The New York Mets are 2-3 in spring training after defeating the Houston Astros 6-2 on March 4. The record holds no bearing on the regular season and expectations are tepid, but fans are excited about the future rotation.
Hope is blossoming in Queens with Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler projected for full seasons in 2015. The phrase “next year” has long been commonplace for Mets fans, but many are optimistic for next season.
He dialed up his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s. Wheeler also mixed in off-speed pitches, including a 76 MPH curveball to Jose Altuve in the first inning. His fastball is lethal. If Wheeler can improve his command and master his secondary pitches, particularly the sinking action of his changeup, he will be on the road to stardom.
Wheeler breezed through the first inning with just 10 pitches and weak contact. He had an eight-pitch battle against Jesus Guzman, whom he had a favorable count against before ultimately surrendering a double.
He experimented with a breaking ball outside of the strike zone against L.J. Hoes. Wheeler needs a versatile arsenal in the big leagues because he cannot survive solely on his electric fastball.
His performance today reminded fans that Harvey and Syndergaard, who is a hot topic following his spring training debut on March 3 against the Atlanta Braves highlighted by a 98 MPH strikeout of Jason Heyward, are not the only Mets pitcher to shout about.
Meanwhile, the Mets had a big first inning against the Astros. Eric Young led off with a walk, Chris Young followed with an RBI-double and Curtis Granderson cleared the bases with a two-run homer. This is one potential Opening Day starting outfield, as Juan Lagares also contends for a spot.
Granderson is guaranteed a place in the outfield, and he ended the day with two no-doubt homeruns. Citi Field won’t evaporate his power if he continues to hit the cover off of the ball like that.
Most of the lineup lacks Granderson's power, but with more than five starters available in the future Mets fans on Twitter are deliberating what to do with the pitching surplus. Some believe Sandy Alderson should trade for a power bat, short stop or other need. The Mets bullpen and young hitting prospects have been nothing to rave about, but the rotation is shaping up beautifully.
The biggest return might come from dealing one of the three aces, Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee or perhaps a mid-level prospect. Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom impressed in their spring training debuts. The debate is endless, especially given the front office’s financial woes.
Another compelling story line going into 2014 is the battle for first base between Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. Neither of them, however, played against the Astros due to minor injuries.
The offense has been inconsistent, scoring four runs in the team’s first-game loss to the Washington Nationals on February 28 and six runs in a win against the Atlanta Braves on March 3. The Mets managed just one run in each game between those two contests—first against the Miami Marlins on March 1 and again versus the St. Louis Cardinals on March 2.
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