Something is oddly familiar about this New York Mets team. For many, myself included, feelings of the 2015 NL Pennant Championship team arise. This team has fight to it, so far facing run deficits dauntlessly in comeback efforts. The clutch hits have come consistently, and they are able to drive in runs without the use of the home run. New manager Mickey Callaway has so far pushed all of the right buttons from his view in the dugout, and has put interesting lineups on the field. But, what about this team seems so familiar?
It could be the fact that a lot of this team, especially the pitching staff, was here last season. If you look at this starting rotation, most of these pitchers were expected to make a large impact on the performance of the 2017. The exception of course is Jason Vargas, signed this offseason, and has not been able to pitch so far due to an injury he suffered in spring training. Even down to the bullpen, where Robert Gsellman has found his home, is essentially the same. Added lefty Anthony Swarzak, like Vargas, is currently injured. While the arms of the 2018 squad are nearly identical to the team we saw last season, there is one piece of the starting lineup that has made a huge difference in the team.
Todd Frazier brings spice to the New York Mets. More specifically, he brings the salt and pepper. After any Met gets on base with a hit, we can see them gesture to the dugout. At first, there was speculation over what exactly they were motioning towards the dugout. After further explanation, we found out it was a pepper grinder. This inspiration was from the always excited to play Frazier. Heâs done similar things in the past, most recently with the thumbs down motion during his tenure with the New York Yankees. Frazier is one of those special players that has an impact not only on the field, but also in the clubhouse. Teammate Seth Lugo recently detailed what Frazier brings to the team when he spoke to MLB Network Radio, saying “The biggest thing about this year compared to last year is Todd Frazier. He keeps everybody loose and happy.”
The difference that he speaks of is definitely noticeable on this team. When Daniel Murphy left the team following the 2015 season, he left a hole in the team. Although he brought frustrations to the field, he was a leader on the field that commanded the clubhouse enough to be able to rally the troops. Maybe the 2016 and especially 2017 teams fell flat of expectations because they lacked an excitement to play the game. Frazier brings this excitement every day, and it has had a visible effect on the team. Last year, this team was unable to dig themselves out of early holes. This year already, we have seen that the Mets will fight to be in any game.
Frazier, through his excitement and passion for the game, has brought this team together. How often do you see a team with a large veteran presence be able to mesh so well with the younger players on the team? The chemistry that the team as is unreal, and Frazier should be seen as the man that rallies them together. What the team lacked these past two seasons was a chemistry and the feeling of wanting to win together as a team.