Archive for the ‘John Milner’ Category

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

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

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

After a prolonged holiday break, we are back to the list with left fielders.  Left field has usually been a place where teams will stick their poorest defensive players, so this will be a position with stronger hitting credentials than the shortstops we profiled a few weeks ago.  Unfortunately, the Mets have also tended to start part-time players in left field a lot, so there are few truly eye-popping seasons here, but some darned good half-seasons, so let’s take a look at the list.

Honorable Mention: Steve Henderson (1977, 1979), Kevin McReynolds (1989), Cliff Floyd (2003), Fernando Tatis (2008)

Steve Henderson was a good, not great, journeyman outfielder who gave the Mets two good years, albeit in part-time work. Kevin McReynolds is not a man held in high regard by Mets fans, particularly after the man he was traded for, Kevin Mitchell, won an MVP in 1989, but it is important to remember that he was a consistent power threat that was a good bet to hit 50 or more extra base hits a year while he was on the team. Cliff Floyd would have made the list if he had played more than 108 games, but as is the story of his Mets career, he didn’t stay on the field enough.  Fernando Tatis will likely be the most unlikely player to make any of these lists, and again would have made the list with a full season, but he was an unexpected bright spot for the 2008 Mets.

#10: Moises Alou, 2007

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
51 112 19 1 13 49 27 .341 .392 .524 .916 3

But this right here probably ranks as the best part-time season by a Mets player in history.  Mets fans ultimately won’t remember Moises Alou fondly, I suspect.  If he had made it onto the field even a little bit more in 2008, the story might be different.  Then again, we may not have seen Fernando Tatis’ excellent season, either – or at the very least, there would have been a logjam when Ryan Church came back.  Anyway, in a little more than half a season, Alou hit over 30 extra base hits, hit for a high average (which propped up his OBP) and gave the Mets their longest hitting streak in team history to close the season and, along with David Wright and Carlos Beltran, helped keep the Mets from being finished off before the last day of the season and gave them hope.  You can’t blame the collapse on Alou, because he was at his absolute best during that period.

#9: Tommy Davis, 1967

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
72 174 32 0 16 73 31 .302 .342 .440 .782 9

I don’t know much about Tommy Davis.  He only spent one season with the Mets, after which he was traded to the White Sox for Tommie Agee.  Can’t really complain about that one, as we’ll be seeing Tommie Agee on lists to come.  But I do know that 48 extra base hits during the dead ball era is really good, particularly playing half his games at Shea.  He didn’t walk much, wasn’t much of a base-stealer, but he gave the Mets solid power, leading the 61-win Mets in both home runs and doubles.  Since he played on a terrible Mets team over 40 years ago, and only played one season at that, he is a prime candidate to get forgotten by most Mets fans, which is why I’m happy to shine a bit of a light on a player who kept that year’s Mets team from being significantly worse.

#8: Rickey Henderson, 1999

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
89 138 30 0 12 42 82 .315 .423 .466 .889 37

With apologies to Jose Reyes, this stands as the best season by a Mets leadoff hitter in history.  Eighty-two walks!  A .423 on base percentage!  If Jose Reyes did that today, people wouldn’t give him crap over his celebrations because he’d be the MVP of the league.  But Rickey wasn’t particularly loved for his time in New York (which seems to be a recurring theme here).  Maybe it has to do with his playing cards with Bobby Bonilla as the Mets were playing the Braves in a do or die NLCS game against the Atlanta Braves?  But Rickey’s year was pretty great, although he was another player who didn’t stay on the field enough (then again, he was 42).  You’ll hear more great stories about Rickey next week, after he is inducted into the Hall of Fame, but Mets fans should remember him for the season where he played cards with Bobby Bonilla in the clubhouse, and simultaneously was the best leadoff hitter the Mets would ever know.

#7: John Milner, 1976

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
56 120 25 4 15 78 65 .271 .362 .447 .809 0

Milner always seemed like a sad case to me.  He was a pretty solid hitter who had good patience and decent power for the time.  Surely, he was a better hitter than Ed Kranepool.  Yet the Mets never really gave him a shot.  Whenever Kranepool would go down, or one of their corner outfielders would go down, Milner would step in, hit double digit homers and doubles, walk once every 8-10 plate appearances, and then go right back to the bench.  Alas, Milner came up in the 70’s, where things like walking were not as appreciated, and the things Milner didn’t do (like hit .300 or avoid strikeouts) were held against him.  If Milner had come up today, he’d be seen as a good starter; instead, he was seen as a good fill-in, but nothing more.  Still, this season represents his peak as a Met, and it was a good one; 44 extra base hits in 511 plate appearances is nothing to sneeze at.

#6: Cliff Floyd, 2005

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS SB
85 150 22 2 34 98 63 .273 .358 .505 .863 17

Cliff Floyd, when he was healthy, was a dangerous hitter.  This 2005 proves it; I mean, he even stole 17 bases!  You forget that Floyd was not a one-dimensional slugger.  This was the one year that Floyd managed to stay on the field enough to play a full season, and he delivered in spades, with 34 homers, 22 doubles, a .505 slugging percentage, the aforementioned steals, and 63 walks.  This was Floyd’s last truly good season, as injuries would keep him off the field in 2006 (fortunately, the Mets didn’t miss him too much) and he became a part-time player the past two seasons.  It’s a shame that he was a guy who could never stay healthy; the 2006 Mets might have vanquished the Cardinals if Floyd had more than three at-bats (when he could barely move, no less).

Next: Left Fielders 1-5