How was your weekend? Four games between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves in mid-August on the schedule looked like must-watch baseball. Unless you derive pleasure from pain, you probably tuned out at least a little bit. Friday’s loss was bad yet expected. Getting beaten down as badly as they did in both games on Saturday was more than a trainwreck. It was a plane, train, and conglomerate of automobiles all colliding together.
Bad weekends like this aren’t anything even the greatest of teams can escape. Imagine if the Mets were actually competing for a playoff spot and this happened. It would feel a lot worse.
Because it happened against the Braves, it served as a reminder of how much further behind Atlanta we are. If the Mets want to catch the Braves, they need to act more like them in these three ways.
1) NY Mets must develop young starting pitchers
The Mets have done a decent job at developing young position players. Unfortunately, the luck runs dry there. Their minor league pitching products haven’t turned into much of anything. There are some guys on the farm now with promise. Many are outperforming expectations. The Mets will need them to continue to exceed their draft placement to have any shot at building an organization close to what the Braves have.
The Mets have needed to rely on free agents and trades to build up their recent rotations. This year was built almost exclusively through the dollar. Carlos Carrasco came over in a trade while Tylor Megill and David Peterson are O.G. Mets draft picks who’ve teetered on looking like big leaguers or not.
Promising minor league starting pitchers have at least created some hope of a Max Fried, Spencer Strider, or someone else to come up. Atlanta has been fortunate and skilled when it comes to identifying young arms early on. Fried came over in the 2014 Justin Upton trade with the San Diego Padres, saving this from being a mostly nothing return otherwise. Strider was a fourth round draft pick and Bryce Elder was picked up in the fifth round.
Are the Mets headed this way, too? Players like Christian Scott (5th round), Tyler Stuart (6th round), and Mike Vasil (8th round) along with additions like Justin Jarvis fit the model. The Mets might have the sneaky-good personnel. It’s a matter of getting each to the next step to mimic the Braves.