If you were to look at the predictions for the Mets season, you would find quite a few naysayers who believe the team did not do enough in the offseason to improve their offense. While it is true that they did not make any significant additions this winter, they also did not have any losses of note on the offense either.
The one major way the team can improve their offense is with timely hitting. Last season the Mets were 5th in the majors with 1.34 home runs per game, while they finished 26th with 4.12 runs per game. This is quite a drastic difference due to the teams incredibly poor hitting with runners in scoring position.
The Mets were terrible hitting with runners on base, Curtis Granderson set the major-league mark for lowest total RBI while hitting 30 or more home runs with 59 RBI. This may have been due to him leading off for much of the year. This season with the addition of Jose Reyes to bat leadoff, he can slide down in the order, where he will get many more RBI opportunities.
The Mets will also get a full season of Jay Bruce. Last year after the trade from Cincinnati he hit, .219 with 8 HR and 19 RBI in 169 at bats. He is a notoriously streaky hitter and hit a rough stretch before coming around for the last 10 days of the season or so. His presence lengthens or lineup and his protection should help Cespedes and Granderson as well. If he does get off to a great start that will also increase his trade value should the team explore that avenue.
The team’s bench this year will also be a strong point. On the infield, we have Wilmer Flores who mashes righties as well as Ty Kelly. Michael Conforto will start the season as our fourth outfielder which is a luxury most teams would be envious of. There are few holes up and down our lineup and it would almost be a statistical impossibility for the team to hit as poorly as it did last year with runners in scoring position.
Hopefully, if these natural improvements in the team come to pass, and the pitching staff performs as it is expected to, the team can win the division. Though the Nationals will be a tough opponent and the Braves have improved, the division is quite winnable. Washington is lacking a top tier closer and the odds of Daniel Murphy repeating his MVP caliber season from last year have got to be slim. This may be the ideal year in the Mets window for winning a championship. All the starters are still getting paid relatively little for the amount of production they provide.
This will give the team financial flexibility to add an impact bat at the trade deadline if necessary. This possible addition, along with the natural corrections to players hitting with runners on base should improve the team’s overall offense this season.