30 in 30: The New York Mets
2016 Record: 86-75
2016 Finish: 10th in MLB, 5th in AL
2016 in Review
Where to begin? The Mets season started with a lot of surprises. The earliest surprise came on December 9th, when the Mets traded Jon Niese to the Pirates in exchange for Second Basemen Neil Walker. This was a surprising move because 1) The Mets were still open to signing Daniel Murphy and 2) Neil Walker grew up in Pittsburgh, was drafted in the first round by the Pirates and was quoted saying he didn't want to leave. The move was a steal for the Mets. Niese was on the way out once Matz showed up, and Walker was coming off an average year just before he turned 30. It was a steal for the Mets, just straight up thievery. The next two days saw the New York Sports media say goodbye to Daniel Murphy and fight over who was better for the 2016 season. On the 11th, the Mets made a move that no one saw coming: they signed Asdrubal Cabrera.
The Mets kept the carousel spinning at shortstop all of 2015 with Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada both taking turns in the field. The odd thing is that Flores is a true second baseman and was being groomed to be a shortstop. The question is this, why groom Flores for short with 3 of your top 9 prospects are shortstops, including your #1 ranked prospects Ahmed Rosario? Now ask yourself, why would you sign Asdrubal Cabrera?These were all of the questions thrown around once the news broke. The only person who answered them was Asdrubal Cabrera.
Without Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, the 2016 New York Mets do not have a chance in hell of staying in the playoff race, let alone snag a wildcard spot. Cabrera and Walker were responsible for 32% fo the Mets total runs scored in 2016, and Walker only played 60% of the season. This is also coupled with the fact that Mets fans were finally able to see a double play in a live baseball game! AMAZING!
Walker and Cabrera quickly became fan favorites, and it seemed like whenever the team needed a big hit or a clutch play they were there to set up their teammates or do it themselves. This dynamic duo also brought stability to the Mets lineup. Needless to say, these guys were a welcomed surprise in 2016.
Take a look at Matt Harvey's career stats. 2016 sticks out like a sore thumb. 4-10, with a 4.86 ERA, a 1.468 WHIP and a hits/9 innings ratio of 10.8. Now look at 2015, 2013 and 2012... Where is the real Matt Harvey and what have you done with him?! Matt Harvey is easily the biggest disappointment for the 2016 Mets, and I think that's possibly because he was our redemption story.
Matt Harvey's 9th inning entrance in Game 5 of the World Series will forever be my favorite Mets moment. You could feel every Mets fan jump out of their seat and say, "that's what I want! Gimme the Dark Knight." Matt Harvey is the New York Mets to me. He's gritty, he's tough, he fights, he's Queens. He's bleeding on the mound, he's throwing at Chase Utley, and he's the guy who experienced first hand how rough it is to drop city's hopes of a World Series.
Matt Harvey's follow up to his great 2015 campaign was a let down in the biggest way possible. We all wanted to get back to October, but Harvey could barely get back to the mound after the 4th inning. I was at the Game against Washington where he gave up 6 earned runs in 2.2 innings. I was there when he was booed off the mound. A lot of people were very critical of Mets fans for doing that, but to that, I say this: "shut up." Terry Collins should've pulled Harvey after Wilson Ramos' 2-run single. Harvey didn't need to fight his way out of that game, he needed his manager to be watching out for him. Terry Collins should have known better.
Anyway, Harvey ended his season early in order to have surgery to fix his Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which was causing him to experience numbness in his throwing hand. The other important thing to note here is that Harvey was reportedly "forced to shut down for the season." Matt Harvey was struggling to pitch games and was waking up the next day without feeling in his right hand but still wanted to pitch in 5 days. That's the Matt Harvey who's coming back in 2017. That's the Matt Harvey who hit 97MPH multiple times this week in Spring Training. That's the Matt Harvey who came out of the dugout in Game 5. That's OUR Matt Harvey.
The Mets have to stay healthy. MY GOD. The Mets have to stay healthy. 4 out of the 8 position players on the Mets Opening Day roster were out with injuries by the end of the season. Colon and Syndergaard were the only two remaining healthy options as starters towards the end of the season. Thankfully Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo stepped up big time in their absence. The Mets have to stay healthy. END OF STORY.
The Mets need to capitalize on their youth while they still have these young players on cheap contracts. The Mets also need to find a solution to their crowded outfield. Jay Bruce was a great solution for the midseason lack of RBIs, but once he was into his 4th week of slumping, the Mets should have made a choice to ship him elsewhere. The search for Bruce was also fueled by Michael Conforto's return to Earth. However, with Conforto's swing looking better than ever and his numbers looking more like his old self, the question of Jay Bruce's worth remains. The Mets have the rotation all squared away, but they need to produce at the plate. Simple as that.