I’m sure this happens to a ton of teams, but I don’t know, it always seems like players instantly become better whenever they leave the New York Mets. It’s not always that way, take Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez for example, but it feels like more often than not, players are better when they take off the Orange and Blue.
Does anyone else think Jacob deGrom wouldn’t ever give up another run if he pitched for any other team, and that the only reason he’s even semi-human is because he pitches for the Mets? I don’t know if I totally believe that (I do), but all I’m saying is it’s not the craziest thought in the world.
So now, in that spirit, here are a handful of former Mets who had really nice 2021 seasons, either by MLB standards or just based on what they’d done up until this point in their careers.
Wheeler is the king of former Mets who found success elsewhere in 2021. After signing with the Phillies last season, he’s turned into the best version of himself — the version Mets fans always hoped he would become. His best season in Queens was in 2018 when he put up a 3.31 ERA over 182.1 innings pitched. In 2019 he threw 13 more innings than he did the last, but with an ERA just a few ticks under 4. Still solid, but far from ace caliber.
Now, in 2021, he might just win the National League Cy Young Award. Wheeler led MLB in innings pitched (213.1), complete games (3), shutouts (2) and the National League in strikeouts (247). He also led MLB in Baseball-Reference pitching WAR by a landslide, with is 7.6 easily clearing Walker Buehler’s 6.7. While Wheeler probably isn’t favored to win the NL Cy Young — that’s likely Corbin Burnes — Wheeler certainly has a legitimate case.
On the season he finished with a 2.78 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 1.008 WHIP and a 150 ERA+, all of which are in the top-5 in the National League. Wheeler’s ERA through two seasons in Philadelphia is almost a full run lower than it was with the Mets. He’s become great, and turned his contract narrative from an overpay — what many people thought it was at the time he signed it — to a steal for the Phillies.