New York Mets: 5 reasons for optimism – Part 3 Rest of NL East

Mickey Callaway, New York Mets. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Mickey Callaway, New York Mets. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Empire Writes Back continues our five-part series on why New York Mets fans should be optimistic for the upcoming 2019 season. Part three, the NL East.

Its been a rough few years for the New York Mets faithful. Since game three of the 2015 World Series, its been a downhill ride. Since then one thing or another has derailed the Amazins time after time. Injuries (David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes, etc) have set them back as well as unfulfilled expectations of certain players. There have been mental errors and a whole bunch of free swingers at the plate who couldn’t get wood on the baseball.

2019 is when the New York Mets fortunes turn around. It’s the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Miracle Mets. This year’s team doesn’t need a miracle to succeed and we’ll give you five reasons why. Today we continue with how the Mets matchup favorably against the rest of the division.

There were some big additions to the division since the 2018 season ended. The New York Mets were at the forefront, picking up a dominating closer, Edwin Diaz, and a perennial all-star second baseman, Robinson Cano. No, they didn’t sign Bryce Harper, but they improved across the board. The Mets are deeper and more consistent at the plate while sporting a vastly improved bullpen.

Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins are still the lowly Miami Marlins of 2018, without JT Realmuto. They don’t hit for average (last in 2018 National League) and their best power bats might be Mets castoffs Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson. Their offense is that bad and the pitching isn’t much better. Jose Urena went 9-12 in 2018, he was arguably the best pitcher on the worst pitching team in the league.

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Washington Nationals

Bryce Harper is gone, but the Nats aren’t dead. The offense will be led by Anthony Rendon and young star Juan Soto. Washington might not be a power hitting juggernaut like they were last year, but they won’t be easy outs either. Additionally, Trea Turner is a threat from the leadoff spot.

If there is a team that might have a starting staff that is as good as the Mets, its the Nationals. It starts with three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer at the top. He’s followed by Stephen Strasburg and Anibal Sanchez. That’s quality. Lefty Sean Doolittle is the closer, he had 25 last year.

While the pitching staff is good, it’s not New York Mets good. Washington .500 team at best.

Philadelphia Phillies

It’s been a busy offseason in the City of the Brotherly Love. Philly added outfielder Andrew McCutchen, shortstop Jean Segura, and of course Harper. Their offense should be vastly improved over last year’s team that was 11th in the NL in both runs scored and OPS.

Unfortunately for them, their pitching staff is not much better than it was last season. Aside from Aaron Nola, there isn’t much to their rotation. The Philly bullpen is mediocre at best and not a strong feature of their team. Teams don’t win without good pitching and that will hold true with the Phillies.

One more positive, the Mets have had Philadelphia’s number in recent seasons. They are 23-15 vs the Phils the past two seasons, and 62-33 over the last five. I look for that to continue into 2019.

Atlanta Braves

If there is a team for Mets fans to worry about it’s Atlanta. The defending National League East champions didn’t lose anyone and added some quality veterans to their young team from last year. Ronald Acuna is a budding superstar on a developing team. The key word being developing. Young teams are notoriously inconsistent.

The moves Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen made over the winter are designed to compete with the likes of the Braves. The Mets are deeper overall and possess superior pitching to the Braves. Injuries hit every team and Atlanta was fortunate in 2018. They’re due for a few injuries and the Mets can capitalize.

Next. 5 reasons for Mets optimism in 2019 – Part 2 Starting Pitching. dark

Unlike years previous, this season’s Mets team has what it takes to excel against the rest of the division