When he was signed by the Mets to a four-year, $60 million contract in the winter between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, Curtis Granderson was coming off a rare injury-riddled year that saw him finish the year just a touch below the league average hitter. That was only the second time he had done that in a full season, and that remains the case today. There was skepticism from some about the signing at the time, even though the Mets’ outfield was a mess, but Granderson was easily worth his contract over the almost-four full seasons that he spent with the Mets. Even this year, which started so poorly for him, he left the Mets with a slash line and wRC+ right in his normal range.
But with Granderson’s Mets career over—at least for now, barring a return in some capacity between now and whenever he calls it a career—it’s as good a time as any to look back and appreciate what he did for the Mets on the field. Here are Granderson’s top ten games by Win Probability Added (WPA) in his time with the Mets. For reference, we’re using Baseball-Reference’s WPA, which may vary slightly from FanGraphs’ numbers at times. And given the nature of WPA, this is a rundown of Granderson’s best work as a hitter. For the purposes of this rundown, we’re only focusing on positive WPA events, but remember that there were other plate appearances mixed in—the outs, basically, or less important positive events—that bring the total down.
1. September 17, 2016, vs. Twins, +74.5% WPA
As the banged-up Mets kept at their Wild Card chase last September, Granderson had his very best game as a Met—and the best performance by any Mets outfielder or DH since the beginning of the 2014 season. Going into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Mets trailed 1-0, Yoenis Cespedes singled in a run to tie the game.
But it went to extras, and in the top of the eleventh, Byron Buxton took Hansel Robles deep to give the Twins a 2-1 lead. Robles got through the rest of that inning, and Granderson led off the bottom of the inning with a game-tying home run to left field (+44% WPA). And then he came up again in the bottom of the twelfth with two outs and nobody on, worked the count full, and hit a walk-off home run to right (+47% WPA). He went 2-for-6 in the game, but those two hits sure did help. Here’s the walk-off.
2. June 27, 2015, vs. Reds, +59.5% WPA
This game didn’t feature quite the dramatic level of that one against the Twins, but it would be hard to match that. This game went thirteen innings, and in total, Granderson went 3-for-5 with two walks. Building up to that WPA was a bit of a slow burn this time around.
He doubled to lead off the bottom of the first (+6% WPA), hit a solo home run in the third to give the Mets a 1-0 lead (+13% WPA), drew a walk in the fifth (+3% WPA), the other walk in the ninth (+5% WPA), reached second base on an error in the eleventh (+12% WPA), and singled to put Dilson Herrera, who later scored the game-winning run on a Lucas Duda single, on third base (+23% WPA).
3. September 8, 2014, vs. Rockies, +51.2% WPA
The 2014 season won’t be remembered nearly as much as the two that followed it, but Granderson’s baseball heroics were in effect on a September night at Citi Field. With the Mets trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth and pinch runner Eric Young Jr. on second base with nobody out, Granderson tripled to tie the game (+51% WPA) and scored immediately thereafter on a Wilmer Flores sacrifice to win it.
4. September 13, 2015, vs. Braves, +40.9% WPA
The first road game in this rundown, this one was a 10-7 Mets win in Atlanta that wasn’t ultimately decided until the tenth innings. The Mets had given up seven runs through eight innings—three from Jon Niese and two each by Tim Stauffer and Dario Alvarez, two guys who you had probably already forgotten were on the 2015 Mets—and trailed 7-4 going into the ninth.
With the Mets down 3-2 in the seventh, Granderson came up with one out and the bases loaded. He singled to score Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Kevin Plawecki and put the Mets ahead 4-3 (+32% WPA). And then he took part in the three-run ninth and tenth innings, drawing a walk ahead of a dramatic two-out, game-tying, three-run home run by Daniel Murphy ninth (+2% WPA). And he walked again in top of the tenth with the bases loaded to increase the Mets’ lead to 9-7 (+8% WPA).
