Monday, April 3, 2017

2017 Pre-Season Profile: New York Mets


The New York Mets have carried their powerful young starting rotation to the playoffs the last two seasons, almost winning it all in 2015.  Will 2017 bring enough offense to balance their pitching to make another deep run?

My 2016 Predictions
1st in NL East, lose in NLCS
One of the Mets' five aces will go down with Tommy John surgery in 2016.

2016 Results
87-75, 2nd in NL East, WILD CARD, lost in Wild Card Game
My predictions are a lot more accurate than they appear at first glance.  I had their 2016 playoff run coming to an end at the hands of the Giants.  The only difference is they lost to the Giants in the Wild Card Game instead of the NLCS.  Regardless, it was still a very successful follow-up season for a young team after a World Series run the year before.  As for my Fearless Prediction, fortunately none of their great young starting pitchers went down with Tommy John.  With that said, Noah Syndergaard was the only one that pitched a full season.  Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz dealt with different injuries throughout the season, and Zack Wheeler waited till 2017 to make his comeback from Tommy John.

Additions / Subtractions
The Mets are entering 2017 with almost the exact same roster they ended 2016 with.  In fact, the only real change from the start of 2016 is the mid-season deal they made for Jay Bruce.  The other difference is letting veteran Bartolo Colon leave so the youngsters can have the rotation to themselves.

Most Important Hitter
Jay Bruce
The Mets brought Jay Bruce over last season to help provide some pop with Yoenis Cespedes in the middle of the order.  Instead, Bruce had a terrible run over the last few months, hitting just .219 with 8 home runs and 19 RBI's in 50 games.  The Mets considered trading Bruce again in the offseason, but they instead are banking on Bruce to return to his All Star level he showed with the Reds.  He could be the key to waking up a mediocre offense.

Most Important Pitcher
Noah Syndergaard
Every year, the Mets seem to have a different pitcher emerge as the best pitcher of the staff.  In 2013, it was Matt Harvey.  In 2015, it was Jacob deGrom.  In 2016, it was Noah Syndergaard.  Like I said before, Syndergaard was the only one of the Mets' youngsters to pitch a full season.  He is also the only one that hasn't had any injury issues so far in his career.  Before this season starts, one of their aces (Matz) is already on the DL.  They need someone to bring some stability to the staff and string together consecutive strong seasons.  Syndergaard looks to be the one that has the best opportunity to do just that.

Player to Watch
Amed Rosario
The Mets' infield is getting old.  Neil Walker is 31, Asdrubal Cabrera is 31, David Wright is 34 (when he can play), and Jose Reyes is 34 (when Wright doesn't play).  One of these guys is going to lose their job at some point this season to 21 year old prospect Amed Rosario.  Ranked the 5th best prospect in baseball, Rosario is a shortstop by trade, however he could give a spark at any infield position needed this season.  He might be the catalyst for a late season run towards the playoffs.

2017 Prediction
2nd in NL East, WILD CARD, lose in NLDS
The Mets have so much elite pitching, they are near guaranteed to have a spot in the playoffs.  Even if guys get hurt, they have starters waiting for a shot to show that they belong as well.  I see them getting into that Wild Card Game again this season.  This time, they won't get MadBum'ed and make it to the NLDS where their run will come to an end.  They won't get over the hump until the offense get and upgrade.

Fearless Prediction
Noah Syndergaard will win the NL Cy Young.
It is hard to go against Clayton Kershaw for this award, who is one of the greatest pitchers this game has ever seen.  However, Thor has the potential to join him in that category.  This is the year where the Mets' rotation gets that stability it needs as Syndergaard takes his place among the game's elite.

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