24th-P), Dykstra (44th-CF), Strawberry (47th-RF), Mitchell (51st-LF), Gooden (76th-P), Brooks (89th-3B) and Davis (90th-C).

LINEUP POS WAR WS
Lenny Dykstra CF 4.94 23.9
Mookie Wilson LF 3.38 16.81
Hubie Brooks SS 2.43 14.8
Darryl Strawberry RF 3.94 24.43
Kevin Mitchell 3B/LF 2.12 14.39
Jody Davis C 2.02 18.16
Wally Backman 2B 2.28 16.38
Lee Mazzilli 1B/LF 0.69 5.21
BENCH POS WAR WS
Alex Trevino C 1.44 7.6
Mike Fitzgerald C 0.96 7.43
John Gibbons C 0.57 2.38
Jose Oquendo SS 0.53 4.21
Dave Magadan 1B 0.19 1.25
Rusty Tillman RF 0.07 1.07
Stan Jefferson CF 0.02 0.51
Brian J. Giles 2B -0.06 0.28
Eddie Williams LF -0.09 0
Kevin Elster SS -0.12 0.72
Barry Lyons C -0.13 0
LaSchelle Tarver CF -0.32 0.18
Herm Winningham CF -0.34 2.6
Ronn Reynolds C -0.35 0.98
Dave Cochrane 3B -0.42 0.24
Manuel Lee 2B -0.44 0.91
Billy Beane LF -1.25 0.94

The “Original” 1986 New York Mets roster

NAME POS WAR WS General Manager Scouting Director
Mike Scott SP 8.3 26.61 Joe McDonald
Lenny Dykstra CF 4.94 23.9 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Dwight Gooden SP 4.06 17.76 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Darryl Strawberry RF 3.94 24.43 Frank Cashen Pete Gebrian
Mookie Wilson LF 3.38 16.81 Joe McDonald
Tom Seaver SP 2.79 10.2 George Weiss
Floyd Youmans SP 2.68 13.06 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Tim Leary SP 2.47 10.83 Joe McDonald
Hubie Brooks SS 2.43 14.8 Joe McDonald
Calvin Schiraldi RP 2.37 10.45 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Wally Backman 2B 2.28 16.38 Joe McDonald
Nolan Ryan SP 2.26 11.31 George Weiss
Greg Harris RP 2.16 14.78 Joe McDonald
Kevin Mitchell LF 2.12 14.39 Frank Cashen Pete Gebrian
Jody Davis C 2.02 18.16 Joe McDonald
Neil Allen SP 1.72 7.95 Joe McDonald
Alex Trevino C 1.44 7.6 Bob Scheffing Nelson Burbink
Roger McDowell RP 1.15 15.71 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Juan Berenguer RP 1.07 5.42 Joe McDonald
Mike Fitzgerald C 0.96 7.43 Joe McDonald
Rick Anderson SP 0.81 3.75 Joe McDonald
Lee Mazzilli LF 0.69 5.21 Bob Scheffing Nelson Burbink
John Gibbons C 0.57 2.38 Frank Cashen Pete Gebrian
Roy Lee Jackson RP 0.55 3.57 Joe McDonald
Rick Aguilera SP 0.54 5.91 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Jose Oquendo SS 0.53 4.21 Joe McDonald
Jay Tibbs SP 0.51 7.68 Frank Cashen Pete Gebrian
Cliff Speck RP 0.26 1.78 Bob Scheffing Nelson Burbink
Dave Magadan 1B 0.19 1.25 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Dave Von Ohlen RP 0.07 0.82 Joe McDonald
Rusty Tillman RF 0.07 1.07 Joe McDonald
John Pacella RP 0.03 0.51 Bob Scheffing Nelson Burbink
Rick Ownbey SW 0.02 1.61 Frank Cashen Pete Gebrian
Stan Jefferson CF 0.02 0.51 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Jeff Bittiger SP -0.03 0.48 Frank Cashen Pete Gebrian
Doug Sisk RP -0.03 4.2 Frank Cashen Pete Gebrian
Wes Gardner RP -0.04 0 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Randy Myers RP -0.05 0.3 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Brian Giles 2B -0.06 0.28 Joe McDonald
Eddie Williams LF -0.09 0 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Kevin Elster SS -0.12 0.72 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Barry Lyons C -0.13 0 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Jeff Reardon RP -0.17 10.26 Joe McDonald
LaSchelle Tarver CF -0.32 0.18 Frank Cashen Pete Gebrian
Herm Winningham CF -0.34 2.6 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Ronn Reynolds C -0.35 0.98 Frank Cashen Pete Gebrian
Bill Latham SP -0.35 0 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Dave Cochrane 3B -0.42 0.24 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Manuel Lee 2B -0.44 0.91 Frank Cashen Joe McIlvane
Billy Beane LF -1.25 0.94 Frank Cashen Pete Gebrian

 

Honorable Mention

The “Original” 1990 Mets       OWAR: 49.2     OWS: 294     OPW%: .551

Lenny Dykstra (.325/9/60) swiped 33 bases, led the National League with 192 base hits and a .418 OBP while earning his first All-Star appearance. Darryl Strawberry launched 37 long balls and recorded a career-high 108 RBI. Kevin Mitchell belted 35 round-trippers and plated 93 baserunners following his MVP campaign in 1989. Dave Magadan registered a .328 BA and Gregg Jefferies paced the circuit with 40 two-baggers. Nolan Ryan aka “The Ryan Express” whiffed the most batsmen (232) for the fourth consecutive year. Dwight Gooden delivered a 19-7 mark with 223 strikeouts. Randy Myers notched 31 saves with a 2.08 ERA and finished fifth in the balloting for the NL Cy Young Award. Rick Aguilera saved 32 contests and fashioned an ERA of 2.76.

On Deck

The “Original” 1979 Expos

References and Resources

Baseball America – Executive Database

Baseball-Reference

James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York, NY.: The Free Press, 2001. Print.

James, Bill, with Jim Henzler. Win Shares. Morton Grove, Ill.: STATS, 2002. Print.

Retrosheet – Transactions Database

Seamheads – Baseball Gauge

Sean Lahman Baseball Archive



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Derek Bain is a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games. He has written a number of articles for Fangraphs and Seamheads, and enjoys spending quality time with his family.

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