The Mets Have a Trio of MVP Candidates By Rich Coutinho
The Mets have had a great storybook season to this point of the year as they are 71-39 holding a 7-game lead in the NL East over the World Champion Atlanta Braves and every time we hear from the baseball experts, that they will hit a roadblock they survive it and move on with winning games.
When the Braves got red hot and fell to within 1/2 game of the division lead, the Mets responded with beating the Braves 6 times in eight games to widen the lead in the division. They have taken series versus both the Cardinals and Giants home and away and split a 4-game set with the Dodgers despite missing deGrom and Scherzer for most of that stretch.
The swept a 2-game series from the Yankees and now have an identical 71-39 record with the cross-town rivals showing the baseball world that they will not back down from anyone. And a big reason for that (aside from an unrelenting starting rotation) is that a trio of players–Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Edwin Diaz–keep the team afloat. All 3 are serious MVP candidates.
Pete Alonso has been consistent all year leading the league in RBI with 95. But he has been much more than that. His OPS stands above 900 and his defense has been terrific as well. His approach at the plate symbolizes the Met approach–hit the ball where it is pitched especially with 2 strikes–and Pete personifies that approach. He has had a plethora of RBI hits the other way which falls right into how he is being pitched–sliders away.
Muck like Alonso, Francisco Lindor has combined stellar defense with an RBI bat that is consistent especially in key situations. He has smashed 19 homers and driven in 77 runs constantly getting on base in front of Alonso. From a defensive standpoint, no shortstop comes close to him as his range is limitless which he combines with a great arm plus a knowledge of hitters that is unparalleled in the sport of baseball.
And then there is Edwin Diaz–who as a closer is automatic with a Capital A. His strikeout to innings ratio of 91 in 45.1 innings is off the charts and we all know Met fans love his “trumpet entrance song” when he strides to the mound. When you think about it closely, every Met opponent has to contend with great starting pitching knowing Edwin Diaz is waiting in that bullpen to seal the deal. And with 2 of the top 5 RBI bats in the league (Lindor and Alonso) likely putting the Mets out in front.
All three are incredible MVP candidates with Diaz also a very viable Cy Young Award winner. And that trio of players is a big reason why the Mets are in the NL East penthouse by a sizable margin.