New York Mets Intro to Team
In 60 seasons, the New York Mets have reached the postseason nine times with two World Series titles, the last coming in 1986 with two other appearances in the Fall Classic coming in 2001 and 2015.
The Mets last played in the postseason in 2016 when they failed to advance past the Wild Card game and haven’t finished better than third place in the National League East since.
New York Mets Last Season Performance
The Mets had a promising beginning to the 2021 season and got to 11 games over .500 on June 16th with a 5.5 game lead in the National League East. As late as July 28th, they were nine games above .500 and held a 4.5 game advantage in the division.
But they struggled to a 22-39 mark the rest of the way to finish the season at 77-85 in third place in the N.L. East, 11.5 games behind the front-running Atlanta Braves.
The story of 2021 for the Mets really came down to injuries, with the most impactful coming to starting pitcher Jacob deGrom, who was 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 92 innings pitched when he went down with an arm injury on July 7th.
The loss of deGrom coincided with the slide in the standings for the Mets, who fell from first to third place in the N.L. East in the month after he was shut down for the season.
Another pitcher, Noah Syndergaard, made almost no contribution in 2021 as he could not fully recover from a previously torn UCL. He pitched only two innings for a staff that, despite these injuries, still managed to post the fifth-best ERA in the National League.
The real problem for the 2021 Mets was their lack of offense, ranking last in the National League in total hits, 13th in runs and extra base hits, and 10th in batting average. Given their lack of hitting, it’s surprising that they were able to manage 77 wins and stay in the N.L. East race as long as they did.
No player who appeared in more than 100 games posted a batting average higher than .262, with Pete Alonso the lone bright spot at the plate as he banged out 37 home runs and 27 doubles with 94 RBI.
Centerfielder Brandon Nimmo hit a .292 clip, but he played in only 92 games and didn’t provide much in the way of power numbers, only accounting for eight home runs and 28 RBI.
New York Mets Off Season Changes
The Mets cleaned house from the General Manager to the bench coaches, firing Jared Porter and manager Luis Rojas and replacing them with Billy Eppler and veteran Buck Showalter. One of the only Met holdovers from the previous regime is pitching coach Jeremy Heffner, who had his option picked up by the team in October and was retained by new manager Showalter in January.
Team President Sandy Alderson, the GM from 2010 to 2018, ended a six-week search by bringing in Eppler to make some deals to potentially break the Mets’ long playoff drought.
Eppler spent five years as the General Manager of the Los Angeles Angels, but was fired in 2020 despite bringing in some high-profile players and upgrading the farm system.
Just before Christmas, Eppler named Showalter as the manager, with the Mets becoming his fifth stop in the role. Showalter is known for developing talent and for improving his teams’ performances from before his arrival.
The Mets also made a number of changes in the dugout and throughout their farm system in the hopes of getting the most out of the team.
Eppler didn’t waste much time bringing in talent, signing free agent pitcher Max Scherzer to a three-year contract worth $130 million.
New York Mets Key Additions
Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young award-winning starting pitcher who was also instrumental in leading the Washington Nationals to the 2019 World Series title.
He has posted a 190-97 record with an ERA of 3.16 in 14 seasons while playing for four teams, most recently the Los Angeles Dodgers, to whom he was traded from the Nationals prior to the 2021 trade deadline.
Eppler definitely sent a message to the rest of MLB that the Mets are serious about making the moves necessary to get the team back to playoff contention, regardless of the cost.
Before the Scherzer signing, the Mets picked up three free agents, the best of which was a four-year deal with outfielder Starling Marte, who hit .310 with 12 homers and 47 stolen bases in 2021.
Infielder Eduardo Escobar will bring his .253 batting average and 28 home runs to the Mets, and outfielder Mark Canha hit .231 with 17 home runs while getting on base 27 times by getting hit by a pitch last season.
In a lesser deal, the Mets signed free agent St. Louis Cardinals’ minor league prospect Nick Plummer to a one-year deal, with his bat a much needed addition to the lineup.
With the addition of Scherzer, Eppler will likely continue to turn his attention to offense once the lockout is resolved, as the Mets reed more consistency at the plate. It could help to augment what could be one of the top rotations in the National League if deGrom can make a healthy return.
New York Mets Key Subtractions
Aaron Loup, who was 6-0 with a 0.95 ERA for the Mets in 2021, signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels. The 33-year-old spent one season with the team and provided the Mets with a reliable 56.2 innings of relief in 65 appearances.
The aforementioned Syndergaard also ended up with the Angels after declaring free agency in early November. The losses of the pitchers will likely force Eppler to find players to fill the holes created by their departures while also continuing to shore up the offense.
The Mets’ leading hitter in 2021, second baseman Javier Baez, signed a deal with the Detroit Tigers and took his .299 batting average in 47 games with him. Even though he didn’t play in the majority of games for the Mets, the team really couldn’t afford to lose a player who could reliably hit close to .300 on a unit that averaged just .239.
