The New York Mets are baseball’s hottest team in the early season, accumulating a 13-3 record and winning their last 11 games. They went 10-0 on their last homestand, which was a first in the history of the franchise. The 11 game winning streak is also tied for the longest streak in their history, and the 1986 World Series Champion team also won 11 in a row. Sure, the Mets have been baseball best team in the first two and a half weeks, but are they legitimate contenders? They are.
Over their first 16 games, the pitching staff of Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harver, Jonathon Niese, and Dillon Gee have combined for a 2.81 ERA, good for second in the major leagues. Those same starters have combined for 12 quality starts, tied with the Padres for the most in the league. Newly minted closer Jeurys Familia has done a fine job in replacing overthrown Jenrry Mejia, leading the majors with eight saves; this adds up to a ratio of saving a game every two days. Sure, he won’t get 81 saves this year, but he’s still off to a great start. The pitching staff also walks the second-least batters in the game with just 31 total walks. They’ve walked less than two batters per game. The bullpen has been paced by Familia, lefty Jerry Blevins, who suffered a forearm injury and will be out for at least the next six weeks, other lefties Alex Torres and Sean Gilmartin, Buddy Carlyle, and workhorse Carlos Torres.
While the lineup is generally regarded as being a weakness for the team, it has performed capably in the early going of this season. It ranks seventh in the league in on-base percentage, ninth in the league in runs, and 12th in the league in batting average. At leadoff, Curtis Granderson, even though he is only hitting .200, has been on-base one way or another 37.5% of the time. David Wright had been hitting second until last week; he tweaked his hamstring on a slide into second base and is out for at least three weeks. Lucas Duda has hit .359 in the three hole and leads the team in slugging percentage. New acquisition Michael Cuddyer has performed well as the cleanup hitter, with an on-base percentage of .355. Daniel Murphy has struggled out of the gate, but if he gets going, it adds another dimension to the lineup. Defensive stud Juan Lagares is hitting .270, but is more noted for his defense. Wilmer Flores has led the team in home runs with three, and has performed decently at shortstop. And Travis d’Arnaud was the starting catcher until being hit on the hand with a pitch. Now, he is likely to be out for around six weeks. He has been replaced by prospect Kevin Plawecki, who has played in two game behind the dish.
With its core of players built around pitching, defense, and just enough offense, this team can compete for a division crown and potentially even more. The team is tied for eighth in the league in fielding percentage at .986. With a gold glove defensive center fielder, the team should definitely be able to stay near the top of the league in fielding. With these critical components, it is looking more and more like the Mets are for real and could contend for the playoffs and beyond.
No more LOLMets.