The 1984 virtual New York Mets look to return to the postseason on the back of some solid pitching and Darryl Strawberry’s home runs.
The dark days are in the past for the virtual New York Mets, or so I hope. It’s 1984, Keith Hernandez is at first base, Darryl Strawberry is in right field, and every fifth day Dwight Gooden takes the mound.
Although having these three and more didn’t help them much in our 1983 simulation, I have much higher hopes for 1984.
Before we begin, let’s remember some past simulated seasons in virtual Mets history:
1970: 101-61 (NLCS loss 3-2)
1971: 100-62 (World Series Champions)
Is .500 or better on the horizon for the Mets or will we have to wait a little longer for relevancy again?
The virtual baseball writers, or whoever it is in OOTP that comes up with the preseason predictions, expect the 1984 simulation to go much more favorably for the Mets than many other recent years. AT 84-78, they are predicted to tie for second place behind only the St. Louis Cardinals.
Darryl Strawberry is expected to hit 31 home runs and drive in 107 while Dwight Gooden’s preseason outlook includes a 19-7 record plus a 1.90 ERA.
Skeptics will look at the 9-21 record in spring training and have some disbelief that the Mets will be any good this year. It was the worst of any team in Major League Baseball. However, as we have seen plenty in the past, spring training standings mean nothing.
Regular Season Results
Offense was a big part of the Mets’ early-season success with Darryl Strawberry launching a whole lot of home runs early on. The 1984 season is going to include a nice home run race with the young right fielder involved.
Although the offense was able to help the team win some games, it wasn’t always enough in the first half of the season. At the All-Star Break, the club had a record of 41-40. This was 11.5 games behind the leader in the NL East, the Chicago Cubs. If it means anything, they were still only a half-game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for second place.
At the midway point of the season, Strawberry led the league with 24 home runs. There’s little doubt he’ll set a new franchise record. The team’s top pitcher isn’t even Dwight Gooden at 4-8 with a 2.65 ERA. Instead, it’s Ron Darling at 10-5 with a 2.21 ERA.
Even though it doesn’t look like the Mets are going to make the postseason, watching Strawberry put up some unheard of numbers in the second half made for an enjoyable simulation. He continued to drive home runs, knock in his teammates, and put his name among the league leaders in multiple categories.
Sadly, it wasn’t nearly enough for the Mets to crack a playoff spot. They wrapped up the 1984 season with a record of 83-79. The fourth-place finish had them 10.5 games out of first place.
Three 1984 virtual Mets made the trip to the All-Star Game. From the rotation, Ron Darling and Dwight Gooden had the opportunity to represent the Mets for the first time. At the plate, Darryl Strawberry got his first All-Star nomination.
Darling pitched a perfect seventh inning in the game with a pair of strikeouts. Strawberry went hitless in his one at-bat while Gooden settled for enjoying the festivities.
Strawberry didn’t let his one failed at-bat in the All-Star Game get him down. The man ended up finishing with a franchise-record 39 home runs at the end of the season. It was more than anyone else in the National League during this simulation. For the first time, a Mets player wins a home run crown.
We do have some major awards to get to. First, there was a pair of Gold Gloves awarded to Mets players. Keith Hernandez won one at first base and George Foster won his third consecutive Gold Glove in left field.
One final major award comes with no surprise. Strawberry took home the Silver Slugger for NL right fielders.
As for some individual season achievements, Strawberry had a 3-home run game on April 7, 1984, against the Houston Astros. Gooden and Sid Fernandez also had some fine achievements, each delivering a 15 strikeout game. Gooden accomplished his during complete games while Fernandez managed to fan 15 batters in a 7.1 inning performance.
Notable Individual Statistics
Let’s get some of the Darryl Strawberry numbers out of the way. His 39 home runs, 99 RBI, and .910 OPS all led the National League. It’s a shame he couldn’t hit a solo shot on the final day of the season and get it to a solid 40 home runs and 100 RBI.
The Mets also had two leaders in multiple pitching categories. Dwight Gooden’s 277 strikeouts and 8.8 WAR both led the league. Ron Darling’s 18 wins were one behind the leaders and his 220 strikeouts had him finishing third in the league. At 18-12 with a 2.48 ERA, Darling had a great year. Gooden settled for an odd one with a 2.35 ERA but 11-13 record.
We also saw success from Sid Fernandez at 9-6 with a 1.43 ERA and Walt Terrell who went 17-11 with a 3.02 ERA.
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Things are coming together well with the Mets with the pitching staff and historic output by Strawberry. They’re missing another piece or two to win a championship. Fortunately, Gary Carter is on the way for our 1985 simulation.