Last season, at age 34, Curtis Granderson surprised everybody and had one of the best seasons of his career. He was worth 5.1 WAR according to both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference. Not only did this figure lead the Mets, it was first among hitters by a whopping 70% over the second highest total (Lucas Duda’s 3.0 WAR). That figure was 19th in all of baseball, a hair behind Anthony Rizzo and Jason Kipnis and ahead of noted stars like Nolan Arenado and Jose Bautista.
Granderson accomplished this in his typical understated style — by being good at everything. He hit for power, collecting 59 extra base hits; he was patient, walking 91 times; he played much improved defense and ran the bases well; and, perhaps most importantly, played in 157 games. He was also there when it mattered most. When the Mets season seemed doomed to tailspin out of control, Grandy hit .292/.387/.562 from June 20th to July 30th, and he hit .283/.375/.491 throughout the playoffs, including three huge home runs in the World Series.
Nonetheless, Granderson didn’t make the All Star team and finished only 18th in the MVP voting. In a year where the spotlight was on Harvey, Cespedes, Flores, Conforto, and Syndergaard, it is appropriate to take a second to appreciate just how special his season was.
in addition to being an impressive season in general, Granderson’s 2015 was relatively momentous for a player in his age 34 season. By WAR, Granderson’s 2015 was the 6th best for an age 34 outfielder in the last thirty years. In fact, there are only 19 such seasons in the last thirty years where any outfielder age 34 or older was better (and Barry Bonds accounts for five of them). His 157 games played was the ninth most among outfielders 34 and older since the league integrated in 1961.
Granderson was the Mets’ rock in 2015, and I am one of many who did not appreciate it enough as it was happening. Wishing for a repeat in his age 35 year is a long-shot, but fans should certainly appreciate the heck out of him while we have him.
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Postscript: In discussing this article on twitter, I did a little more searching, and found out even more great facts about Granderson’s 2015. As it turns out, Granderson’s year was the best by any Met age 34 or older in the history of the franchise, regardless of position.
Among outfielders of any age, Granderson’s 2015 ranks 14th all time for the Mets. Overall, just a fantastic and even somewhat historic year in the history of the Mets franchise.