Jonathan Villar: Mets "Bench Mob" Infielder Whose Gestures Made Him Disposable (2021)
He was originally signed by the Philadelphia Phillies, at age 17. He was traded to the Houston Astros in July 2010 in the Roy Oswalt deal.
He made his debut with Astros in 2013 & would spend parts of three seasons there as a reserve player.
For 2016 he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Cory Sneed. He was an everyday player there, playing in 156 games, leading the NL in stolen bases (62) as well as caught stealing (18) while batting .285 with 19 HRs & 63 RBIs.
A high strike out hitter, he fanned 174 times & would strike out over 130 times three straight seasons. The next season, 2017, he stole just 23 bases playing in 34 less games, with 11 HRs as his average fell to .241. At the 2018 trade dead line he was sent to the Baltimore Orioles for Jonathan Schoop.
In 2019, for the Orioles, he was one of four MLB players to play in all 162 games, collecting career highs in HRs (24) & RBIs (73) while striking out 176 times.
That season he became just the sixth Oriole to hit for the cycle. Villar was traded to the Miami Marlins for 2020 & then sent to the Toronto Blue Jays to end the Covid 19 shortened season.
On February 11th, 2021, he signed a one-year deal with the New York Mets. He would soon become part of the Mets "Bench Mob"- the group of non-regular players, who often play & have produced.
Mets Career: Villar made his Mets debut on Opening Day, striking out as a pinch hitter. He got his first Mets start on April 7th, he went 3-5 with a double & triple in the Mets loss.
Walk Off Hit: On April 13th, Villar had a walk off base hit against Hector Neris, driving in Jeff McNeil with the game winning run to beat the Phillies 4-3 in the first game of a twin bill.
He would drive in a run with a double in the next game of that doubleheader as well.
On April 17th, in Colorado, Villar came in to pinch hit in the 7th inning with the Mets down 3-2. His double drove in James McCann to tie the game. He would score what was the winning run-on Francisco Lindor's single.
On May 5th, he hit collected a pair of hits & two RBIs, including his first Mets HR, in a 7-2 Mets win at St. Louis.
He heated up in mid-May hitting safely in 16 of 19 games, while stealing six bases in the month as well, giving the Mets some much needed speed.
His base running was outstanding, as he would score 29 runs in the first half of the season. He also added good defense to the Mets infield.
On May 14th he hit a two run HR in a loss at Tampa. In back-to-back games in Atlanta he homered in both games collecting three RBIs. He enjoyed his success against the Braves, blasting another HR on a May 29th 13-2 win at Citi Field.
On June 21st, he exited the game with tightness in his right calf, Villar went on the IL until July4th.
He returned for the night cap, of the Independence Day subway series double header. He went 0-3 with three strike outs.
Multi HR Game: On July 9th he had his only multi-HR game of the season, hitting two solo shots against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 13-4 Mets win.
In his next game, the first of a twin bill at Citi Field, Villar homered again in the 6-2 Mets loss.
On July 21st, he hit his 10th HR of the year, coming in the 2nd inning, of a Mets 7-0 shut out win in Cincinnati. Apparently, he broke a fans cell phone with the blast.
Mets fall Apart: The Mets maintained a first-place lead until August 6th, but that month they went 9-18 & the whole thing fell apart. From a clueless manager to under achieving players & booing the fans, the season was over & a good house cleaning followed in the off season.
Starting on August 6th he hit HRs in back-to-back games at Philadelphia, both Mets losses. On August 12th in the second game of a doubleheader in the Nation's Capital, he hit his 14th HR of the year. The Mets won the game on Pete Alonso's walk off HR.
Mets Stats: Villar led the Mets with 14 stolen bases on the season. He batted .249 with 113 hits 18 doubles 2 triples 18 HRs (third on the Mets team) 42 RBIs a .322 on base % & .738 OPS (third on the team) playing in 142 games (third most on the team). He struck out 132 times, fanning over 100 times for the fifth time in his career.
The versatile infielder played 97 games at third base 26 at short & 9 at second base. But when he joined in with the thumbs down gesture to fans, he became disposable trash like the useless JerkeZ Baez.
Villar was signed by the Angels a week later & played 13 games there batting .163. He was released at the end of July signed with Seattle & was granted free agency at the end of the season.
Career Stats: In his ten-year career Villar has a .255 average with 899 hits 101 HRs 161 doubles 19 triples & 343 RBIs with 239 stolen bases, with a .322 on base % & a .710 OPS.