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NY Mets: Searching for the identity of the 2021 team

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 13: Jeff McNeil #6 of the New York Mets is carted off the field after injuring his knee crashing into the wall making a diving catch hit by Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Washington Nationals in the first inning during their game at Citi Field on August 13, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 13: Jeff McNeil #6 of the New York Mets is carted off the field after injuring his knee crashing into the wall making a diving catch hit by Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Washington Nationals in the first inning during their game at Citi Field on August 13, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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The Biggest ID Factor

While these aspects of the season have certainly been key, there is another dynamic that has proven to be far more defining: injuries. At the end of the day, this has been the largest source of the 2021 club’s identity.

Consider the injury-related hurdles New York has faced this season. Superstar Jacob deGrom was on a first-half pace that would have rewritten the history books. However, a mysterious arm injury has caused the ace and team leader to be limited to just 15 total appearances this year. This was crippling to the team.

The starting rotation also felt the stinging effect of injuries in several other areas.

  • deGrom has been absent without a timeline for return.
  • Carrasco was forced to miss the majority of the season, appearing in only nine games to date.
  • Starter Joey Lucchesi underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery after just 10 appearances.
  • Noah Syndergaard has yet to appear in a game as he recovers from TJ surgery.
  • David Peterson was also ruled out for the season after just 16 appearances.

What other teams have suffered so many injuries to their starting staff? It is certainly a shortlist. Yet, despite facing so many challenges, New York is still 8th in the league in team ERA (3.80). They are also top-10 in most other pitching categories.

Imagine how a healthy staff could have catapulted the franchise into postseason success. This would have easily been the source of their identity under better circumstances.

The Mets’ injury bug also doesn’t stop with the rotation. Star hitters like McNeil, Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo have all missed well over a month of action while on the IL.

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