#19 – Sid Fernandez: Second Best Mets

Opening Day 2011 will be the 50th Opening Day in Mets history. To honor that, around here we’ll be counting down the top 50 Mets in team history, one every weekday from now until we’ve done ‘em all. Today, #19, Sid Fernandez:

Fernandez, 23, is a Hawaiian of Portuguese and Irish descent who is as unhurried and jovial as residents of that island state are purported to be. Indeed, he wears Hawaiian shirts into the clubhouse, and his mother sends Polynesian delicacies to him and his teammates on the road. “When he first signed with us his mother wondered if he’d need a sweater,” says Mets public relations director Jay Horwitz.

- Sports Illustrated, August 1986

The team of second best Mets — that is, the second best player from each position, and the 6-10th best starters, and the second best closer — is as follows:

  • C- John Stearns
  • 1B – John Olerud
  • 2B – Wally Backman
  • SS – Bud Harrelson
  • 3B- Howard Johnson
  • LF – Kevin McReynolds
  • CF – Mookie Wilson
  • RF – Rusty Staub

And the pitchers:

  • P – David Cone
  • P – Sid Fernandez
  • P – Ron Darling
  • P – Johan Santana
  • P – Rick Reed
  • CP – Jesse Orosco

This would be a more consistent team than the third best Mets team, and a better one, but I’m not sure if it would be much better; the first team would beat the pants off both. It looks like 92 wins to me. There are a handful of players in the lineup here — Bud Harrelson, John Stearns, Mookie Wilson — who were solid players, good defenders, but not necessarily stars. No one jumps out as the obvious #3 and 4 hitters — everyone feels like they should be batting second or fifth — but everyone can hit a little bit, even if there is no obvious MVP candidate. If this team is going to score runs, they would have to do so as a machine, moving the lineup along piece by piece. The fielding should be a little above average, as there is enough defense here to cover for the lackluster Staub and Johnson; Olerud, Harrelson, and Wilson are all pluses. Not to mention, just looking at the names, this would be a fun team to watch.

Being the Mets, the pitching far outpaces the hitting, of course. Santana and Cone have won Cy Youngs, while the other three, Fernandez, Darling, and Reed, have been All Stars. Based solely on the strength of that pitching, this would be a playoff team year in and year out. I’m thinking they would be a lot like last season’s San Francisco Giants: play enough defense and score enough runs to win by one or two runs every night. And like the Giants, you wouldn’t want to face them in a short playoff series. The second best Mets could win the World Series, but probably not every year.

I’m going to assume you can guess the “first best” Mets’ team at this point, but I’ll put them in another post anyway.

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3 Comments

Filed under Mets, Words

3 responses to “#19 – Sid Fernandez: Second Best Mets

  1. Hm… Wilson-Backman were often the Mets’ 1-2 hitters anyway. Maybe Olerud-HoJo-McReynolds-Staub-Stearns-Harrelson?

    Wow, this team needs some bats. Really good rotation though.

    • Patrick Flood

      It’s not a terrible lineup, just one devoid of power. Except for Harrelson, and to a lesser extent Wilson, everyone can get on base, which helps.

      • True, and you could drop Mookie down and move everyone up a notch. (Not sure about HoJo in the three hole, maybe swap him and McReynolds, but it’s much of a muchness.) There’s a bit of pop in the middle, not a lot but it might be enough. But man I’d be sorely tempted to try to move someone to get Darryl off the Best Mets team.

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