1. DeGrom Was Healthy and Good
Anytime a pitcher undergoes elbow surgery, there is concern about whether he will ever be able to be the same. As we’ve seen with the Mets, there is a real debate over whether that pitcher would be able to ever pitch again. That goes double when you consider that pitcher had previously underwent Tommy John surgery. That is one of the reasons why Jacob deGrom‘s 2017 season was so important.
In 2017, deGrom set career highs in wins (15), starts (31), complete games (1), innings pitched (201.1), strikeouts (239), and strikeouts per nine (10.7).
Looking at the stats, deGrom wasn’t just healthy, but he was effective. This left him as the only Mets starter to not get injured, making his season all the more important. Now, with an offseason where he can just focus on getting ready to pitch and not rehab from an injury, it is possible we will see deGrom return even better next season.
2. Young Players Taking Advantage of Their Opportunity
With all the injuries that befell the Mets this season, it created an opportunity for a number of young players to prove themselves. More than anyone else, Michael Conforto took advantage of the opportunity, proving he’s an All-Star caliber player. That was until he got hurt.
That created another opportunity and Brandon Nimmo took full advantage. Beginning on July 30, Nimmo hit .248/.368/.420 with 10 doubles, a triple, five homers, and 19 RBI. Over that stretch, his 15.2 percent walk rate was second best in the National League among outfielders. It was a real skill he had in the minors that has translated well to the majors.
Perhaps the biggest news was Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario finally getting called up to the majors. If you focus too much on the stat lines, you may be disappointed. However, both showed glimpses of what they were well regarded prospects, and why they are considered cornerstone players for this franchise.
3. There’s Hope
As Noah Syndergaard pitched two dominant innings in his last “start” of the season, you had reason to believe. The foundation of this team is pitching, and it’s reasonable to anticipate Syndergaard and deGrom will be healthy and ready to dominate in 2018. Seeing Jeurys Familia returning to form, a major piece of the bullpen is back.
In the field, the Mets saw part of their future with Smith and Rosario. It was an important first step in their careers. With them learning from the experience and knowing which areas they need to improve, they should be much better next season.
Throw in a much improved Kevin Plawecki and a driven Travis d’Arnaud, the pieces of the 2018 Mets being to come together. Those pieces will look much better with a healthy Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes.
It’s easy to be despondent after a Murphy’s Law type of 2017 season. However, after a deep breath and some reflection, you can see the future. There is a solid foundation here. It is now contingent upon Sandy Alderson to do what is needed and get the pieces in here that can make the Mets World Series contenders again.
1. Injuries, Injuries and More Injuries
If all the injuries the Mets suffered this season were listed in one spot, your eyes would glaze over. To put it more succinctly, the only Mets from the Opening Day roster who finished with the team that did not land on the disabled list were DeGrom, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Roblesand Rafael Montero. Anytime Montero is one of the options that are available all season, you know things were horribly wrong.
Name the player, and there was an issue. Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, etc. All had injuries and as a result, under-performed. With that happening, it’s no wonder this was statistically the worst starting staff in Mets history. None of these were the worst.
The worst was seeing Conforto fall down after swinging at a pitch. He needed season ending surgery and no one can be sure when he will be able to return next year. When he does return, no one knows if he can return to form. Overall, you’d be hard pressed to find a worse injury suffered by any Mets player in recent history. Considering the litany of injuries this team has faced, that’s truly saying something.
2. Saying Goodbye
With the Mets being clearly in position to sell at the deadline, the team would trade away Addison Reed, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker and Jay Bruce. Also gone were Rene Rivera and Fernando Salas. It was disappointing to not only say goodbye to some of our favorite players, but it was also a disappointing to see the Mets season effectively ending.
Of all the loses, the Granderson loss hurt the most. With him the team lost a beloved player and a respected figure in the clubhouse. He was a man who never complained, did all he could do to help the Mets win and never got injured in his tenure with New York. That’s downright miraculous.
All of those players put a close to one era of Mets baseball. That was cemented when it was announced Terry Collins would not be returning to the team as a manager.
3. More of the Same
There are many of changes this team needs to undergo this offseason. The team needs a new second baseman, third baseman, and a revamped bullpen. They may also want to address catcher, center field and add another starter. They need to be more athletic and they need better defenders.
If the Mets are really going to be a franchise that has sustained runs of success, instead of 1-2 year spikes, there needs to be a culture change.