Sunday, December 30, 2018

Studious Metsimus Presents The Happy/Crappy Recap For 2018

Another year is about to reach its conclusion, Mets fans.  Ray Ramirez is still gone, the Wilpons are still reluctant to break open their piggy banks and the Mets are still a fourth place team - something they've been for six of Citi Field's ten seasons.  In other words, the calendar may be changing, but the Mets haven't really followed suit.  Or have they?

Since Noah Syndergaard ended the 2018 campaign with a complete game shutout, some dead weight has been shown the door (Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak), some new blood has been added (Robinson Canó, Edwin Díaz, Wilson Ramos) and a "Familia" face has returned to his old haunts (the Danza Kuduro guy).  We've shed one last tear of joy for Wilmer Flores, and exhaled because new Rockies infielder Daniel Murphy will only be making one annual trip to Flushing instead of three.

There are still quite a few free agents available for the Mets to pass up on.  Just as there are many American League teams who should show some good ol' Junior Circuit hospitality to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in order to keep them away from the Phillies.

But that's something for 2019.  We're here to talk about 2018 for the final time.  Optimistic Mets fans saw plenty of happy moments in the soon-to-be-over year, while the blue and orange pessimists (and there are plenty of you out there) thought the 2018 campaign was mostly manure.  Let's see what was so happy and crappy about the dearly departed season, shall we?

Two words.  Jacob deGrom.

You can't have a conversation about what made Mets fans happy in 2018 without mentioning deGrom's historic season.  You know the numbers.  1.70 ERA.  269 strikeouts.  And just ten wins in 32 starts.  Some people have compared Jake's 2018 campaign to Bob Gibson's in 1968 and Doc Gooden's in 1985.  DeGrom's season would have been better if it wasn't for those meddling wins.

Both Gibson and Gooden struck out 268 batters in their historic years.  DeGrom fanned one more.

Gibby and Doc pitched to a 1.12 and 1.53 ERA, respectively, in their Cy Young seasons.  The league average ERA in 1968 was 2.99 (or 1.87 higher than Gibson's record-setting mark), while the average N.L. pitcher in 1985 posted a 3.59 ERA (or 2.06 higher than Doctor K's figure).  Jacob deGrom would like Gibson and Gooden to hold his beer, as his 1.70 ERA was 2.32 lower than the league average 4.02 ERA.

Gibson allowed four runs or more in four of his starts in 1968, while Doc saw four men cross the plate in two of his outings in '85.  Only once did deGrom give up more than three runs in a game in 2018, as he ended the year with 29 consecutive starts allowing three runs or fewer, which is a major league record that Gibson and Gooden failed to approach in their stellar campaigns.

Sure, the Mets had breakout seasons from Brandon Nimmo (53 XBH, .404 OBP, .886 OPS) and Zack Wheeler (12-7, 3.31 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 179 Ks) and Michael Conforto returned from his gruesome shoulder injury to post career highs in home runs (28) and RBI (82), but come on.  None of them brought Mets fans out to the ballpark as much as deGrom did.

Every deGrom start was a must-see event, and unfortunately, once the Mets were eliminated from postseason contention (which, contrary to popular belief, was not during the National Anthem on Opening Day), Jacob's starts were the only things Mets fans were looking forward to.

Which brings us to what was crappy about the 2018 campaign.

Two words.  David Wright.

Wright himself wasn't crappy.  In fact, he's arguably the best homegrown position player in franchise history.  But after playing in just 77 out of the Mets' 648 games from 2015 to 2018, Wright finally called it a career after making one final start for the only team he's ever known.

Wright looked to be on his way to a Hall of Fame career before Ray Ramirez, I mean, spinal stenosis got in the way.  One day, he will have a plaque on display in the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum.  Maybe the Mets will even retire No. 5.  But knowing the Mets, they'll probably just take the number out of circulation until Kelvin Torve Jr. is ready to be called up.

"Hey, kid!  Have we got the perfect uniform number for you!"

Anyway, the really crappy guy here is Peter O'Brien, the Marlins' first baseman who caught Wright's foul pop-up near the first base stands rather than slipping on an imaginary banana peel in order to give Wright a chance to get one final hit in a Mets uniform.  What is it about the Marlins playing the Mets in New York during the season's final three games that cause such crappy moments to happen?

On that note, I hope someone got O'Brien a copy of "How to Catch Pop-Ups at Citi Field" by respected author Luis Castillo as a stocking stuffer.

That's all she wrote for 2018, which means the 2019 season is just around the corner.  But before you put up one of those new calendars that someone got you for the holidays because they had no idea what else to get you and they've never heard of gift cards, let's pause to give credit to those hardworking Mets bloggers who still find the time to write about their favorite team even though most people have switched over to doing podcasts.

Respected and long-running blogs such as A Gal For All Seasons, Faith and Fear in Flushing, Mets Merized Online, MetsMinors.Net, Amazin' Avenue, Metstradamus, Remembering Shea, The Daily Stache, Mets360, Rising Apple, Mets Plus, Good Fundies, MetSilverman, Converted Mets Fan and Mets Daddy, just to name a few (or 15, to be exact) always have interesting stories to share, day or night.  Check them out some time.  I'd say "tell 'em Ed sent you" but I'm not sure all of them know who I am.

From all of us here at Studious Metsimus Headquarters, which is pretty much just a desk, a computer, a keyboard that needs a new battery and a guard cat (we couldn't afford a guard dog), we'd like to thank you for your continued support of this site and wish you all the best in 2019.  And when I say "we", I'm talking about Ed Leyro (the guy at the desk), Joey Beartran (the roving reporter/culinary expert who would like his computer back so he can order dinner) and Taryn "The Coop" Cooper (who would invent new curse words if I asked her to get a battery for the keyboard instead of just getting it myself).

And remember, Mets fans.  Winning isn't everything.  It's just the thing Jacob deGrom can't do whenever he pitches eight innings of one-run ball.


The Studious Metsimus crew will be at a ballpark near you in 2019.  (Ed Leyro/Studious Metsimus)

No comments: