Last night, Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson were named the MVPs of the National and American Leagues, respectively. While no Met won the award, Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson received a handful of votes. Here are the four most compelling candidates for the Mets' most valuable player of the 2015 regular season:
deGrom was clearly the Mets' best starting pitcher in 2015. Among Mets pitchers with at least 10 starts, deGrom led the staff with a 2.54 ERA (69 ERA-), a 2.70 FIP (70 FIP-), and 5.3 fWAR. He was second only to Noah Syndergaard with 9.66 K/9, third to Bartolo Colon and Matt Harvey with 1.79 BB/9, and first with just 0.75 HR/9. deGrom's adjusted ERA and FIP were actually the sixth- and fifth-best marks, respectively, among all qualified pitchers in baseball. His strikeout and walk rates both ranked ninth, his fWAR 11th, and his home run rate 21st.
deGrom led all Mets—position players included—in fWAR, ahead of runner-up Curtis Granderson's 5.1. The righty's performance earned him a spot as the Mets' sole representative on the National League All-Star team and well-deserved recognition as one of the game's best pitchers.
Granderson's 5.1 fWAR were the second most on the team, and by far the most among position players. The right fielder hit .259/.364/.457 (132 wRC+) with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 98 runs scored, 33 doubles, and 11 stolen bases in an impressive bounceback season after a disappointing 2014 campaign. He was also brilliant with the glove, leading all Mets with 12 defensive runs saved and finishing second to Michael Conforto with a 5.1 UZR. Perhaps most importantly, Granderson was one of the only productive hitters in a weak Mets lineup for long stretches of time before the team acquired help at the deadline, and was an important catalyst at the top of the order.
Familia had a breakout year after being thrust into the closer role following Jenrry Mejia's suspension. In his 78.0 innings of work, Familia pitched to an outstanding 1.85 ERA (50 ERA-) and a 2.74 FIP (71 FIP-), with 9.92 K/9, 2.19 BB/9, 0.69 HR/9, and 1.6 fWAR. He also tied Armando Benitez for the franchise record of 43 saves, and blew just five, three of which came right out of the All-Star break.
Just as importantly, Familia thrived in clutch spots: Among Mets with at least 10 innings pitched, Familia averaged the highest leverage index upon entering the game (1.55), as well as the highest overall leverage index per appearance (1.66). Due to his success in those crucial situations, he also led the team with a 3.04 win probably added. Familia has emerged as one of the game's elite relievers and provided stability to a Mets bullpen that was otherwise in flux.
Perhaps no other player embodied and catalyzed the Mets' mid-season turnaround as much as Yoenis Cespedes did. When Cespedes joined the Mets on July 31, the team was 53-50 with a .515 winning percentage, and two games behind the division-rival Washington Nationals. After joining the Mets, the outfielder went on an absolute tear, hitting .287/.337/.604 (157 wRC+) with an incredible 17 home runs, 44 RBI, 39 runs scored, 14 doubles, four triples, and 2.7 fWAR in just 57 games as a Met. During that time, the Mets went 37-22, good for a .627 winning percentage, and surged past the Nationals to win the National League East by seven games. Cespedes was so good with the Mets and played such a big role in making them a playoff team that, for a while, there was serious buzz around the game that not only could he be the team's MVP, but the MVP of the National League as well.
Was Cespedes a Met long enough to be considered their MVP? Could a reliever who threw fewer than 80.0 innings even be in that conversation? Who was more valuable to the Mets: their ace or their best position player? Let us know what you think!