Since Derek Jeter has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2014 season, there have been conversations comparing the Yankees great shortstop to Mets’ third-baseman David Wright. Comparing one of the best shortstops of all-time who has his whole career behind him to a great third baseman who still has 10 years of playing time ahead of him, is not fair. However, it is fair to compare the current state of the Yankees to the current state of the Mets.
The Yankees are projected to have a better 2014 season than the Mets. According PECOTA, the Yankees are projected to have a record of 82-80, while the system projects the Mets to have a record of 73-89. This was expected considering that the Yankees acquired Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Masahiro Tanaka, while the Mets could only respond with the signings of Curtis Granderson, Chris Young, and Bartolo Colon. The Mets just simply could not/did not compete with the Yankees this off-season, and as a result they’re not going to be competing for a playoff spot like the Yankees likely will be this season.
The Yankees are clearly the better team this year, however they also come with some baggage. They are a good team, but a good team that has a lineup with an average age of of a little more than 33 years. This is the problem with signing a lot of players who are either approaching their thirties or on the wrong side of thirty; you eventually end up with an AARP roster. That was a little harsh, but the Yankees are clearly an old team. This is where the Mets have an advantage over the Yankees: youth. The average age of the Mets roster is a little over 27.
Having young players means that it is going to take time for them to develop, however once they come into fruition the product is good for a very long time. The Mets farm system has a well of young talent between Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, Dominic Smith, Jacob deGrom, and Kevin Plawecki. This is probably why Keith Law ranked the Mets farm system as the sixth best in the league. Meanwhile, the Yankees have some interesting prospects in Gary Sanchez, J.R. Murphy, and Eric Jagielo. These prospects have some upside, however not the same upside that the Mets prospects have. This is why Keith Law ranked the Yankees’ farm system 20th in the league. It’s surprising to see that the Yankees have fallen so far behind in player development, given that this is the team that produced Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and Robinson Cano.
Overall, the Yankees have the Mets beat for this season, and probably in 2015 too. However, the Mets have the higher ground when it comes to young players, and when the Yankees roster is full of players that are breaking down and aging, the Mets’ young players will just be getting started.