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, #22, Dave Magadan:
Yeah, I know, Dave Magadan at #22. I should probably explain this one, seeing that the most home runs he hit in a season was 6, and the Mets once tried to get him to take a pay cut in arbitration. (They settled on a slight raise.) Magadan’s case comes down to three things: his ability to get on-base, his defense, and his clutchitude.
1. Magadan had a .391 on base percentage as a Met, during a time when the league average was .323. That’s great, 21% percent better than average. His power was bad for a first basemen, but he hit enough doubles to keep his slugging percentage around the league average. He held his own as an offensive first baseman, just not in the way most first basemen go about it.
2. Total Zone estimates that Magadan saved 18 runs with his glove, which puts him behind only Keith Hernandez and John Olerud among Mets first basemen.
3. Magadan had some good clutch hitting seasons with the Mets, particularly 1990, the year he batted .328 overall. That season, Magadan hit .406 with a .550 slugging percentage with men on base, and .391 with a .507 slugging in late and close situations. Batting second and not starting for the first two months, he wound up with 76 RBI in just 451 plate appearances, which would be almost 100 over a full season. Not bad for just 6 home runs.
Magadan is hurt most by averaging just 100 games a year with the Mets: he was stuck behind Keith Hernandez at first and Howard Johnson at third. Had he simply played more, he would rank much higher.
Top 10 Mets, ranked by wins above replacement per 700 plate appearances:
- 6.5 – John Olerud
- 6.2 – Carlos Beltran
- 5.8 – Darryl Strawberry
- 5.0 – Keith Hernandez
- 5.0 – David Wright
- 4.6 – Edgardo Alfonzo
- 4.4 – Mike Piazza
- 4.3 – Dave Magadan
- 4.2 – John Stearns
- 3.8 – Jose Reyes
The cut off here is 2000 trips to the plate. If you make it lower, Lance Johnson, Lenny Dykstra, and Bernard Gilkey all show up in the top ten. If you set the minimum to 100 trips to the plate, Mike Jacobs jumps to the #1 spot.
And if you set the minimum to 60 plate appearances, R.A. Dickey is #1. Let’s set it to 60.