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New York Mets outfield in 2000 was an underrated offensive force

21 Oct 2000: Jay Payton #44 and Benny Agbayani #50 of the New York Mets are congratulated as they head into the dugout after scoring in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees during game one of the World Series at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT
21 Oct 2000: Jay Payton #44 and Benny Agbayani #50 of the New York Mets are congratulated as they head into the dugout after scoring in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees during game one of the World Series at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT /
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When the New York Mets made their way to the 2000 World Series, the outfield trio of Benny Agbayani, Derek Bell, and Jay Payton were a big reason for it.

Throughout their history, the New York Mets have had some pretty good outfielders. Even the present team has an abundance of talent beyond the infield dirt. Back in 2000, the three men who patrolled the outfield most were an offensive force I’m not so too many people still appreciate.

In left field, we had Benny Agbayani who seemed to come out of nowhere. In center field there was the prospect many Mets fans had waited for, Jay Payton. Finally, in right field, we find the veteran mercenary Derek Bell.

While none of the three posted All-Star numbers, came close to breaking any records, or led the team in any major category, they helped round out the offense. The timing was perfect, too. The team was ready to go for it all and the bats their outfielders wielded help land them in the World Series.

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Agbayani was an on-base monster. His 54 walks in only 415 plate appearances helped elevate his OBP to .391 for the season. Along with a .289 batting average and .477 slugging percentage, he led the outfielders in OPS by nearly 100 points.

In just his second season with the Mets where he received regular playing time, Agbayani carried the hype from 1999 with him into the 2000 season. He showed everyone regular playing time was a must. By giving him this opportunity, the offense reaped the rewards of having him in the lineup a bit more often.

The youngest of the three, Payton also had an amazing year. This was his rookie campaign and he sure didn’t play like one.

Payton led the outfielders with a .291 batting average. His performance was strong enough to land him third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting behind Rafael Furcal and Rick Ankiel.

Payton’s time in New York was rather short-lived with a trade in the middle of 2002 ending his tenure with the team. In 2000, however, he helped power the Mets to victory with 17 home runs and 62 RBI.

Finally, the oldest and most experienced of the three, Derek Bell joined the Mets after a rough year with the Houston Astros. The former member of the Killer B’s in Houston alongside Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio was the least-known and only one not in Cooperstown.

Bell didn’t exactly give the Mets a Hall of Fame season in 2000. However, it was a really good final act one year before his final season with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001.

Bell gave New York a .266/.348/.425 batting line and 18 home runs. Most dumbfounding of all, he was tied for the team lead in stolen bases with eight. The other guy seemed even less likely to swipe a bag, all-time great pinch-hitter Lenny Harris.

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These three Mets outfielders didn’t leave the same impression as teammates Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo, or Al Leiter did. Nevertheless, their performances in 2000 were needed to ensure the Mets played deep into October.

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