Coming into the 2018 plenty of people considered the New York Mets as pretenders. Although we are only two weeks into the season, you can label the Amazin’s as contenders.
Yoenis Cespedes broke the media when he claimed that the 2018 Mets were better than the 2015 Mets that took part in the miracle run. Did he have a point?
The Mets have one of the top five starting rotations in baseball, featuring talents such as Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz. The other two starters, Matt Harvey and Jason Vargas, are the question marks of the rotation. These are among the two best 4th and 5th starters in baseball. Matt Harvey was one of the best pitchers in baseball before he has fallen apart in Queens.
However, Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland are set to bring Matt Harvey back to form.
Jason Vargas is coming off a season in which he won 18 games. What other 5th starters in the league won 18 games a year prior?
The bullpen is rebuilt and ready to go, being a key part in the Mets early season success. The bullpen ranks in the top 5 in nearly every pitching category amongst the league, headlined by Rob Gsellman, Seth Lugo, AJ Ramos, Anthony Swarzak, Jerry Blevins and Jeurys Familia.
Familia was a premier closer in this league and there is no reason to believe he can not return to that following an injury/suspension riddled season. Gsellman has thrived in the bullpen being the middle inning guy by using his sinker to get ground balls and strikeouts. Jerry Blevins is extremely tough to hit due to his location abilities and 70 mph sweeping curveball. Ramos has electric stuff with a nasty slider to go along with it. Familia seems to be back to his old self, throwing high 90s with his devastating sinker. There is one thing I really love about this Mets bullpen, it is filled with guys who have had success in the bigs. In addition to this, they are loaded with young relievers in the minors who throw high 90s with electric stuff who are on the brink of breaking into the bigs. By the end of the season, it is not crazy to think that the Mets could have a top 5 rotation in baseball along with a top 5 bullpen.
The Mets lineup may be overshadowed by their star-filled starting rotation, but the 2018 Mets’ hitters are something to be afraid of. The 2017 New York Mets were tied for
the league lead in home runs with the Brewers and they have welcomed back an even better lineup. Were the New York Mets perhaps too home run reliant last year? Yes. Did they make the right additions to fix this problem? We will see.
They brought back the power bat of Jay Bruce, welcomed established veteran Adrian Gonzalez, and signed veteran Todd Frazier. Adrian Gonzalez and Todd Frazier are guys who make lineups better as a whole. They bring years of insight and experience to a lineup with young talented hitters.
These are two players who have been apart of plenty of big moments and bring that cool, calm and collected mentality. Joining Gonzalez and Frazier in the infield are Amed Rosario and Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera is an established hitter who mashes the ball against lefties and may be the Mets second best bat in the lineup when facing lefties, next to Cespedes.
Cabrera’s ability to hit leadoff, bat second or cleanup is a huge advantage for the Mets. This allows them to plug in guys off the bench and fit them into their lineup. Rosario is one of the most promising prospects in Queens that the Mets have seen in a while. With a really good glove at shortstop, he adds speed and pop to this Mets
Rosario is by far the Mets best base stealer and has shown the ability to hit triples.
Occasionally placed in the 9th spot in the order he has potential to be a playmaker for the Mets’ big boppers. The outfield is made up of Cespedes, Conforto, and Bruce which is well above average. Cespedes provides a game-changing bat with the ability to hit 30 plus home runs and drive in 100 plus runs. Conforto is perhaps the Mets best pure hitter. He hits to all fields for power and has shown the ability to hit leadoff and bat third. Conforto has the potential to hit 25 plus homers and drive in 80 plus runs.
Bruce has shown year after year that he can hit the long ball, adding to an already potent home run hitting lineup.
Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki have been the Mets catchers in years past and seems to be the case again in 2018. Plawecki seems to be getting more playing time and perhaps he can turn around his career. d’Arnaud has shown the ability to hit for power but has been to inconsistent in his career. (Note: This was written prior to the injuries to both d’Arnaud and Plawecki)
The Mets catchers are the weak link to their lineup and, in my opinion, are considered below average.
The Mets lineup is filled with veterans and young guys who have the potential to get the job done.
Change of Scenery
Terry Collins should hold a beloved spot in every Mets fans heart after what he did with the 2015 New York Mets. However, a change was needed in Queens. In the offseason, the Mets brought in Mickey Callaway to manage the club and he has shined in his first few weeks in Queens.
Players rave about him, he has made the right choices late in games and in putting out his
lineups. He looks at analytics but is also a players’ manager. The players have raved about him, saying he is old-school and new-school at the same time. Instead of having a scouting report set for the opposing team, Callaway asks for players insight.
Callaway has a veteran-filled lineup that has been around the league, and he is not afraid to hear what his players have to say and to develop a game plan from there. He has clearly lifted the spirits and re-energized not only the New York Mets fan base but their players as well.
The additions of Dave Eiland, Pat Roessler, and Gary DiSarcina have also re-energized the players as well. A change was needed, and it was delivered in Queens.
What could stop them?
Mets fans have had to hear this year after year after year. Injuries could be this teams kryptonite, as they are a team filled with aging veterans. Injuries are what killed the Mets hopes in 2017 and it could be the case again in 2018. Cespedes, Syndergaard, Matz, Familia, Conforto, Harvey, d’Arnaud, Gonzalez, Cabrera and more have all been subject to catching the injury bug in years past.
These aging veterans have to stay healthy in order for them to make a run towards the NL
East title. Regardless, there is reason to believe in the New York Mets. The players and coaching staff certainly believe so. Something “amazin’” could be brewing in Queens.