While the projection models all have the Mets having a mediocre season, somewhere around 79-84 wins, most fans are either bullish or bearish on this team’s chances in 2018. There’s a lot to like about this team, but a close look at the roster makeup also illuminates some reasons for concern.
What’s right – playoffs here we come!
- A powerful 1-2 rotation punch of Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom.
- A strong middle of the order of Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jay Bruce.
- Four experienced, proven back-end bullpen arms.
- A balanced lineup with a good mix of lefties, righties and switch hitters.
- A strong bench with quality, experienced players who can step in and step up when called upon.
- A positive clubhouse vibe courtesy of a new skipper and coaches with fresh ideas and approaches to winning.
- A good mix of kids and veterans.
- A depth of arms that will allow for a reasonable amount of injuries and struggles from the rotation and bullpen.
- An abundance of infield depth at AAA.
- A weak division that includes one terrible team and two others that are not ready to contend. Our schedule includes 57 games against the weak Braves and Phillies and the really weak Marlins.
What’s wrong – oh boy, another long season
- No true leadoff hitter to set the table.
- Average at best defense.
- Closer concerns. Is Jeurys Familia back to his old self and is AJ Ramos capable of stepping in if needed?
- No team speed and too many 100+ strikeout hitters could lead to station-to-station play and some collective slumps.
- The Matt Harvey conundrum. If he stinks we have to replace him, if he’s good we have to trade him, and if he’s inconsistent we have to ride or die with him.
- Who’s on first – the declining veteran, the never-ready rookie, or someone playing out-of-position?
- The Nationals are stacked with stars and should win the division handily. We also have to play them 19 times.
- We are one injury away from an outfield problem.
- We have no high-level prospects to trade for reinforcements.
- At least five other teams will be fighting for the two wild cards.
Reading the first list makes you think this is a 90-plus win team ready to battle in October, while the second list makes the Mets look more like a sub .500 team that will struggle to stay competitive. The truth, as it so often does, probably lies in the middle, which is why PECOTA projects an 82-80 season for the Mets. Have spring training games given us any reason to think otherwise? Again, there are plusses (a lot of healthy, live arms) and minuses (a lot of dead bats). As fans, all we can do is think positively and root for our team. Let’s go Mets!