New York Mets position players are younger than any other in 21st Century
By Tim Boyle
The average age of the New York Mets position players is at its youngest in the 21st Century.
In the early years of the New York Mets, the roster was made up of relatively younger players with several seasons of veterans past their prime. When looking at the franchise’s history, all seasons where the position players’ average age was 27 or younger happened in 1971 or earlier. The results of this were mixed to extremes with the 1969 team standing out most positively.
Focusing on the present day, the average age of a position player on the 2019 Mets is 27.8. This is weighted for the number of at-bats a player receives so Rajai Davis’ 38 years on earth and small number of plate appearances do not factor in largely. It’s also likely to go down the more we see the rugrats get at-bats.
With this, it marks only the second time in the 21st Century when the average has been below 28. The last time happened in 2012.
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The 2012 Mets are different from this current team. When I look at their roster, I don’t see as much promise for a future. The young players include a 26-year-old Lucas Duda, a 25-year-old Ike Davis, and the kid on the team, 22-year-old shortstop Ruben Tejada.
At 74-88, the 2012 team is not one to emulate. They were a poor mix of youth whose average age was so low in large part due to a lack of star veterans. David Wright played the year at 29, inching the average age forward only slightly. The oldest position player to take the field that year for the team was center fielder Andres Torres at a still playable 34-years-old. Combined with many other part-timers on the bench and in the starting lineup, the team’s age averaged out as one of the youngest in recent years.
The Mets weren’t adding talent to the roster back then and there were no leftovers from winning seasons in the recent past. A big reason why the present Mets have it on their side is many of their key players, while not teenagers, are in their mid-20s growing into their prime years together. Unlike the 2012 squad, these men look much better.
Jeff McNeil is already in his age 27 season, but he’s on the lower end of this average age. Joining him are several other important players such as Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Amed Rosario. We’ve also seen a possible emergence of 24-year-old Dominic Smith this season.
For those who begged the Mets to get younger, mission accomplished. This is one of the youngest teams they’ve had in a while.
Youth doesn’t always equal success, though. Nor will age guarantee victory. Many Mets rosters from the early part of the 2000s averaged an age above 30. In those seasons, the franchise brought in many veterans via trade or free agency to plug holes. The modern Mets do things differently. They have developed some real major league players up and down the lineup. It hasn’t yielded a winning season yet, but it sure feels like the right thing to do.
As for the pitching staff, their average age of 28.6 is near the middle of the pack in team history. Interestingly enough, some of their best seasons included an average pitcher age over 32 (1999 and 2006). However, the youngest pitching staffs in franchise history were from 1984-1987 with 1969 also sprinkled in. We can thank Dwight Gooden’s youth and other talented young men for this.
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Young, old, or at an average age for MLB players, the most important number is always below the win column. The Mets will have to make their next run as a younger team than we’re used to seeing.