Despite being in a virtual tie for first place with the Washington Nationals, the New York Mets have not had a consistent offense (read more about that here). However, one of their bats has been a pillar of consistency after his inauspicious start to the 2016 campaign.
His name is Yoenis Cespedes, and he should be a name in the (very, very early) Most Valuable Player race.
In the 57 games after the trade deadline last season, Cespedes was amazing for the Amazins. With a slash line of .287/.337/.604, 17 home runs, 44 RBIs, a 157 wRC+ and a 2.7 WAR, he gave the Mets the firepower they needed to propel themselves into the World Series.
When he re-signed in Queens this season, it allowed the Mets to be considered World Series contenders again, and he was immediately inserted into the middle of the lineup. However, expectations were down a little for Yoenis; he never had a half a season like that before, so he’ll probably regress a bit. It is only logical.
Instead, he has been even better.
Through 43 games, Cespedes is slashing .295/.375/.647, with 15 home runs, 36 RBIs, a 175 wRC+, and a 2.0 WAR. One of the big reasons as to why his batting average is higher (also 23 points higher than his career average) is because of his walk rate. It is up from 6.4 percent over his career to 10.2 percent this season. That selectivity is not only increasing his on-base percentage, but it is allowing him to see more hitter’s counts, and get better pitches to hit. His 21 percent strikeout rate is also solid, as it is exactly this year’s average.
Not only has he been one of the best hitters for the Mets, but he has been one of the best hitters in the league.
His 175 wRC+ is fourth in the majors, and his .353 ISO is good for second. His 15 home runs are tied for first. His 36 RBIs are tied for third. His 174 OPS+ is tied for third.
Yoenis Cespedes has been one of the best hitters in the league this year, and his name should be discussed in the MVP race thus far.
Of course, this is extremely early in the season; we haven’t gotten to game 50 yet. But be that as it may, Yoenis Cespedes has been a godsend for the Mets ever since the 2015 trade deadline; without him, the World Series would not have been played in Queens last year, and they would not be at the top of the NL East right now.
Cespedes, who can opt out of his contract after this season, has expressed a legitimate love of the franchise, and a desire to stay long-term, has put on quite a display for any suitors he may have, if he chooses to opt out, be it the Mets or another team.
The Mets should take a long, hard, look at keeping Yoenis around after this season; he has completely transformed the Mets in his first 100 games for the team. If he keeps these statistics up, he may have a Most Valuable Player Award to show for it.