Few players in New York Mets lore are as underappreciated across the league as Edgardo Alfonzo. In 2000, there’s a case to be made about why he was the team’s MVP.
When the New York Mets went to the 2000 World Series, they did it with a solid mix of offense, pitching, and defense. Led by manager Bobby Valentine and plenty of veterans on both sides of the baseball, I’m not sure anyone has ever asked the question about who the team’s MVP was.
Voting for an MVP is certainly subjective and could mean different things to different people. At the time, I think many believed it was Mike Piazza. The future Hall of Fame catcher did hit 38 home runs and drive in 113 all while slashing .324/.398/.614.
It’s hard to compete with those numbers, but maybe there is one person who could: Edgardo Alfonzo.
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Alfonzo did everything for the 2000 Mets. His 150 games played was only second to first baseman Todd Zeile. His 650 plate appearances led the team with about two dozen more than the runner-ups, Zeile and Derek Bell.
Obviously, Piazza wouldn’t have the benefit of coming close to this because of the position he played. Nevertheless, it’s important to award a player for availability.
Alfonzo came short in multiple offensive categories when compared to Piazza. However, he was only one shy in total bases thanks to his 40 doubles. If you add up the number of RBI and runs scored each had, Alfonzo and Piazza each had 203.
These men had different roles on the same team and did each effectively.
Where the real MVP talk for Alfonzo comes into play is on defense. Piazza, as we all recall, was anything but a complete player. His defensive abilities were shaky at times. The same cannot be said about Alfonzo.
In 2000, Alfonzo had yet another positive year on defense. It helped him lead the team with a 6.4 WAR. This was significantly higher than Piazza’s 5.1 he posted.
The one thing that often made Alfonzo so incredibly valuable to the Mets was how he could play two positions well. When the team acquired Robin Ventura, his full-time job as the third baseman was no more.
Alfonzo didn’t sweat it. He moved over to second base and became a tremendous defender at the position all the while continuing to hit at an incredible rate.
Take away the defense Alonzo gave the club and there’s no telling how some games would have turned out. Mr. Met only knows how many times poor defense has sunk the hopes of this franchise.
Fonzie finished the 2000 season slashing .324/.425/.542. Only because he had fewer home runs than Piazza is he well behind in the OPS category.
It’s an arbitrary debate to have with a raised voice at this point in history. There isn’t really even a team MVP award to hand out anyway.
For his efforts in 2000, Alfonzo finished a distant 15th in the National League MVP vote while Piazza was near the top at number three. Numbers back then favored the old-school home runs, RBI, etc. and not new ones like WAR, OPS, and all of those other ones we pretend to understand in conversation with our geekiest baseball friend.
The 2000 Mets wouldn’t have gone as far as they did without Alfonzo. Or Piazza. Or Mike Hampton. Or any of those other brilliant players.
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Often underrated throughout his career, Alfonzo represented the Mets well in 2000 as one of the best.