Just two weeks into the season, and there are already quite a few questions surrounding the New York Mets.
First and foremost, there were questions about the health of the starting rotation prior to the season. Seth Lugo and Steven Matz have yet to see any time on the mound due to injuries. Robert Gsellman has struggled thus far in his first full season. Fortunately, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom have been very good, as expected. Matt Harvey, recovering from surgery to resolve his thoracic outlet syndrome, has looked like the Harvey of old with his 97 MPH fastball. Zack Wheeler, pitching in his first season since 2014 due to Tommy John surgery, has also been solid despite not pitching deep into games.
Most teams would be thrilled to have Syndergaard, deGrom and Harvey at the top of their rotation and not be too concerned with the other two starters, but the Mets rely so heavily on their pitching that it’s almost a must to send out a reliable starter on a daily basis. It is still early and Gsellman has plenty of time to bounce back. Lugo and Matz began throwing back on Wednesday, although there is no timetable for their return.
The offense has picked up where they left off from last season in the sense that the team still hits a lot of home runs and is incredibly inconsistent. The difference is that, this time around, that’s not all they do. The Mets are currently second in the National League in home runs and tied for fourth in runs scored, whereas last year they ranked second in home runs and 11th in runs scored.
But there are some concerns offensively speaking. Jose Reyes has been dreadful thus far and is the only base stealing threat on the team, so due to his struggles the Mets have a grand total of two stolen bases this season. Then there is the question of Michael Conforto, who is having a fantastic start to the season and has come up with some clutch hits, yet he is still not starting on a consistent basis. The argument can be made that there isn’t a spot for him, as Jay Bruce has been surprisingly good so far and Yoenis Cespedes is still Yoenis Cespedes.
That leaves Curtis Granderson, a veteran leader on the team and the best option in center field on a squad filled with corner outfielders. But Granderson has struggled to start the season and Conforto has proven he can play in center. At just 24 years old, Conforto could be a key piece to the lineup for years to come and he should be playing every day over the 36-year-old Granderson.
The Mets currently have a record of 8-7, with a majority of those wins coming against the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. The team’s first challenge will come when they face the Washington Nationals at home this weekend and then again in the nation’s capital the following weekend. It’s early in the season, but a win against their main competitor in the division counts as much now as it will in September. If the Mets want to regain the National League East crown this season they can’t take any games against the Nats for granted, not even in April.