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UltiMET of the Millennium Madness: Round of 32

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The first round didn’t produce many upsets, but the Round of 32 features some difficult matchups.

New York Yankees vs New York Mets Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

We just spent the better part of three weeks reliving some horrific memories from our New York Mets fandom as we voted on the biggest villain in franchise history (congratulations again to Fred and Jeff Wilpon. It was a truly well-deserved win.) We got tired of dwelling on the bad, so we thought it was time to turn our attention to better memories. As a result, we brainstormed some ideas over at Amazin’ Avenue HQ on how to participate in something far more pleasant. The idea of doing a bracket for all-time Mets seemed pretty obvious but also a little bit played out, so we instead turned our sights to focusing on recent players.

Introducing the UltiMET of the Millennium Madness tournament! Over the next three weeks, we will see who really was the best player to don the orange and blue since the year 2000 began. We came up with 68 players who have left a mark (big and small) on the team, and we’ll have the Amazin’ Avenue community vote to see who moves on each time.

For simplicity and for neatness, we broke down the brackets into four five-year spans: 2000-2004, 2005-2009, 2010-2014, and 2015-2019. Conveniently, this translated roughly to the Mike Piazza era, the early David Wright era, the later David Wright/early Citi Field era, and the Jacob deGrom/2015 NL Champions era. As a general rule, we tried to focus on players whose impact was felt within those years, so if a player made their mark mostly in 1997-1999, you may not see them in the 2000 bracket. We tried to stick players within the time frame where they made the most impact, but took some liberties in places in order to ensure we didn’t leave off players we wanted to see in the tournament.

Unsurprisingly, the first round went roughly about how you would have expected it from looking at the bracket. There were few upsets to be found, and the best players generally prevailed. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to some fan favorites (Benny Agbayani, Ty Wigginton, J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, etc.), but that’s the way it goes.

In the 2000-2004 region, the biggest surprise came in the 1 vs. 16 match-up (no, Jay Payton did not pull off the UMBC vs. Virginia-style upset). With 313 votes counted, Mike Piazza moved on with 100% of the vote...but Payton managed one lone tally in the contest, depriving the Hall of Famer of being the only person to move on in unanimous fashion. No word yet on whether Steve Sommers will invite the lone Payton voter on to his show to berate him, or whether he will be invited to explain his vote in a future Amazin’ Avenue article.

The lone upset came when 10 seed Turk Wendell snuck by closer Armando Benitez (fresh off his appearance in the villains bracket) with 54% of the vote (168 to 142) in our closest competition of the round. His win earns him a match with Edgardo Alfonzo after he had no trouble beating Agbayani with 96% of the vote (300 to 13). Lefty Al Leiter had little difficulty beating the slow-working Steve Trachsel, while Mike Hampton devastated Tom Glavine to move on (word is Tom was merely disappointed with the result). Robin Ventura topped Wigginton to set up a match with John Franco.

In the 2005-2009 region, David Wright moved on with 99% of the vote (278 to 2) against Fernando Tatis (thank to him and to Fernando Tatis Jr. for voting in our poll), and will face Endy Chavez, whose historic catch helped him defeat Paul Lo Duca with 70% of the vote (195 to 85) in the only upset of the region. Elsewhere, Billy Wagner, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Cliff Floyd, and Carlos Beltran each won with anywhere from 81% to 96% of the vote. The most interesting match-up will be Martinez against Wagner, with the should-be Hall of Famer taking on the already-elected Hall of Famer.

In the 2010-2014 region, Johan Santana made quick work of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, advancing with 99% of the vote (272 to 3) to face Juan Lagares, who pulled off the upset against Jonathon Niese with 61% of the vote (166 to 107). There were no close contests elsewhere to be found in the region, as Zack Wheeler, Lucas Duda, Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey, Daniel Murphy, and R.A. Dickey each advanced with at least 89% of the vote in their respective matches. This bracket poses the most unpredictable path forward, as Dickey, The Good First Baseman, and Big Sexy all stand a decent chance to dethrone the top seed.

