Archive for the ‘Bud Harrelson’ Category

The Top Ten Offensive Seasons in Mets History – Shortstops 1-5

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

For the catchers, first basemen, second basemen, third basemen, and shortstops 6-10, click on the links.

The list of shortstops doesn’t start to pick up until #3.  Seriously…until a certain exuberant Dominican came of age in the majors, the Mets’ shortstops unequiviocably could not hit.  But we have two more shortstops to get out of the way before we get to him, so without further ado…

#5: Bud Harrelson, 1976

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
34 84 12 4 1 26 63 .234 .351 .298 .649 9

This season stood as the gold standard for Mets shortstops for almost thirty years.  Take a look at that beauty.  The only thing Buddy did this year was walk; those 63 walks were good to pump that OBP up to .351.  Of course, 17 extra base hits are nothing to write home about, which is the only reason this season won’t be ranked higher.  He also played a good defensive shortstop, so I don’t mean to hate…but when from 1962 to 2004, this season ranks as the #1 best season ever by a shortstop in franchise history…well, that doesn’t speak to well for the franchise’s shortstops.

#4: Kaz Matsui, 2004

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
65 125 32 2 7 44 40 .272 .331 .396 .727 14

Here is your #1 proof that the New York Mets have failed to employ even passable hitting shortstops for the franchise’s entire history between 1962 and 2004; Kaz Matsui had the best offensive season in Mets history in 2004.  Matsui was positively HATED his entire time in New York, yet compared to other Mets he was positively terrific, thanks mostly to those 32 doubles and going 14 of 17 on stolen base attempts.  Of course, Matsui also wasn’t nearly as good as these other guys defensively, making his bad hitting stick out…but you can’t win ‘em all.

I always thought Matsui got kind of a bad rap in New York.  Was he a great player?  No, he was not.  Was he overpaid?  Of course he was.  But when he managed to stay healthy in Colorado, he played a decent defensive second base, he had the ability to hit a lot of doubles, and he could steal bases at a high percentage.  He’s far from a perfect player, but I think after a season and a half of Luis Castillo, Mets fans may be ready to welcome KazMat back to New York with open arms.

#3: Jose Reyes, 2007

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
119 191 36 12 12 57 77 .280 .354 .421 .775 78

Jose Reyes is, by far, the best hitting shortstop in Mets history.  In 2007, when it was all said and done anybody could talk about was what was wrong with Reyes.  The guy just had the second-best season by a Mets shortstop in team history, and the story was what was wrong with him?  If there was something wrong with Reyes in 2007, then there must have been something seriously wrong with Mets shortstops for the first 35 years of the team’s existence, because none of those seasons could hold a candle to Reyes in 2007, other than Reyes in 2006.

Take a look…60 extra base hits, 78 stolen bases in 100 attempts, continued improvement in drawing walks (making him more valuable as a leadoff hitter)…just an excellent season all along.  The problem was, Reyes went frigid in September, or else this season would look even better.  The first five months of 2007 showed the kind of potential Reyes has if he can ever do that over a full season.  It’s scary to think, but we haven’t even seen the best of Jose Reyes yet.

#2: Jose Reyes, 2008

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
113 204 37 19 16 68 66 .297 .358 .475 .833 56

This past season was a nice bounceback for Reyes, and another glimpse of what he is capable of accomplishing.  His first 200 hit season, another high percentage steals season (though Manuel attempted stolen bases less than Willie), and nice power numbers (72 extra base hits).  Another subpar September kept these numbers from being even better, which seems to point to me not so much that Reyes folds down the stretch, but perhaps that he would benefit from a few more days off; he is rarely out of the Mets’ lineup.  It would behoove the Mets to find a decent utility man who can perhaps nudge Castillo out at second and spell Reyes at short once a month before going to spring training.

#1: Jose Reyes, 2006

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
122 194 30 17 19 81 53 .300 .354 .487 .841 64

Now, one might see Reyes’ 2006 season ranking ahead of his 2007 and 2008 seasons, and think he has somehow regressed.  It’s not exactly true; these seasons are very close in value.  In fact, Reyes had more extra base hits in 2008, albeit in more games, though he had  more stolen bases in 2006.  Realistically, you could probably switch these two seasons around and not have a quarrel.  I just think his 2006 was a little bit better.

