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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Success Is Its Own Award

The Mets were the champions of the National League in 2015 without anybody being officially judged particularly valuable. The Baseball Writers Association of America has an award that declares who’s Most Valuable, and no Met got anywhere near it. Twenty National Leaguers were named on BBWAA ballots and only two of those names belonged to Mets; neither of them reached the Top 10. Yoenis Cespedes finished 13th, Curtis Granderson 18th.

Starting pitching was the 2015 Mets’ most obvious strength. MVP voting rarely favors starting pitchers, though three of them finished in the Top 10 in the N.L. voting. None of them was a Met. No Met pitcher showed up anywhere in the Most Valuable voting, but that’s OK. There’s a special award for pitchers. It’s called the Cy Young.

All that strong Met starting pitching translated to one Met, Jacob deGrom, drawing votes. He came in seventh of nine pitchers named. Nobody else in the rotation, nor the closer, was given as much as a single fifth-place vote for 2015.

One of the factors that catapulted the Mets from 79-83 also-rans to 90-72 and the postseason was the infusion of young blood. There’s an award designed to recognize players in their first year. It’s called the Rookie of the Year. One Met was considered for this award in 2015: Noah Syndergaard. The man we like to call Thor finished Thorth…uh, fourth in this voting. No other Met was mentioned.

A team with no more than the 13th-most valuable player, the seventh-best pitcher and the fourth-best rookie must have something going for it, like really outstanding managing. Terry Collins, the Mets manager, attracted support in the BBWAA National League Manager of the Year voting…just not a ton of it. Collins finished third, the best showing of anybody in a Met uniform in the “big four” award balloting.

No Met won a Silver Slugger. Cespedes won a Gold Glove, but it was for his four months of defensive work in the American League. Matt Harvey took Comeback Player of the Year honors in two realms: MLB.com’s (as voted by each team’s dot-com beat writer) and The Sporting News (as selected by a cross-section of nearly 200 players in the National League). TSN also singled out Collins as its Manager of the Year, which is decided by peer vote. And the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year awards, determined statistically, called deGrom the best-fielding pitcher in the majors.

So there’s that. Plus the pennant, which pretty much beats everything that isn’t a World Series title. In 2014, deGrom was Rookie of the Year and Juan Lagares won the Gold Glove. Any interest in trading this season for that season? Or do you prefer a year like 2012, when R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young and the Mets finished like Anthony Young?

Not that individual awards and team success have to be mutually exclusive, but I suppose this is just the way these things land. No Met has ever won the MVP, even if in all other years when the Mets made the postseason, they had at least one player wind up in the Top 10 in Valuable voting. And you can’t really argue too strenuously with Bryce Harper winning the 2015 MVP or all those Cubs — Jake Arietta, Kris Bryant, Joe Maddon — taking all those other BBWAA awards.

They can have them, it is tempting to scoff.

Still, the Mets got pretty far with nobody grabbing and holding the establishment’s attention during award consideration season, which occurred before the playoffs but after it was known the Mets would be part of them. Perhaps the tone was set in July, when they were allotted only one All-Star, same as the last-place Phillies, who you might recall were represented by the comprehensively stellar Jonathan Papelbon. The Mets’ closer, Jeurys Familia, saved 43 games on their behalf, yet the Trevor Hoffman N.L. Reliever of the Year Award, which you may or may not know exists, was voted by a panel of distinguished former closers to Mark Melancon of Pittsburgh. The peer-chosen Sporting News Executive of the Year award did not go to Sandy Alderson, who obtained Cespedes and several other transformational contributors at the trade deadline, but Alex Anthopoulos, the since-departed Blue Jays general manager.

Maybe Melancon (51 saves) was the best reliever in the league in 2015. Maybe Anthopoulos (Troy Tulowitzki, David Price) was the MLB GM handiest with a phone and a ticking clock. Maybe everybody was indisputably better at something, except coming back from an injury, than any given Met.

Pretty cool we got as far as we did, huh?

***

As if two Mets, Willie Mays and Yogi Berra, being named recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom wasn’t enough, we’ll be along with Faith and Fear’s annual offseason Most Valuable Met and Nikon Camera Player of the Year awards soon and finally reveal the long-promised Most Inconsequential Met Ever. Until then, you should know about what these people are up to:

• Sam Kulik has created The Broadcast, his own play-by-play of the May 31 Mets-Marlins game, with each half-inning set to its own original music. To make it even more interactive, Sam has created a special set of baseball cards that unlock the audio. It’s both impressive and fun. You can learn more here and listen to a sample here.

• Because you can’t watch 2015 Mets highlights enough, help yourself to Drew Palazzo’s stirring tribute montage, titled A Journey to Remember. It seems to cut off before the World Series, which I would say is an editing highlight unto itself. Watch Drew’s emotional wizardry here.

• It’s not too late to bid on a deluxe Met package as part of WhyHunger’s 2015 Hungerthon. Through Tuesday night at 6:30, you can try to win four Metropolitan Box Seats to a select game at Citi Field in April, with a David Wright-signed baseball and parking pass thrown in. It’s certainly a great cause and you can’t argue with the prize. If you’re interested, go for it here.

13 comments to Success Is Its Own Award

  • Dave R.

    I loved this year’s Cy Young voting. The Mets beat the top three vote-getters three times in the post-season.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Let’s not forget Howie Rose’s award, and he came in First!

    http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/63371196/v530738883/best-call-radio-award-winner-rose-on-colons-double

    To tell the truth, I’m not sure if I had ever heard of this award before last week, and if it’s not some new award, I couldn’t find a list anywhere of who may have won it in the past.

    But, good for Howie.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    After Jake won the ROY last year, I had said that, despite our run of individual awards and honors being nice, we really needed a team achievement. And you’re of course 100% right Greg, I wouldn’t trade the pennant for any piece of hardware besides a WS trophy.

