I can hardly contain my excitement over the upcoming baseball season and I can’t believe that New York Mets baseball is only four days away! Somebody pinch me! And if you haven’t seen how potent our Opening Day roster looks compared to last year, feast your eyes on the following:
The starting lineup is pretty much the same one as we ended last season with, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Remember that last September this Mets team boasted one of the league’s best offenses, ranking second in the NL in runs scored (that’s not a typo), home runs and OPS.
Having Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera setting the table is what transformed this team into a run scoring juggernaut last August and it will be exciting to see them do their thing right from the get-go this season.
The middle of the Mets lineup will be doing a lot of damage with a happy and motivated Yoenis Cespedes batting third and having a healthy and productive Lucas Duda back in the lineup and coming off a very impressive spring.
Look for Neil Walker to build on last season’s success and give the Mets another power bat up the middle while providing steady defense. Jay Bruce is just icing on top of the cake, a potential 30 home run bat that makes the lineup lethal and dangerous to opposing pitchers.
Juan Lagares should be back in 10 days, but regardless I love our bench. We’ve replaced Alejandro De Aza, Eric Campbell and Kevin Plawecki with T.J. Rivera, Michael Conforto (for now), and Rene Rivera. That’s a pretty nice upgrade and look for Wilmer Flores to keep mashing whenever a left-hander is on the mound and some right-handers too, he’s extra motivated to prove he’s an everyday player.
Ah, our starting rotation… To begin, I never in a million years expected Zack Wheeler to be our number four starter to begin the season, but he laid out a convincing case that he was ready to rejoin the rotation when he told reporters “I belong” and then pitched five dominant innings of shutout baseball under the watchful eyes of Terry Collins. Good for him!
Both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard have been lights-out this Spring, but it’s Matt Harvey who has me really excited and intrigued. In his first spring outing he barely registered 90 mph on the radar gun and his pitches were all over the place. But in each of his successive starts, Harvey kept getting better and stronger, and by his final start of the Spring, the Dark Knight was back. Harvey was throwing 98 mph with late downward movement, and he was locating all his secondary pitches with pinpoint control registering all of his strikeouts on his slider and changeup. Be Afraid…
Regular readers know how much I love Josh Smoker and I’m fully expecting him to step up in a big way in 2017. With Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins ahead of him in the pecking order that is one heck of a bullpen. Armed & Dangerous. Throw in Fernando Salas, Hansel Robles and potentially Rafael Montero or Seth Lugo and you can see how formidable this group is compared to last year’s opening day bullpen that had Jim Henderson, Logan Verrett, and Antonio Bastardo. I have a feeling Robles will finally harness his emotions and his nasty stuff and put it all together this season. He could become the heir apparent to Reed in case he bolts for free agency. This is a formidable bullpen.
So what’s the bottom line?
All of you need to get behind this team. If you heard our Amazin’ Metscast hosted by Brian Greenzang today, then you know just how much I love this New York Mets team. I predicted that the Mets would win the National League East with 94 Wins this season and then go all the way to the World Series. Boom. Yeah, that’s right, put it in the books.