I’ve done a really good job at avoiding the Mets the past couple of years. Sure things like long Rangers playoff runs and the World Cup help, but the bottom line is they’ve been terrible, we know they’re going to be terrible, so there’s just no point in getting excited for them every April.
Well this year I’m back to drinking the Mets kool-aid. I’m all-in on the 2015 New York Mets. Have I done this before and am 100% setting myself up for devastating failure? Absolutely. Year in and year out the Mets try to sell us on their young pitchers and the young hitters finally coming into their own and this year I am buying.
Believe it or not, the Mets are ready to contend. Sure they didn’t do much (or anything) to improve this off-season but that’s not the point. With Matt Harvey returning and teaming with Jacob deGrom at the top of the rotation, the Mets have one of the best and deepest pitching staffs in baseball. Sure Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese, and Bartolo Colon may not scare opponents, but not only are they are more then serviceable guys, two of them will be replaced by Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz by June. If the Mets run into more injuries, Rafael Monterro can easily move up from the bullpen and slot himself into the rotation.
I know everyone wants to focus on how much everyone else improved this offseason but the truth is baseball is more wide open then it’s ever been. Factor in that baseball is currently going through a scary trend where more pitchers then ever are undergoing Tommy John surgery, a trend that is likely to continue this year. It’s not so much who has the best team in baseball but who stays the healthiest. One big injury to an ace could undermine an entire team. That’s where the Mets depth with Syndergaard and Matz waiting in the minors helps. They’ve already lost Zack Wheeler but that’s not even close to being enough to undermine this season.
The Mets come into this season building on a solid season last year and the truth of the matter is, they can’t really get much worse then they were last year. With just two weeks left in the season in the Mets were just 5.5 games out of the wild card. That’s factoring in how their bullpen was an absolute disaster at the start of the season last year. Not only did the bullpen improve last season but it became one of the best in baseball. This year the bullpen is even better as Meija and Familia are a year older and Bobby Parnell is back after missing most of last season. Add in Rafael Monterro and a couple of solid lefties and the Mets have a bullpen that shouldn’t be forcing fans to pull their hair out every night anymore.
As for the Mets lineup. I can agree it’s underwhelming but there are still plenty of things to be positive about. If everyone not named David Wright and Curtis Granderson performs the way they did last season this lineup will be much improved simply because there is no possible way that Wright and Granderson can be as bad as they did last year. Wright had one of the worst years of his career, and there’s just no way a player with his work ethic can have two bad seasons like that back to back. Meanwhile Granderson’s numbers from last season aren’t even that bad and that’s factoring in that he went though the months of April and August without getting a hit. Two months! If he was just bad during those months instead of invisible that’s a whole different Mets lineup.
As for the rest of the lineup, Travis d’Arnaud really looked like he put things together in the second half of last season and I expect that to continue, especially with Kevin Plawecki breathing down his neck in the minor just waiting for a chance. Everyone wants to hate on Wilmer Florres being the shortstop but he’s got the same deal. Florres was actually hitting this spring and if he gets off to a slow start he’ll certainly feel Matt Reynolds breathing down his neck. Either way I expect Reynolds to be in Flushing by June which will add a whole different element to the Mets.
So yes, the lineup has a ton of IF’s. IF Duda hits 30 HR’s again, IF Lagares, d’Arnaud, and Florres continue to improve and hit. But like I said I’ve drinking the Mets Kool-Aid and I think they will. Factor that in with a solid bullpen and great rotation, and the Mets will be playing October baseball this year!