Just one year into his four-year contract, Curtis Granderson looked like he might be something of an anchor around the necks of the Mets going forward. A disappointing 2014 season at age 33 led fans to believe the Mets had once again purchased the decline phase of a star player, the empty shell of what once was a valuable baseball player. Nothing against Granderson, who was the consummate professional in 2014, but it would be a surprise to see player in his mid-30's rebuild himself into a star. Against all the odds, that's what the Mets right fielder did in 2015.
With the help of new hitting coach Kevin Long, poached from the Yankees last offseason, Granderson retooled his swing and took his patient approach at the plate up a notch to great results. Left without a regular leadoff hitter since the departure of Jose Reyes after 2011, the Mets nominated Granderson for the job in what was at the time a shocking move (Juan Lagares had batted leadoff most of spring training) and he ran with it, putting up one of the best seasons of his career. Granderson hit .259/.364/.457 for the season and was outstanding after the All-Star break, putting up a .278/.392/.506 line while the Mets played their best ball of the year. A career high walk rate of 13.3% boosted the Mets' right fielder's on base percentage up to .364, just a point shy of his career-high set in 2008 with the Tigers.
Granderson's renaissance at the plate was monumental to the Mets' success in 2015 but he also turned his fortunes around in the field after a hit-or-miss 2014. Mostly due to his poor throwing arm, the defensive metrics hated Granderson's defense in his first season with the Mets but by the eye test, his arm at least looked less awful in 2015 and the metrics backed that up, as he actually managed to post a positive ARM rating by Defensive Runs Saved (+2.9 runs) along with 9 assists. A former center fielder, Granderson's range wasn't a question and combined with the improvement from his arm, the right fielder was a National League Gold Glove finalist.
All in all, 2015 was a wildly successful season for Granderson, who played in 157 of the team's regular season games and was worth 5.1 wins above replacement by Fangraphs' measure. To put that in perspective, the Mets have had one right fielder in their entire history break the 5 WAR mark and that was Darryl Strawberry who did it in three separate seasons (1987, 1988, 1990). Looking back, Granderson might well have been the Mets' MVP in 2015 given he was the only player who was hitting before they made their trades at the deadline. If he can come close to repeating his performance in 2016, the Mets will be very well off.