Ranking the New York Mets Second Basemen of the Last 20 Seasons

The New York Mets had a steady rotation of second basemen over the last 20 seasons. One common theme is their second basemen tend to carry the team during the postseason. Our first two names on the list exemplify postseason excellence the best.

1. Daniel Murphy (2008-15)

Daniel Murphy put together one of the greatest postseasons in baseball history. In 2015, he hit .421 with seven home runs, including homers in six consecutive games to lead the Mets to an NL Championship. Murphy did not play second base every day until 2012 and was raw at the position but turned himself into a very serviceable defender. He is third all-time on the Mets doubles list with 228.

2. Edgardo Alfonzo (1995-2002)

Edgardo Alfonzo spent the earlier part of his career at third base but moved over to second when Robin Ventura arrived in 1999 and stayed there until 2001. During that period, he hit .293/.381/.487 and averaged 23 home runs and 34 doubles per season. Alfonzo added an All-Star appearance, four postseason home runs, and only made 22 errors during those three seasons.

3. Jeff McNeil (2018-19)

Jeff McNeil settled in at second base during his rookie season in 2018, but the acquisition of Robinson Cano made him a utility guy in 2019. As a second baseman, he is hitting .323 with nine home runs, 19 doubles, and six triples. When baseball starts again, he will likely play a majority of third base.

4. Neil Walker (2016-17)

Neil Walker had the tall task of replacing Daniel Murphy and played great. The only problem came with Murphy’s power surge with the Washington Nationals over shadowed Walker’s greatness. He batted .275/.344/.462 with 33 home runs in 186 games in Flushing.

5. Jose Valentin (2006-07)

Jose Valentin earned his ranking based on his revival season of 2006. The 36-year old veteran batted .170 the year prior and took the job away from Kazuo Matsui. Valentin batted .271 with 18 home runs and 62 runs batted in to stabilize the bottom of the Mets order.

6. Luis Castillo (2007-10)

Unfortunately, Mets fans will only remember Luis Castillo for his dropped pop-up against the New York Yankees. He batted .274 with 55 stolen bases and still played Gold Glove defense at second base. Castillo only made 21 errors over 365 games.

7. Robinson Cano (2019)

The Mets took a significant risk in bringing in Robinson Cano, and he played just okay during his first season with the Mets. It was a tale of two seasons for Cano; he hit .240/.287/.360 with only four home runs during the first half of the season. Cano returned to his hall of fame form in the second half batting .284/.339/.541 with nine home runs and could have done more damage if a hamstring injury did not slow him down.

8. Roberto Alomar (2002-03)

Roberto Alomar seemed like a safer risk than Cano, but Alomar never produced as a Met. Like Cano, he only played okay but never put up his All-Star caliber numbers. Alomar’s .265 average was the lowest he had with any team he played with for at least 200 games.

9. Ruben Tejada (2010-15, 19) 

Before primarily playing shortstop, Ruben Tejada spent the first two seasons of his career playing second base. Never known for his power, he slashed .256/.338/.314 with only one home run but had 27 doubles in 174 games.

10. Kazuo Matsui (2004-06)

Kazuo Matsui was the definition of disappointment after coming with so much hype that Jose Reyes had to play second base in 2004. While the Yankees struck gold with a different Matsui, the Mets got one decent season in 2004 with Kazuo, but he was playing shortstop in all but three games. He hit .274 with 32 doubles during his rookie season but failed to keep himself on the field during the following two. Matsui ended up with the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Eli Marrero.

New York Mets: Ruben Tejada Year in Review

The last time Ruben Tejada was in a New York Mets uniform, he was relegated to the bench after Chase Utley broke his leg in the 2015 NLDS. Tejada bounced the big leagues for the last couple of seasons but had his homecoming with the Mets when they signed him to a minor-league deal at the end of spring training.

Before arriving to the Mets, Tejada spent 75 games in the minor leagues and was very impressive. He slashed .333/.409/.481 with six home runs and 43 RBIs. Tejada still could play every infield position outside of first base and took advantage of the juice baseballs in Triple-A.

Waiting to Return

Since Tejada had no options, once he came up, he had to stay. This was why it took a while for the Mets to finally bring him up. It was a fun for fans to have him back, but the fun ended as quickly as it started. He went 0-for-9 in his six games with the Mets and was DFA’d just eight days later.

Grades:

Hitting for Average: F,

Hitting for Power: F

Fielding: B+, No errors in his minimal opportunities, his glove was never a question.

Speed/Baserunning: N/A

Intangibles: B

Overall: F, Unfortunately like most reunions this year, it did not work out well.

Jeff McNeil Lands on the 10-Day IL, But Won’t Be Out For Long

One of the catalysts to the New York Mets lineup is going to spend some time on the shelf after straining his right hamstring during Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves. Jeff McNeil is heading to the Injured List, which creates an opportunity for a former Mets shortstop to return….no it is not Jose Reyes.

During the ninth inning of Monday’s loss, McNeil injured his hamstring attepmting to leg out a ground out. He made a final lunge towards the first base bag, but never actually touched it. His leg expected to absorb the impact of the bag and the shock of missing it tweaked the hamstring.

How to Replace McNeil

The Mets are still out of a playoff spot and his bat in the lineup is irreplaceable. McNeil solidified his spot as the Mets lead off man and was hitting .332. He is expected to be on the IL for 10 days, and the Mets need him back desperately. McNeil now joins Dom Smith and Robinson Cano as key Mets bats on the IL.

He was battling multiple ailments throughout the season and was visibly frustrated as he limped back to the dugout. The damage was not as gruesome as Cano’s hamstring, which likely keeps him out through the season. McNeil and the organization hopes it only takes the minimum 10 days to fully recover.

Former Met Makes A Return

The last game Ruben Tejada played as a Met was Game 2 of the 2015 NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. For all involved, except for Chase Utley, it did not have the ending he planned for. Utley broke Tejada’s leg with a dirty slide and he missed the rest of the Mets magical run to the World Series. In the two seasons following he spent time with the Cardinals, Giants and Orioles, but has not played in the big leagues since 2017.

It seems like Tejada is an older veteran, but he still has not turned 30 yet. When the Mets first brought him to the big leagues, he was only 20 and had second base partners of Luis Castillo and Alex Cora in his first two starts. Tejada only had 10 home runs during his big league career, but already has six in the minors this season. Whether it has to do with the juiced balls or not remains to be seen, but he has been hitting to ball well to all fields and has a .330 average with the Syracuse Mets.

Tejada still plays third, short and second, which gives the Mets a solid defender at all three positions. Jacob Rhame will likely be moved to the 60-Day IL following elbow surgery to create room for Tejada. With a lefty on the mound for the Braves Wednesday night, Tejada could likely slide into McNeil’s spot at second base as the Mets search for a temporary leadoff hitter.