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New York Mets Head Coach Analysis
Although Showalter has been out of the dugout for three years, the gap between jobs has been consistent throughout his career, during which he has a 1551-1517 record with three A.L. Manager of the Year (MOY) awards.
In his most recent stint, he took over a Baltimore Orioles team with the worst record in baseball midway through the 2010 season.
Showalter led them to a 34-23 record for the rest of 2010, and from 2012 to 2016, the Orioles had five consecutive non-losing records, three playoff appearances, and the 2014 A.L. East title. By 2018 he had worn out his welcome, and the team fell to a record of just 47-115, which resulted in the end of Showalter’s tenure with the Orioles.
The 65-year old’s first managerial job was with the New York Yankees in 1992, when he inherited a team that had posted a record of 71-91 the previous season.
By 1994, Showalter had the Yankees in first place with a 70-43 record when a strike shut the season down, but the team made the playoffs for the first time since 1980 by finishing in second place in the A.L. East in 1995.
His differences with owner George Steinbrenner led to Showalter’s departure after 1996. Still, he had established a culture that resulted in the team winning the World Series in four of the following five years.
He was able to do the same thing in his brief tenure with the Arizona Diamondbacks, producing a division championship in his second of three seasons in 1997, and the team went on to win the 1999 World Series, the year after he left the team.
There is little doubt about Showalter’s managerial capabilities, and given enough talent, he can likely get the Mets to the postseason, especially with its expanded format.
How long he’ll stay and how far he can take the team in that timeframe are big question marks for a manager looking for his first World Series crown. Check their MLB Odds for this season.
New York Mets Injured Players at the beginning of the season
There are no players currently on the Mets’ 40 man roster that are expected to miss Opening Day in 2022. deGrom is likely to return, and the Mets will likely have Robinson Cano available after the 39-year-old veteran missed the entire 2021 season with back issues.
Third baseman J.D. Davis, who went down with a hand injury in 2021, batted .285 in 73 games is listed as probable for the beginning of the season, so many of the injuries that plagued the Mets in 2021 don’t appear to be lingering into the upcoming campaign.
Of course, what happens in spring training, whenever that begins, could bring about more issues, especially for a team that will still be reliant on their pitching staff for success in 2022.
New York Mets Prediction for 2022 Season
The Mets have made the most impactful moves of any of the likely contenders in the N.L. East, so the prospects are good that they can again be a factor in the division race, but a wild card berth might be a stretch for any N.L. East team.
With Scherzer and deGrom in the rotation, provided they can stay healthy, the Mets have a solid chance to win virtually every series throughout the season.
The weakness that Eppler will need to continue to address is the lack of hitting in 2021. Still, the addition of Marte will improve those prospects, making it harder for opposing pitchers to avoid giving quality offerings to Pete Alonso or Francisco Lindor, who showed enough power to hit 20 home runs in 125 games.
New skipper Showalter has continually demonstrated the ability to get the most out of a lineup upon taking the reins, so the Mets should benefit from his leadership.
Even though they struggled down the stretch, especially since they could not replace deGrom, the team was close to putting it all together at times in 2021, so look for them to push the Braves for N.L. East supremacy, especially if the Phillies fail to get more active once the lockdown ends.
Eppler has already shown his willingness to make some deals, so don’t expect that activity to cease once he can lure free agents to the table again.
In 2021, the Mets used 19 different starting pitchers, and the players in their starting lineup on Opening Day spent a combined 421 days on the injured list for the remainder of the season. That kind of injury bug can eventually wear on a team, and it certainly did for the Mets last season.
It was also exacerbated by the poor performances of Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeill, who all had one of the worst seasons of their careers.
It’s hard to believe that they’ll experience that kind of blow to the team’s collective health again, and with the addition of Scherzer, they’ll have more depth at starting pitcher even with the departure of Syndergaard. If Eppler can plug a hole or two at the relief pitcher spot and add one more bat to the lineup, the Mets are likely to enter the season as the favorite to capture the N.L. East, especially if they can play up to their past performance levels.
However, should the Mets’ front office fail to deliver any more talent, things will have to fall into place for the team to run down a Braves squad deep at pitcher and is coming off a world championship. Also, just because the Phillies were quiet on the front end of the offseason doesn’t mean they won’t make some moves to fill out their outfield and surround MVP Bryce Harper with some help on offense.
The prediction here is that the Mets will add a couple of more key pieces and find a way to stay with the Braves, relying on solid pitching and enough hitting to win a close race in the N.L. East.
It will be difficult, just because of the competition at the top of the division, for more than one team from that group to advance to the playoffs, so it will be win the title or hit the golf course for the winter. Check out their MLB Lines for the season.