It’s been a rough go for New York sports during the 2014-15 seasons so far. The Jets are 3-12 and look like they are about to clean house, the Knicks are one of the NBA’s worst teams despite having the second highest payroll in the league. The Rangers do not look like the team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals a mere 6 months ago. In fact, the best team in the New York Metro area is the Islanders, who play in probably the worst arena in hockey and have one of the youngest teams in the league.
Baseball season is almost upon us, and boy it doesn’t look good for the aging Yankees, but there is hope for the other team in New York. The Mets, YES, the Mets are going to be New York’s team this baseball season and here are 5 reasons why:
- Matt Harvey is Coming Back: Yes he’s coming back. After missing all of 2014 recovering from Tommy John Surgery, perhaps the second best pitcher in the National League (behind Clayton Kershaw) is making his return. In 2013, Harvey went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA, only to have his season cut short by the UCL tear that caused the surgery. Harvey will headline a pitching rotation that brings back NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom and rising star Zack Wheeler. None of those pitchers are older than 26 years old, so this 3-headed monster has the potential to blossom into one of the best rotations of the next decade.
- A Power Surge: Look for more pop in the bats of the middle of the lineup this season. The Mets decided to move the fences in once again, this time moving the right center field fence in 10 feet. It will now be 380 feet to right center. This could be a move worth making as 130 Home Runs were hit in Citi Field last season, good for 19th in the league. The Metropolitans will look to have Lucas Duda continue a stellar 2014 where he quietly hit 30 home runs and finished 3rd in the American League in that category. The Mets will also look for their captain, David Wright to bounce back to his 20 HR, 70 RBI, 15 Steals ways, as well as Curtis Granderson to be the 20 and 10 guy they signed to a big contract just one year ago.
- A Loaded Outfield: With the signing of former batting champion Michael Cuddyer, who will primarily serve as a Left Fielder, the Mets definitely made an upgrade in the batting department, but fielding as well. Cuddyer joins Granderson as well as Gold Glove winner Juan Lagares in the outfield. The outfield will definitely be a presence in the lineup and Lagares will show of his arm once again after leading the MLB in outfield assists and runs saved. Lagares will be looked upon to anchor the defense, despite being just 25 years old. This will surely be a test for all of these stars, as Citi Field has the 3rd largest outfield covered by fair territory in the league.
- The Bullpen: This might surprise you, but the bullpen is one of the Mets strengths this season. With closer Bobby Parnell returning from Tommy John Surgery after posting 22 saves in his last full season, the hard throwing closer will look to grab saves in the weaker NL East division. Also, not to mention that setup man Jeurys Familia and last years closer Jenrry Mejia will come out late in the ball game to solidify victories. Mejia finished 12th in the league in Saves after posting 28 saves despite the Mets sub-.500 record. The success of these closers could create some competition in the pen through spring training.
- The Subway Series: Games don’t lie. In the last two seasons, the Yankees and the Mets have faced off 8 times and the Mets have won 6 of those games and even swept the Yanks in 2013. It finally looks like the years of the Yankees dominance (Highlighted by their 2000 World Series victory over the Mets) is over. These games don’t happen very often, but they are super important for the bragging rights of the city. Winning these rivalry games can add a chip to any teams shoulder, and boost the confidence of a rather young lineup. The Yankees don’t appear to be a competitive team this season especially with multiple injuries on their roster and A-Rod coming back (sorry Yankee fans, but the truth hurts). Just keep bragging about your 27 rings and remember, “TRUE New Yorkers are Mets fans”- Curtis Granderson.