If any Wild Card team is ready to make the jump to division champ this season it’s the New York Mets.
New York won the most games of any non-division winning team last season with a 101-61 record (nine games better than the next-best Toronto Blue Jays).
When you remember how close the Mets were last season and then consider all of the additions they made this offseason, it’s easy to see how New York could break through this summer.
I’ve circled three factors that will be essential to New York winning the NL East, but before we get into that, you won’t want to miss this promotion from BetMGM Sportsbook: A risk-free bet worth up to $1,000!
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Three Keys to New York Winning the NL East
No one is sleeping on the Mets to win the NL East. Atlanta (+135) is a very slight favorite over New York (+140) to win the NL East a year after the division was decided via tiebreaker.
Here are three factors the Mets need to break their way if they’re going to live up to their status as one of the favorites in the NL East:
1. Managing new starting pitchers
Everyone knows about New York’s headline acquisitions: Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga.
Managing the health and well-being of Verlander and Max Scherzer will be paramount to New York’s success this season, especially when the summer winds down.
But there are more new faces on the mound than just these two. New York also added Japanese sensation Senga and veteran starter Jose Quintana. Ensuring these four new starters stay healthy and comfortable is undoubtedly the most important thing for New York this season.
2. Help from the farm
The Mets have maintained one of the better farm systems in all of baseball despite staying in win-now mode for the past few seasons. It’s just about time for two of their best prospects to receive a permanent call-up to The Show.
Francisco Alvarez, a catcher, is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline. He is a 65-grade prospect known for his hitting, especially his power. Last year, Alvarez batted .260 with 27 home runs across Double A and Triple A before a late-season call-up. His addition to the lineup could provide a jolt of power this team lacked last season.
Another young player to get excited about is Brett Baty. A 55-grade prospect known for his hitting, power and arm strength, Baty, the No. 21 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is considered one of baseball's most complete prospects. Last season, he hit .319 with 19 home runs between Double A and Triple A before a late-season call-up.
Adding Alvarez and Baty to New York’s lineup could make them even more formidable than some fans are expecting.
3. Beat Atlanta in the season series
Each time New York and Atlanta meet in the regular season, the stakes feel raised. These bitter rivals are often slugging it out for the right to be the NL East’s champion and that figures to be the case again this season.
Last year, New York DOMINATED its division except for Atlanta. New York was 41-16 against the Phillies, Marlins and Nationals last season but just 9-10 against the Braves. If the Mets can win the season series over Atlanta, it will be that much easier to hold off the Braves for the division title – and it wouldn’t hurt the players’ psyche, either.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.