Over the past few years, if the New York Mets were a movie, they would have to be the Star Wars trilogy. Think about it… 2 years ago, the young pitching staff was a lot like Luke Skywalker. They were filled with potential, they were cocky and not afraid of anything. They made it all the way to the World Series only to lose to the Kansas City Royals in 5 games. In 2016, The Mets were a lot like the Empire Strike Backs, they were still good but took a step back as they lost to the San Francisco Giants in the NL Wildcard game. This season the Mets should be the Empire or the “young arms” strike back. The Mets should have depth on the offenisve side and if their pitchers finally stay healthy, they could have the best starting 5 in the history of baseball.
There is an elephant in the room. That Elephant is called David Wright. We all love the man they call “Captain America” but it is time to face facts. The best-case scenario would be for Wright to play in 85 games. Unfortunately for him, injuries have hampered his career. Wright is owed $20 million this year, $20 million in 2018, $15 million in 2019, and $12 million in 2012. This may very well be, the worst contract in the MLB. His skills will only erode over the next four years.
Batting 1st, Jose Reyes, 3b/OF: In 60 games with the Mets last season, Reyes provided a spark. The Mets will need him to play multiple positions and provide them with speed at the leadoff position. The biggest question is can he stay healthy and productive for 130-140 games.
Batting 2nd, Curtis FGranderson OF: The man they call “The Grandy Man” came on during the second half of the season, But, his batting averaging during the year was .235. He hit 26 home runs last year but if he can’t raise his average, the Mets will have problems setting the table for their power hitters.
Batting 3rd, Yoenis Cespedes, OF: “Yo-Ces is a five-tool player. He can hit for power, hit for average, run the bases, protect the outfield and has one of the best arms in the major league. Last season he hit 26 home runs and drove in 80 runs. You can “pencil in” around 28 HRs and 80 plus RBI’s for the next 3 years. He is the Mets offensive MVP.
Batting 4th, Jay Bruce, OF: In 50 games with the Mets, last season Bruce struggled big time. He batted .219, had 8 HR’s 19 runs batted in and struck out 43 times. That was the bad news, the good news is when healthy Bruce can carry a team on his back for months. With Cespedes hitting in front of him, he should see a ton of good pitches to hit. New York is Hoping Bruce can hit 30 HRs and have over 90 RBI’s.
Batting 5th, Neil Walker, 2B: Walker had the dubious position of replacing a Mets legend in Daniel Murphy. Despite all the pressure, Walker was amazing before his season ended with an injury. He was a much better fielder than Daniel and he had 23 HR’s 55 RBI’s and walked 42 times in 113 games. Walker had a very good season and hopefully, he can build on those numbers and stay healthy.
Batting 6th, Asdrubal Cabrera, SS: Cabrera was not known for his fielding when he came to the Mets but he was a perfect duo at SS with Walker at 2nd. They seemed to have chemistry right off the bat. Cabrera played in 141 games and hit 23 HR’s and drove in 62 RBI’s. I absolutely love the potential production from Walker and Cabrera. They both are solid professionals and come to play every day.
Batting 7th, Lucas Duda, 1B: When I think about Duda the Clint Eastwood movie, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly comes to mind. The Good… He will go on a ten-game tear where he hits 8 home runs.
The Bad, he will go on a ten-game cold streak where he goes 1 for 20.
The Ugly, during that cold streak, he will strike out 15 times to they won’t even be productive outs and he will look lost at the plate. Hopefully, with age and experience, he can limit those cold streaks. When healthy he can hit 25 or more home runs.
Batting 8th, Travis d’Arnaud, C: If there ever was a player on the hot-seat, it is d’Arnaud. The 28-year-old can no longer live on his “potential.” The time is now for Travis to step up and be the great hitter everyone projected him to be. If he is an automatic out at the plate, he becomes a liability because he is not a good defensive catcher. In 75 games, last season he had 4 HRs and 15 RBI’s. No disrespect here but I could have driven in 15 RBI’s for the Mets last season. d’Arnaud needs to get off to a hot start so there won’t be pressure on him during every at bad.
The Mets bench of Wilmer Flores, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo should all play significant roles. If Conforto emerges and plays to his potential, he could be starting in the outfield by the middle of the season.
The bad news about this lineup is, they will probably lead the league in strikeouts. The good news is, they will probably lead the league in HRs. I don’t like the way this offense is constructed. When you have dominate pitching, your team should play small ball and create runs. The Mets will rely on the long ball.
#1 Starter…Noah Syndergaard is the ace of this staff. At just 24 years old, the man they call “Thor” has already established himself as one of the premier power pitchers in the major leagues. Thor has 384 strikeouts in just 337 innings pitched. He should be a solid 18-20 game winner this season
#2 Starter…Jacob deGrom would be my #2 starter. When healthy he has total command and control of his pitches. In 479 innings pitched he has 492 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.74. At 28 years old he should be hitting his physical, athletic prime and that is a scary thought for the rest of the national league. Both deGrom and Thor should be in the running for the Cy Young Award.
#3 Starter… For 2 years, I have been waiting for Zach Wheeler to get health. He has tremendous potential but just can’t seem to stay in the lineup. The 26-year-old has all the tools to be a dominant pitcher. If he is healthy look for him to win 15 games.
#4 Starter… Matt Harvey went from the toast of New York City and “The Dark Knight” to the “Joker” last season. The man who was touted as the next Tom Seaver is also at a crossroads of his career. In 595 innings pitched, Harvey has 525 strikeouts and a record of 29-28 with a 2.84 ERA. If Harvey stays health and faces the 4th or 5th pitcher of the opponent, he can easily win 18 games.
#5 Starter… Steven Matz has struggled with consistency early on in his career. But he has a tremendous work ethic, competitive nature, and nasty stuff when he is on his game. He averages about 8 strikeouts per 9 innings and should benefit from pitching against lesser talent as the 5th starter.
This pitching staff, if healthy, along with closer Jeurys Familia. should help the Mets in 95 games and can potentially be one the greatest seasons in Mets history.
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