Putting a bow on the 2017 New York Mets season and the season that might have been.
In sports, we always hear about how the games aren’t played on paper. Every sport, every year, this is the saying during prediction time. Well, the New York Mets lived this saying in 2017. They may have been one of the top teams in the National League on paper. But as the saying goes, they don’t play the games on paper.
Heading into the season the Mets had it all. Yoenis Cespedes was back for another year and was going to be paired with Jay Bruce for the entire season. The pure-hitting Michael Conforto was ready for increased playing time in the outfield. Jose Reyes was back for an entire season to lead off and David Wright was trying to make his way back.
Don’t forget about that pitching staff. They were finally all healthy. Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler (later in 2017) were ready to dominate. It was the Mets time to recapture the magic from 2015 and make a run at a World Series title.
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Readers my age and older will remember the TV program M*A*S*H. From nearly day one, the Mets resembled this program. For anyone who doesn’t know what I mean, ask your parents.
Look at the injury list. The earliest injury during the season was recorded on April 11th and the final was September 20. The Mets didn’t go one month without having an injury. Frankly that is just about unheard of.
Both Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard suffered injuries that slowed them down in April. The same happened to Cespedes. Still, the team managed a 10-14 record in April. 2/5 of the starting rotation was banged up, but the Mets weren’t completely out of it.
May saw Syndergaard go on the disabled list for essentially the entire season with a torn lat and Jeurys Familia gone due to an arterial clot in his shoulder. Yet, the team was better, playing only one game under .500 (13-14). They went .500 (14-14) in the month of June despite the names Cespedes, Harvey and Wheeler, among others, appearing on the injury list.
Despite all of the injuries, you could say the Mets shocked the world by ending June only five games under .500. Recovery and a good run had the potential to put the team right back in the middle of things.
However, starting in June and going the rest of the way, it all fell apart. Front line players suffered injuries. Replacements that were brought in suffered injuries, like Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman to name a couple. The minor league teams likely didn’t even know who would be in the locker room with them from day-to-day with the call ups to the Mets coming so often. Every time you turned around, more help was needed at the big league level.
This is certainly not the way it is supposed to turn out for a team looking to make a championship run. Things unfolded just as you would expect, with the Mets playing 12 games under .500 in July -August, taking them out of any semblance of playoff relevance. They finished the season with a record of 70-92 and now they search for a new manager. Thankfully, the Mets did the right thing and allowed Terry Collins to take on a new position in the front office.
The most impressive narrative to come out of 2017 is probably the fact that Jacob deGrom was able to win 15 games on this team. That accounts for 21.4% of the team’s victory total. If you do the math and predict that out over a 90 win season, at that pace deGrom would have won 23 games. He was nothing short of great.