Expectations are high for the New York Mets in 2023. The team should continue to add before Opening Day in their quest to have a much-improved roster over the 101-win club from last year. It’s a tough mission but doable.
There are certain players who underachieved last season. For them, we’ll lower the bar. Others are trending upward. We’re going to raise the bar for them.
It’s these three returning players we should do our best Oliver Twists and say, “please sir, I want some more.”
1) NY Mets relief pitcher Drew Smith can accomplish more in 2023
Drew Smith had an unbelievably strong stretch in 2022. He didn’t give up an earned run until May 13. He’s someone fans have been eyeing ever since the team acquired him in 2017 in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for Lucas Duda. No doubt a winning deal by the Mets, Smith has grown into a steady presence in the bullpen when healthy.
It’s the last two seasons where Smith has finally been able to remain on the field with some frequency. He logged 41.1 innings in 2021 and another 46 last year. He now owns a lifetime 3.24 ERA. As one of the few returning relievers we can actually have some faith in, it’s important he steps up in a big way.
If there is one complaint about Smith it would be his tendency to serve up home runs. He gave up 1.8 per 9 innings last season which is well above what anyone would like to see.
Smith isn’t a kid any longer. He turned 29 in September and will need to become one of Buck Showalter’s surest things in the bullpen. He doesn’t have to outpitch David Robertson. What Smith needs to do is be a savior at the back end when Robertson or Edwin Diaz aren’t available. He should also see plenty of action before either of them touch the ball. Mastering the seventh inning should be a goal for Smith in 2023.