Alright so full disclosure, I didn’t know what to write about this week. I considered doing a ‘thumbs up, thumbs down’ on the Jason Vargas signing but I just really wasn’t feeling it. After a bunch of scrapped ideas, I finally settled on doing 5 Predictions for the Mets 2018 season. I don’t want to steal John Smoltz’ thing and say they’re “bold” predictions…but they’re pretty bold. Now before I begin the list, I should say that these are purely predictions. I’m not basin them on what is rumored to be happening in Spring Training games or anything. I figured it’d be fun to just share what I think the Mets are capable of doing this season. Of course it might be a little biased, but it’s my website. I can do whatever I want. Alright…here we go.
1. Matt Harvey wins the NL Comeback Player of the Year – If you’ve read any of my previous posts then you probably know that I am not a big fan of Matt Harvey. My dislike for Matt Harvey doesn’t have to do with his poor pitching because who am I to judge a man’s ability to comeback from an injury? My disdain for Matt Harvey really started last season when he didn’t show up to the park because he was too busy partying the night before. It was at that point that the other stories began to recirculate of Harvey doing this sort of thing before. Most notably was Harvey missing a mandatory workout during the 2015 playoffs. So it was with that sort of unprofessionalism along with his excuses for why he wasn’t pitching well that really made me dislike Matt Harvey last season. But, I’m ready to forgive Matt Harvey and give him a second chance. (I’m sure it means a lot to him) With Mickey Callaway not only being a great pitching coach, he’s also stated what he expects out of his players and so I don’t expect Harvey to be coddled as much as he was by Terry Collins. But his ability to help turnaround a struggling pitcher is something that is priceless for a team that has so many young and capable pitchers. Callaway has been credited by Mets’ new reliever Anthony Swarzak for helping him turnaround his pitching back in 2015 when he played for the Indians. Callaway helped him get his fastball from the low 90s to the mid 90s. If that wasn’t enough, the Indians credit Callaway for their turnaround. With Callaway leading the pitching staff in Cleveland, they reached the postseason three times, won two division titles and were American League Champions in 2016. They also ranked first in wins and ERA during 2016. And while Callaway isn’t the Mets’ pitching coach, you just know he’s going to be a lot more hands on with the pitchers than previous managers. Along with new pitching coach Dave Eiland, the Mets pitchers are in very capable hands and Matt Harvey is probably their biggest project. Sure, even the Mets’ aces like deGrom and Syndergaard could learn a lot more from Callaway and Eiland, but the main focus has to be on Harvey. Callaway said recently they don’t need Harvey to be “The Dark Knight” they just need him to be Matt Harvey and I think that alone shows that they’re focused on getting Harvey back on track. There are going to be quite a few names in the National League who could win comeback player of the year. You’ve got Bumgarner, Pederson, Cueto and even fellow Mets’ pitcher Noah Syndergaard. And while Syndergaard is likely to have a great season, I think Harvey’s got more to prove than the other guys. Bumgarner was out for most of 2017 with an injury but never hit rock bottom like Harvey had. If Matt Harvey can get anywhere close to replicating his 2013 or 2015 season, he’s a sure shoe-in for Comeback Player of the Year.
2. Mets get representation in the All-Star Game – The All-Star game is something a lot of current Mets players aren’t strangers to. Bruce, Cespedes, deGrom, Harvey, Reyes, Familia, Frazier, Gonzalez and a handful more have all been to the All-Star game in some capacity (whether it be as a Met or representing their previous team.) Last year the Mets had Michael Conforto represent them in the All-Star game as a bench player and the year prior Cespedes, Familia and Syndergaard were both voted in as All-Stars but sadly Cespedes and Syndergaard were injured and couldn’t participate and Familia wasn’t called on. I’m predicting that 3 Mets are going to the All-Star game this year. The first one, Yoenis Cespedes. The second, Jay Bruce. And the final, Noah Syndergaard. Cespedes is a guy who is extremely capable of being an All-Star every year he plays, as long as he’s healthy. And after spending a majority of last season on and off the Disabled List, he spent this offseason practicing yoga and other ways to prevent injury and be more flexible. With his new training regimens and a new head trainer, Cespedes is likely to have another great season and play a huge role in their line up with his power hitting. If Cespedes can remain healthy and have the sort of season he’s projected to have, he’s an easy candidate for the All-Star game. Jay Bruce should have been an all-star last season. I don’t know why he wasn’t; he was on pace of having the best season of his career (which he arguably ended up having) but for whatever reason he was overlooked and didn’t get the opportunity. But after hitting 36 home runs last season and helping the Indians in the post season, I think Bruce is going to make his return to the All-Star game and represent the Mets proudly. Then there’s Noah Syndergaard. Noah Syndergaard is a guy who would’ve been in the All-Star game last season if he didn’t get injured. I’m sure of it. There’s no way he couldn’t have been, he’s just that damn good. And while Jacob deGrom is very capable of returning to the All-Star game, I think Noah is going to have the best season of his career this year and make it back to the All-Star game and be able to participate in it this time. Because just like Cespedes, Syndergaard has also been looking at new ways to stay healthy and with the tutelage of Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland, Syndergaard can be better than ever and show the world why he should be in the same conversation as Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw.
