MY FAVORITE METS PLAYERS: # 16 THRU # 20 by Tom Brennan
As I noted on St Patty's Day, in the interests of finishing my series of articles ranking my Top 10 Mets Fan Favorites before…ohh…the All Star break, I will now cluster my remaining Tom’s Mets Favorites rankings in groups of 5, with today’s grouping including my favorites 16 through 20. In case you missed it, these were my Top 15 Tom Brennan Fan Favorites:
1. Noah Syndergaard (horseman # 1)
2. Yoenis Cespedes (horseman # 2)
3. Matt Harvey
4. Jake deGrom
5. David Wright
6. Michael Conforto
7. Steve Matz
8. Jeurys Familia
9. Curtis Granderson
10. Lucas Duda
11. Wilmer Flores
12. Travis d'Arnaud
13. Addison Reed
14. Juan Lagares
15. Bartolo Colon
Here goes #’s 16 through 20 (and again, if your order is different than mine, that’s OK, you’re just wrong, but I won’t hold it against you):
16. Neil Walker - if Murphy were still here, I'd rank him far higher than # 16, and I think Neil Walker is better than Murph. So why is he at # 16? As a fan, lack of familiarity due to his having not played with the Mets yet. I expect a solid offensive year with solid pop, and a less adventurous style of play in the field than his predecessor brought to the mix. I have no negative expectation, and instead have high hopes for a close to All Star performance from Neil. Here's hoping he plays like a top 10 fan favorite in 2016. Welcome aboard, Neil.
17. Asdrubal Cabrera - can I say ditto of what I just wrote about Neil Walker about Cabrera? They are very similar, although I expect Walker to field and hit somewhat better than the newly acquired Cabrera. Cabrera and Flores at SS should make that position be improved over what the Mets got from SS in 2015. Welcome aboard, Mr. Cabrera.
18. Hansel Robles - liked Robles a lot since he posted an ERA in Brooklyn in 2012 (regular season and playoffs) of about 1.00. Until he arrived, though, I never realized his fastball had 97 MPH firepower. He actually relieved most of his rookie year quite strongly, but hung a few too many meatballs over the plate that were turned into LONG homers by the opposition. I firmly believe that in 2016, he, like Familia did from 2014 to 2015, will improve, and that he will be a very tough reliever in 2016 who will quick-pitch his way into our hearts in 2016.
19. Antonio Bastardo - Bastardo is a tough lefty reliever who, like Walker and Cabrera above, is only ranked this low in my favorites list because he has yet to throw his first inning as a Met. But with a jaw-dropping 388 Ks in 316 innings pitched in the big leagues, this guy will no doubt shoot up the list and could easily be in my top 10 by Memorial Day. I hated to see him come into games against the Mets when He was part of the opposition; he was an absolutely terrific signing by Sandy Alderson. We have quite a fine bullpen and he is one of the mighty fine reasons why. Career-wise, hitters manage just a buck 99 against Bastardo, and lefties a mere, strikeout-laden, .178. Yes! Bring it!
20. Kevin Plawecki - here is a hometown catcher with solid defensive skills and also considered a good hitter...but he managed just .219 last year for the Mets in 258 plate appearances. As I see it, 3 reasons: 1) he was rushed prematurely to the bigs when Travis d'Arnaud got hurt early in 2015; 2) he developed a sinus condition that required surgery this off season...he did not want to use it as an excuse, but I will do so for him; 3) the jump to the bigs is an adjustment...and the adjustment period is over, and so he will, I bet, hit .260 this year. Another guy I am looking forward to seeing growth in, in what is looking like a BIG 2016.
Twenty down and my final five fan favorites follow - next time, folks