As we enter the new year, we all determine our New Years resolutions: What will we do to better ourselves in 2017?
As I’ve torn my ACL twice in the last three years, my own resolution is to get through my senior season with all my ligaments intact. Avoiding injury is a resolution shared by many Mets players, but even the perfectly healthy ones are not without flaws. All the Mets have something to work on and this is what I think each player should focus on in 2017:
Jacob deGrom: After tossing only 148 innings in 2016 and undergoing a relatively minor surgery, you must stay healthy this season, Jake. Your 2015 innings total of 191 innings is a good goal to shoot for. Aside from staying healthy, you should also consider throwing more sliders while shying away from curveballs and changeups in hitters counts. In 2016, batters hit only .168 against your slider compared to .254 and .258 against your curveball and changeup respectively.
Noah Syndergaard: Noah, I know you love striking people out, I do too, but it’s raising your pitch count and limiting how deep you can go in games. Despite being healthy for an entire year, you only managed 183.2 innings in 2016. You’ve got some of the best stuff in the world, the strikeouts will come. Pound the zone, keep your pitch count down.
Matt Harvey: Just… Be healthy, okay? We all know how badly you want to win, and if you’re healthy, you will win plenty.
Steven Matz: While you have very good stuff, sometimes throwing too many strikes can be a bad thing. Don’t be afraid to waste a few pitches when you get to two strikes. Averaging 6 innings a start as you did in 2016 is great, but with your stuff, 129 hits in 132.1 innings is a bit much. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more swings and misses, but you would induce weaker contact and give up less hits.
Zack Wheeler: Aside from just working hard to stay healthy, you’ve got to throw more curveballs. Besides putting less strain on your elbow than sliders, it is easily your best pitch. After all, batters hit just .147 against it in 2014.
Seth Lugo: When Terry asks you to start the 2017 season in the bullpen, don’t be discouraged. You were great last season, but the Mets have a plethora of amazing starting pitchers. Work hard and be ready to start on any given day because with the Mets’ injury history, you might be called upon for a spot start.
Jeurys Familia: Where’d that 95 mph splitter go? Get that back! Also, use your words at home.
Addison Reed: Get ready to close for the first part of the season, because chances are Mr. Familia will be suspended. You’ve got 106 saves under your belt, I know you can do it!
Hansel Robles: Stay consistent. At times you are lights out and at times you can’t get an out. When things are going good, work with Coach Warthen to focus on what you’re doing right and keep doing it.
Travis d’Arnaud: The Mets traded a Cy Young Award winner for you in 2012 but we’re still waiting for that potential to present itself. Yes, the Mets did get Noah Syndergaard in that deal too, but they need a catcher. You’ve got to step up big time.
Asdrubal Cabrera: Make sure you take care of those knees! We saw big things out of you in 2016 and we’re expecting big things out of you in 2017 as well, and keeping your knees healthy is a huge variable.
Lucas Duda: The story of your career has been consistency. We are all aware of the juggernaut you become at times, while for weeks at a time you essentially go into hibernation. Stay healthy, stay consistent.
Wilmer Flores: Get better defensively. You know how to play all the infield positions, now it’s just a matter of getting good at them. You’ll get plenty of playing time this year, so make the best of it.
Jose Reyes: With Bartolo Colon gone, the Mets will be looking to you to provide veteran leadership alongside Grandy and the Captain. You were the spark plug the Mets needed when they signed you in 2016, but with the advantage of a full spring training this year, you’ve got to produce. The Mets need those stolen bases and triples at the top of the lineup.
David Wright: Don’t let us Met fans get to you. While many of us will repeatedly say you’re done, it was a mistake to sign you long term, or that you can’t play third base anymore, we do love you. You’re our captain and we all want to see you do well. Maybe try your hand at first base, as you demolish left handed pitching you would be half of a formidable platoon with Lucas Duda and you wouldn’t have to throw the ball as much.
Neil Walker: Another guy who’s biggest key is just staying on the field, he was worth a Mets position player high 3.7 fWAR in 2016. Keep crushing lefties Neil. Walker entered last season with only six home runs off lefties, but hit eight long balls against them with the Mets.
Michael Conforto: Forget May-September 2016. Deep inside you is an All-Star waiting to come out!
Curtis Granderson: You’ve got to drive in more runs! 30 home runs and only 59 RBIs? Really? And don’t use batting leadoff as an excuse because in 68 of the 149 games you played, you batted somewhere in the order other than leadoff. I’d like to see you steal more bases, too. You walk a lot, and a walk and a steal is as good as a double. I know you don’t have the speed you use to, but you’re smart and can swipe a bag when needed.
Yoenis Cespedes: Just because the Mets gave you all that money doesn’t mean you can take it easy now. This is New York, we expect 100% effort from all the Mets players at all times. No dogging it. No more dropped routine fly balls. Also, you’ve got amazing speed, try swiping a few bases every once in a while. And welcome back, you’re still the man!
Juan Lagares: Get as many reps against live pitching as you can. It is obvious you perform better when logging consistent at bats, but unfortunately, until Granderson leaves after this year (unless he is re-signed), you will probably remain as a late-game defensive replacement and spot starter against lefties.
Jay Bruce: Oh, you’re still here? Well while you’re around I guess you can work on your defense. You’ve got a very good arm, but your ball tracking skills have been declining drastically. You are better at coming in on the ball so try playing a bit deeper as your arm can help make up for it.
Terry Collins: Work on your use of the bullpen. You’ve gotten better, but your progress will be tested early in the season if Familia is suspended. Listen to your coaches, and maybe listen to the fans as well!