In another abysmal season for the New York Mets, there were a few bright spots worth mentioning.
Injuries to key players and poor play from Michael Conforto (contract year), Jeff McNeil, and Francisco Lindor, who was acquired in an off-season trade, resulted in a third place finish in the NL East (77-85). As is a common occurrence for Mets fans, there was a lot of hope with the team at the beginning of the season. In fact, the team spent 103 days in first place: the most days in MLB history a team had been in first and finished with a losing record.
Still, despite the unraveling of the team, including issues in the dugout and backlash from the team directed at the fans, there were several bright spots this season worth noting.
1. Aaron Loup – The 33-year-old relief pitcher signed a contract with the Mets on Jan. 30, 2021 on a one-year deal worth $3 million. Loup became a stable and reliable man to come out of the bullpen and stay poised and get out of difficult situations. He finished the season with an ERA of .95 in 56.2 innings pitched. entered the game in difficult situations during most of the season. The season was historic for the Mets as Loup became the first pitcher to throw even 20 innings with a sub-one ERA.It was only the eight season since 1991 in which a pitcher threw at least 50 innings and recorded an ERA of .95 or below, per SNYtv Twitter’s page.
2. Marcus Stroman – Following a foregone year in 2020 due to COVID-19, Stroman filled the No. 2 position in the Mets’ starting pitching rotation. Despite the 33-year-old right-handed pitcher missing last season, the Mets extended him a qualifying offer of $18.9 million. He finished the season with a 3.02 ERA over 33 starts and provided stability, especially after Jacob deGrom’s injury. He finished 2021 with a 1.15 WHIP and 158 strikeouts. Although he had a strong season, he was unable to provide length in his starts, averaging fewer than six innings per start (179 innings total). The Mets organization now has a decision to make about whether the team will re-sign him or let him walk for a better opportunity.
3. Pete Alonso – In his third season in MLB, Alonso’s performance was what was expected for the one-time All-Star and two-time Home Run Derby champion. Despite some struggles occasionally at the plate, the slugger finished the season with the most home runs on the team with a convincing 37 dingers (next highest was 20 by Francisco Lindor). In more than 550 at bats, Alonso recorded 94 RBI with a .862 OPS and .262 AVG. He also significantly improved at first base compared to last year.
4. Brandon Nimmo – The center fielder known for his love of the game and smile during any situation exceeded expectations during otherwise lackluster performances for the Mets this season. Although he only played in 92 games and had 325 at bats, he recorded eight home runs and 28 RBI with a .292 ERA. He was clutch when the Mets needed him to be, especially after the team failed to snag George Springer during the offseason. Nimmo had an OPS of .838 and became the defensive player the Mets needed him to be.
Photo: Bill Kostroun/New York Post
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