The New York Mets enter play on Friday with the best record in baseall at 14-6, and are in control of the National League East, holding a three game lead over the Miami Marlins in the National League East. And based upon the play early on this season around the division, there are many reasons to believe the Mets’ will stay atop the division, at least for a while.
The Mets have the most complete roster in the National League East
I wrote yesterday that the series in St. Louis proved the Mets are consistent in many different fashions.And to further that point, that’s exactly why they’re the most complete team in the division. They’ve and they’ve allowed the fewest runs per game (3.05) and have the best run differential of any team in the division (+33). But there are other subplots that further describe why this team is a World Series contender.
The lineup has a strong blend of contact, power, and speed. The Mets are the only team in the division in the top half of the league in team batting average, home runs, and stolen bases.
They have the deepest rotation in the division, which was a given before the season, even without Jacob deGrom because of Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, and Carlos Carrasco (I throw out Carrasco’s tape from 2021 because injuries derailed his year before it even started). Carrasco has generally been more like the pitcher the then-Cleveland Indians had for a decade.
The Mets have by far the best bench in the division. It’s a five-man bench (soon to be four with difficult roster cuts looming soon), where all are key assets in some way.
You’ve got Dom Smith’s defense and clubhouse mojo, Travis Jankowksi’s speed and outfield defense, Luis Guillorme’s contact hitting and defense, J.D. Davis as a designated hitter against left-handed pitching, and Tomas Nido’s strong arm that was on full display last year when he caught 12 of 21 base stealers.
The Mets’ early success is the residue odf strong roster design, and Steve Cohen, Sandy Alderson and Billy Eppler deserve a lot of credit for that.
The Mets have beaten both the contenders and pretenders equally
The Mets have a 7-3 record against teams that are not considered contenders this season, the Nationals and Diamondbacks. The Mets are 7-3 against teams that are considered contenders, the Phillies, Giants, and Cardinals.
A pillar for building a strong record early is beating up on the bad teams, and the Mets have done just that.
These games against the good teams are a good testing ground on how good a team really is such that the front office, which for the Mets is a proactive one, such that they can see what they need before the August 2 trade deadline. The Mets have a bunch of games against contenders on tap the next 10 days as they play division rivals in the Phillies and the Braves.
The Mets playing good baseball against everybody elevates the expectation and attitude from both the team and the fanbase, and that is exactly what this team is doing with authority, and if you are a Mets fan, you must feel stoked and excited about where this team is headed.