Why the 2022 New York Mets are Different From Years Past

It is no secret that over the last five seasons, the Mets have fallen well under their preseason expectations. Since their 2015 World Series appearance, they’ve managed to make the playoffs once, where they lost in the 2016 NL wild card game to the Giants. Every year since, despite continuing to miss the playoffs and underperform, projections had them continuing to be a solid playoff team and borderline world series contender. From 2017 through 2022, the Mets were given the 8th, 8th, 9th, 7th, and 6th best odds to win the world series, respectively. However, they only finished over .500 once (2019) and never finished top two in the NL East. This year, they have been given the 7th best odds to win the world series. The question now is whether or not this trend continues, and I will explain why this Mets team will not follow in the footsteps of its predecessors.

Mets’ Depth Will Limit Impact of Injuries:

Since their last playoff appearance, the Mets had multiple injury-riddled seasons that put a cap on their potential. Mets players in 2017 had spent more than 1100 days on the injured list (IL), with thirteen players missing forty or more games by late August. Three major contributors in Brandon Nimmo, Jeff Mcneil, and Robinson Cano all landed on the IL by late May of the 2019 season. In 2021, 40% of the Mets starting pitchers were outside of the presumed starting five of deGrom/Stroman/Syndergaard/Carrasco/Walker. In addition, position players such as Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, and Jeff McNeil each missed thirty or more games. What these three seasons all have in common is that once a Met went down, it became an immediate issue.

When in need of a pitching replacement, management resorted to minor league call-ups and veterans who most of the time could not play up to winning baseball standards. The same cannot be said about this year's Mets, even though they’ve already seen their fair share of pitcher injuries. In particular, Sean Reid-Foley has been ruled out for the year, Max Scherzer and Trevor May are out for at least a month, Tylor Megill is on the 15 day IL, and Jacob deGrom has yet to pitch – he is expected to make his season debut in mid-July. Despite these setbacks, the Mets have yet to regress and have recently gained the title of having the best record in the NL. Mets fans can thank guys like David Peterson and Trevor Williams who have stepped into starting roles and delivered. In six starts, Peterson has pitched outstandingly with a 2-0 record and an ERA of 2.97. For reference, the league average ERA among pitchers is 3.96. In Williams’ five starts, the Mets are 3-2 and he has pitched above average with a 3.58 ERA. When deGrom, Scherzer, and Megill are all healthy, Peterson and Williams will most likely get few starts. However, the Mets can be reassured that they have the starting pitching depth to carry them to a playoff berth and that they won’t have to rely on minor league call ups and subpar veteran signings.

The Mets have been fortunate thus far to not experience any major injuries to position players. Nonetheless, the Mets depth chart itself shows just how deep this team is. At catcher, James McCann is currently injured, but Tomas Nido has stepped up batting .261 and is arguably outplaying McCann. There is no weak spot in any other position as the lowest batting average among starters is Eduardo Escobar batting .241, who in the last two weeks is batting .327 and recently became the first Met to hit for the cycle in over 10 years. Luis Guillorme, who is batting .340 this season, is currently not in a starting role but can fulfill the second base, shortstop, and third base positions if needed. Triple-A Syracuse outfielder Nick Plummer has just recently been called up, but in 13 plate appearances, he’s hit two homers and is batting .333. In 2019, none of the Mets replacements batted over .250. This depth can also be attributed to owner Steve Cohen, who made some of the biggest free agency signings in recent memory with Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Chris Bassitt, who add valuable batting and pitching to the starting roster. Injuries are a justifiable reason as to why past Mets seasons have fallen below expectations, but due to the reliable depth of the Mets’ roster, injuries will not have the substantial impact on this Mets team that past teams have faced.

No Management Issues… So Far:

At the time of this writing, there have been no notable errors made by manager Buck Showalter or any of the coaching staff. Being a playoff team and championship contender relies on having strong management in all departments, and this is something Mets teams have lacked in the past. In 2018, the Mets once batted out of order and the manager at the time, Mickey Callaway, stated, “it probably cost us the game.” Although this was a one time incident, it shows a lack of seriousness and disrupts the flow of a winning team. In the same season, the coaching staff decided to keep a struggling Matt Harvey on the roster in hopes that they could fix him. In 27 games, Harvey posted a 7.00 ERA and was designated for assignment. Clearly, the team would’ve been better off designating him for assignment earlier. The team was also hesitant to place players on the IL, as they waited a week for Yoenis Cespedes and four days for Jay Bruce. This year's management is handling things in a more conservative manner, as they’re playing the long game with deGrom and have placed injured players on the IL in a timely manner. The management's conservativeness may stem from the new depth they have, but they are still swiftly managing the team regardless.

Mets Have No Competition in the East:

As of June 8th, 2022, the 38-20 Mets hold an 8 game lead in the east with the 29-27 Atlanta Braves trailing them. Although it is true that the Mets have had division leads like this before and blew them, none of them have been this large at this point in the season. From 2017-2020, they never held a division lead after a few months into the season. In 2021, they held a 3 game lead on the Braves for first place, but were only 7.5 games ahead of last place. Going through the NL East this year, there are no reasons as to why the Mets shouldn’t place first. The last place Washington Nationals are rebuilding and have the worst average ERA of any MLB team. The fourth place Miami Marlins are under .500 and lack any stars to propel them to a playoff spot. The Philadelphia Phillies have underwhelmed many as they currently stand 26-29. They have a solid roster on paper but do not rank top 10 in batting average or ERA, but do rank top 10 in errors. The Braves are the only real threat in the east, but they don't even rank top 10 in batting average or ERA, while the Mets place top 10 in both categories. With no competition in the NL East on top of strong depth and management, the New York Mets should earn their first playoff berth since 2016 and finally live up to expectations.







All of the above sources were fact checked by the independent source governed by js9innings Media for baseball-news publication.

Mets Celebrate

Author: Pete Zangari

Back to Articles
All content is property of js9innings ©