The Beacon

The New York Mets are off to an AMAZIN-ly Hot Start

http://www.njherald.com/article/20180414/AP/304149993

http://www.njherald.com/article/20180414/AP/304149993

Justin Valentovic, Staff writer

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Coming into the 2018 season, the New York Mets appeared to be a National League Wild Card team at best, however over the course of the first two weeks of the young season, rookie skipper, Mickey Callaway appears to be the perfect match for club leading them to a franchise record 12 wins in their first 14 contests.

Improved Roster

Ever since the Mets’ World Series run in 2015, pitching has been the strongest part of a team that has often struggled to score runs. In the offseason the team addressed one of their biggest issues, that being both corner infield positions, with the additions of  Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez.

Although his stint in the Bronx borough of New York with the Yankees was brief, Frazier proved he has what it take to handle the bright lights of the Big Apple. This was a much needed move for the Mets as the future of team captain, David Wright, remains uncertain.  Thus far, Frazier is hitting .293 with a pair of long balls and eight RBI on the young season.

On the other side of the diamond, the signing of veteran first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez has already had a positive effect on the club. Last season, A-Gon was hampered by injuries and lost his job with the Dodgers to rising star Cody Bellinger. The Mets signing of Gonzalez has aided the need defensively at the position and gives the Mets a reliable defensive player first base until prospect, Dominic Smith  is ready for the big leagues.

Along with those two, the Mets were able to fill in the missing third of their already formidable outfield by reuniting with power hitting outfielder, Jay Bruce, after shipping the slugger to Cleveland last season at the trade deadline.

Injection of Youth

Last season, the top ranked prospect Amed Rosario got his first opportunity at the big league level, and struggled. However, this season he will fill the role as team’s starting short stop.

The 2017 season also saw 25 year-old outfielder, Michael Conforto’s  season get cut short due to injury. So far this season, the all-star is sporting an on base percentage of .350 and slugging percentage of .494 in eight games since returning from the DL.

While Conforto went on the DL, Brandon Nimmo took his place in the outfield. Even though he has just 10 at bats this season, Nimmo has made the most of his opportunity, batting .300, with a .563 OBP. Being placed in the lead-off spot can be tough for young batters, but Nimmo has been able to get on base and and get into scoring position.

Pitching, Pitching, and more Pitching

Pitching once again is the focus for the Mets and with Callaway being a former pitching coach, the hopes were that he could turn this staff back into the three-headed monster it once was. Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Noah Syndergaard, are finally all healthy once again and have shown flashes of becoming of the top staffs in the MLB.

Between the three, they are a combined 4-1 overall in nine games, and have struck out 55 total batters with a 3.93 ERA. “Thor” proves to be one of the most dominant pitchers in the league while Harvey has shown signs of the “Dark Knight” making a possible return to Gotham.

Former starters Robert Gsellman, and Seth Lugo have been moved to the bullpen and have excelled in their new roles. In 11 combined appearances, the two are 2-0 and have a combined ERA of 1.18 and have racked up 19 strikeouts. The fact these two have the ability to be both starters and relievers gives Callaway a lot of flexibility, and can help him manage his star pitchers.

If all goes right for the Mets between their newly acquired veterans and if their pitchers can stay healthy, they have a real shot at dethroning the reigning NL East champion, Washington Nationals.

 

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The New York Mets are off to an AMAZIN-ly Hot Start