In what seems like a lifetime ago, it was the Mets who featured the precocious stars of the Subway Series. David Wright and Jose Reyes lit up New York with the youthful allure of speed, power and charisma.
Nearly a decade later, it’s the Yankees who have reloaded with the kiddie corps of Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. Each homered Saturday night in the Yankees’ 4-3 comeback win at Citi Field.
And the Mets? They’re still waiting for the next generation, a hazy future tied to the stalled promise of Amed Rosario, the recent stirring of Brandon Nimmo and the head-scratching case of Michael Conforto.
We’ll start with the Yankees’ wonder boys, because Torres and Andjuar made an imprint on their first Subway Series in the same fashion in which they’ve been terrorizing everyone.
Torres, 21, is hitting .303 with a .570 slugging percentage and 29 RBIs after belting his 11th homer in 41 games.
Andujar, 23, is neck-and-neck with Torres, batting .305 with a .550 slugging percentage after two hits Saturday, including a two-run homer (No. 8) that tied the score at 3 in the sixth and upped his RBI total to 28.
The two have thrust themselves into the Rookie of the Year conversation, and there’s no reason to think they’ll slow down anytime soon, primarily because their mental approach is equal to their physical talents.
“It’s what’s been special about those guys so far,” Aaron Boone said. “I think it’s a credit to both of those guys and also a credit to the organization, so when the opportunity comes, they’re ready for it.”
“Ready’’ is an understatement for the two rookies, who are displaying the poise of 10-year vets and flexing on a nightly basis with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Torres has two walk-off winners. Four of Andujar’s eight homers have tied the score or given the Yankees the lead.
“Just impressive,” said Judge, who hit the tiebreaking homer Saturday. “They don’t act like it and they don’t play like it. You can see they’re having fun out there and they’re competing.”
By comparison, the Mets have needed to set the bar lower with their twenty-somethings. They hoped to squeeze something extra from Rosario by bumping him up to the leadoff spot Saturday night. It was a gamble, but Mickey Callaway felt he was out of options.
Aside from speed, Rosario doesn’t profile as a typical leadoff man. He has a .279 on-base percentage, doesn’t have good plate discipline and can’t really bunt to keep the infield honest.
But Callaway believed he had to move Nimmo — another youngster at 25 — from leadoff down to the No. 3 spot just to get one of his hottest hitters in more RBI situations. Nimmo entered Saturday with a .960 OPS and had three homers in his last seven games.
The idea was a good one, but as far as Rosario was concerned, the execution was lacking. In the first inning, Todd Frazier and Asdrubal Cabrera sandwiched home runs around a triple by Nimmo as the Mets took a 3-0 lead. For Rosario’s part, he saw all of two pitches in fouling out.
He did show some potential in the third during a rally that fizzled. He first showed bunt — a point emphasized by his mentor, Jose Reyes — and after that went foul, he beat out a grounder to short for an infield single. He then stole second, only his fourth theft this season, but was stranded at third.
As for Conforto, he’s a flat-out mess right now, hitting .219 after going 0-for-3 with a strikeout. In this eight-game losing streak, Conforto is batting .107 (3-for-28). He has one homer in his last 50 plate appearances. After batting him sixth Saturday, Callaway is running out of places to hide him.
“I think that it looks at times like he’s a little indecisive,” he said. “He’s a young player that goes through ups and downs.”
Apparently, that’s a phenomenon that has been happening only to the Mets lately.