The New York Mets’ nine-season drought of missing the postseason was snapped in 2015 when they made some big deadline moves to pair with their elite pitching staff with strong batting. This combination crowned the Mets National League Champions. After falling short in the 2015 season, the Mets set out to become World Champions in 2016, a goal the ultimately also failed, after losing in the NL Wild Card game to the San Francisco Giants. Now, the Mets set out to get back to the World Series, but are they serious contenders anymore?
By far the Mets’ biggest strength is their starting pitching that features five young pitchers all with Ace potential. Next up, they have a superstar in Yoenis Cespedes the middle of the lineup to lead their offense. Built around him are some veteran bats in Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda to help raise the apple in center field as many times as possible throughout the season. The infield defense is solid with Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker up the middle, and Jose Reyes manning the hot corner. They have an average bullpen, with the exception of All-Star closer Jeurys Familia, who will likely be serving a suspension for domestic violence of around 30 games to start the season.
Despite all of the Mets’ upsides they have many shortcomings that could keep them out of the World Series. Their catcher, Travis d’Arnaud, is a defensive liability, slashing a .247/.307/.323 and just 4 home runs in 75 games. He has also had trouble staying healthy, which is also an issue for the pitching staff. Last season, Zack Wheeler failed to come back from Tommy John surgery when his ETA for a return was Mid-July. Matt Harvey went down in early July for the season, and Steven Matz missed the last month-and-a-half of the season with an elbow injury that required off-season surgery. Jacob DeGrom missed all of September with an arm injury that he eventually decided to pitch through for most of the season. Noah Syndergaard is the only pitcher in their star-studded bullpen who was able to stay healthy all last season.
Going into the upcoming season, Zack Wheeler is still a huge question mark, and Matt Harvey has not looked as promising as he has looked in the past so far this spring. Matz has looked good in his first two spring starts so far, but no one knows if he can with withstand a full major league season, which he has failed to do in his first two big league seasons. DeGrom and Syndergaard have both looked very good and look to lead the staff throughout the season in 2017.
Another big question to be addressed for the Mets coaching staff is the log jam in the corner outfield positions. Cespedes, Bruce, Granderson and Michael Conforto are all very capable corner outfielders. Conforto is a promising young talent, and the other three are on expensive contracts, so definitive changes should be made. Lastly, the Mets’ only true defensive star, Juan Lagares, constantly struggles to hit right handed pitching, which could prove to be problematic down the stretch.
The Mets have some questions marks going into the season, but as long as their starting pitching and big bats stay healthy, they have a legitimate chance to play deep into October.