The 2018 New York Mets look to forget last season and hope a Wild Card berth is in the cards.
The 2017 Mets did not live up to their potential. The expectations fell short – really short – and the rotation of the gods was mostly to blame. The only reason the Mets made it to the World Series in 2015 was the pitching rotation, but with injuries abound, last year’s team never had a chance.
Noah Syndergaard only made 7 starts. Zack Wheeler made 17 starts but put up a 5.21 ERA. Matt Harvey was no longer the Dark Knight, let alone Robin, as he made 18 starts and produced a 6.70 ERA. Long Island’s own Steven Matz put up a 6.08 ERA in 13 starts.
The only bright spot? Jacob deGrom put up a 3.53 ERA in 31 starts, which wasn’t too bad compared to the others, but it was still a career high.
Where does the rotation stand now? Healthy with the exception of Jason Vargas, who signed a two-year $16 million dollar deal with the Mets in February. He will be out at the beginning of the season with a fracture of the hamate bone in his non-throwing had.
Zack Wheeler was also just sent back down to Las Vegas where he was told to work on putting batters away with 0-2 counts and to gain his confidence back.
Other than the rotation injuries, we’re still waiting on the return of Michael Conforto and David Wright. Conforto is expected to be back in the lineup by May 1st after undergoing shoulder surgery last September, but David Wright was recently shut down for another eight weeks and there is no timetable for his return.
Wright hasn’t played a full season since 2014, the last time the Mets had a legitimate third baseman. In order to finally fill the spot while waiting for miracle, the Mets signed Todd Frazier to a two-year $17 million deal. Frazier split his time with the White Sox and Yankees last season hitting a combined .213/.344/.428 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs. Though clearly not signed for his offensive prowess, Frazier is a solid defenseman and will be way better than anyone else the Mets had playing in place of The Captain.
Amed Rosario will be the everyday shortstop, even with his struggles last season batting .248/.271/.394 through 46 games. He has the potential to be an integral part of the team offensively as long as he can feet his feet under him and become a doubles and triples machine.
Asdrubal Cabrera will handle second base. Even at 32 years old, Cabrera hit .280/.351/.434 with 14 home runs and 59 RBI last season, which is more than enough when manning a position in the middle of the infield.
With Dominic Smith suffering a quad injury early in spring training and likely won’t be ready by Opening Day, Adrian Gonzalez will be handling duties at first base. Gonzalez had a terrible 2017, but for the price tag and until Smith comes back, it’s not the worst thing in the world. AIf Gonzalez really starts to show his age after Conforto comes back, Jay Bruce can always take over duties, who is also back this season after signing a three-year $39 million contract.
Travis d’Arnaud will be taking his usual position behind the dish, backed up by Kevin Plawecki. d’Arnaud provides power, but that’s about it. His average and on base percentage will always be down, but his pitch framing skills are elite and most likely the only reason we still see him Queens.
The Mets’ biggest offensive threat, Yoenis Cespedes, will be manning left field as usual, and by the looks of it lately, hitting bombs. Among hitters who have taken at least 1,000 plate appearances since the start of the 2015 season, only 21 have put up a higher weighted on-base average than Cespedes, who finds himself just ahead of Carlos Correa and just behind Corey Seager.
On paper, the NY Mets have the potential to put up another great season. The major concern for everyone on the team is health. Ever since their magical run in 2015, the injury bug has hit the team, and hit them hard. Can 2018 be the season where the Mets stay healthy and turn some heads? We can only wait and see.