New York Mets: Discussing what the team really is

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15: Manager Mickey Callaway (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15: Manager Mickey Callaway (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

We discuss what the 2018 New York Mets really are.

The New York Mets started the 2018 season like gangbusters. They had the best record in the sport and all was right with the world in Flushing, NY. The world was singing the praises of Mickey Callaway and there was talk about the Mets and taking over the division from the Washington Nationals. Hitting, starting pitching and the bullpen were clicking all at once.

Then the bottom fell out. That might be an understatement. The Mets have had trouble scoring runs, the bullpen couldn’t hold leads and the starting pitching began to falter. They say that a team is never as good as it looks when they are going really well. Clearly that is the case with the Mets in 2018. They have fallen out of first place and look like they have lost their way. They fell to 17-15 with Monday’s loss.

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The time has come to have the discussion of what the Mets really are. Are they the team that began the season? Are they the team that we are watching right now? What is the real status of this team?

What they are is something in the middle, which is what I think we all believed they were to begin with. Take a look at the lineup. Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting .336, but he is the only member of the lineup with over 100 ABs and hitting better than .255. Brandon Nimmo has a .445 on-base percentage, but he hasn’t been up nearly enough to be making a huge difference yet. The outfield is simply too crowded.

Amed Rosario, the “future”, is hitting .237 and is posting an on base percentage of .275. The fact is the two hitters that are supposed to inspire fear in opponents, Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes, are hitting .245 and .240 respectively. That is not going to get it done.

Does any other member of this lineup seem scary? Not really. As exciting as Bruce and Cespedes are, this lineup screams mediocrity. Could guys like Nimmo and Rosario improve and change that? Sure. They aren’t there yet, though.

The starting pitching has come back to Earth. Let’s face it, as hopeful as we might have been, the fate that has come to Matt Harvey really isn’t that surprising. He was never really that committed to being a team guy. The Mets and Harvey were headed this way, it was just a matter of when. Steven Matz hasn’t stayed on the field nor has he been great when he has. Zack Wheeler is inconsistent.

The two big guys, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom have been great. “Thor” has shown some cracks in his super hero armor, walking in a run on Sunday afternoon for the first time in his career and generally not dominating the way he has in the past. deGrom has been the clear ace, but now he will miss one start with a quick trip to the DL. He hyperextended his right elbow at the plate during his last start and the team has decided to be cautious.

They say it will only be one start but who really knows? They are going to be careful with their best pitcher’s right arm. There is no guarantee he only misses one start. The starting staff isn’t, and never has been, consistent or healthy all together.

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The bullpen has been, the bullpen. It simply isn’t a very scary group of pitchers. Granted it is hard to put together a bullpen that is successful. A general manager and his staff really have to catch lightning in a bottle. But this group, partly because of Callaway’s extended use, has been rough to watch at times. Even Jeurys Familia, who most fans have loved, has even had a tough time holding leads.

All of this leads to an important point. The Mets are not a great team and not a bad team. They are a mid-level franchise that will have to work to make the playoffs. Isn’t that what we all expected them to be?