Overlooking Curtis Granderson has been a given. 

The New York Mets have so many storylines swirling around their clubhouse this season, and the New York and national media alike are covering them all top to bottom.

Yoenis Cespedes is a huge angle, as is the team’s record since his arrival. So is Matt Harvey’s innings limit, Jacob deGrom’s outstanding sophomore season, David Wright’s strong return, Jeurys Familia’s lights-out performance as closer and the team’s overall handling of its young starting pitchers.

Plus, the Mets are in first place, days away from clinching the National League East and returning to the postseason for the first time since 2006.

Easily lost in all of that is Granderson, the man who has been there every day through the team’s ugly valleys and second-half surge. With relatively no fanfare, he leads the Mets in several offensive categories while playing strong defense in right field. He’s been a consistent presence at the top of the lineup, proving to be productive even when the team’s offense resembled a minor league one.

“A very gratifying year for me so far,” Granderson told Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post. “But not a satisfying one. Not yet. There are still things I—that we—want to accomplish.”

Much of that gratification probably stems from the pressure Granderson had placed on himself when he signed a four-year, $60 million contract before last season. But in his first year with the Mets, the now-34-year-old disappointed.

After hitting 108 home runs to go with an .843 OPS and 123 OPS+ in his first three seasons with the New York Yankees, Granderson hit 20 homers and had a 104 OPS+ in 2014, a season after he was limited to 61 games because of a forearm fracture and a broken bone in his pinky.

Of course, there was talk that Granderson was too deep into his 30s to be an All-Star-caliber player again and that pitcher-friendly Citi Field would sink his value.

That kind of talk has completely gone away this season. While Citi Field has sapped some of his power, Granderson still leads the Mets with 141 games played, 23 home runs, 64 RBI, 87 runs, 83 walks, 11 stolen bases, a .365 OBP, a .355 wOBA, a 130 wRC+ and a 4.6 FanGraphs WAR.

Those numbers suffice as living up to the contract.

“He hasn’t stopped,” manager Terry Collins told reporters over the weekend. “Look at the first month. He was hitting .115 with a .380 on-base. That speaks to the job he’s done. He gets on. He gets big hits. He hits home runs. He’s driving in runs.

“He’s done everything you possibly could have asked for a guy in the leadoff spot.”

Granderson, whose only flaw this season has been not hitting against left-handed pitching, was also the team’s lone offensive presence for much of the first four months of the season, when its OBP hovered around the .300 mark. Before Cespedes arrived in August and Wright and Travis d’Arnaud got healthy and Michael Conforto found his way to the big leagues, Granderson was productive.

And since the start of August when Cespedes arrived and the Mets went on a winning binge—the team is 29-11 since then—Granderson has gotten better. He went into Saturday hitting .271/.395/.507 with a .902 OPS and 19 extra-base hits in 37 games. On Sunday, he went 1-for-3 with a run, two walks (one with the bases loaded) and three RBI in the Mets’ 10-inning win against the Atlanta Braves.

While Cespedes and Harvey have taken most of the team’s headlines in the second half and have been incredibly productive, Granderson has a legitimate case for being the team’s MVP.

“Hey, sometimes balls fall in. Sometimes they don’t,” Granderson told Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “That’s the crazy thing about this game that makes it frustrating and exciting at the same time.”

The Mets have obviously been a revitalized team since the start of August. They have throttled the Washington Nationals to become kings of the division, they have a rotation they can match up with any in the playoffs and the lineup has not only become respected, but feared as well, and it starts with Granderson at the top of the order.

The Mets are a World Series contender because of their pitching, and now they are looking like a complete club with all the necessary pieces in place. So it can be easy to not realize just how good Granderson has been this year.

Maybe his October stage will come with brighter lights.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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