In the 2015-2019 region, Jacob deGrom defeated Jerry Blevins, who expressed disappointment with his tournament seeding. While his protest did gain him seven votes, it wasn’t enough to help him pull off the ultimate upset against the reigning two-time Cy Young Award winner (maybe next time Jerry! We still love you). Jake will face fan favorite Wilmer Flores, who had a not-so-surprising upset against Jeurys Familia after gathering 78% of the vote (217 to 60). The only remotely close contest in the rest of the bracket was Curtis Granderson out-smiling Brandon Nimmo with 69% of the vote (194 to 86). It was a tough draw for the happiest man in baseball, but we have no doubt he’ll be a big player in any future tournament should we hold a 2020-2024 region. The Round of 32 in this region -features some impossibly-tough calls, including Pete Alonso against the aforementioned Granderson, Noah Syndergaard against Jeff McNeil, and Michael Conforto against Yoenis Cespedes.

Voting for the Round of 32 is now open until Monday, April 20! Cast your vote to determine who moves on to the Sweet Sixteen!

2000-2004

Poll

1 vs. 8: Mike Piazza vs. Todd Zeile

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    Mike Piazza
    (278 votes)
  • 1%
    Todd Zeile
    (4 votes)
282 votes total Vote Now

Poll

4 vs. 5: Robin Ventura vs. John Franco

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Robin Ventura
    (128 votes)
  • 53%
    John Franco
    (147 votes)
275 votes total Vote Now

Poll

3 vs. 6: Al Leiter vs. Mike Hampton

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Al Leiter
    (260 votes)
  • 6%
    Mike Hampton
    (17 votes)
277 votes total Vote Now

Poll

2 vs. 10: Edgardo Alfonzo vs. Turk Wendell

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    Edgardo Alfonzo
    (275 votes)
  • 1%
    Turk Wendell
    (5 votes)
280 votes total Vote Now

2005-2009

Poll

1 vs. 9: David Wright vs. Endy Chavez

This poll is closed

  • 99%
    David Wright
    (280 votes)
  • 0%
    Endy Chavez
    (1 vote)
281 votes total Vote Now

Poll

4 vs. 5: Pedro Martinez vs. Billy Wagner

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Pedro Martinez
    (191 votes)
  • 31%
    Billy Wagner
    (87 votes)
278 votes total Vote Now

Poll

3 vs. 6: Jose Reyes vs. Carlos Delgado

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Jose Reyes
    (200 votes)
  • 28%
    Carlos Delgado
    (79 votes)
279 votes total Vote Now

Poll

2 vs. 7: Carlos Beltran vs. Cliff Floyd

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Carlos Beltran
    (253 votes)
  • 9%
    Cliff Floyd
    (26 votes)
279 votes total Vote Now

2010-2014

Poll

1 vs. 9: Johan Santana vs. Juan Lagares

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Johan Santana
    (270 votes)
  • 4%
    Juan Lagares
    (13 votes)
283 votes total Vote Now

Poll

4 vs. 5: Lucas Duda vs. Zack Wheeler

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Lucas Duda
    (165 votes)
  • 41%
    Zack Wheeler
    (117 votes)
282 votes total Vote Now

Poll

3 vs. 6: Matt Harvey vs. Bartolo Colon

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Matt Harvey
    (115 votes)
  • 58%
    Bartolo Colon
    (161 votes)
276 votes total Vote Now

Poll

2 vs. 7: R.A. Dickey vs. Daniel Murphy

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    R.A. Dickey
    (185 votes)
  • 33%
    Daniel Murphy
    (93 votes)
278 votes total Vote Now

2015-2019

Poll

1 vs. 9: Jacob deGrom vs. Wilmer Flores

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Jacob deGrom
    (267 votes)
  • 4%
    Wilmer Flores
    (12 votes)
279 votes total Vote Now

Poll

4 vs. 5: Yoenis Cespedes vs. Michael Conforto

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Yoenis Cespedes
    (109 votes)
  • 60%
    Michael Conforto
    (166 votes)
275 votes total Vote Now

Poll

3 vs. 6: Noah Syndergaard vs. Jeff McNeil

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Noah Syndergaard
    (156 votes)
  • 43%
    Jeff McNeil
    (118 votes)
274 votes total Vote Now

Poll

2 vs. 7: Pete Alonso vs. Curtis Granderson

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Pete Alonso
    (213 votes)
  • 23%
    Curtis Granderson
    (64 votes)
277 votes total Vote Now