Designated homer 003: Are the New York Mets this good?
Here come the New York Mets.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but it does appear like the New York Metropolitans are for real. Built on the back of Steve Cohen’s dirty money, this bunch just keeps on keeping on. At the time we’re writing this, they’ve now built a six-game lead in the NL East, where the second place team is below .500, and have overall shined as bright as any other team in the league. If nothing else, their 20–10 record is even more impressive when you consider that Max Scherzer was unavailable for a time and that the great Jacob deGrom has pitched as many innings for the Mets as you and I combined.
Despite deGrom’s absence, the Mets’ success has been built on the back of their pitching. Through May 7 games, they have the fifth best team ERA, the second best batting average allowed, and the second best team WHIP. As far as hitting, this team has just about the worst hard hit rate in the majors, but they do hit the ball a whole ton. They spray the entire field, even relying on infield hits, to score runs and just generally get ahead of you. Given how the ball (or balls?) is traveling in 2022, maybe that’s the way to roll.
The way things are going, the Mets might be running away with the division crown before the start of summer. If that’s the case, maybe the team tries to be quirky? Why not let Pete Alonso fulfill his destiny and finally become a full-time designated hitter?
Leader in the clubhouse: Pittsburgh Pirates
Our love for the Buccos may be fading quicker than it took for the Chicago Cubs to blank this team 21–0 on April 23, but until it does they’ll remain entrenched as the top dog in this space.
Wild card 1: Miami Marlins
Every couple of years, the Miami Marlins turn into a relatively great-to-excellent baseball team, and it looks like we’re smack in the middle of one said cycle. Jesus Sanchez and Jazz Chilsholm exude fun and confidence, while Pablo Lopez has pitched like the best pitcher in all of baseball. Fun times to be a Marlins fan. (Until the next teardown and fire sale, no doubt looming right around the corner.)
Still though, fuck their tacos.
Wild card 2: Minnesota Twins
This is why we watch the games. We sit through 100-some odd games every year, through numerous and countless doomed at bats, through errors after errors, and routine play after routine play, we sit through it all because sometimes baseball just rewards us. Sometimes all things baseball come together to create a lasting, if not fleeting, moment of greatness. Like the Byron Buxton walkoff HR against the Chicago White Sox on April 23.
Let us be the 19,324th person in the world to proclaim that Buxton is a top 5 (and not 5)player in baseball when he’s healthy. (And that, yes, “when he’s healthy” is putting in extra work in that sentence.)
Wild Card 3: Chicago White Sox
What’s that? Is this team pulling us back in???
(….No, sorry. Not really.)
Others receiving votes
Kansas City Royals. We’re absolute suckers for great beisbol uniforms. And truly, if nothing else — and really, it sadly might be nothing else — the Kansas City Royals have stellar uniforms. Count us in until they change these.
Detroit Tigers. In 2012, Miguel Cabrera captured the AL MVP over second-place finisher Mike Trout. Cabrera probably didn’t quite deserve it but his case was the easiest to make. In capturing the Triple Crown, Miggy did something that hadn’t been done in 45 years. It didn’t matter that he didn’t play good defense, and that Trout did. Just like it didn’t matter that Miggy’s excellence only amounted to 7.3 WAR (per Fangraphs), which oh by the way is still excellent, while Trout’s was worth 10.1 (also per Fangraphs). Cabrera did something concrete, and the narrative could write itself. That counts for something now, and it especially did a decade ago: remember, that 2012 season might as well have been a lifetime ago. Sabermetrics still hadn’t gone mainstream yet, idiots could still clown nerds about #maths, #tradition, #theolddays, and shit. And they didn’t lose an ounce of their dignity even when they harped about doing things “the right way.”
Anyway, Miggy now has 500 HRs, a career .300 batting average, 600 doubles, and 3,000 hits. It’s only ever been done once in MLB history. Trout is still better, but it doesn’t matter.