MLB Network revealed their 2018 “Top 100 Right Now” list on Friday night and five New York Mets made the cut.
The Mets are in the mid-to-high-end as far as player representation in the network’s compilation. Leading the way with eight selections each are the Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Washington Nationals.
The Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians each had six selections, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Seattle Mariners, and our New York Mets each had five players selected.
The NL Central was well represented, with four players each coming from both the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals. Milwaukee’s recent free-agent additions Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich certainly padded the Brew Crew’s numbers, as Ryan Braun (No. 77) and Corey Knebel (No. 83) were the only other Brewers on the list before those signings.
The Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies each had four players included on the list, and there were three representatives selected from the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively.
But we’re here today to celebrate the inclusion of five of our very own in a list compiled with the upper-echelon of players in MLB today. The Mets have two players in the top 50 and three more to round out the list.
The highest-ranked Mets player, Yoenis Cespedes, appears at No. 45. Cespedes was never quite himself last season and then had whatever was left of his year cut short by injury. This clearly explains why Yo’ dropped from No. 21 on the list in 2017 down to 45 this season.
Thor personified, Noah Syndergaard, makes his always-welcome appearance at No. 49. Following four gleaming starts to begin 2017, the 25-year-old came out of his fifth start after just 38 pitches with what turned out to be a partially torn lateral muscle.
He was able to return to make two appearances (3 IP, 0 ER) during the last week of the 2017 season, giving the Mets-faithful hope that Thor will once again return to Flushing. His injury and rehabilitation are obviously to blame for Syndergaard’s drop from No. 24 on the list last year to No. 49 this year.
Jacob deGrom fell to the No. 52 spot (No. 48 in 2017) on MLB Network’s list, giving the New York Mets two pitchers and a position player in the first half (-ish) of the best 100 players in the game today.
deGrom continues to develop into one of the top pitchers in the majors, year after year. After a slow start to the 2017 season, Jake picked himself up and dropped his ERA from 4.75 on June 6 down to 3.21 on Aug. 10. He finished the season at 3.53 earned runs per nine innings but solidified his place in the conversation of being among the game’s very best hurlers.
In my opinion, deGrom deserves to be in the top half of these rankings, even though two spots out of the top half isn’t all that bad.
After a breakout 2017 season, Michael Conforto deserves to be included among the elite players in today’s game. The soon-to-be 25-year-old’s major shoulder surgery clearly dropped him down in these rankings, as he checked in at No. 79 on the list.
The trajectory his career was on up until he got hurt was on a steady incline, as evidenced by his first career All-Star selection. If he had stayed healthy and continued to produce as he had through the season, we’d likely have seen Conforto in the top 50 of these rankings.
Rounding out the Mets’ appearances in the group is Jay Bruce, squeaking into the Top 100 at No. 91. Bruce came back to the Mets this offseason (signed a three-year, $36 million contract) after being traded to the Cleveland Indians just before the trade deadline last year.
The 31-year-old (32 on April 3) had a very nice 2017 season splitting time between the Mets and the Indians, slashing .254/.324/.508 with 36 HR, 101 RBI, striking out just 139 times. That’s not bad considering how inflated strikeout rates have been over the past decade or so. Bruce clearly earned his place on this list with the huge improvements he’s made over the last few seasons (mostly with the Mets). Hopefully, he’ll continue to mash at the same pace this season.