While the Mets’ offense has struggled this year, the team has excelled in one rather obscure offensive category: production from its pitchers. Mets pitchers lead the National League in offensive fWAR and wRC+, and are second in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.
Jon Niese is leading the way with a .227/.292/.273 batting line (64 wRC+), with two RBI, three runs scored, and a double. In his 15 major league plate appearances, Noah Syndergaard has looked extremely impressive with the bat, collecting four hits—including a monster home run—and a 3-for-3 day at the plate. Even Bartolo Colon has improved, as his four hits are already twice as many as he hit all of last year.
In celebration of Mets pitchers’ recent success at the dish—"success" being defined loosely here—let’s revisit the 10 best hitting seasons all-time by Mets pitchers, ranked by offensive fWAR.
10. Sid Fernandez, 1989
Fernandez was one of the Mets’ better hitting pitchers, hitting at least .200 in four separate seasons in New York. In 1989, El Sid hit his first and only major league home run, and finished with a .211/.233/.296 batting line (52 wRC+), one home run, eight RBI, two runs scored, and three doubles.
9. R.A. Dickey, 2010
R.A. Dickey is a true renaissance man. Aside from being a literature buff and a Star Wars aficionado, the righty throws a mean knuckleball, fields his position well, and can even handle a bat. In 2010, his first year as Met, Dickey hit a respectable .255/.296/.294 (64 wRC+), with five RBI and seven runs scored.
8. Jon Niese, 2012
Since being called up to the majors in 2008, Niese has been arguably the Mets’ best hitting pitcher. During that time, Niese has by far the highest offensive fWAR of any Mets pitcher and, among those with at least 30 plate appearances, only Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jacob deGrom have higher wRC+ (in far smaller sample sizes, mind you). Niese’s best year with the bat was in 2012, when the lefty hit .218/.295/.218 (51 wRC+), with two RBI and eight runs scored. It was one of four seasons, including this one, that Niese posted an OBP of at least .250.
7. Jason Isringhausen, 1996
Isringhuasen’s days a starter were short lived, but he made the most of them with his bat. In 1996, his only full season in a major league rotation, Izzy hit an impressive .255/.291/.412 (84 wRC+), with two home runs, nine RBI, five runs scored, and two doubles. It was one of only six multi-home-run seasons by a Mets pitcher, and his wRC+ was the highest single-season mark of any Mets pitcher with at least 30 plate appearances.
6. Mike Hampton, 2000
Hampton is one of the least surprising members of this list. Always considered a strong hitting pitcher, Hampton had a remarkable five-year run from 1998 to 2002 in which he was virtually a league-average hitter, posting a .296/.339/.430 batting line (95 wRC+). While his 2000 season—his only with the Mets—was by far his worst year offensively during that stretch, he still hit .274/.313/.274 (56 wRC+), with eight RBI and seven runs scored. Hampton mashed seven home runs in Colorado the following year, and then hit a ridiculous .344/.354/.516 (112 wRC+) with three home runs in 2002.
5. Tom Glavine, 2004
Like Fernandez and Niese, Glavine was another solid left-handed hitting pitcher. In his five years in New York, Glavine hit at least .200 three separate times. The best of those seasons was in 2004, when Glavine hit .204/.328/.241 (62 wRC+), with eight RBI, five runs scored, and two doubles.
4. Ron Darling, 1988
While Darling didn’t enjoy the consistent offensive success—again, relatively speaking—that many others on this list did, he had a respectable year with the bat in 1988. That year, the righty hit .220/.229/.317 (56 wRC+), with four RBI, four runs scored, four doubles, and the only two triples of his career. Darling smacked his only two career home runs the following season.
3. Sid Fernandez, 1988
In the first of his back-to-back seasons to make this list, Fernandez hit .250/.308/.286 (78 wRC+), with nine RBI, one run scored, and two doubles. He finished his career with third-highest total offensive fWAR of any pitcher in Mets history, behind only Dwight Gooden and Tom Seaver.
2. Dwight Gooden, 1985
Gooden was arguably the best hitting pitcher the Mets ever had. In his 10 seasons with significant playing time in Flushing, Doc hit at last .200 in seven of them. His "breakout year" offensively was in 1985, when the righty hit .226/.265/.280 (56 wRC+), with one home run, nine RBI, 11 runs scored, and two doubles.
1. Dwight Gooden, 1992
Doc’s best season with the bat was in 1992. That year, he finished with a .264/.274/.375 batting line (82 wRC+), with one home run, nine RBI, eight runs scored, three doubles, and a triple. Doc’s seven career home runs, 65 RBI, and 3.8 offensive fWAR with the Mets all rank first in franchise history.
Tom Seaver and Walt Terrell were the only Mets pitchers to hit three home runs in a season; Seaver did it in 1972 (.146/.191/.303, 42 wRC+), while Terrell did it 11 years later in 1983 (.182/.200/.409, 64 wRC+). Meanwhile, Mark Bomback and Rick Aguilera were the only two Mets pitchers not on this list to post seasons of at least 70 wRC+ in at least 30 plate appearances: In 1980, his only year in New York, Bomback finished with a solid .233/.313/.302 batting line (80 wRC+). Aguilera, in 44 plate appearances in 1985, hit .278/.297/.333 (79 wRC+).