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New York Mets Preview

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

With the second team in the National League East, I will be previewing the New York Mets.  After making the World Series in 2015, the Mets really did not live up to expectations in 2016, and part of that was due to injury.  More so, in my opinion, is that is due to not hitting the quality of performance expected, and thus creating gaping holes in the lineup.  The Mets have a ton of veterans on the roster, and they will all need to come together if they plan on putting a run together to get past the Washington Nationals.

PROJECTED ROTATION: Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, Robert Gseliman
You may be wondering why I have six pitchers in the starting rotation, and six in the bullpen, and that is due to the rotation being the clear strength of this team.  Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey and Matz all have Cy Young potential, and all are homegrown, but the latter three all have suffered through injuries.  They are all also really young, and I'm sure the Mets will want to limit their starts.  That's why Lugo and Gseliman, who during the injuries of the aforementioned players pitched dominantly, are both in the rotation, although I'm sure one or both may have some relief appearances as well.  Zack Wheeler, coming off of a Tommy John surgery, is also in the hunt for the rotation.

BULLPEN: Jeurys Familia (CL), Addison Reed, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles, Fernando Salas, Erik Goeddel
Another reason I took off a guy from the bullpen is that it is very top heavy, although that could change depending on an investigating involving closer Jeurys Familia for steroids.  If he comes back clean, he did record 51 saves last season in 56 appearances, and is an outstanding closer.  If not, Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins will fight for the job, and both were outstanding as setup men in appearances and ERA.  Robles is a quality middle reliever, and the recently re-signed Salas did enough in limited appearances to earn himself a job for 2017.  After that, it gets kind of rough, with Erik Goeddel, Sean Gilmartin, Josh Edgin and Josh Smoker fighting for the last spot or two.

CATCHERS: Travis d'Arnaud, Rene Rivera
Travis d'Arnaud is another one of the many injury-prone Mets, and he hasn't been immune to struggling even when he is healthy.  He was once a high-upside catcher, and yet his numbers the past few seasons have been modest at best when he was out there.  In other words, his starting job is not safe, although Rene Rivera and Kevin Plawecki are both underwhelming competition as well.  Rivera had the better season as far as batting goes, but I'm guessing the job will go to whoever handles the pitching staff better.

INFIELDERS: David Wright, Neil Walker, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores
Longtime Mets David Wright and Lucas Duda are more injury-prone players, so expect Jose Reyes to likely be a fifth starter in the infield.  Wilmer Flores also is a player who is capable of starting, and expect Asdrubal Cabrera to possibly be trade bait to make room for Flores and Reyes, as well as top prospect Amed Rosario when he is ready.  Neil Walker is entrenched at second base, and he was having a great season before suffering a season ending injury.  TJ Rivera, Matt Reynolds and Ty Kelly all have had big league experience and will be pushing for spots along with Rosario.

OUTFIELDERS: Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto
That Jay Bruce trade didn't really work out for the Mets last season, and some players take being traded harder than others do, so that might have something to do with it.  I wouldn't expect as good of a season that he had with Cincinnati next year, but expect him to hit just over .250 with 30 home runs or so.  The Mets were luckily able to keep Cespedes in New York, as he is the only outfielder who was above average last season in New York.  As far as starting centerfielder Curtis Granderson goes, all I have to say is that he baffles me.  I don't know if he is good or not anymore, he hit 30 home runs as a leadoff hitter but hit .237.  Lagares and former top prospect Michael Conforto should be the other outfielders, and expect them to get regular playing time.

LINEUP: Granderson (CF), Wright (3B), Cespedes (LF), Walker (2B), Bruce (RF), Duda (1B), Cabrera (SS), d'Arnaud (C)

One thing the Mets' lineup lacks is speed, and nobody on the entire team had more than nine stolen bases last year.  They didn't do anything to address that this offseason, but this lineup does have a lot of thump to it.  It's just a really weird assortment of players that doesn't seem to go well together, and that's why I don't know what to make of the Mets this season.  I don't think they are better than the Nationals, and I don't think they can beat out (likely) St. Louis and San Francisco for a wild card spot, but I think the rotation should give them a winning season.  I'm going with 85 wins and second in the East.