The New York Mets finished 2016 with a record of 87-75 and lost in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The 2016 season saw the Mets make their ninth playoff appearance in franchise history. The team received valuable contributions from various players over the course of the season. Last Word On Baseball writer John Jackson will count down the top ten most valuable Mets on a weekly basis. He will also analyze the value they brought to the team this past season. Number 10 was Steven Matz, number nine was Neil Walker, number eight was Jacob deGrom, number seven was Curtis Granderson, number six was Asdrubal Cabrera, number five was Jeurys Familia, number four was Addison Reed, number three was Bartolo Colon, and number two is Yoenis Cespedes.
Top Ten Most Valuable Mets of 2016
2. Yoenis Cespedes
In 2015, the Mets were 53-50 and two games behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the National League East. Then, they traded for Yoenis Cespedes. While they had to lose Luis Cessa and 2016 Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer to the Detroit Tigers, Cespedes was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Mets. He helped the team finish 90-72 and as NL East champs. During that 37-22 run, Cespedes hit 17 home runs, drove in 44 RBI, and slashed .287/.337/.604/.941 in 230 at bats and 57 games. Even though pitching and Daniel Murphy helped carry the team to the Pennant, Cespedes contributed two home runs and eight RBI. Most importantly, he was the key reason they were in the playoffs in the first place.
Yoenis Cespedes was re-signed in the offseason to a three-year, $75 million contract to help the team win more games, and that’s exactly what he did.
Cespedes picked up where he left off in 2015. He had a terrific April, as he hit .294/.360/.676/1.036 with seven home runs, 23 RBI, and 14 runs scored. He had a hit in 14 of the 18 games he played in. The only real negative was the fact that he missed four games, but the Mets still won those contests.
Cespedes had a larger sample size in May; his 103 at-bats were the most he had during any month in 2016. That is mainly due to the fact that it was the only month in which he didn’t miss a game. His longest hitting drought of the month was four games, which tied his longest drought of the season. Overall, he took a step back, but still had great numbers. He clubbed eight home runs, drove in 14 RBI, scored 17 runs, and slashed .262/.342/.544/.886.
In June, Cespedes made better contact, but displayed less power, as shown from his .315/.374/.494/.868 slash line. He had 28 hits in 89 at-bats, including 10 multi-hit games. The 28 hits and 10 multi-hit games were the highest such marks of any month for him in 2016. Regarding his power, he only hit four home runs and four doubles.
July and August
July and August were similar months for Cespedes. He was great when he played, but he struggled to stay on the field. Between both months, he played in 33 games while missing 22.
In July, Cespedes played in 20 games while missing six. In 66 at-bats, he hit three home runs, drove in 12 runners, scored eight runs, and slashed .303/.392/.530/.923. He also hit six doubles, his best monthly mark of the season.
Cespedes missed more time in August, as he played in only 13 games while missing 16. He contributed a lot in those 13 games, however, as he hit five home runs, notched 10 RBI, and scored eight runs. He only went hitless in three games, as was evident by his .340/.400/.680/1.080 slash line.
September and October
In September, Cespedes got back on track health-wise, as he only missed two games. The positives were that he scored 15 runs and drove in 18; both were the second highest marks of any month for Cespedes on the season. The downfalls of the month were that he only hit four home runs in 98 at bats and only slashed .224/.310/.398/.708.
There were only two regular season games in October for the Mets; Cespedes played in one and went 0-5. In the Wild Card game, Cespedes also went hitless, finishing the night with an 0-4 performance.
La Potencia may have ended the season on a sour note, but his season as a whole was excellent. In 132 games and 479 at-bats, he hit .280/.354/.530/.884 with 72 runs scored, 134 hits, 25 doubles, one triple, 31 home runs, 86 RBI, 51 walks, and three stolen bases.
Cespedes was named to his second All-Star Game and his first as a starter. While he ended up not starting so he could avoid potential injury, he garnered the second-most votes by an outfielder, with 2,816,146. He may have missed 30 games, but his impact in the 132 that he did play was felt. By the end of the season, he was named a Silver Slugger and ranked eighth in the National League Most Valuable Player voting.
Cespedes brought a value to the Mets that is hard to replicate. In the 132 games in which he played, the Mets went 74-58. On the other hand, the Mets went 13-17 in games that he did not play.
Why He Deserves Second on This List
There is no doubt that Cespedes deserves a spot in the top two. What he accomplished in 132 games was far more than any Mets hitter in 2016. His slash line was equal to or better than that of Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera, the only other qualifiers on the team. Granderson and Cabrera both made this list, and in fewer games Cespedes was still able to hit more home runs and drive in more RBI than both. He led the entire team in those categories as well.
The real argument isn’t why Cespedes was ranked in the top two, but why he wasn’t ranked number one. There is one more Met to follow next week, and it isn’t any surprise. Still, the justification for ranking Cespedes as the second most valuable Met of 2016 will be left to next week, when the number one most valuable Met of 2016 is revealed, discussed, and analyzed.