Manager: Davey Johnson
Home: Shea Stadium
Home: Shea Stadium
Leading off for the Mets.. the Shortstop.. Jose Reyes
A classic contact hitter with tremendous speed, Jose Reyes holds Mets' career records for triples and stolen bases. From 2005-08, Reyes smacked 65 three-base hits and swiped 258 bags, leading the league in each category three times. He led the NL in triples a fourth time in 2011, when he set a career high with a .384 on-base % and a 144 OPS+. The four-time All-Star won a Silver Slugger award in 2006 and a batting title in 2011. Reyes is 33rd all-time - and ninth among shortstops - with 517 career steals, and no one has stolen more bases in the 21st century.
Batting second for New York.. the Center Fielder.. Carlos Beltran
A premier five-tool talent, Carlos Beltran parlayed a record-setting postseason performance with the Astros into a seven-year contract with the Mets in 2005. Over those seven seasons Beltran won three Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger awards, and led New York to the NLCS in 2006. The 1999 AL Rookie of the Year is fifth all-time among center fielders with 1,587 career RBI. Beltran bashed 149 home runs as a Met, good for sixth in team history. His 31.1 career WAR with the team places him third among position players and seventh overall. Beltran was briefly named manager of the Mets this past off-season.
Batting third.. the Third Baseman.. David Wright
David Wright is the Mets' career leader in several categories including hits, runs scored, runs batted in, total bases, and WAR. In just ten full seasons Wright made seven All-Star teams, batted .300 or better seven times, and posted four seasons of 300+ total bases. His 50.4 career WAR is second in Mets history and tops among position players. Wright finished fourth in NL MVP voting in 2007 after setting career highs in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, and WAR. The Norfolk native battled through crippling back and shoulder injuries late in his career to hit a dramatic home run in the 2015 World Series and take the field one last time in 2018.
Batting fourth.. the Catcher.. Mike Piazza
From 62nd round draft pick to Hall of Famer, Mike Piazza set the standard for power-hitting catchers. The all-time leader at his position in home runs, OPS+ and slugging %, Piazza posted nine seasons of 30+ long balls and batted .300 or better ten times. The ten-time Silver Slugger winner is third in Mets history with 220 career homers, 655 RBI, and a 136 OPS+. His .542 slugging % as a Met is tops in team annals. Piazza powered the Mets to the postseason twice - including the 2000 World Series - and hit a dramatic 8th-inning home run in the team's first home game after 9/11.
Batting fifth.. the Right Fielder.. Darryl Strawberry
The first overall pick in the 1980 draft, Darryl Strawberry led the Mets' offense throughout the decade. The National League's Rookie of the Year in 1983, Strawberry was an All-Star every year from 1984-1991. The two-time Silver Slugger winner finished second in NL MVP voting in 1988 after leading the NL in home runs, slugging, and OPS. "Straw" is first in franchise history with 252 home runs, first in OPS+, and second in slugging %, runs batted in, and at-bats per home run. Strawberry won three World Series, hit 9 home runs in 40 playoff games, and slugged 9 homers in the Springfield softball championship.
Batting sixth.. the First Baseman.. Keith Hernandez
Keith Hernandez played three more years and 285 more games in St. Louis, but even with an MVP award on his resume he wouldn't have made the Cardinals roster. In seven seasons with the Mets, Hernandez slashed .297/.387./429 (compared to .299/.385/.448 with the Cards), hit 80 home runs (one fewer than he had for St. Louis) and won a World Series with each team. Considered one of the greatest defensive first baseman in history, Hernandez hauled in eleven consecutive Gold Gloves from 1978-1988.
