One of the greatest left-handed hitters of a generation, Carlos Delgado is to the 2009 Mets what Mike Piazza was to the 2000 club. Although not perfect in big situations, he is most definitely a guy who comes through more often than not, and the team is always able to rally behind him.
Let's face it: When Delgado struggles, so do the Mets. No team can possibly survive when their cleanup hitter isn't hitting well, and New York is no exception. In the first 82 games of the 2008 season, Delgado hit just .228/.307/.419 with 14 HR and 45 RBI. In the final 80 games, he batted .313/.396/.617 with 24 HR and 70 RBI.
During his first-half struggles, the Mets were 40-42. However, after he turned it on and started hitting, the Mets were 49-31 in their final 80 games. Of course, there were other events that took place in between that also had an effect on the team's play, but Delgado's impact cannot be overlooked. He was simply outstanding in the second half of 2008.
Certainly there are many questions as to whether or not Delgado can produce like he did in the second half of 2008 for the entire 2009 season. Some are even writing it off as a hoax.
The problem with that is his hot streak was over a period of more than 80 games. That's half the season, for those who stink at math. Perhaps 30 games is a hoax, maybe even 40, but not 80. It's more likely that we finally witnessed a healthy Carlos Delgado.
In 2009, Carlos Delgado has no excuses not to continue his production from 2008, except maybe age. He's smart, his wrist is completely healed, and he's got a little motivation behind him.
What's the motivation? Well, it just occurred to me that Carlos Delgado is just 31 home runs away from the 500 milestone. With his season average being 38 home runs, he will most likely achieve this if he has another normal season.
There aren't too many people out there who can honestly say they don't like Carlos Delgado, so I have to believe there will be many people out there rooting for him to reach the 500 club, just as they did with Tom Glavine and his 300th win. I know I will be.
By the way, I just had to include that baseball card photo of Delgado during his days as a catcher. That's just priceless, if you ask me.
159 G, 38 HR, 115 RBI, 124 SO, .271/.353/.518
155 G, 35 HR, 105 RBI, 115 SO, .282/.375/.525