3. Amed Rosario has most Stolen Bases in NL – Okay, yeah this is where I start getting real bold with my predictions. Last season Dee Gordon led the National League and the entire MLB with the most stolen bases with a staggering 60 of them. Billy Hamilton wasn’t far behind with 59 of them. Gordon is now in the American League, but Rosario still has to compete against Hamilton, Turner, Pham and fellow teammate Reyes. Reyes isn’t really a huge threat though seeing as how he won’t be given as much playing time as Rosario and he’s older and not as fast as he once was. Rosario is more than capable of shining bright when he gets on base. Rosario is actually faster than he was originally scouted to be. He blew everyone’s mind last season when he made it from home to third in a stunning 11.32 seconds with a sprint speed of 29 ft/sec. And in September he was declared baseball’s fastest shortstop. And he was tied for 4th as the fastest player in all of baseball, tying with Dee Gordon. Rosario only played 46 games in the Majors last season. With a full season ahead of him, there’s really no saying what the young shortstop can accomplish this year. One thing is for sure though, the Mets are aware of his speed and if all goes well in Spring Training, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leading off for the Mets and swiping bases whenever he can. Much like his mentor Jose Reyes did from 05 to 07, I see Rosario leading the National League in Stolen Bases.
4. Yoenis Cespedes wins MVP – Yo has stated his intention of being MVP before and this year can very well be the year. Like I said before, he’s taken up a new approach to his training and if he can stay healthy, he can have his best season yet. A healthy, more flexible, and versatile Cespedes is a scary thing. He’s already one of the most feared hitters in the National League (despite going through a slump with his injury last season.) It’s likely Cespedes will be the clean-up hitter once again this season and that’s going to give him more chances to drive in runs. Much like last season’s National League MVP: Giancarlo Stanton, Cespedes will likely be swinging for the fences and driving in runs via the long ball. But that’s not all it takes to be MVP, he’s going to have to continue to impress in the outfield and show off what that cannon of an arm can do. All things that he’s more than capable of and likely going to be even better at this season. Callaway has stated before that he’s going to make sure his players stay hydrated, which is something Cespedes wasn’t doing enough of in previous seasons. And with Ray Ramirez gone, Cespedes will have a new trainer who can hopefully help him workout any kinks he may still have in his hamstring and help him earn the right to be called MVP of the National League.
5. Mets go back to the Postseason – Yeah now we’re REALLY getting into the bold predictions. The Mets have been around since 1962, and in those 56 seasons they’ve only been in the postseason 9 times and out of those 9 times, they’ve won the World Series twice. Their most recent appearance in the postseason was in the 2016 National League Wildcard game. 2017 was being touted as THE year for the Mets. They arguably had the most feared rotation in MLB (if they remained healthy…which they did not). But unfortunately, injuries kept the Mets from getting anywhere near the playoffs last season. But the Mets have a new trainer, their players have new outlooks when it comes to training, they have a new manager and a new pitching coach. If there was ever a time for a Mets’ comeback, it could very well be 2018. I’ve already said above that Harvey could very well have a comeback season, and guys like Syndergaard and deGrom can shine even brighter with a manager like Callaway and a pitching coach in Dave Eiland, a return to the postseason isn’t unlikely for the Mets. Now, how do the Mets get to the postseason? Of course getting there via the Wildcard game seems more likely, it’s also possible that they can dethrone the reigning National League East champions, The Washington Nationals and retake that title. I know, that’s a VERY bold thing to say, but here me out. The Nationals have been champions of the National League East 2 years in a row but have zero National League Pennants. After a while, that’s going to affect a ball club’s drive. I’m not saying the Nationals are going to have a bad season, they have some of the most capable guys in the entire league. But I’m saying that the Mets have a chance to take back the throne and lead the National League East. They have all the pieces and are serious contenders who can give the Nationals a run for their money. Regardless of how they get there, I’m predicting the Mets get back to the Postseason this year.
Well everyone, those are my predictions and I know that they all seem very unlikely, but like the Mets’ mantra says…” Ya Gotta Believe.” I believe in the Mets. The Mets believe in the Mets. Do you believe in the Mets? How many of my predictions do you agree with? Do you think I’m drinking the Kool-Aid too much? Am I out of my mind? Let me know in the comments below, or as always send me a tweet @Keiths_Mustache or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed it please feel free to click the share button below and show your fellow Mets fans. I’d appreciate it more than you know! Talk to you all very soon.