The bats headlined the 2000 New York Mets season, but the starting rotation played a major role in the team’s success.
The New York Mets starting rotation in 2000 featured five men who all finished with a record of .500 or better. While not unheard of it, it’s an accomplishment worthy of a nice tip of the cap.
In the middle of the Steroid Era, swatting home runs were all the rage. Pitchers were still capable of tossing a complete game and bullpens were made up of mostly failed starting pitchers and not arms groomed to throw in relief.
Ten different men started games for the 2000 Mets with five of them making up 11 of those starts. The rest went to the five others who made sure they kept their team in the game.
The ERA and innings-eater of the 2000 Mets, Mike Hampton’s one year in Queens was an awesome one. Hampton went 15-10 with a 3.14 ERA while tossing 217.2 innings. As he typically did throughout his career, Hampton relied on batters making outs through contact and not strikeouts.
During the regular season, Hampton threw three complete games and a shutout. For the second straight season, he led the league with the lowest home runs per nine at just 0.4.
While Hampton may have been the ace and team leader with 33 starts, he had some big help from one of his teammates.
I’ve got a lot of love for Al Leiter and how underrated his career was. He was never the best pitcher in baseball. However, he was often one of the most reliable guys on the Mets.
Leiter led the Mets with 16 wins in 2000. He also struck out 200 batters in his 208 innings pitched, tying a career-best in Ks which was previously set in his first All-Star season back in 1996.
Paired with Hampton, the 2000 Mets had two very dangerous southpaws who knew how to pitch a big game, go deep in it, and come away with a win.
Glendon Rusch is more than a fantastic follower of Rising Apple on Twitter. He was also the third lefty starter on this solid rotation.
In his first full season with the Mets, Rusch put together the best season of his career. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The addition of him to the rotation paid off big. He went 11-11 with a 4.01 ERA and a pair of complete games.
Maybe most valuable of all, Rusch gave the Mets 190.2 innings. He was a true innings eater for New York this year, saving Bobby Valentine from turning to the sometimes shaky bullpen early.
One of the unsung heroes of the Mets during this time period, Rick Reed’s final full year with the Mets took place this season. He didn’t disappoint either. For the second straight season, he went 11-5. The big difference was he lowered his ERA down to 4.11 and gave them 184 innings.
This wasn’t Reed’s best year in New York, but with some better options ahead of him, he fit in well in the middle of the rotation.
Reed was the best righty in the rotation for the Mets in 2000. His performance helped balance out an otherwise lefty-heavy group of arms.
Finally, with 27 starts on the year, there was Bobby Jones. This was his final year with the Mets and an important one.
Jones never did star for the Mets like many expected he would after he was drafted back in 1991. During the 2000 campaign, he did all a fifth starter needed to: win. He went 11-6 with a 5.06 ERA. The statistics weren’t all that wonderful, but at least the team had a guy who kept them in the game.
At the back of the rotation, this is exactly what the Mets needed.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Many of us remember the 2000 Mets most for the big hits, deep lineup, and other heroics on offense. However, it was the starting rotation who helped make those weapons more valuable.