Today we present the Piazza for Best Position Player. It is the seventh and final award we are handing out. Much like the Piazza for Best Starting Pitcher, the winner today should be pretty obvious, as should the second-place finisher.
The nominees for Best Position Player are:
Marlon Byrd: Byrd looked done after a 2012 season during which he hit .210/.243/.245 in his age-34 season. So it seemed pretty inconsequential when the Mets signed him to a minor-league deal with a spring-training invite last offseason. Even after making the Opening Day roster, he struggled in April, and it seemed like he wouldn't be long for the team. However, he started hitting home runs in May, and at the All-Star break he had his OPS up to .818. Byrd continued to mash in the second half, and the Mets traded him to the Pirates before the August 31 waiver trade deadline. Byrd's final stats with the Mets: .285/.330/.518 with 21 home runs in 464 plate appearances. Pretty darn good; he deserved his fan club:
Juan Lagares: The winner of the Piazza for Best Rookie was one of the Mets' most valuable players, according to both fWAR and rWAR. However, much of Lagares' value came from his defense. His OPS of of .633 was well below the league average of .723 for center fielders. Still, his emergence was a pleasant surprise, and it seems like the 2014 starting job is his to lose.
Daniel Murphy: Murphy had a sub-.700 OPS in late August but a strong final five weeks bumped him up to a respectable .733 mark for the season. He led the team in games played with 161. No other player appeared in more than 121 games. Murphy is a slightly-above-average hitter, a below-average defender at second base, and an overall average player. Maybe bump him up to above-average if you like his defense more than I do. Average is perfectly useful, even at the $5.8 million he is expected to fetch in arbitration.
Josh Satin: Satin came in third place in the Best Rookie voting and received a down-ballot vote for Best Position Player. He had just 221 plate appearances, but his OPS of .781 was third-best on the team (minimum 200 plate appearances). It remains to be seen if he can maintain that performance over a larger sample size. I'd guess no, but he doesn't have to in order to be a useful reserve or platoon player.
David Wright: Change this award to Best Position Player in Mets History and Wright would take it home with ease. One day these awards will be called The Wrights. Going by adjusted rate stats like OPS+ and wRC+, Wright actually had the best offensive season of his career. That's part of the reason why the hamstring injury that forced him to miss seven weeks was so unfortunate; he was denied the chance to put up career-best numbers over a full season. Despite playing in just 112 games, Wright led Mets position players in both fWAR (6.0) and rWAR (5.9) and it wasn't even close. Can someone please surround this living legend with some good players?
And the Piazza for Best Position Player goes to...
David Wright! Mike Piazza stopped by to present the award to Captain Wright:
Here is how everyone voted:
|Alex Nelson||David Wright||Marlon Byrd||Daniel Murphy|
|Brock Mahan||David Wright||Marlon Byrd||Juan Lagares|
|Bryan Grosnick||David Wright||Marlon Byrd||Daniel Murphy|
|Chris McShane||David Wright||Marlon Byrd||Daniel Murphy|
|Eric Simon||David Wright||Marlon Byrd||Juan Lagares|
|James Kannengieser||David Wright||Marlon Byrd||Daniel Murphy|
|Matthew Callan||David Wright||Marlon Byrd||Josh Satin|
|Rob Castellano||David Wright||Marlon Byrd||Juan Lagares|
|Steve Schreiber||David Wright||Marlon Byrd||Daniel Murphy|
And here is the final vote tally, using a 3-2-1 points system:
Now it's your turn to vote. We'll summarize the community awards in a post tomorrow.