As Mets fans, we’ve had our share of anguish and heartbreak over the years. In a way, we wouldn’t be Mets fans if it were not that way — long periods of frustration followed by a solitary moment of extreme jubilation and ecstasy.
I think the 2010 Mets are about to break the mold that has been the essential makeup for the Mets and their fans since their humble beginnings back in ’62 and first World Series in ’69. Nobody could ever accuse the Mets of ever being a dynasty at any point in their history. And when I say dynasty, I’m talking sheer dominance similar to how the Braves owned the NL East from 1991 to 2005. Of course, they could have done a better job of winning more than one World Series in those 14 trips to the post season, but getting their is 99.9% of the battle.
Getting back to the point of this post, I see in these 2010 Mets the potential for a long run of excellence and domination in their division. They have a foundation that all good dynasties require, and not just one or two core players to build the team around, but five or six of theses types of franchise players.
It all begins with Jose Reyes and David Wright who are the best at their positions in the NL when things are rolling right for them, of that there is no doubt. A catalyst at the top of the order and solid run producer in the middle, both only 27 and about to enter their prime years. Both also field their positions very well and are part of what will be a heck of an infield once the heir apparent as second base takes over.
Add to that, Ike Davis, who might be the first rookie in team history to debut as a seasoned veteran. Davis has shown a flair for the dramatic both at the plate and on the field where he fields his position with the best of them at first base. At 23 years old, Ike has already entrenched himself as the cleanup hitter and has performed admirably in that role. What I like best about him is that he continuously makes adjustments at the plate as the league adjusts to him, it’s a sign that he is legit. His power will only get better as he matures and hones in on his kill zone.
On the pitching side of things the Mets have a big young righthander in Mike Pelfrey, who after a down year last season, has reinvented himself to become the future ace everyone envisioned when he was selected in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft. He uses his size to his advantage and he has become an intimidating presence on the mound and probably more important than that, he has become the team’s stopper. Only 26, Big Pelf can still get better and take on a more significant role as one of the teams leaders.
Although he is 31-years old, don’t rule Johan Santana out as a core player. Southpaws typically pitch well into their late thirties and Santana can still confound opposing teams even if he has lost some zip on his fastball. He’s a Met until 2013 and the team still has an option for 2014, so consider him a part of the core and the veteran presence every good dynasty needs to keep the team grounded and confident.
Jonathon Niese perplexes me at this point and I’m not quite sure if he falls into my definition of a core player just yet. But apparently the Mets seem to think so, which was evidenced by their reluctance to trade the 23-year old lefthander for former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. If actions really do speak louder than words, then the Mets spoke volumes with that decision. I like Niese, but never saw him as anything more than a backend of the rotation guy as most scouts seem to believe. I love his curve and he seems to be a grinder on the mound, but for now I’ll put him on the bubble.
One pitcher who the Mets believe has the highest ceiling in the organization is Jenrry Mejia who now toils for the Mets bullpen. The kid has shown some flashes and has impressed at times, but still needs to refine his secondary pitches if he is to cash in on his enormous potential as a top of the rotation starter. Everyday he spends in the Mets bullpen, is another day wasted in terms of his development. Until the Mets put him back on the road to the rotation he is just your average, ordinary bullpen guy, and does not rise to the level of core player.
By my count, the Mets have five bona-fide core players, and that number could rise depending on how Niese and Mejia play out, as well as this year’s first rounder Matt Harvey, oft-injured outfielder Fernando Martinez, and a few others who need a little more simmering like Wilmer Flores, Reese Havens, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Dillon Gee and my sleeper pick, lefthander Mark Cohoon.
Nobody knows how far this current Mets team will go, but they have already exceeded expectations, even those of ESPN who mocked the Mets all offseason and now sing their praises. But one thing is certain about the Mets that Omar built, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that they are poised for the start of a great run of championship caliber baseball.
The Mets clearly have the core pieces to build around and complimentary players like Jason Bay, Jeff Francoeur, Rod Barajas and Angel Pagan who are all productive and add to the chemistry, help to complete the overall package and make the Mets contenders. Those complimentary players will always change and come and go over the next few years, but the core, which will be the driving force of this team, should remain steady and solid for many years to come and keep the Mets in the mix for the postseason for a long time.
If you are into sports betting, don’t be afraid to place your bets on the Mets going forward. Hey… they have already jumped from 100:1 on April 1st to 20:1 this week, to win the World Series this year. So I can’t be the only one feeling this optimistic about the future of this great franchise.
Lets Go Mets!