The Mets run New York. Not just in baseball. The Mets are the Kings out of all the 4 major sports teams in New York. This is one of, if not the most, anticipated seasons in franchise history.
The Mets and the New York Rangers are the only teams to be legitimate championship contenders. The Rangers are the only real threat to dethrone the Mets.
The Rangers are 3rd in the Eastern Conference and are having another great season. They have won at least 1 playoff series the last 4 seasons. They have been to the Eastern Conference Finals 3 times and the Stanley Cup Finals once in that span. Even with all of the success they have had, New York was the loudest and craziest when the Amazin’s made it to the World Series last year.
The city was buzzing every day during the Mets incredible playoff run and the Rangers fan base couldn’t compare to them even with all the great success their team has had the last few years.
There are two factors working against the Rangers taking the crown in NY.
1) Stanley Cup Playoffs are the most unpredictable playoffs in the 4 major sports. This is the reason why people who don’t watch hockey during the regular season watch it during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Anything can happen whereas in baseball the playoffs are usually dominated by dominant pitching. Mets have the most talented and deepest staff in the league so they will be huge threats and impose fear on opposing teams.
2) The NHL is by far the least popular of the 4 major sports. It’s hard to be a King and rule when you don’t have as much support as others.
Out of the 10 NY teams, (including Buffalo) you can make a strong case that the Mets have 4 of the top 10 best players. Especially going into this season.
Matt Harvey absolutely dominated the second half of last season and he will be an extra year removed from Tommy John. He finished 6th in the NL in ERA and went 2-0 in the playoffs. There’s no reason he can’t keep up the momentum he had last year and carry it into 2016. He just had one of the greatest seasons in their first year back from Tommy John in MLB history and should be even sharper next year.
Jacob deGrom was 4th in the NL with a 2.54 ERA. He was absolutely fantastic all season. He only had 14 wins but that was with the worst lineup in baseball up until the trade deadline. This year his wins should climb into the high teens. Because of all the youth on the Mets pitching staff people seem to forget 2016 will only be Jacob’s 3rd season. Entering his prime, with 2 years of experience under his belt and one of the best pitchers in baseball over that span, he could still improve. That’s scary for baseball.
What’s even scarier is Noah Syndergaard‘s fastball, and how the 23-year old has the command and confidence of a seasoned vet despite making only 27 career starts including the playoffs. Also worth noting he picked up a World Series win. That will do a lot for his already sky-high confidence. In his rookie season, Syndergaard was already one of the premier strikeout pitchers in baseball.
2016 could see all three of these guys as top 10 pitchers in all of baseball.
Next up is Yoenis Cespedes. The man played 57 games as a Met in the regular season and it provided enough incredible moments you would think he was here for years. In those 57 games, he hit .287 with a ridiculous .604 slugging percentage that would have been 2nd in the league only to the NL MVP Bryce Harper. Cespedes had 17 homers, 44 RBIs, countless game-changing hits, and even took home an AL Gold Glove Award. He was rewarded with a 3 year/$75M contract by the Mets and he will be playing like it’s a contract year again because of player opt out clause after 2016.
Every team suffers injuries, but the Mets were bit the hardest by the injury bug last year. According to Spotrac, the Mets had 18 players go on the DL for an MLB high of 1,580 days.
I think the Mets big X-factor is Travis d’Arnaud. Travis showed glimpses of being an elite catcher last year. Unfortunately, he had 2 stints on the DL and only played in 67 games. He hit 12 homers and had 41 RBI’s in just those 67 games last year. He also has a .468 slugging % so a healthy Travis would be a huge boost for an already solid Mets lineup.
The Mets should be healthier this year than they were last year when they went to the World Series. They will have Syndergaard, Matz, and Cespedes from the beginning of the season. They will have the majority of their core from last year and they have a lot more depth than they had before the trade deadline last year, when John Mayberry Jr, Eric Campbell and Anthony Recker were all consistently in the lineup.
This is a young team that’s hungrier and more talented than last year. The majority of the 2016 Mets will know the feeling of the 2015 success and just how close they were to getting that ring. They are the Kings of New York and they could very well be the Kings of baseball this year. Besides, the Mets have Unfinished Business.