There should be three things you take away from this list.  One, the Mets have employed some really lousy hitting shortstops for most of their existence.  Two, Jose Reyes has already established himself as the best hitting shortstop in franchise history.  And three, he has done so before turning even 26 years old.  This season might currently rank as the best season by a Mets shortstop in team history, but it won’t be first for long.  Jose Reyes will surpass this season sometime in the next 3 years.  He may surpass it three times in that time span.  Please cherish what we have from Jose Reyes, because for all his faults and all of his immaturity, he is a supremely talented ballplayer, and the best is yet to come.
Next: The Left Fielders

The Top Ten Offensive Seasons in Mets History – Shortstops 6-10

Monday, December 15th, 2008

For the catchers, first basemen, second basemen, and third basemen, click on the links.

The Mets do not have a history of great hitting shortstops.

This is an understatement.  Quite frankly, until the last few years, most Mets shortstops have been absolutely dreadful hitters.  Think of the World Series teams; their shortstops were Buddy Harrelson (1969, 1973), Rafael Santana (1986), and Rey Ordonez/Mike Bordick (2000).  For years, the Mets eschewed offense at shortstop for great defense, and sometimes it worked.  Most of the time, as evidenced by the Mets’ lack of success, it didn’t.

So who’s the best of this sorry lot?  Let’s take a look.

Honorable Mention: Jose Reyes (2003)

Reyes’ 2003 season would have made the list at #4 on the list had he played 12 more games in 2003.  Since he didn’t play half of the Mets’ games at shortstop in 2003, he can’t make the top ten.  But this was the first legitimately good season by a Mets shortstop in team history.  More on him later.

#10: Kevin Elster, 1989

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
52 106 25 2 10 55 34 .231 .283 .360 .643 4

Kevin Elster was generally not a good hitter.  He didn’t draw walks.  He didn’t hit for power.  He didn’t hit for average.  This season really isn’t good at all by any objective measure.  I have nothing good to say about Kevin Elster in 1989, no fond remembrances, nothing notable at all, other than the ten homers he hit here were only the second time in team history where a Mets shortstop hit ten or more home runs.  Actually amend that statement – it was only the second time in team history where a Mets shortstop hit ten home runs, because neither hit more than ten.  It would remain the second time in team history where a Mets shortstop hit ten home runs for another 17 years.

So why did he make the list?  Because the other Mets seasons that didn’t make the list were really, REALLY bad.

#9: Bud Harrelson, 1973

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
35 92 12 3 0 20 48 .258 .348 .309 .657 5

The only thing notable about Bud Harrelson in 1973 was that he got to play in the World Series despite being a dreadful hitter.  At least Harrelson was good at drawing walks and getting on base; if he ever had made enough contact to hit .300, he could have almost been a good hitter.  He never did that.  But hey…he did get into this nifty fight with Pete Rose in the 1973 NLCS.  So he has that going for him.

#8: Eddie Bressoud, 1966

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
48 91 15 5 10 49 47 .225 .304 .360 .664 2

You know what makes Eddie Bressoud’s 1966 season notable?  He hit ten home runs this season, the first time in Mets history a shortstop hit ten home runs.  Elster would become the second man 23 years later.  Jose Reyes would become the third man 17 years after that (and he actually hit MORE than ten homers!).   He also drew a decent number of walks.  Other than that, I can’t think of a single thing to say about Eddie Bressoud and his 1966 season.

#7: Kevin Elster, 1991

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
33 84 16 2 6 36 40 .241 .318 .351 .669 2

Kevin Elster makes the list twice!  Just think of all the greats that didn’t make the list if not one, but TWO Kevin Elster seasons made the cut.  And this is before Kevin Elster suddenly and inexplicably developed power in his early to mid 30’s, to boot.  Do you see why I waited a week to post the shortstops list now?  I’d almost rather talk about Mets rumors that surely will never come to pass than talk about this awful list of shortstops.  Seriously, two Kevin Elster seasons!  How did that happen?

#6: Jose Vizcaino, 1995

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
66 146 21 5 3 56 35 .287 .332 .365 .697 8

You want to know how utterly unnotable Jose Vizcaino’s stay with the Mets was?  As you can tell, I have tried to include images with each of these columns, ways to remember the greats that have played with the Mets.  When I tried a Google Image Search for “Jose Vizcaino, Mets,” this was the only image that came up with Jose Vizcaino in Mets gear.  This was it!  Vizcaino hit a fluky .287, which helped cover for his lousy walk rate somewhat, and added an impressive 21 doubles.  Other than that, awful season.  #6 in Mets history.

Up Next: The Top Five, including some actual good seasons!