Following back-to-back playoff appearances, the New York Mets are going into the 2017 season with hopes it will finally be the season that they are the ones hoisting the World Series trophy. With an arsenal of starting pitchers, and a lineup that could do some damage, it could be another year of October baseball for the Mets.
Last season the New York Mets came into the season buzzing off an appearance in the World Series, and capturing their first NL pennant since 2000. Bringing in solid second baseman Neil Walker, and trading for former All-Star outfielder Jay Bruce (midseason) were moves made in hopes of bolstering the offense for the postseason. While Walker produced as projected, Bruce failed to launch as hoped and will need to return to form for the Mets to compete in 2017.
The strength of the Mets, no doubt, begins and ends with the power arms they possess. Not only in the top-of-the-line starters, but the back-end of the bullpen as well. The ace of the staff is 2016 All-Star Noah Syndergaard, or ‘Thor’ as he is called. Syndergaard is coming off a season where he finished fourth in the NL in strikeouts and third in ERA at 2.60. Syndergaard is quickly entering top five starters in the game territory, and is developing into one of the best in MLB quickly.
Jacob deGrom is another exceptional right-handed thrower who finished 2016 with the most shutouts and complete games in the National League. DeGrom is a bona fide ace in his own right, and may in fact have a stronger season than Syndergaard in 2017. The lefty of the bunch, Steven Matz, had an impressive debut in his first full season, and finished sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting.
The wild cards in the rotation which could separate the Mets from either being a team fighting for a Wild Card Game berth, or a serious World Series contender are Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. The former All-Star Harvey is coming off a disastrous 2016 in which he finished with a record of 4-10 and an ERA of 4.86. If he can be anywhere near his 2013 self, in which he finished fourth for the NL Cy Young, it would be huge for the Mets. With the five potentially big-time pitchers under contract through 2018, the team has two more go-arounds to try to get it right. (Harvey is the first due to be a UFA after 2018.)
What will New York need to do to overcome fierce competition from the perennial division favorite Washington Nationals? They will need to regain the form that catupulted them to the Fall Classic in 2015.