At one point in his career, David Wright was the young prospect looking to make a name for himself with the big club, the new kid on the block surrounded by veterans.
Marc Carig of Newsday writes that even though the Mets had the key players to make a run at the title during Wright’s early years, they still found themselves competing against teams like the Marlins who had their own crop of top prospects.
“They had a bunch of younger players with this certain swagger to them,” Wright tells Newsday.
Ten years after debuting with the Mets, the Captain is now in the center of a team with youth on their side and looking to display some of that confidence and swagger of their own.
The Mets, who are 45-50, finished the first half of the season on an 8-2 run, and even though they are in third place and seven games out, their play of late, especially from their younger players have given hope for a better second half.
The young guys are starting to get the job done, and it may have taken mostly all of the first half to show, but now is the right time for this team to finally display a chemistry that Wright hopes will finally take him back to winning baseball as he once experienced as a younger player in the game.
“When you have a room full of younger guys, sometimes they can get a little cocky in a good way, where they feel like they can’t lose or they can’t get out or the opposing team can’t hit them,” Wright said. “And that can be dangerous.”
Wright, as well as Mets fans have excitedly witnessed the teams recent resurgence from guys like Travis d’Arnaud and Ruben Tejada, super sub Eric Campbell, consistent play from Juan Lagares and a bullpen that is certainly creating an identity led by Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia. Even Carlos Torres at times has looked unhittable.
Now the starting rotation, which at one point had many holes without the likes of Matt Harvey leading the charge, has of late been very effective especially with Jacob deGrom and now Zack Wheeler‘s recent surge.
When you mix the recent success of the younger players with the likes of Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson, Wright and Bartolo Colon all finally doing their part, it can become a recipe for success, which is the hope of us Mets fans.
With the trade deadline quickly approaching, the key question will be if management believes that the team is poised for a playoff run and can keep all hands on deck, or if selling off to find other key components is best.
Do the Mets have what it takes to finally reach their goal?, well Terry Collins feels that playing consistently as they recently have, can help the team reach that plateau.
“What we’ve got to do is go out and play like we did this homestand,” Collins tells Newsday with regards to how the Mets took two of three from the Rangers, three of four from the Braves and swept the Marlins. “You’re not going to do it every night, I understand that. But for the most part, play consistent, play smart, play fundamental baseball and we’ll get back in the hunt.”
The last time the Mets enjoyed any success in the second half and posted a winning record was in 2008 when they were 38-29 after the break and finished in second place behind the Phillies at 89-73 (.549).
But for the Mets to repeat that feat this time around, its clear that they do have an uphill climb, but one that can be had if they continue with what has worked recently; pitch and hit, but can it be that simple?
“There’s no question that we can be a different second-half team, ” says Wright.
Well, as long as different means better.