April 26, 2015

14-4...Nobody Picked That

I can guarantee that not one odds maker, pundit or even the most savvy of gamblers remotely thought the Mets would start the season in such a way.  Consider the issues first, Wheeler and Edgin gone before the season starts due to injury.  Wright goes down within the first ten games, d'Arnaud gets plunked after a hot start, Blevins fills a void in the best way possible and breaks his freaking arm!

What's next?  Locusts?!?  The new walls at Citi Field were sure to come down on Granderson and Lagares, injuring them for the rest of the season.  Hell the home run apple might as well become that God awful dolphin mosaic from the Marlins stadium.

Also, we are Mets fans.  We expect the worst, we almost invite it in to our homes, cook it a hot meal, give a bed and then wait with both eyes open for the other shoe to drop or more appropriately the other ulnar collateral ligament to tear.

So much to our surprise or chagrin, the Mets did the opposite of what they always do.  They persevered.  Wait?  Wha... nah.  The Mets met adversity head on, kicked it in the balls and said F-off!  We gonna win now!  11 straight wins, a perfect home stand and with a rubber game victory tonight the Mets will equal the best start in team history as they continue to mirror the 1986 clubs early record.  There's a palpable difference here however, in 86 they were supposed to win, they were supposed to be good and everyone knew it.  This team wasn't supposed to win, everyone thought they had an outside chance at a wild card spot, they might win 83-85 games and take that positive step forward that we have been waiting for but this?

However, something funny happened on the way to slightly better than mediocre.  Bartolo Colon turned back the clock, Eric Campbell has made us wonder if we remember who David whats his name is and Wilmer Flores?  He's our starting shortstop of course!  Who else would be?  Familia, best closer in the NL right now.  Not to mention that we have two starters and multiple position players in the minor league system that are seriously making us question some of our roster choices.

All good problems to have, but problems the Mets are not used to having almost ever.  This team seems to have an abundance of riches and its paying off.  Whether you want to credit Omar Minaya or Sandy Alderson, this team is where it needs to be.  Of course a little bad luck here and there and we could be right back where many think we belong.  But for now all cylinders are clicking, confidence is at an all time high and most importantly, we are winning ball games.  Hell, Jon Niese got thrown out of a game he wasn't even playing in.  Last year that would never have happened.  There's are fire and a will.  It could be Harvey's return or it could be the veteran leadership of Cuddyer.  Guess what, I don't care, just win baby!  Beat team AARP tonight and I can go to work tomorrow repping the orange and blue with pride.

There's a long road ahead and good starts do not always mean good finishes (see 2007 and 2008) but for now this team looks for real.  Enjoy it!

April 2, 2015

Rob's Effing Preview of the 2015 Mets

Don't look now folks, but the 2015 New York Mets are without question the best group of players assembled during the Alderson era.  Are they ready to "Take Back New York"?  Will they ultimately "Take The Damn Thing"?  Those are questions that will be answered in due time.  For now, this is how I see the season shaking out.

Players To Keep Your Eye On:
Curtis Granderson - His first season in Queens was just shy of a total loss.  However, with Kevin Long back in his corner and a full season of baseball on the other side of town behind him, I suspect we'll see better results.  At 34 years hold, his best seasons are still well behind him, but a season ending with a .245/30/80 line would be a welcomed bump to a Mets offense looking to support its pitching staff.

Travis d'Arnaud - One of the only Mets who's bat isn't red hot as the team moves north to start the year, Travis 2014 was the tale of two halves.  Will this seasons' version be the guy who hit just .180 before being sent down to AAA, or the one who returned to hit .272 the rest of the way?  If its the former, it will be interesting to see how quickly Kevin Plawecki forces his way into the lineup.  Don't think that won't weigh on his mind if he gets off to a slow start.

Players I'm Worried About:
Jacob deGrom - I hope I'm wrong, because this won't be a popular opinion... I realize he is the reigning Rookie of the Year and is also coming off of a strong Grapefruit League showing, but I'm just not convinced yet that he is an elite pitcher.  Perhaps its the pessimist in me and I'm certainly no scout, but I want to see how the league fairs now that they've got film on him.  Regardless, I'd be semi-surprised to see him replicate his sub-3.00 ERA.

Michael Cuddyer - I was on the record a few times prior to his acquisition that I believed the Cuddyer was the best fit (not the best player available) for the Mets situation.  He hits for a high average, has power, and could be had for a short-term relatively cheap deal.  Even better, he can double at first base.  But history doesn't lie.  Injuries are more likely derail his season than poor performance, and if he misses significant time it impacts both the infield and outfield depth.  With that said, if he stays on the field, he most definitely changes the complexion of the lineup.


No matter what way you cut it, this is the first time since probably 2008 that the Mets could be deemed a legitimate threat to reach the post season, thanks in-part to the addition of the second Wild Card team. I expect the team's pitching to carry them through the majority of the season, especially considering the depth still residing in Las Vegas should another arm come up lame.  What does that mean?  At a bare minimum, it should mean some interesting September baseball.  Can they get over the hump?  I suppose that will be determined by just how good, or bad, the team's offense ends up being.

Where will they end up?  I honestly believe there is a recipe where the team can approach 90 wins and make the Nationals sweat down the stretch.  That recipe includes a lineup that not only remains healthy, but also exceeds expectations on the offensive front.  Lets not forget though, we're talking about the Mets.  Although they may not be the snake bitten team of a few years ago, its rare that any team escapes the season without a major injury or two.  I also question the organizations ability and/or willingness the make a critical addition at the deadline if they are still in the hunt.

Those reasons cause me to temper my expectations for the upcoming season.  My guess for the 2015 Mets is 85 wins.  Ultimately, that means they'll remain in the mix until the final week of the season leaving fans with little more than disappointment and questions about what could have been.  The Mets are close, but there are still some steps to be taken before they're prepared to make a run at the pennant.  

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know on Twitter at @RobPatterson83