The New York Mets 2023 season was a disaster, there's no point in sugar coating it. Given the World Series aspirations and massive payroll that Steve Cohen invested in, missing the playoffs entirely is an embarassing look for the franchise.
However, not everything about 2023 was a lost cause. From player performances to front office decisions, the Mets have a few key success stories from a forgotten season that should help propel them back into contention in 2024.
Kodai Senga emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2023
When the Mets signed Kodai Senga as a 30 year old rookie this offseason, the expectation was that he would serve as a reliable third starter behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Now that 2023 has concluded, it appears the Mets may have found an ace for the future.
Senga exceeded all expectations this season, posting a 2.98 ERA across 29 starts. His patented ghost fork gave him over 200 strikeouts on the season, becoming one of the best strikeout pitches across all of baseball. While he will likely not win any awards for his season, he figures to finish with some NL Rookie of the Year voting across the league, which Mets fans are thrilled about.
What makes Senga's success more important for the Mets is how much he improved throughout the season. He struggled with control in the early going, but significantly reduced his strikeout to walk ratio from 2.4 in the first half of the season to 2.97 after the All-Star break.
The Mets appear to have found a future star in Senga, who quickly became a fan favorite across Citi Field this season. With him under contract for the next four seasons, the Mets have a great arm to build around to quickly get back into contention.