5) Mets Best Starting Pitcher – Al Leiter
I may not have seen Matlack or some of the other names on this list pitch, but I know plenty about Al Leiter. A modern-day great Mets pitcher, he’s number five on our list of the best.
I never viewed Leiter as an ace. He was more of a solid number one. In a way, it’s tough to judge his numbers against some of the other pitchers on this list. He was with the club during an era when baseballs were flying out of the ballpark on bunts. Nevertheless, Leiter has enough on his Mets resume for a high spot on this list.
Leiter’s 28 WAR ranks fifth among pitchers and his 95 wins are sixth. He doesn’t have the greatest ERA at 3.42, but we can explain that easily with his presence from 1998-2004. During this span, the single-season home run record was broken multiple times.
In the seven years he spent with the team, Leiter never had a bad year. He always finished with a .500 or better record and the highest his ERA ever was at the end of the season sat at 4.23. Although he earned just one All-Star appearance during his time with the Mets, he was an excellent arm to have.
On October 4, 1999, Leiter showed everyone how valuable he was to the franchise. The Mets were up against the Cincinnati Reds in a one-game playoff for the Wild Card. Leiter went out and pitched a two-hit shutout to put the Mets in the postseason for the first time in over a decade.