Things To Like About Mets So Far

With a little over two weeks remaining in spring training, there’s a lot to like about how the Mets are playing, with several bright spots surfacing in today’s rout of the Cardinals.

CESPEDES: Has MVP aspirations. (AP)

CESPEDES: Has MVP aspirations. (AP)

STARTING PITCHING: If numbers were to determine the Opening Day starter, you would have to go with Jacob deGrom, who has a 0.90 ERA and 0.60 WHIP in three starts, with 13 strikeouts in 10 innings.

Noah Syndergaard, however, has a 3.52 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. And, four walks in 7.2 won’t get it done most games. Syndergaard bulked up in the offseason with the intent of getting stronger as to work deeper into games. It’s not that he’s not strong enough, but his command is off. What haunted him last year is resurfacing this spring with higher pitch counts.

Steven Matz threw 3.2 innings today, and if you add an inning in his likely two remaining starts, that won’t get him out of the fifth in his first regular season start. He’s throwing well, by so far isn’t stretched out like the Mets want him to be.

Sure, these are exhibition numbers, but also an early measure of performance. So far, none of their starters are stretched out for them to go longer than six. That becomes an issue if the bullpen is shaky, which so far is far from fine-tuned.

In the competition for the fifth starter, Zack Wheeler – who will likely stay back – his throwing hard and pain-free. The projection is roughly 110 innings, which makes him better suited to coming up in late May or June. I don’t like the idea of using him in relief now.

As for Seth Lugo, he’s pitching in the World Baseball Classic and has done well. It will be either him or Robert Gsellman who goes north in the rotation. However, with numerous off days in April, the fifth starter won’t often be used, so one could go in the bullpen.

HOT BATS: Yoenis Cespedes said he wants to be MVP and if that happens a lot of good things will happen this summer. He’s hitting .419 with five homers, but the key numbers are only two strikeouts in 31 at-bats. That kind of ratio would go a long way towards making an MVP possible.

Also hitting well are Michael Conforto (.359), Neil Walker (.313), Curtis Granderson (.323), but most importantly Travis d’Arnaud (.333) and Lucas Duda (.292 with five doubles). The pressure is on d’Arnaud to have a make-or-break season and Duda, who missed much of last year with a stress fracture in his lower back and recently received a couple on injections.

Jay Bruce and Wilmer Flores finally pushed their averages over .200, and the latter drove in six runs Friday with a grand slam and double. Flores is not going away and the Mets need to find a way of getting him regular playing time to stay ready.

3 thoughts on “Things To Like About Mets So Far

  1. Yeah. The team seems to be hitting in spring , but we have started well the past few years only to stall. I hope we have enough hitting.

    Our pitchers look good. Remember we held them back early to save them? Can’t have it both ways.

    The opening month will be cold and not a lot of games. We have the pitching and hopefully the hitting.

    As long as our pitchers are healthy I am fine

    I think wheeler should be in the pen. He hasn’t pitched in 2 years. They worry about pitch counts. Wouldn’t it be better to have him face MLB hitters in short stints, save his arm and set him up for a relief role in the post season?

    Why start him now only to shut him down in August and we can’t use him?

    How many great starters first went to the pen?

    • I agree. The bullpen is going to be a concern and it’s something Terry hasnt been able to get a clear picture of so far this Spring. Let Wheeler air it out against MLB hitters coming out of the pen. You could send him and Harvey to Vegas or keep them in Florida but the Mets can really use a strong arm out of the pen that can get a big out when needed. These Mets starters are short inning guys. 5 and 6 innings is really stretching it. So let Wheeler gain some strength and confidence out of the pen. I’m not saying burn him out but I’m not a big supporter of babying these guys too much. Let Gsellman or Lugo, or both, start depending what happens with Harvey early on. Then things can shake themselves out from there.

  2. The biggest problem facing this club is the defensive liability d’Arnaud is behind the plate. Worst part about it is that it will have an effect on the pitchers as well.