The New York Mets once again played a very long and frustration-filled season. Let’s look at the bright side, at least they are consistent with that! Feelings aside, this season felt like a change was coming. Now, even more, changes are coming and the future is hard to predict.
However, at the beginning of the year, the team at Rising Apple made a bunch of predictions about specific players. Some of those predictions even happened mid-way through.
Most of my predictions were somewhat correct, a few went horribly wrong, and a few were correct. (Articles on the half-right/half-wrong and flat-out wrong coming).
Mets Find Stability with James McCann
One of my very first predictions on the season was about James McCann. I said he’d provide the Mets with the most stability behind the dish since LoDuca.
I had said that McCann needed to play between 120 to 130 games after never playing more than 118. Well, he just got in there at 121. A stint on the Injured List toward the end of the season kept him from reaching that 130 mark.
Little else I wrote for McCann came true as he was pretty much a disaster as an offensive player. The one thing that could be relied upon is that he’d be good to pencil in the lineup on most days, which is something the Mets needed desperately after years of Travis D’Arnaud.
Stay tuned for everything I got wrong about James McCann, coming soon.
Mets will have Brandon Nimmo as their center fielder on most days
Initially, I wrote Brandon Nimmo‘s season for the Mets might leave us asking, “Who said we needed an upgrade in center field?” This very much happened, injuries aside.
"Brandon Nimmo is the constant optimist. It’s easy to correlate that optimism and the child-like enthusiasm of his play into passion and hard work. No doubt, Nimmo has been listening to his defensive detractors all off-season and in his mind is determined to do something about it.This will be the year when Nimmo puts all the pieces together to play a solid center field. Maybe we won’t get a gold glove performance, but he will be at least average or slightly better.As stated, most of Nimmo’s defensive hiccups have been his timing and route to the ball. He’d often move in with his first step instead of back. That split-second reaction will cause balls to sail over your head.While a lot of that is instinct, plenty of drills and reinforcement play in the outfield with a coach during spring training could correct that. If Nimmo is able to make his first step in the right direction or at least stay put until he finds the ball in the air, that extra second or two can turn in some big results. He either makes the catch or perhaps the ball will at least drop in front of him instead of going over his head."
Almost everything I said above about his defense improvement turned out to be correct. Defensively speaking, the Mets never needed another centerfielder. He only played 84 games at center, but that was the most on the team, so he did on “most days.”…when he wasn’t hurt. That’ll be in another article.
Jacob deGrom’s throwing may injure him
This next prediction I made during the stretch of two starts in a row when deGrom was removed from the game. At the time there was always an excuse as to why his arm bothered him. At first, it was swinging the bat, but then later it became the arm.
"It’s clear that what deGrom has decided to do as his throwing program works. Another big part of his success is the relatively low mileage on his arm because of his late start to pitching and joining the big leagues. But, there’s a chance those miles are catching up to him because of the quality of excellence he always pitches at.His pinpoint mechanics with incredible up to 102 mph speed certainly can’t be good for an elbow and shoulder, especially on his 190-pound frame at age 32. Despite the effortlessness at which he throws, there’s something both mentally and physically happening to his body that is creating max effort on his arm. If you do this three times a week or more depending on how his starts line up, fatigue seems natural.Think about the latest two injuries. One was elbow tendonitis. Tendonitis is a reoccurring, nagging injury that is typically managed with rest or in worst cases surgery. deGrom isn’t resting, he’s still throwing and testing his elbow. Now his shoulder is sore. Why is his shoulder sore? Is it possible that throwing all those pitches so hard is not a great way to keep a shoulder loose?It also doesn’t help that he’s swinging the bat, no matter how good he is at it (and clutch). In fact, if you paid attention to his at-bat where he drove in yet another run, you see him kind of grimace after a swing and take a practice cut while flexing his shoulder. Swinging the bat left-handed as he does, puts torque on the right shoulder with his follow-through. If he was a right-handed batter, this wouldn’t be a problem at all because his follow-through would be left-handed."
At the time, the Mets and deGrom himself were left dumb-founded on how to rectify this. Just as he said, he made his next few starts and while he was very good, he didn’t look quite the same. His throwing programs remained unchanged and then right before the All-Star break, it happened again. deGrom felt soreness in his arm.
“He’s determined to try and make his next start, but the fact of the matter is, he just might need to slow down. If going on the IL isn’t something needed, then rest that arm! We know if he goes on the IL, he’s going to keep his routine until he’s ready and we’ll see the same thing.”
I predicted exactly and it’s something wish were not true. Now we’ll see how he approaches the offseason and if he’s the same guy in 2022.
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So there you have it! Those were the few things I got right in this crazy 2021 Mets season. For the things I got wrong and the things that were down the middle, stay tuned!