The Mets Will Be the Next Team To End a Long Title Drought
By Cam Giangrande
I’m not going to bury the lead: the New York Mets are going to win the 2018 World Series!
That’s correct, the champs will reside in New York, but they won’t be the Yankees. OK, you probably think I’m nuts, but I have sound reasons for this assertion. And for the record, I do know they only won 70 games last season.
In this off-season which has been anemic, the Mets have been one of the more active teams; having picked up Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, and Adrian Gonzalez. And, they just bolstered their pitching staff with 18-game winner Jason Vargas; signing him to a two-year, 16 million dollar deal.
Although the Mets were tied for seventh in home runs, with 224 bombs, they only tied for 18th in MLB for runs scored last season. This is a team that was in desperate need of guys who have experience driving men home. Last season, Bruce drove in 101 runners; while Frazier had 76 RBI. And, although Gonzalez is well past his prime and was injured the majority of last year, in the four years prior, he had 90, 90, 116, and 100 RBI. Add those three bats to a lineup which already has Yoenis Cespedes; along with Michael Conforto, who’ll be back from shoulder surgery the beginning of May, and the Mets will possess one of the best offenses in the league.
— New York Mets (@Mets) February 26, 2018
That being said, the bread and butter of this team is still their starting rotation. The Mets will go as long and as far as those arms can take them. If they duplicate last season’s injuries, no amount of hitting will bail them out. There are definitely questions: will Jacob deGrom go to the next level and go beyond a 12-15 game pitcher, to be a true ace of a staff? Will Noah Syndergaard bounce back from his disastrous injury-plagued 2017 season, which saw him only make seven starts and throw 30.1 innings? Will Matt Harvey once again be The Dark Knight? Will Steven Matz recover from elbow surgery?
My bet on each of those questions is yes. The reality is, as a unit, they must be better than they were in 2017…they cannot be worse. Even with those four pitchers, they ranked 28th in with a team ERA of 5.01. As I said, THEY CANNOT BE WORSE! And don’t underestimate the acquisition of Vargas to slide in, either as the fifth starter, or even sixth starter, if they follow the lead of the LA Angels who will be employing a six-man rotation this season.
Add to that a new coaching staff which consists of first-year manager Mickey Callaway and pitching guru Dave Eiland. Callaway has had the benefit of working for the Indians organization under Terry Francona, so he’s seen first-hand how to handle a locker room. And Eiland has been one of the game’s better pitching coaches for the past decade. If anyone can motivate these guys to get to the next level, he can.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly; the division they play in is downright awful. If we look rationally, the Nationals are the cream of the division and should win it. No other team other than the Mets has any chance of being a wild card contender. So for the Mets to make the playoffs they’ll have to secure one of the two wild card spots. Winners of the other divisions aren’t a concern, so whoever comes out of the NL Central, and NL West won’t affect the Mets’ playoff chances. The Mets have to simply make sure they are one of the two top teams between the other playoff hopefuls. Based on last season, that would be the Brewers, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, and Padres. We could add the San Francisco Giants to the mix because Madison Bumgarner will be back healthy from his motorcycle mishap, and they traded for Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen.
That seems like quite a bit of competition, since only two of the six teams will emerge to play in the wild card game. How can I be so sure the Mets will be one of those two? It’s actually quite logical. Those other teams are in the same divisions competing against each other, while the Mets have the NL East all to themselves. They get to play the Phillies, Braves, and Marlins 57 games this year. They should dominate those games, (even if their pitching doesn’t come around). It’s not unrealistic to project them going 40-17 in those games. If they can simply play 500 ball in their other 105 games, they’ll finish the season with a 92-70 record. Although I don’t think 92 wins will be enough to win the division, I am 100% confident 92 wins will get them into the wild card game. With deGrom and/or Syndergaard at their disposal they will win that game, and dispatch the rest of the NL, going onto the World Series; where I believe they will prevail.
They have a great blend of youth and veterans. They definitely have the starting pitching. They have an experienced and successful closer in Jeurys Familia. They have the excitement of a new manager at the helm, which will be a breath of fresh air in the locker room. And, they play in the perfect division to accumulate wins. The question is, will it be a “Subway Series”? Perhaps, but I don’t think it matters; this is the year of the Metropolitans.
Las Vegas has them at 25-1 with an over/under win total of 81 games…who do I know in Vegas?
Featured Image: (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)