Going into the 2017 season, there are several key questions surrounding the Mets. How long will Jeurys Familia be suspended for his domestic violence incident? Will they be able to add an arm or two to the bullpen before Opening Day? Will they EVER be able to trade Jay Bruce?
However, the most important question that will determine how far the Mets go this season is this: can the Mets stay healthy in 2017?
All teams need to overcome injuries over the course of a 162 game season, but the injury bug hit the Mets a lot harder than most teams last year. The Mets lost each member of their starting infield (Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, and David Wright), their starting catcher (Travis d’Arnaud), and their best offensive player (Yoenis Cespedes) for significant portions of the season.
As tough as all of those injuries were to overcome, the most concerning injuries were those to the starting pitchers. The Mets’ biggest strength is their starting rotation, yet they saw 3 of their top 4 starters (Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz) land on the disabled list. While ace Noah Syndergaard was able to avoid a prolonged absence, he himself battled bone spurs which forced him to miss time during the season. And it’s easy to forget about Zack Wheeler. Heading into the season, the Mets were expecting Wheeler back in the rotation by May or June after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. However, several setbacks forced the Mets to shut down Wheeler before he ever got close to returning.
The Mets entered 2016 poised to go back to (and win) the World Series. While the Mets fell short of this goal, it was a minor miracle that they made the postseason at all considering the significant injuries they were forced to deal with. Will 2017 be any different? As always, the Mets will go as far as their starting pitching takes them. Can Harvey, deGrom, and Matz come back from their respective surgeries and pitch like they did in 2015? Will Thor’s bone spurs cause further issues this year? Will we ever see Zack Wheeler pitch again?
Here’s hoping the Mets can keep their players on the field and Ray Ramirez in the dugout this year. If so, 2017 could be a special one for the team in Flushing.