MY FAVORITE METS PLAYERS: #9 CURTIS GRANDERSON: Tom Brennan
Do a quick word association game with me. If I say "gentleman," you say what? If I say “pro's pro”, you say what?
I say Mack, but this article is not about him. Sorry, Mack.
No, when I hear “gentleman and pro's pro”, I immediately think of one guy - Curtis Granderson, the Grandy Man.
Grandy is only #9 on my Mets fan list, and he was gentleman enough to know that what I'm really saying is I love Grandy, man, I just love 8 other Mets a little bit more.
Long gone are the days you'd get to Mets #9 and think, I really don't like this guy, but SOMEBODY has to be #9.
But this is 2016, and I love this whole team, frankly, so for players who are #10 or lower, you're all great. Fabulous. You will make the Mets great again.
Grandy hits 84 homers in the span of two straight Yankee seasons, then has an injury-riddled final Yankee year, and then signed a lucrative 4 year deal with the Metsies starting in 2014.
Problem was, in 2014, right field at Citifield was a few acres larger than similar real estate in Yankee Stadium, so many a Grandy fly ball that would have flown out of the house that George built instead became a routine, go him fly out in Citi. He also had less-than-Ruthian hitters surrounding him. So 2014 was pretty awful for Grandy and it led me to wonder at the time if his age and this park would make this a bad Mets signing.
Three things happened, though.
1. In the off season, Mets management moved the right field fences in once again...still kind of deep, but helpful.
2. Second, Grandy's old hitting coach, Kevin Long, came in to rework some of that old Grandy magic.
3. Third, he had his adjustment-to- the-NL year behind him.
4. OK, a 4th: Cespedes and some other professional hitters showed up for the last 2 months, and having a bunch of bona fide hitters makes it SO much easier.
So after a great spring training and a hard-luck April, our newly-minted lead-off hitter in a lesser-than-Grand Canyon setting had a Grand Season, Simply Grand. Even St. Patty thought ‘twas grand.
Curtis the G Man ended up with .259/.364/.457 in 157 games covering 682 plate appearances, and his 91 walks was also a very impressive total. Grandy scored a healthy 98 runs, and would have easily eclipsed the 100 runs scored mark too if he had people capable of driving him in from April through July.
With a surrounding cast of pro hitters starting in about the start of August, he scored a blistering 45 runs after July. He also smacked 26 homers as a lead off man, a terrific total any Met fan would welcome in any year – including 2016, please.
In the playoffs and World Series, Grandy reminded me at the plate of a great Met from the 1980s, Keith Hernandez. I used to absolutely marvel how Keith could not swing at so many pitches that were no more than an inch or so off the plate. Grandy was similarly zoned in. Great eye.
And let's not forget the VERY competent fielding job in RF in 2015 by CG. AOK.
The man is all class, and was a bargain at $16MM (or thereabouts) in 2015. May he be a similar bargain in his last 2 years under this contract.
My # 9 favorite – but # 1 (OK, tied with Wright) in class on this ball club.
# 10 is selected in my next article – Paul Bunyan would approve of that pick.