Batting seventh.. the Designated Hitter.. Lucas Duda
Lucas Duda has the seventh-highest home run total in Mets history and the eighth-highest at-bats per home run rate. He earned MVP consideration in 2014 after setting career highs with 30 home runs, 92 RBI, and a 132 OPS+. Duda played just 760 games in a Mets uniform but his slash line of .246/.343/.457 was strong enough to earn the DH spot over power-hitting catcher Todd Hundley (.240/.323/.438). Dave Kingman's all-or-nothing power was tempting here, but he swung and missed too often and didn't make enough contact.
Batting eighth.. the Second Baseman.. Edgardo Alfonzo
Edgardo Alfonzo posted the fourth-highest career WAR among Mets position players and places in the top ten in several other categories, including batting average (tied for fifth), on-base % (seventh), total bases (seventh), doubles (sixth) and home runs (tenth). In eight seasons with the Mets, "Fonzie" batted .300 or better three times, including a career-high .324 for the 2000 pennant winners. He won a Silver Slugger award in 1999, after setting career highs with 27 home runs and 108 runs batted in.
Batting ninth.. the Left Fielder.. Cleon Jones
The leading hitter of the 1969 Miracle Mets, Cleon Jones hit a career-high .340 that season, posting a 7.0 WAR and earning a starting spot in the All-Star Game - ahead of legends like Pete Rose, Roberto Clemente, and Willie Mays. He helped the Mets get back to the World Series in 1973, collecting six hits in five games against the Reds in the NLCS. Jones is fourth in Mets franchise history in hits, sixth in games played, seventh in runs scored, and eighth in total bases.
The Starting Pitcher for the Mets.. Tom Seaver
A first-round pick by the Braves in 1966, Tom Seaver was somewhat randomly awarded to the Mets after being declared a free agent. After just one season in the minors he earned NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1967, along with the first of twelve All-Star nods. "Tom Terrific" won three Cy Young awards and 311 games over his legendary 20-year career. Seaver is sixth all-time with 3,670 strikeouts and he's the Mets' all-time leader in several categories including WAR, wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, ERA, and complete games. He was the first player inducted into Cooperstown with a Mets cap on his plaque, and the first Mets player to have his number retired by the franchise.
Now let's take a look at the Mets' bench and bullpen:
Catcher - John Stearns
1st Base - Ed Kranepool
Infield - Howard Johnson
Outfield - Kevin McReynolds
Outfield - Rusty Staub
Stearns was a better defender than Todd Hundley and a better hitter than Jerry Grote. Kranepool played more games than anyone in Mets history. "HoJo" won two Silver Sluggers and hit 194 home runs for the Mets, 4th in team history. McReynolds posted a 120 OPS+ and 122 home runs in his six seasons as a Met. Staub made six All-Star teams. I was tempted to add Michael Conforto after just five seasons.
#2 Starter - Dwight Gooden
#3 Starter - Jacob deGrom
#4 Starter - Jerry Koosman
#5 Starter - David Cone
Gooden won NL Rookie of the Year, a Cy Young award, finished fourth in MVP voting, and led the majors in strikeouts twice - before turning 21. deGrom won the past two NL Cy Youngs and NL ROY in 2014. Koosman is third in Mets history in wins, strikeouts, and pitcher WAR. Sid Fernandez is in the Mets' top five in several categories but Cone's career was just a bit better and he wouldn't have made the Yankees' rotation.
RH Reliever - Skip Lockwood
LH Reliever - Pedro Feliciano
LH Reliever - Jesse Orosco
RH Reliever - Jeurys Familia
RH Reliever - Armando Benitez
LH Reliever - John Franco
Lockwood posted a 1.114 WHIP over five seasons in Queens. Feliciano led the majors in appearances three straight seasons. Orosco is the all-time leader in appearances and made two All-Star teams. Familia made the All-Star team and led the majors with 51 saves in 2014. Benitez posted a 159 ERA+ over five Mets seasons. He's second to Franco in career saves for the club. Franco's 424 career saves are fifth in major league history and he's third all-time in appearances.
Stay tuned for our next All-Time team, the New York Yankees.
Thanks for reading!