    • Lenny65

      What you said. I’d rather hoist the NL pennant than celebrate a Cy Young winner who got spanked in the NLCS. Anyhow, next year Mets will be 1-2-3-4-5 in the Cy Young voting…mark it down right now.

  • Dave

    “I’ll gladly take 3 postseason awards even if it means getting swept by the Mets in the NLCS and not having the lead in any game for so much as one pitch,” said no Cubs fan ever.

    I learned long ago that major postseason awards are not tilted in the Mets’ favor to put it mildly…Seaver was apparently not as important to the 69 Mets as Willie McCovey was to the Giants, wherever it was they finished that year, Mike Schmidt’s home runs mattered more as the Phillies finished 20+ games out in 86, during which year the man whose team won 108 regular season games was unworthy of being Manager of the Year…Schmidt won the MVP in 86 because statistics mattered more than leadership (Hernandez), but in 88 when Strawberry had the stats, the MVP was all about leadership (Gibson), I don’t even remember who beat out Piazza in 99 but whoever it was wasn’t as important to his team as Piazza was to the Mets…it goes on and on, so it’s not worth worrying about anymore. I’m not trading 2015 for anything, no matter how badly Hosmer racing home will be etched in my mind forever.

  • open the gates

    Re the MVP, what Dave said. Ever since Schmidt in ’86, I’ve pretty much ignored that award.

    Rookie of the Year is a little more significant in that it can indicate present and/or future success of your team based on young talent. With deGrom winning last year, Harvey and Syndergaard coming close in their rookie seasons, and presumably candidates for next year (Matz? Nimmo? Herrera?), we’re in pretty good shape. Of course, that can work both ways – offhand, I recall two former ROY winners, Butch Metzger and Randy Jones, who didn’t work out too well for the Mets – bit all in all, more important than MVP.

    Manager of the Year? Executive if the Year? Majorly subjective, and the choices make you want to scratch your head. Cy Young? All that means is you have a good ace, says nothing about the other four pitchers. And the last time the Mets had one of those, the Cy was only good for enhancing the trade value of R.A. Dickey – which, come to think of it, was quite useful that time around.

    Long story short – the individual awards are fun, but not so important in the long run, unless you’re an agent looking to enhance your client’s resume. I’ll take the postseason, thanks ever so.

  • 9th string catcher

    It’s a team game. That’s why awards don’t mean anything. There was no clear cut MVP for the 86 Mets anyway since they were all important players who won together. Fast forward to 2015, same thing. Everyone contributed – no one wins a pennant by themselves. The only one I would vote for would be Familia – without him, the Mets probably lose enough games to not qualify for the playoffs. But what good is a closer if the team can’t get him to the 9th (and sometimes 8th) inning? Team game, man. Best team in the NL in 2015!

  • Pat O'Hern

    That post had a jonny Gomes feel to it. Hey one of the things I love to do is read the first paragraph of a post and decide if it’s a Greg or Jason post. I’m batting a NLCS Daniel Murphy average in my game. Can someone please point out Zobrists plusses over Murph? He’s older and costs more .

  • Eric

    What’s the season award for best mojo/magic?

    I suppose the NL award is already hanging on a flag pole at Citi Field. The Mets presumably will see the AL award raised in person on opening day 2016.

  • Eric

    The Palazzo piece reminded me of the many questions in the beginning of the season. Harvey in his 1st season back from TJ surgery? Sophomore jinx for deGrom? Syndergaard and Matz as raw rookies? Familia closing for the 1st time? Even if they were good, how deep into the season could they pitch? And that’s before looking at the line-up, where the questions added during the season.

  • PenaciousH

    Hey, I love Murph as much as the next Mets fan, but Zobrist can FIELD, for one thing–a lot more consistently and without the brain freezes. But Murph is/was OURS and is a Wright-like soft-spoken and thankful guy– no chest beating but lots of cool thanks and kudos to TC, team and fans. He may have stepped into politics/human rights once too many times, but he’s never in your face about it, and I appreciate that. And, as someone smarter than me once wrote, he KNOWS how to hit in Citi Field.

    Having Zobrist would be 1-2 yrs worth of versatility, including playing in the OF if needed. But given the $$ he wants, and the Mets’ other needs (talking to you, bullpen) I’d just as soon have Murph if he’d be any less expensive, and more Uribe, Johnson type guys on the bench.

    I also think David may have to move to first unless he can work on that less-strainful (is that a word?) throwing he was doing. So I would prefer to sign Murph with the idea he may play third; consider using Duda as trade bait for better relief pitching or another bat. But as I said, others are much smarter than me–I hope they work for the Mets’ front office.

    • Dave

      Problem with moving David to 1B is that, while Duda has his issues (15 of his 27 HR’s were compressed into 7 randomly scattered games, leaving 12 spread out among the other 130 or so), at least he can hit 27 HR’s. Unless you have other major power sources, 1B is a run-producing position, and Wright’s not that guy anymore. The kind of/sort of-OK we saw out of Wright down the stretch was helped by having about 4 months off…over the course of the 2016 season, I fear he’s going to need so much time off that he’ll essentially be a part-time player, no matter what position he plays. And let’s not forget that he’s never played 1B…he may well be a disaster there.

      I think the best plan may be to have a mix-and-match rotation of guys at 2B/SS/3B, including Wright, Flores, Murphy or his replacement, maybe Tejada, maybe a Herrera or a decent utility IF’er so that Flores and Murphy/whoever replaces him play most days but not always at the same position, the others play some of the days. Going to need versatility. Perhaps Zobrist fits in there, although some of the projected contracts I’m hearing tossed around are all-star caliber money, and he’s a good role player, he’s not a carry a team guy.