Just How Close are the Mets to Being Good?
The 2017 New York Mets have been an unmitigated disaster. Entering the season projected by most as postseason contenders, the Mets have fallen eleven games below .500 and are now fourth in the National League East. A bevy of injuries and under-performance have sunk New York, leaving fans confused and possibly even disillusioned as to how good the Mets can be in 2018. Are these Mets a product of bad luck? Will they bounce back next season? Or is it time to consider a rebuild?
An Optimist’s View
With Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith set to take on full-time roles next season, the lineup will be rejuvenated.
There certainly is some truth to this claim. Rosario and Smith rank as MLB.com’s 2nd and 41st prospects in all of baseball and look to hold down shortstop and first base for the foreseeable future in Queens. Rosario has already demonstrated his upside as an elite defender and with his athleticism, the bat should follow soon. Smith projects as a gap to gap left-handed hitter with above average bat on ball ability. Mets fans are surely hopeful that this dynamic duo can carry the club for years to come.
When healthy, the Mets still have some of the best starting pitching in baseball.
This statement cannot be denied- at the top of the rotation, at least. Jacob deGrom has once again proven himself as one of the best pitchers in the National League and Noah Syndergaard is one of the most talented arms the game has seen in decades. If these two can get going at the same time, it’ll be similar to the dominance that Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke exuded in recent years with the Dodgers. The Mets built this team around starting pitching and with these two still on the roster, that dream is still in tact.
Michael Conforto is a bona fide star.
Conforto is an absolute stud. He is currently batting .293/.397/.573 with 23 home runs and 58 RBI’s this season, where he has mostly hit out of place in the lead off spot. Just as impressive, Conforto has displayed his ability to man center field solidly. A few weeks ago, Conforto appeared in his first All-Star Game as a member of the Mets and if his continued success in the second half is any indication, he could be a fixture in the Midsummer Classic for a long time.
The Pessimist’s Perspective
The Mets farm system is barren beyond Rosario and Smith.
As far as an impact on 2018 goes, this is true at the moment. The Mets have no other MLB.com Top 100 prospects and certainly do not have any serious talent worth promoting before 2019. Their last two first round picks, pitchers David Peterson and Justin Dunn, will likely need another year or two of seasoning beyond 2017. This is why the notion of trading assets such as Jay Bruce (traded to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for RHP Ryder Ryan), Curtis Granderson, and Asdrubal Cabrera as a means to restock the system was so intriguing. But after nobody took the bait, the Mets are left with a less than ideal situation in the minor leagues.
The Wilpons seem unwilling to spend money in free agency.
Coming off an offseason where they literally did not sign a Major League free agent from another club, the Mets payroll currently sits at $164,908,591- good for 13th highest in baseball. This means the Mets, who play in New York, have the payroll of a mid-market team. General Manager Sandy Alderson has not displayed any intention of raising the payroll moving forward. The fact is that the Mets should be spending money more similarly to the Yankees and Dodgers than the Royals and Twins. A disheartening sign for Mets fans, New York does not seem as though they will make any major upgrades in the off season. This is not a great team building strategy for an organization with little talent on the farm.
The Mets are not healthy, have never been healthy, and will never be healthy.
An ongoing saga for Mets faithfuls. It seems like every week there is a new and exciting injury that a Mets player is struck with, most notably their pitchers. Between Zack Wheeler’s elbow, Matt Harvey’s elbow, Matt Harvey’s groin, Matt Harvey’s thoracic outlet syndrome, Matt Harvey’s shoulder, Jacob deGrom’s elbow, Robert Gsellman’s hamstring, Seth Lugo’s elbow, Noah Syndergaard’s bone chips, Noah Syndergaard’s lat, and Steven Matz’s entire upper body, there always seems to be something wrong. Don’t worry, I won’t get into the injuries of Mets position players too, even if they are just as systemic (I’m looking at you, Yoenis Cespedes’ legs). But there really is an issue with Mets players getting hurt at an alarming rate. The odds on this collection of players ever being healthy at the same time are increasingly grim, especially with Ray Ramirez still employed by the club.