Earlier this week, the always insightful Charlie Hangley asked a question sitting at the forefront of most Mets fans’ minds: are they a second-half team? More specifically, can we expect a mad dash towards the postseason in the season’s second half as we’ve witnessed the last two years? It’s a shining, albeit dim, beacon of hope in an otherwise lost season. Is this a reasonable hope, though, or have we reached the point of no return?
First, let’s take a look at where the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Mets stood at the break.
- 2015: 47-42
- 2016: 47-41
- 2017: 39-47
Well, that certainly doesn’t look promising. Still, the break wasn’t the low point for those 2015 or 2016 teams. “Low point,” however, is very much relative here. The 2015 low was their 52-50 record on July 30th before their surge. In 2016 it was on August 19th, when they sat at 60-62. Their low point so far this year was on June 22nd, when they were 10 games under .500 at 31-41. You can see that the low this year, and for sure there’s still time for worse, is nothing like 2015 or 2016. Those teams were good teams that struggled but ultimately turned it around. The 2017 version of the Mets have just not played well at all.
Ya gotta believe, as we say. But does the team have the second-half horses to pull it off? Are there any “second-half players” on the roster to whom we can look to light the way? To keep this bit of analysis from getting too overwhelming, we’ll take a quick look at a couple of key, historical second-half stats for hitters and starting pitchers likely to have a prominent role on the team (if they’re not traded) as we head out of the break.
This is obviously far from perfect, but it frames what we’re trying to assess at a high level. Note that some of these players have much longer track records than others.
Assuming most of these players are still on the roster after the trade deadline, the Mets are not without firepower. Lucas Duda leads a pack of strong second-half performers that should, theoretically, keep the Mets a top ten offense in baseball through the remainder of the season. Yes, you read that right. By most measures, this team is mashing with the best of them this year.
This is where things get dicey, both in terms of current performance and lack of a track record for many of these players. On the whole, however, if the pitchers on this list put forth the performances suggested above then the second half would take on a decidedly better tone. It remains to be seen how much of a factor Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard will be the rest of this year, but the team will obviously be in a better position with those two healthy and pitching near their norms. Jacob deGrom will need to lead this staff in some manner of turnaround if they hope to salvage this season. While the above stats don’t particularly make us warm-and-fuzzy, they’re notably better than we’ve seen so far this year.
So, do we believe that the Mets have it in them to perform an even bigger miracle than in 2015 or 2016? It’s not impossible, but it sure as heck isn’t probable considering their current predicament. Stranger things and all that, but there are enough strong second-half performers to at least entertain the notion. The more important question is this: does the Mets front office believe? Their activity at the deadline will shed much light on that and determine whether we should continue to believe or not ourselves.