4 Biggest Takeaways from the 1st Month of the New York Mets' Season
With over a month of the season gone, the New York Mets have exceeded expectations with a .500 record.
A number of players performing up to or beyond expectations have fueled the Mets’ performance, while they have been held back by a number of underperformers.
Enough time has passed so that we can start to take away legitimate opinions about the Mets instead of reacting to small-sample-size performances. The following slides are the four biggest takeaways from the first month of the Mets’ season.
The Starting Rotation Is Good
The fact that the Mets have a .500 record over a month into the season is mostly due to the starting rotation’s strong performance.
This may seem like an odd statement considering that over half the members of the rotation have ERAs over 5.00. While Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee have been exceptional with their 1.82 and 2.51 ERAs, respectively, the rest of the rotation’s numbers would be much better if not for some extenuating circumstances.
Bartolo Colon has an ERA of 5.36 following his star Tuesday night, but outside of two bad outings, he has been exceptional. Every pitcher has days when he loses command of his arsenal, yet the two times Colon has struggled, he has been remarkably bad, giving up 16 runs in 9.2 innings over two starts. However, he has a 2.65 ERA in 34 innings in his other four starts.
Zack Wheeler and Jenrry Mejia also have high ERAs, yet have showed tremendous promise despite this. In games when these two have surrendered numerous runs, it has been after they have dominated the opposing team in the early innings.
Wheeler pitched poorly throughout his start in Colorado last week, but his weaker starts prior to that were usually because he struggled in the fifth inning and later.
Mejia has had similar issues recently, causing his ERA to balloon to 5.23. Prior to his last two starts, Mejia had an ERA of 1.99, and in both of his poor starts, he absolutely dominated the opposition early in the games. However, he gave up five runs in the sixth inning in Miami and eight runs in the fifth in Colorado.
Both Mejia and Wheeler are young pitchers, and struggling around the fifth inning could be explained by either fatigue or not mixing up their pitching sequences when facing the opposition for the third time. This should improve as they build arm strength and gain experience, as both have exhibited the natural talent to dominate at the major league level.
The Bullpen Is Bad
While not every Mets starter has stellar numbers, it is easy to see the promise they have moving forward this season. With their bullpen, it isn’t.
The Mets have received admirable performances from some of their veterans like Kyle Farnsworth and Carlos Torres, although it is unlikely they will maintain their level of play.
Jose Valverde seemed like a great signing after beginning his Mets career with five scoreless outings, but he has come down to earth since. While he still has a 4.05 ERA, his inconsistency lowers the quality of the Mets bullpen significantly.
Daisuke Matsuzaka’s terrible outing Monday night in Miami could be an outlier from his previously solid performance, but it was undeniably concerning.
The bullpen is currently a group of patched-together and imperfect pitchers. Although the Mets have found some gems like Torres, adding minor league talent such as Jacob deGrom or Rafael Montero could improve it immensely.
While the bullpen situation may seem dire now, the Mets have the youth that could potentially fix it.
The Lineup Lacks Power
Sandy Alderson has preached the importance of power when acquiring talent, evidenced by the signings of Curtis Granderson and Chris Young. Despite this, the Mets currently have just 20 home runs, tied for 26th in the majors and less than half as many as three teams have total.
Nobody on the roster has more than two home runs other than Granderson and Lucas Duda, who have three and four, respectively. Chris Young has two in a little more than half as many at-bats as Granderson, and David Wright only has one.
Overall, the lineup needs to start hitting for more power, not just with home runs but with extra-base hits as well. The Mets took a step in the right direction in Colorado, but if they want to remain around or above the .500 mark, they need to start driving the ball soon.
The Future Is Bright
While the current Mets roster has shown they are capable of making this season interesting, their farm system has exhibited that things will only get better in the future.
At the minor league level, the Mets could not have asked for more from most of their top prospects.
Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero have had to deal with the tough pitching conditions of Triple-A Las Vegas and have posted solid ERAs of 3.58 and 4.21, respectively.
While Syndergaard and Montero have survived Las Vegas, Jacob deGrom has dominated it, pitching to a 1.89 ERA and 1.178 WHIP.
On the offensive side, both outfielder Brandon Nimmo and second baseman Dilson Herrera have impressed at High-A St. Lucie.
Nimmo has reached base at an obscene rate, with an OBP of .507, while already hitting as many home runs as he did last year total (two). Herrera has hit .293 while exhibiting a patient approach and driving the ball consistently.
The Mets have the talent to compete now, but they should still be excited about the future, as their farm system has proven to be among the most promising in baseball.
All statistics courtesy Baseball-Reference.
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