It’s a first New York stop now for the runaway UK fans season previews train! Les McCaughan (@Lez_Mets), founder and admin of the @NYMets_UK Twitter handle has kindly agreed to share his views on the New York Mets. Feel free to comment below and do give Les a follow on Twitter.
For a Mets fan looking back on 2017 is like some kind of cruel and unusual punishment. After two straight Postseason appearances we went into the season with real, legitimate hopes of another October run, but then injury after injury struck and while we still harboured hopes right up to the All Star break the reality once Syndergaard went onto the DL on May 1st was that the season was done. On the positive side we did get to see Dom Smith and Amed Rosario called up and get some vital Major League experience heading into 2018. That’s all I’m gonna say about a year where the team lost everything including long time manager Terry Collins!
Comings and Goings
Most of New York’s goings occurred at the 2017 trade deadline with Duda, Bruce and Reed all dealt, with Jay Bruce returning after a postseason appearance during his brief stay in Cleveland. Other notable additions are Adrian Gonzalez at first; Anthony Swarzak to bolster a bullpen that struggled a year ago; Todd Frazier at Third in what was a steal in one of the strangest free agent markets since “Collusion” in the mid 80s; and a solid Solution to the 3B question while we wait on David Wright’s rehab but I think we’re all resigned to the fact he’s not coming back at least as an everyday player. Jose Reyes also comes back to Flushing in more of a bench role, and Jason Vargas returns to Queens to provide a much-needed lefty to the rotation, and of course, let’s not forget the arrival of rookie manager Mickey Callaway!
There’s a lot more optimism among the Flushing faithful than there was as recently as just a month ago, with Mickey Callaway’s buzz word “accountability” already being felt around camp with Dom Smith being scratched from the spring opener for lateness – great signs with the skipper showing leadership right out of the blocks!
One scheduling dilemma the Mets have this year is it is an East v East year in Interleague Play which means 6 games vs the Yankees and 3 games at Fenway which effectively gives the Mets 9 tougher games than most of their National League rivals and may ultimately hurt the team in any potential Wild Card Race. But don’t get me started on the unfairness of an Unbalanced Interleague schedule, they have to deal with this regardless if October baseball is to be a reality.
If things go well on the injury front this team will compete every day with a deep rotation but an improved bullpen is a must, and with Mickey ready to use his guys in the situations the numbers and he feels will give them the best chance to be successful can only help. For the team to compete for the NL East will require some misfortune for Washington but they will really need to make hay within the division and beat up on Miami and Atlanta, and just like in 2015 if New York go into the Postseason with Thor, The Dark Knight and the DeGrominator at or near the top of their game they will be a tough out. They’re very much a team built to win in October, they just gotta figure out how to get there!
87 wins got a Wild Card in the NL last season so between 85 and 90 wins with a Wild Card appearance, after that who knows!
Noah Syndergaard is going to have to have at least a 15 win season, to get that he and the rest of the staff is going to need a lot more run support, Cespedes and Bruce need 30 HR seasons. Whichever one of those two produce most is my MVP, and Syndergaard a Cy Young candidate!
One to watch
Brandon Nimmo. If he gets the at bats and playing time he’s been seeing the ball really well this spring.