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Mets news you may have missed: Exhibition games showcasing pitching depth

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - MARCH 23: A New York Mets player stands at first base during a spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion stadium on March 23, 2019 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - MARCH 23: A New York Mets player stands at first base during a spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion stadium on March 23, 2019 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 09: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets smiles as he walks to the dugout after the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on September 09, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

On February 22, Major League Baseball released their first power rankings of the season – and it was amazin! The NY Mets ranked No. 5 on the list behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (No. 1), San Diego Padres (No. 2), New York Yankees (No. 3), and Atlanta Braves (No. 4).

As most fans are probably well aware, this year’s NL East race is set to be a much fiercer contest than in years past. The main reason fort his has to do with the change in ownership down in Flushing, Queens.

Rankings aside, however, it’s evident that the reigning NL East champions over these last 3 years are not going to play second fiddle to the up-and-coming Mets juggernaut.

And make no mistake, the Braves – with their young, dynamic pitching and deep lineup – will be the Mets biggest hurdle in winning their first division title since 2015.

Experience is also a factor. This group of Braves has won down the stretch. This Mets team on the other hand – however improved and loaded with talent – is entering its first season playing together, and will need to learn how to win games as a team; though I don’t think it will take long for this seemingly tight-knit group to gel.

Why are they No. 5?

In his return to Twitter, Uncle Steve Cohen announced he was headed back down to Port St. Lucie, marking his first spring as team owner. This seems rather fitting, as it was his commitment to fielding a winner when he purchased the team that put the Mets roster in a position to be ranked so high.

How they can stay highly ranked throughout the season?

In short, their newly acquired stars – and depth additions – need to produce. As such, the predictions for the Mets lineup (like SNY’s recent one) represents a postseason contender, but only on paper.

The Mets backstop is set to feature: James McCann and Tomás Nido. Their infield – from left to right – will start: 3B J.D. Davis, SS Francisco Lindor, 2B Jeff McNeil, and 1B Pete Alonso – with infielders, Luis Guillorme and Jonathan Villar on the bench.

Out in the outfield, it’s already been confirmed that LF Dominic Smith, RF Michael Conforto, and CF Brandon Nimmo will be the starting trio – with defensive reserves, Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora Jr. to come off the bench.

It sounds obvious, but it still needs to be acknowledged that each of these players needs to do what they were signed to do: produce.

Important Dates coming up:

First spring training game is Monday, March 1 @ Miami Marlins facilities 1:05pm

Opening Day: Thursday, April 1, @ Washington Nationals facilities 7:09pm

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