By Zach Gewelb
The Mets shocked the baseball world with a strong April that left the team in first place heading into the second month of the season.
The squad played to a 17-9 record in March and April, behind a mostly consistent offense and pitching staff.
Let’s evaluate the Mets’ strong start and see if the team can keep the good times rolling throughout the season.
There is plenty of room for growth for the Mets’ lineup, which ranks eighth in the National League in runs scored.
Believe it or not, Juan Lagares and Asdrubal Cabrera have been the biggest bright spots in the lineup so far. In 20 games played, Lagares leads the club with a .342 batting average, while Cabrera is right behind him, hitting at a .337 clip.
Cabrera has also slugged five home runs, trailing just Yoenis Cespedes (seven) for the team lead. Cespedes also leads the club with 26 RBI, but boasts a lowly .308 on-base percentage and a pedestrian .784 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).
Young outfielder Brandon Nimmo has been a pleasure to watch, posting a .303/.477/1.023 batting line in 19 games played.
As a team, the Mets have posted a batting line of .239/.329/.712, which is not great.
While the team has been less than stellar offensively, the lineup has helped win games. Still, things need to improve at the plate if the Mets plan on competing for a playoff spot.
Just like the offense, the Mets’ pitching staff has also been middle-of-the-pack to this point, putting up a 3.79 ERA in 27 games this season, which ranks seventh in the National League.
While the pitchers are racking up the strikeouts — the team’s 274 are ranked fifth in the NL — they’ve also surrendered 28 home runs this season, which is tied for the sixth-highest mark in the NL.
As expected, Noah Syndergaard (3.10 ERA) and Jacob deGrom (2.06 ERA) have led the Mets’ starting rotation, but Steven Matz (4.98 ERA) and Zack Wheeler (4.09 ERA) have been inconsistent behind them, while Matt Harvey (5.76 ERA) was demoted to the bullpen in favor of Jason Vargas, who surrendered nine earned runs in his first start this season.
Closer Jeurys Familia has a 1.80 ERA, but has converted just nine of 12 save opportunities. Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald and AJ Ramos have been steady out of the bullpen.
The Mets’ new coaching staff, led by manager Mickey Callaway, has done a nice job leading the team and keeping the players in check. There has been some drama surrounding Harvey, whose partying ways have forced the team to answer non-baseball related questions about its troubled former ace. Aside from that, there seems to be far less drama with the Mets this season than in years past.
If Callaway and Co. can keep the Mets on the path the club is currently on, there’s no reason to believe the Mets won’t be in the playoff picture come October.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe