Richard Gueren, Staff Writer
The New York Mets won 87 games last year, which was an amazing accomplishment given that they struggled through injuries during most of the season. However, a softer schedule in the second half admittedly allowed the Mets to rack up victories and position themselves as competitors in the NL Wild Card race. They took full advantage in winning 27 of the final 39 games to vault themselves into the playoffs.
In 2017, the Mets are undoubtedly counting on a return to health of so many of their key players. That is one of the reasons why the Mets didn’t aggressively target top free agents in the offseason. In other words, they are basically hoping that even a modest return to health of their key players will produce better outcomes.
And that is what makes me so optimistic. The key to that belief is a modest return to health. Because at some point, I would believe, this team can focus not on how many players are on the disabled list but who is on the field and what they are doing.
If anything, these few seasons have taught observers that the Mets have a lot of capable backups, players such as Wilmer Flores, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto (we’ll see!), Brandon Nimmo, T.J. Rivera, Matt Reynolds, etc. who can step in and play an important role. The one thing that fans can’t complain about is the depth on the roster and the unexpected surplus of players in some positions (i.e. the outfield, the infield, catcher).
After taking a quick look at the schedule, I’m not too worried, and feel this team can gain a lot from the perseverance they showed last year. While the Mets will probably struggle against Washington, I do expect the Mets to perform very well against the other NL East teams (including the Marlins).
That will help the Mets during the critical first few weeks of the season too. So, my prediction is that the 2017 Mets will win 91 games and finish in second place just slightly behind Washington for the NL East crown. However, they will earn a spot in the playoffs via the Wild Card.