Although the New York Mets have ways they must improve the team this offseason, these three areas are major strengths.
For New York Mets fans who just want someone to wake them up when the managerial search is over, this offseason has been a bit of a drag. Most articles about the Mets these days focus on the team’s bullpen woes, potential trade candidates, the ownership, or Brodie Van Wagenen’s old college pals that may soon work for him.
But amidst the doom and gloom that often seems to hover over Metsland, let’s think positively for a moment. The Mets just finished their best season since 2016, at 86-76. Their 2019 lineup consisted almost entirely of young, homegrown players.
And Jacob deGrom is a Met for the next several years at least. So it’s time to dig in a little more to what went right for the orange and blue this season, and how they can build on that for years to come.
An enviable starting rotation
Though some may accuse the 2019 rotation of “underperforming,” nothing can obscure the fact that the Mets’ starters are a solid group. Despite their bullpen issues, the overall team ERA in 2019 was 4.25, good enough for 12th in the MLB. This statistic only highlights how much the bullpen dragged down the team’s pitching this season, as the Mets rotation posted a 3.84 ERA that ranked 7th best in baseball.
Though Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz certainly weren’t perfect every time out, they all have successful track records in the major leagues and possess immense pitching talent. No team can win five out of five games throughout the entire season, but these four consistently gave the team a chance to win.
The rotation’s performance especially picked up in the second half of the season, when they all rounded into form at the same time with the acquisition of Stroman and collectively posted a 3.13 ERA, third best in the majors.
And of course, no analysis of the Mets’ starters would be complete without raining praise upon the shoulders of Jacob deGrom. In a year in which more home runs were hit than ever before and pitchers around the league accused the ball of being “juiced,” deGrom quietly went about his business. Every fifth day, he put his head down, did not make excuses, and relied upon his incredible mental toughness and rock-solid mechanics to keep runs off the board.
In a year that was almost a let down compared to his 2018 Cy Young season, all deGrom did was put up another Cy Young-caliber season. His stats speak for themselves: 255 league-leading strikeouts, a dazzling 2.43 ERA, 200+ innings for the third straight year, a third All-Star selection, and a razor-thin 0.971 WHIP.
With his dominating performance on the field and calm demeanor off the mound, deGrom seems to inspire more reverence from his fellow teammates than anyone else on the team. With deGrom still at the helm in 2020, the Mets should consider their rotation a strength once again next year.