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Did the Mets disappoint or exceed expectations in 2019?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11: Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets looks on wearing first responder caps in honor of the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on September 11, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11: Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets looks on wearing first responder caps in honor of the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on September 11, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Were the 2019 New York Mets a disappointment or did they exceed expectations?

With the 2019 season now officially over for the New York Mets with a third-place finish in the National League East and a respectable mid-80’s win season, what do we now make of the season as a whole in retrospect?

As fans should we happy that we competed to possibly win a wild card spot? Or should we be disappointed that our beloved Mets couldn’t extend their season further into October like our general manager and owner boldly predicted we would during spring training?

The 2019 New York Mets season surely was one that was mired with a roller coaster of extreme emotions. The first two weeks of the regular season started with the club winning five of their first six regular-season games and the team posting a 9-4 first-place record. Everyone was on board with this mix of youth and veteran players working towards a common and successful goal, as our general manager’s bold claim of the Mets being the team to beat were starting to come to fruition.

However, for the majority of the first half of the year, we saw nothing but late-inning bullpen implosions and periods of offensive ineptness from the majority of the starting position players. Both their manager and one of our starting pitchers actually tried to attack a sideline beat reporter over seemingly nothing as things continued to slip away heading towards the All-Star break.

The Mets actually went into the All-Star break with the second-worst record in the National League at the time at 40-50. Outside of a few bright young stars in Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso, it was safe to say that all of us Mets fans saw this inaugural Van Wagenen season careening towards utter disaster.

The second half of the year proved to be a different story. The Mets came out of the All-Star break winning 4 out of their first 5 games and actually went 15-1 from a stretch dating from late July to early August.

The bullpen, while still very shaky, at least settled down to being just underwhelming rather than just being downright horrific. Shortstop Amed Rosario, who was continually making errors and striking out in key situations mid-way through the year, both elevated his defensive playmaking ability as well as his contact rate during the second half of 2019.

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This team, which we all thought was dead and buried underground at the All-Star break, was now only 2.0 games out of a Wild Card playoff spot with approximately 35 games left to play in the regular season.  Elation, hope, and excitement were back at Citifield and all around the metropolitan area as improbable late inning comebacks and clutch starting pitching performances were now starting to become the norm instead of the exception.

Maybe Brodie van Wagenen was right.

Perhaps this team, which showed talent and grit even in their defeats during the first three months of the year, just needed a little more time to start to figure things out. Maybe now, the potential he envisioned when he put this squad together would actually come to life?

Unfortunately, we will never truly know, as both the Brewers and the division rival Washington Nationals played over .700 winning baseball over the last quarter of this regular season and shattered all hopes of the Mets grabbing a playoff spot in the last week of the 2019 schedule.

As Mets fans looking back, even though the last two and a half months of this regular season were amazing and our future looks remarkably bright with the emergence of about 5 or 6 young core stars we can ride into 2020 with, overall I think this 2019 season was just slightly above average.

Considering the high expectations, our management and owners placed on this team before Opening Day, finishing with the sixth-best record in the National League really isn’t as satisfying as it may seem to be as of this moment. I think it just seems that way because of how low we had sunk to as an organization as of July 7th, where the thought of us even finishing at .500 to end 2019 seemed like a pipe dream. To come back from those depths is somewhat remarkably gratifying on its own.

But looking back, there were easily 9 or 10 games that we should have easily won during the course of the regular season (and that we would have won) had we had even a slightly below-average bullpen. Even just holding on to win 5 or 6 of those lay up games would have us singing a different tune as we’d be preparing to head to Washington to play a postseason game this week.

Knowing we were that close to actually fulfilling our actual preseason expectations and potential just can’t sit well with me nor should it with you as loyal fans. And to me, this signifies 2019 as more disappointment than it does satisfaction.

However looking at things objectively and from a further out perspective, the end result for 2019 Mets really played out the way many thought it would. An above-average team, showing glimpses of dominance and being dangerous, ultimately falling victim to coming up just short due to the fact that they are playing in the most competitive division in baseball this season. This is the analysis I heard from almost every talking head on TV and sports radio about the Mets in 2019….and they turned out to be exactly right.

But I would argue this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The fact that we do have a solid young pitching rotation going into 2020 as well as a good young nucleus of talent to build around offensively in McNeil, Alonso, Rosario, Conforto, and J.D. Davis…..maybe 2019 had to play out the way it did for us to have sustained success going forward into the future?

Next. Three moments the Mets tested the fans' loyalty

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