The New York Mets’ “Bench Mob”


Daniel Amoia, Writer

New York Mets fans have been starved from watching their team in the playoffs for over five years. As the clock has ticked, the Mets have developed a strong core of players to hopefully lead them to their first World Championship since 1986. 

New ownership and some offseason acquisitions gave reason for hope among the fanbase, and that hope has been somewhat fulfilled as the Mets currently sit in first place at 29-23. However, their 3.5 game division lead has come in the most unpredictable fashion.

The month of May found a remarkable 75% of the Mets’ Opening Day starters on the injured list. Kevin Pillar, Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, JD Davis, and Michael Conforto were all out for a significant period, and a majority are still out right now. At one instance, the Mets had a whopping sixteen players out due to injury. The only two remaining healthy position players hit worse than league average for the entire month, meaning the Mets had to rely (entirely) on their self-proclaimed bench mob: bench players, minor league call ups, and waivers acquisitions.

High hopes for the rest of the season appeared dull, weak, and virtually nonexistent. Thankfully, the resilience of the bench mob has allowed the Mets to steamroll through their competition and hold a great spot in the standings for when all starters are fully healthy once again

Popular Major League Baseball statistics website Baseball Reference has shown just how incredible and unlikely the combined success of the bench mob players has been. For reference, according to Sports Illustrated, the current MLB batting average is around .232. With JD Davis out, original bench player Jonathan Villar has hit a remarkable .375 with a .474 on-base percentage in the last fourteen days. With Jeff McNeil out, Jose Peraza has hit .250 with a .302 on-base percentage along with making some incredible plays in the field. Backup catcher Tomas Nido virtually stole the starting catching job from James McCann, hitting .298 with a .340 on-base for the month of May. The list goes on: players such as Khalil Lee, Patrick Mazeika, Johneshwy Fargas, Billy McKinney, and Brandon Drury have all left tremendous positive impact on the team. 

Seeing just one minor league call-up or bench player truly succeed in the big spotlight of Major League Baseball is quite rare. Somehow, that number has been in the tens for this year’s New York Mets team.

Additionally, they lead all of Major League Baseball in defensive runs saved, as their defense has made tremendous plays time and time again. 

Major League Baseball continues to ignore the Mets’ recent successes, as they were left out of MLB’s “Top Ten Teams” Power Rankings in early June.

Many fans have questioned their ability to maintain success with a bulk of the team out. Additionally, some have attributed that success to playing in arguably the weakest division in baseball. However, the Mets are coming off of two straight wins against the powerhouse San Diego Padres and some very important players are slated to be fully healthy and off the injured list soon.

The reality is that numbers do not lie: the New York Mets have the greatest division lead in the entire sport. Optimism is finally sweeping across the fanbase, as the Mets hope to sustain their success throughout the 2021 season and into the playoffs.