Meet The Mets
New York Mets fans are some of the most pessimistic fans in all of baseball. And to their credit, they have certainly earned the right to be. Their team have become the “Lovable Losers” of MLB, with an emphasis on “losers”. The 2021 regular season only emphasized this mentality. After spending over 100 days in first place of the NL East, the Mets had an all too familiar collapse, finishing the season at a meager third place in the division. But the 2022 season is underway, and the Mets seem to have something special cooking so far. So let’s take a look at some of the ways that the Mets have revamped, and have turned themselves into serious World Series contenders. Everybody, meet the Mets.
No deGrom? No Problem
The Mets received brutal news before the regular season started. Ace of the staff, Jacob deGrom, required surgery on his scapula that would shut him down from throwing for four weeks. This injury immediately raised questions about how the newly re-tooled rotation would perform without their top gun. So how has the rotation done since the start of the season? In a word: phenomenal.
Every single person who has started for the Mets has stepped up big time to start the year. Their 2.59 team ERA is good for third best in the majors, behind the Dodgers and Giants. Last year’s rookie sensation, Tylor Megill, was appointed this year’s Opening Day starter when deGrom got put on the shelf. In his absence, Megill has pitched excellently. He owns a 2.35 ERA, and a sparkling 0.91 WHIP. Newly acquired pitchers Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt have been as good as advertised. Carlos Carrassco seems to be having a much-needed bounce back season. And David Peterson has filled in very nicely for Taijuan Walker, who landed on the IL with shoulder issues. The core of every championship team is good starting pitching. The Mets seem to have an abundance of it this year.
The Francisco Lindor Redemption Tour
The biggest splash that Steve Cohen made when he took over ownership last offseason was to make a trade for superstar shortstop, Francisco Lindor. And when Lindor signed a lucrative 10-year, $341 million contract extension, fans were expecting big things out of their new franchise player in 2021. To put it plainly, Lindor failed to meet expectations. He produced career lows in OPS, OBP, and batting average. But with the new season, the old Lindor seems to have returned. And boy did the Mets need him to bounce back.
19 games into the young season, Lindor has been on fire. He owns a .917 OPS, a .297 batting average, and has already slugged four home runs to start his campaign. For perspective, Lindor’s first home run last season didn’t come until June first. New York has a solid offense. Players like Starling Marte, Mark Cahna, and Eduardo Escobar provide solid contact. But in order for the Mets to flourish, they need an MVP caliber bat. It looks like Lindor may be stepping into that role.
A New Sheriff In Town
After the 2021 season concluded, the consensus among players around the Mets clubhouse was that they had analytics jammed down their throat. They needed someone at the helm who appreciated analytics, but was truly a student of the game. Enter: Buck Showalter.
Showalter seems like the perfect fit for the role of skipper. He seems to truly have his finger on the pulse of this club. Most of his moves out of the bullpen have worked out beautifully. When Francisco Lindor was drilled in the head by a pitch in the second game of the year, Showalter was the first out of the Mets’ dugout to defend his star shortstop. But what players and the media cannot stop raving about is Showalter’s preparedness as a manager. It seems that there is no scenario that can happen in a game that the Mets aren’t ready for. Take one of their games
against the Diamondbacks for example. In a close game in the late innings, while the Diamondbacks were trying to decide whether to challenge a play, JD Davis stole second base and put himself into scoring position. Davis would eventually score, and his swipe of second wound up being a crucial move. Buck Showalter has steered this ship in the right direction so far, and it seems the Mets made one of the best hires of the offseason.
Even with all cylinders clicking for New York, the possibility of fans looking back in three months and saying, “boy were we wrong,” is still very much in the cards. Why? Because these are the Mets, and the Mets are known for screwing the pooch. However, there is an undeniable magic in the air in Queens. The energy is different than previous years, and the front office has constructed one of the most complete rosters in all of baseball. If the key players can stay healthy, the Mets’ chances of having a parade in New York City this fall are high.