2016 was certainly not as memorable a season for the Mets as opposed to 2015 when they made it to the World Series, but there were a lot of positives to take away from the season. On the other hand, there are also some negatives and major questions marks for the team going into 2017.
The team has added more young pitching. In the MLB, you can never have too many pitchers. We knew going into the season the Mets had the potential to have 5 young studs. Because of injury, the staff was not what it was supposed to be on paper. But, 2 guys stepped up big time: Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. It will be interesting to see what the Mets do with them in 2017, but they proved to be very good for the Mets down the stretch. It would have been interesting to see them pitch in the postseason had the Mets made a run. The Mets might have a pitching controversy with all these starting pitchers for 5 spots.
2 infielders that contributed greatly to the team this year were Asdrubel Cabrera and Jose Reyes. Cabrera was signed in the offseason going into 2016, and he proved to be the Mets’ best pure hitter. He came through big down the stretch, and will be back in 2017. If he produces in 2017, it would be huge for the Mets. We also can’t forget the leather he flashed, proving he can still be an every day second basemen. Asdrubel Cabrera will be big for the Mets in 2017, and it will be interesting to see if he plays the way he did this year. Jose Reyes on the other hand was signed in the middle of the season, and gave the Mets some speed and energy that they desperately needed. At this point in his career, he can be a utility player, and can play shortstop, third base and second base. He came up big for them in 2016, and I’d like to see the Mets pick up his option in 2017.
Addison Reed proved to be the best setup man in baseball in 2016. He had a 1.97 ERA and 40 holds. He passed it to Jeurys Familia consistently, and even with Familia’s struggles in the playoffs, I still feel comfortable with them 8/9. Their bullpen was pretty strong this year, but I’d like to see some more depth in 2017. But, with these 2 guys during the regular season, it was lights out, especially with Familia going 51/56 in save opportunities.
Yoenis Cespedes’ performance in the Wild Card game against the Giants left a bad taste in Mets fans’ mouths. In 2015, he did not come up big in the playoffs either. But overall, he has been a sensational Met, and basically carried them to the postseason in back to back years. The problem is he seems to disappear in the playoffs. What I also question is did we see Cespedes’ last game as a Met? It seems like he likes it hear, but it looks like he might opt out of his deal. Rightly so, he had a great year, and can probably make more money. If the Mets don’t bring him back which could happen, their offense is going to have major problems.
Arguably the biggest negative of 2015 was the disappointment of the young pitching staff. Steven Matz had season ending surgery. Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey did as well. Zach Wheeler had a setback from Tommy John surgery and never returned this season. We saw a lot out of Noah Syndergaard. He proved he can be a big time pitcher, and battled strong in the Wild Card game against Madison Bumgarner. But injuries to pitchers are very worrying to me. This pitching staff was amazing in 2015, especially in the playoffs. There were high expectations for this staff, and they simply could not stay healthy. I’m beginning to wonder if they will deal one of them. With the emergence of Lugo and Gsellman, there’s a lot of starting pitchers for 5 spots, assuming all return in April and the Mets resign Bartolo Colon. I was disappointed that the staff could not stay healthy. Look what they did without most of them down the stretch though. If they are healthy in 2017, this team could be lethal.
Michael Conforto took some major steps back this season. He had a strong April, and then slipped from there, and had a couple cups of coffee in the minor leagues. This is the guy that hit 2 home runs in 1 game in the 2015 World Series. When he first came up to the big leagues, he showed he could hit the ball to the opposite field as a lefty, but it seems he fell in love with the long ball, and is constantly pulling the ball. He’s still young and has a lot of upside, but he simply did not look good this year. He might have some pressure on him with Brandon Nimmo, also a left-handed out fielder showing the Mets some positive signs in 2016.
Finals thoughts and words of encouragement
Mets fans, this game left us all very upset. It would have been great to see the team find their way into the NLDS, but this team still battled all through 2016. The amount of injuries they had were absurd. The Wild Card game is a wash, and they faced arguably the best active postseason pitcher in Madison Bumgarner. Stay positive. This team still has a lot of great, young pitching. If they bring back Cespedes, they could be one of the best in baseball in 2017. If the pitching staff stays healthy, they could make a deep run in 2017. I’ll be honest, 2016 was no 2015, and that’s the reality. However, this team was resilient, and I think they still have a very bright future.