10 Things We've Learned About the Mets Through the 1st 21 Games

Shale BriskinContributor IIIApril 24, 2014

10 Things We've Learned About the Mets Through the 1st 21 Games

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    Through the Mets' first 21 games, they are 11-10. They have played like a very good team at times, and in other games, they've played more like the Mets teams that fans saw from 2009-2013.

    Some of the things that have happened within the Mets haven't been too surprising, but other moments have likely resulted in fans learning something new. Here are ten things that we have learned from the Mets thus far this season.

Curtis Granderson Needs to Help Carry the Mets Offense

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    Curtis Granderson's Mets debut has not gone particularly well so far. He is hitting just .125 with one home run, five RBI and a .460 OPS in 72 at-bats.

    These are not the kind of numbers that are expected out of someone like Granderson, who was brought in to provide power and run production. Granderson does lead the Mets offense in doubles with four and walks with 10, but it's the hits and home runs that people want to see. Granderson needs to provide them in order to keep the fans happy.

The Mets Need More Power in the Lineup

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    Granderson is not the only Mets hitter that needs to step up in run production.

    So far, only two Mets have multiple home runs this season. First baseman Lucas Duda has four home runs and backup catcher Anthony Recker has two home runs. The Mets have 13 home runs altogether as a team.

    Hitters besides Granderson that need to step up include Eric Young Jr., Chris Young, Ruben Tejada and Travis d'Arnaud. The Mets offense has been relying on David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda for the most part.

    The Mets need a full offense clicking on all cylinders in order to get optimal run support for the pitching staff. More home runs would definitely help the cause.

Ruben Tejada Needs to Hit to Keep His Job

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    Ruben Tejada has hit very poorly to start the season. He is batting .193 with four RBI, nine walks and a .514 OPS. Tejada may not have the greatest offensive potential in the world, but if he wants to remain the starting shortstop, he will have to start hitting a lot better.

    Top prospect Wilmer Flores is waiting in the wings, and if Tejada continues to struggle, there's a very good chance Flores could get called up and become the new starting shortstop.

Juan Lagares Has Started to Show Offensive Potential

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    Before he landed on the disabled list, Juan Lagares was hitting very well. In 51 at-bats, he had a .314 average, one home run and seven RBI.

    Lagares has already displayed his defensive skills dating back to last year, but if he can generate a good amount of offensive production as well, he could become a very important player on the Mets.

Lucas Duda Could Be Ready for a Breakout Season

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    Now that Ike Davis has been traded, Lucas Duda is the starting first baseman and will look to finally put together a breakout season. Duda's season has been going well so far, with a .271 average, four home runs and 10 RBI.

    Duda has a lot of power potential but has yet to put up a very good full season at the plate. Now that first base is all his, it would be great to see him put his talent together and show the Mets why it was better that they traded Davis instead of him.

The Mets' Starting Pitching Has Been Good

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    The Mets' starting pitching hasn't been perfect thus far, but for the most part, it has been very good.

    The Mets' ERA for their starting pitchers is 3.61, which isn't great, but it's still a solid number. Bartolo Colon (5.40 ERA) and Zack Wheeler (4.63 ERA) have both struggled more than Dillon Gee (3.58 ERA) and Jon Niese (2.45 ERA).

    Starting pitching is the Mets' main strength, so hopefully, all the starters can at least pitch well enough to give the Mets a chance to win in every game.

Jenrry Mejia Has Continued to Pitch Well

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    The one Mets starting pitcher that has really been surprising is Jenrry Mejia. Mejia originally beat out Daisuke Matsuzaka to make the Mets rotation and has thrived so far with a 3-0 record and a 1.99 ERA in four starts.

    Mejia may have initially looked like the odd man out of the rotation if Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero end up getting called up later in the season, but if Mejia keeps pitching this well, it will be very difficult to remove him from the rotation.

The Mets Bullpen Needs to Improve

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    The loss of closer Bobby Parnell for the entire season due to Tommy John surgery was a huge blow to the Mets bullpen. Because of it, the rest of the relievers now have bigger roles in the bullpen.

    Some of the Mets' middle relievers have been more successful than others. Carlos Torres has done very well with a 1.38 ERA in 11 appearances, Daisuke Matsuzaka has a 2.08 ERA in three appearances and Gonzalez Germen has a 3.38 ERA in 10 appearances.

    On the other hand, Jeurys Familia (5.87 ERA in six appearances), Scott Rice (7.20 ERA in 11 appearances) and John Lannan (15.75 ERA in five appearances) have all struggled so far.

Jose Valverde Has Been Inconsistent

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    After Parnell's injury occurred, Jose Valverde got the first crack to be the Mets' new closer. Valverde, though, has not pitched too consistently and recently got removed from closing duties. Valverde has a 5.23 ERA in 10 appearances this season with two saves.

    Time will tell whether Valverde will later earn the role back. But for now, if he pitches well in a setup role, it would certainly be helpful to the Mets.

Kyle Farnsworth Can Still Pitch Effectively

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    Veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth recently got promoted to being the Mets' new closer thanks to Valverde's lack of consistency and subsequent removal from closing. Like Valverde, Farnsworth is an experienced reliever with closing experience.

    Farnsworth was not originally on the Mets' Opening Day roster, but he was promoted on April 1 to replace Bobby Parnell in the bullpen. The Mets seem to want to use the hot arm to close out games. For example, being that Valverde had a few bad outings as the Mets closer, Farnsworth got the closing job as a result. But if Farnsworth were to struggle, it probably wouldn't be too surprising if Valverde becomes the closer again.

    Statistics are courtesy of MLB.com.