Loyal MetsToday reader Joe Muscaglione brought up a great discussion topic — how does the projected 2008 rotation compare to 1986? I’ll go one further: how does it stack up against the best rotations in Mets history?
Here are my candidates …
1969: Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, Don Cardwell / Jim McAndrew
Seaver had arguably the best season of his career, winning a career-high 25 games, posting 5 shutouts, 18 complete games, 1.04 WHIP, and 2.21 ERA, finishing second in the NL MVP voting. Koosman had a great year as well – 17-9, 2.28 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 6 SHO, 16 CG. The young Gentry looked to be another Seaver in the making, with a big curve and hard fastball that helped him win 13 games and pitch 234 innings. Cardwell and McAndrew split time as the #4 starter, combining for another 14 wins and 2 shutouts. Oh, and then there was this kid Nolan Ryan who made ten starts and looked pretty decent.
1973: Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, George Stone
Again, Seaver dominated the NL, with 19 of the Mets’ 82 wins, 2.08 ERA, 251 strikeouts in 290 IP, and a remarkable 0.97 WHIP. Koosman’s 14 wins, 2.84 ERA, and 1.18 WHIP look paltry next to that line, and Matlack had a breakout year winning another 14 with a 3.20 ERA as the #3. Fourth starter George Stone was the big surprise, as the journeyman posted a 2.80 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a magnificent 12-3 record.
1986: Doc Gooden, Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda, Sid Fernandez, and Rick Aguilera
It wasn’t Doc’s best season — in fact, it was a disappointment compared to his 24-4 record the year before — but he still went 17-6 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP (imagine if he wasn’t on coke the whole time?). Darling was just as good, going 15-6 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, El Sid went 16-6, and fourth starter Ojeda went 18-5 — how many fourth starters win 18 games? Aguilera made only 20 starts, but posted a respectable 10-7 record in bringing up the rear end of the rotation.
1988: Doc Gooden, Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda, Sid Fernandez, and David Cone
Same rotation as 1986, but swap out Rick Aguilera for David Cone — who went 20-3. On paper, you would think that rotation would rank with the greatest of all time in MLB history, but this was the year of underachievers (other than Cone). Gooden and Darling were neck and neck in the race to be ace — Darling going 17-9 and Gooden 18-9 — but Gooden wasn’t as dominant as in previous years (sniff sniff). El Sid (3.03) and Ojeda (2.88) posted excellent ERAs, but went a combined 22-23. Even underachieving, a damn strong fivesome.
2008: Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Orlando Hernandez
Order them any way you wish — this is potentially one of the deepest Mets rotations in their 46-year history. We’ll see …
Place your vote!