Spring training is drawing to an end, and while none of the wins and losses and
dingers homers and strikeouts mean a thing once the regular season is underway, it’s been fun to watch Mets baseball again.
Of course, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. There was the clubhouse lunch dustup, wherein David Wright and Bobby Parnell chastised Noah Syndergaard for eating lunch in the clubhouse during an intrasquad game (we have exclusive video coverage of the event). On a more serious note, both Josh Edgin and Zack Wheeler were lost for the 2015 season—and, possibly, a chunk of the 2016 season—thanks to evolution, which neglected to equip human arms with ligaments designed to withstand the strain of throwing baseballs overhand with tremendous force many thousands of times over the course of several-to-many years.
On the whole, though, it’s been a good spring for the Mets, and a fun one for Mets fans. Let me count the ways:
Matt Harvey is back, and he looks good—very good. He is throwing gas, he is dropping the hammer, and he is getting batters out. A healthy, well-tuned Matt Harvey at the top of the rotation is a dreamy thing, and all indications are that the Mets have exactly that.
Curtis Granderson has been raking. Is it me, or does Granderson look a lot better at the plate? His stance seems quieter, his timing seems better, and, whether those observations are reliable or not, the results have been there. It is absurd to think Granderson will maintain a 1.360 OPS pace for the regular season, but his torrid spring has me dreaming on what the team’s offense would look like with Granderson at even near-vintage form. Squee!
Jacob deGrom seems to have picked up where he left off. It seems reasonable to anticipate a little regression or "sophomore slump" or what-have-you from the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year. However, if results this spring are any indicator, deGrom strongly diSagrees. He of the luscious locks has been pitching like an ace this spring, and if he can build on his RoY campaign in the regular season, the Mets figure to have as strong a 1-2 tandem in their starting rotation as anyone, which, plainly, wouldn’t suck.
David Wright has looked like David Wright again. This is arguably the biggest deal of them all. If the Mets are going to contend this year, then a healthy, productive David Wright is going to lead the way, plain and simple. And in a development that should make any Mets fan smile, it appears the banged-up shoulder that sapped Wright’s power in 2014 has healed, as evidenced by his four home runs this spring, including this one.
There have been other encouraging signs this spring. Michael Cuddyer is healthy and is hitting. Wilmer Flores has been pretty good in the field, and is raking. Bobby Parnell seems poised to return at some point in April from Tommy John surgery. Lucas Duda, following a delayed start due to a strained intercostal muscle, has had a nice spring, including the successful hitting of baseballs thrown by left-handed pitchers. Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are, by all accounts, major league ready. Michael Conforto showcased an impressive approach and a Beltran-ish left-handed swing, and supported the notion that he should be a fast mover through the minor league system.
Before too long, the games will actually count, and all the good tidings of spring training will vanish into oblivion. The Mets face a steep challenge right out of the gate, with 20 of their first 23 games going against NL East teams. In other words, how the Mets fare in April will probably go a long way toward determining whether they can snag a Wild Card berth in September. Yes, there are reasons to be skeptical of the odds of that happening. But, thanks in part to an encouraging spring, there are also legitimate reasons to feel good about the team’s chances. It ought to be a fun ride.