In 2016, the Mets made it to the playoffs for the 2nd consecutive season for only the 2nd time in franchise history. However, the team fell up short in the Wild Card game against the San Francisco Giants against one of the best postseason pitchers in Madison Bumgarner. The team made it to the World Series in 2015, and expectations were pretty high going into the 2016 season. But, for those that followed the team were aware that many of the Mets’ key players were injured throughout the year. There were still some positives to take away from the season, especially since the team found their way into the playoffs. But, fans want a championship.
It’s now 2017, and the expectations for the New York Mets are as high as I’ve ever seen them. The team retained some key offensive players including Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker, two very important pieces on this team. To start, the team has so much depth, especially in the outfield. With Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Grandson, Jay Bruce, and Michael Conforto, the team is pretty stacked in the outfield. The Mets finally have Cespedes locked up for 5 years, and expectations are for him to be an MVP candidate. We can’t forget Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo as well, who also have the potential to be solid bench players. Their infield also has some nice depth with Jose Reyes, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores and David Wright if healthy. Even if there’s injuries, this team should have plenty of help from their bench, and as we know, the baseball season is very long. The Mets have a good problem with all the depth they have right now.
I’d say their only position with some major holes is Catcher. 2017 is a huge year for Travis d’Arnaud, who was supposed to be a big time hitter. He has shown signs, but has never peaked, and also struggles behind the dish. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mets are in the market for a catcher at the trading deadline, unless d’Arnaud turns it around. Rene Rivera is a solid backup catcher and plays some great defense, but the team does not really have a proven starting catcher. That’s one position the team failed to address in the offseason, but we will see what D’Arnaud has.
Of course, the position that has people opening their eyes at the Mets is their solid, young pitching staff. Noah Syndergaard looks to be the team’s number 1, and will be backed up by Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey, 2 guys who at times looked like they were the Mets’ number 1 pitcher. These 3 guys could be Cy Young Candidates. It will also be great to see Zack Wheeler back in action, as he has a lot to prove coming off of an injury. And of course, one of the key pitchers for the team in 2016 down the stretch is Robert Gsellman, who will be a great number 5 starter to start off the season. The team will miss Steven Matz, who’s not on the opening day roster due to injury. Of course, the team will go as far as this pitching staff brings them. In 2015, the staff was pretty healthy, and that’s why they made a World Series run. 2016, the staff was constantly injured, and they still found a way into the playoffs. We all know it, this staff has to stay healthy. They no longer have Bartolo Colon to cover for all these young guys, but they still have depth and talent. If the staff stays healthy, I don’t see why this team can’t win it all. But they have to stay healthy, it’s that simple.
The only area that scares me is the bullpen. Closer Jeurys Familia will start the season suspended 15 games, so Addison Reed will have to step up. He’s been a closer before, but he looked great as one of the best setup men in baseball last season. When Familia comes back, I really like their 8/9, but as we know with these young pitchers, many times they only go 5 or 6 innings. That means they will need a major contribution from their bullpen. Fernando Salas also could be under the radar, and end up being very important for this bullpen, especially during Familia’s suspension. The bullpen has some potential, but look at a guy like Hansel Robles. At times, he looks like the best pitcher in the league, but then there’s times when he can’t find the strike zone. Seth Lugo will also be a nice player, who also can start some games. He was another pitcher who came up big down the stretch during the 2016 playoff run. Maybe come trade deadline, the team will pick up a reliever, but they could end up being the surprise of this Mets team.
I’m sure I speak on behalf of many Mets fans in saying I expect a deep postseason run this year. I know it’s a long season and I know injuries happen, but this team has the makeup to challenge the Chicago Cubs for the National League Pennant. Their depth could help them get through some injuries. They have great offensive potential, and their pitching staff could end up being the best in baseball. The key phrase to the season is stay healthy. If this team stays healthy, I think they could win the World Series. Only Mets fans see this, but this team has the potential to be one of the best Mets teams we’ve ever seen. But, baseball can be very unpredictable, and it’s great to have it back. I think 2017’s going to be a special season for the Mets.
Mike’s Final Record Prediction for the New York Mets: 94-68