5. September 9, 2016, vs. Braves, +40.2% WPA
During the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the Mets were able to win dramatic games at Turner Field, something they weren’t able to do often over the rest of the course of that stadium’s history. Like the previous game on this list, this one featured a dramatic comeback by the Mets. And in this one, Granderson had a flawless day at the plate, as he went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks in four plate appearances.
The walks came in the first and fourth innings (+3% WPA each). But with the Mets behind 4-0 in the top of the sixth inning, Granderson launched a two-out, two-run home run to cut the Braves’ lead in half (+10% WPA). And when the game got to the top of the eighth, Yoenis Cespedes cut the Braves’ lead to 4-3 with a sacrifice fly just before Granderson singled to score Jose Reyes with the tying run (+24% WPA). He also scored later in that inning with the Mets’ sixth and final run when Michael Conforto was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
6. May 29, 2016, vs. Dodgers, +38.8% WPA
Unlike the rest of the games on this list so far, this one was a loss for the Mets, but you certainly couldn’t blame Granderson. The Mets kept things close despite facing Clayton Kershaw and trailed 2-1 in the eighth when Granderson came up to face reliever Adam Liberatore, who had just taken over for Kershaw, with two outs and a runner on first. He tripled to tie the game (+36% WPA), but the Mets went on to lose it when Jeurys Familia gave up two runs in the top of the ninth and three other Mets went down in order against Kenley Jansen in the bottom of that inning.
7. July 7, 2014, vs. Braves, +38.4% WPA
Braves fans must have a pretty good perception of Granderson’s ability on the field considering how frequently he beat them in big spots in his Mets tenure. In this one, the Mets trailed 3-2 with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the eighth. Granderson took Luis Avilan deep to tie the game (+35% WPA), and the Mets eventually won on a walk-off single by Ruben Tejada in the bottom of the eleventh.
8. October 4, 2015, vs. Nationals, +35.8% WPA
The Mets had already clinched the division, but on the last day of the regular season, the Mets sent the Nationals into their offseason with a loss thanks to Granderson. The game was tied at nothing apiece until Granderson hit a home run in the bottom of the eighth that wound up being the only run scored in the game (+31% WPA).
9. June 11, 2015, vs. Giants, +35.4% WPA
This was another late-game win by the Mets, and Granderson was part of the action in the fifth inning when he singled to put runners on first and third with nobody out (+11% WPA). He scored later in that inning when Michael Cuddyer doubled. But by the bottom of the seventh innings, the Mets were down 4-3, and Granderson singled to score Darrel Ceciliani to tie the game (+16% WPA). And he was hit by a pitch in the ninth (+5% WPA) before eventually scoring on Cuddyer’s walk-off single later that inning. As a quick aside, Cuddyer had +50.3% WPA in that game, his best single-game mark as a Met.
10. April 22, 2016, vs. Braves, +35.3% WPA
And here’s one last win over the Braves for this list. The Mets beat Atlanta by a 6-3 score that day and never trailed, making it one of the least dramatic games on this list. But Granderson drove in five on those runs. He plated four of those on a grand slam in the top of the second inning (+24% WPA) and hit a solo home run for good measure in the top of the fourth (+9% WPA).
Honorable mention: October 12, 2015, vs. Dodgers, NLDS Game 3, +26.2% WPA
Granderson hit three home runs in the World Series as the Mets made their way through the playoffs and to a National League pennant, but his best game in that run by WPA was the rout of the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS at Citi Field. The most-remembered play of that game is probably the laser beam that Yoenis Cespedes sent into the second deck in left field, but Granderson went 2-for-5 with five runs batted in as the Mets won 13-7.
Believe it or not, the Mets trailed 3-0 going into the bottom of the second inning after Matt Harvey surrendered three runs in the top half of the inning. But after the Mets scored one run, Granderson came up with two outs and the bases loaded and hit a bases-clearing double (+30% WPA). The Mets led the game the rest of the way, and they poured it on so much that by the time Granderson hit a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh to make it 13-4 Mets, it didn’t even register as positive WPA (0% WPA).
The first double:
And the second: