USA Today Images

Brown: Why The Mets Will Make The Playoffs This Season

In-Depth Season Preview, Prediction

Jake Brown
March 28, 2019 - 10:32 am
Categories: 

After a long offseason, Opening Day is finally here. The weather is slowly getting warmer. The snow has been shoveled away in New York. The ballpark is opening and ready for 81 home games ahead. The start of the baseball season is one of the most wonderful times of the year. No matter what your team did last season, it's wiped away and there's a clean slate to start new and hope for better days. 

Those betters days are here for the New York Mets. There is a feel around the 2019 team that really hasn't been there since 2016 after they won the National League in 2015. This could be something special materalizing in Queens. 

GM Brodie Van Wagenen overhauled this roster and turned it into one that can compete for a NL East title, but more importantly a team that can realistically have a chance to make the playoffs. Let's break down why the Mets are going to make the playoffs this season. 

Offense Is Deep & Has Depth

The Mets have a deeper lineup than they have had it in a while. Brandon Nimmo is at the top, bringing his .400-plus OBP to the leadoff spot. Pete Alonso brings youth and power to the lineup and the promise of a guy who has the potential of being a 30-homer a year player. The Mets made the right decision to have him up on Opening Day, which also has amped up the fan base. Robinson Cano returns to New York and looked sensational in spring. Cano really has the potential here on the center stage to put up a monster season in the middle of this Mets lineup. Expect a huge season from Michael Conforto, who moves over to right field this season. Coming back from that shoulder surgery led to a slow start last season, but he picked it up in the second half. Conforto really has the chance to put up a 30-homer, 100-RBI kind of season as he could be the next man up for the Mets to give a contract extension to. It wouldn't be a shocker if Conforto is in the MVP discussion, because this could be the year he puts it all together.  

Wilson Ramos gives the Mets another power bat in the middle of the lineup and finally some stability at the catcher position. He's coming off the best year of his career, making the All-Star team. Jeff McNeil will start off at third base, but we're going to see him move around, most likely moving to left field once Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier return from their injuries. McNeil looked like a veteran at the plate when he came up for the final few months of the season. This kid can hit and he's just getting started. Getting Lowrie and Frazier back in the lineup really will make this team so much better. Amed Rosario now has a couple of seasons under his belt, and also had a strong spring. The Mets are expecting Rosario to take that next step this season and be a much better hitter. Juan Lagares rounds out the order...for now. We're going to see him more as a part-time player and late-game defensive replacement soon, but for now, he's starting. Keon Broxton will see some time in the outfield as well and again, once Lowrie and Frazier are back, McNeil will play in left as well.

Related: Mickey Callaway Previews Mets Season

This team has depth and when everyone is healthy, they will have a strong bench. In years past, the Mets didn't have depth and were throwing minor leaguers out there when guys would get hurt. With Dominic Smith up here and J.D. Davis and Travis D'Arnaud on the way soon to backup Ramos, the Mets are in good shape. Oh yeah, don't forget the eventual return of Yoenis Cespedes, who is expected to be back at some point in the second half of the season. If Cespedes does indeed return, this team has a real chance to put together a really dynamic lineup from top to bottom with a whole lot of sluggers. 

Rotation Is Strong & Bullpen Is Dominant 

The Mets didn't change their starting rotation, which is perfectly fine. Jacob deGrom got his big contract extension and is coming off a Cy Young season, which was one of the best regular seasons we have seen from any pitcher in MLB history. Noah Syndergaard comes in healthy and is prime for a big-time season. Zack Wheeler was sensational in the second half last season and could be another guy up for a big contract if he can put together a full season of strong numbers. Steven Matz was up and down last season, but the key thing was his health. He didn't end up on the DL, which is a good sign for him after battling injuries early on. Jason Vargas rounds out the rotation. He was atrocious in the first half, but greatly improved in the second half. Coming in healthy, unlike last season, will be a big factor for Vargas. 

The bullpen is what the Mets desperately needed to transform and they did just that. They got Edwin Diaz to close games for them after having one of the best seasons from a closer in baseball history, recording 57 saves. They brought back their old closer to now be their setup man in Jeurys Familia. They added a strong lefty in Justin Wilson, who will replace Jerry Blevins. They also added lefty veteran Luis Avilan, who has had a nice career. Robert Gsellman is back this year as a guy who will fill middle innings. Seth Lugo was tremendous as a reliever and a spot starter, and gives them a long-relief arm as well as a guy to step into the rotation if one of their starters gets hurt. Their pitching is deep and those dominant back-end arms in the bullpen is a huge a relief for a team that has put fans through some heartbreak in late innings in the past. 

Improved Coaching Staff 

Mickey Callaway looked lost at times last season. With a year under his belt now as a manager and in New York, he's going to have a much better idea of what he's doing exactly. The most overlooked move though for this coaching staff was the addition of Jim Riggleman as bench coach. Callaway now has a bench coach who has managed in the National League and is well-respected around baseball. Riggleman will be Callaway's right-hand man and take some of the pressure off him to make big decisions. It's almost like the Mets gave two managers, which they were missing last season. Adding Chili Davis as hitting coach is another big-time move that can get overlooked. Davis helped the Red Sox and Cubs offenses have big years in the past few seasons, and should help some of the Mets young hitters do big things in 2019 and beyond. 

PREDICTION: 90-72
Wild Card playoff team 

The NL East is very, very good. The Mets would have a tough time winning the division, but I do strongly believe this team will win one of the two Wild Card spots. There's always the 'if' factor when talking about health, but the depth the Mets added was what they have lacked for many years. There's a lot of promise already right now, and there is still Lowrie, Frazier and down the road, Cespedes, coming back. This roster should have Mets fans believing. There's reason for optimisim. The Mets will make the playoffs. 

Play ball! 

You can follow Jake on Twitter @JakeBrownRadio.