The MLB regular season has arrived and teams are gearing up for 162 games of action. Both leagues are ripe with big bats, strong arms and fresh young faces. If you’re wondering who will be the Word Series representatives of 2018, there is a short list. There’s also a team we forgot about.
It wasn’t too long ago we were talking about a massive pitching staff with yet more arms in waiting. The Mets were World Series runner-up in 2015. During that season I dubbed them the “strike out boys” for their youthful arms and child-like exuberance. They followed that up with a wild card loss in 2016, with the staff still pretty much intact. The 2017 season was mired with injuries and ineffective play by some of their big guns.
This season the boys are back and looking to wreak havoc against the National League. The starting staff of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and new addition Seth Lugo should put the Mets in the thick of a playoff race. That is, if they’re healthy.
Syndergaard’s 2017 season was cut short by a partially torn lat muscle. The ace of the staff had 34 strikeouts against one walk before his season ended. His arm is so lively that his change-up usually hits 90 mph and his curveball in the high 80s. When healthy, Syndergaard keeps all batters on their heels with a career earned run average of 2.94. The Mets are hopeful he is healthy this season and can return to top form.
Harvey was the Mets former ace before undergoing Tommy John surgery after the 2013 season. He has been dealing with command and velocity issues ever since. His strikeouts have dwindled and his walks have been raised from 2016-2017. The team hopes Harvey can return to form with a healthy season and become the pitcher that was deemed “The Dark Knight” early on in his career.
Matz is a left hander with a nice curvebsll. He has lost some velocity since coming up in 2015 on his curve and his fastball. He will have to compensate by getting more diving action on his breaking ball. The Mets hierarchy thinks he’s finally ready to become the pitcher they thought he was back in their farm system.
Lugo partially tore his UCL in the 2017 World baseball classic, which kept him out until early June. He went 7-5 in 18 starts with a 4.71 earned run average. He throws his fastball in the low to mid 90s and a curveball with massive spin on it.
deGrom is the Mets’ anchor, pitching consistently over the past two seasons. He has a fastball in the mid to high 90s and his curveball creates a bunch of swings and misses. He had 239 strikeouts with a 3.53 earned run average last season. His consistency will be needed as the other pitchers find their way back from injuries.
This Met team has great hitters and will score some runs. They actually led the National league in hits and were fourth in home runs. That’s great, but the Mets won’t improve on a 70-92 record with just the bats alone. They’ll need the full arsenal of the starting staff to power through and win the NL East.