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Mets' hot start may vault them into playoff contender status

Fans and pundits alike are interpreting the Mets' hot start as a sign of things to come rather than as something unsustainable.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

There is no shortage of optimism in Flushing right about now. After getting off to a blazing hot start, buoyed by the team's current eight-game winning streak, the 10-3 Mets are sitting atop the National League. Despite injuries to key players such as David Wright and Travis d'Arnaud, the Amazins keep on racking up the wins. In the process, the team has shown its resiliency and ability to find ways to win with suboptimal lineups. This has caught the attention of prominent baseball media members.

According to Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, the Mets might actually be contenders. Although he was not high on their playoff potential coming into the season, Cameron cites their torrid start as a justification for his claim:

The Mets haven't played well enough that we should dramatically alter our expectations of what they're going to do going forward, but now, .500 ball for 24 weeks gets you an 85 win finish. And while 85 wins probably doesn't get you the Wild Card, taht's the mean forecast out of a range of expected outcomes, and it doesn't take very many things going New York's way before that 85 turns into 88 or 89.

88 or 89 wins is usually good enough to snag one of the two Wild Card spots. Take a look at last year's World Series: The San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals finished with 88 and 89 wins, respectively. Once you're in the playoffs, it's a crapshoot. Fortunately for the Mets, this auspicious beginning has put them in a good position to hit some bumps along the way without dire consequences.

As for their greatest strength thus far, look no further than their starting rotation:

Each of the five starters has shown impeccable control. The top three of Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, and Matt Harvey has been the best in the game. According to Mark Simon of ESPN Stats and Information, if two of those three were to make at least 30 starts each and the Mets were to win two-thirds of those games, the team would have a great shot at making the postseason, as shown by historical data.

All in all, it has been a fun first two weeks of the season for Mets fans. It's unrealistic to expect the team to keep up this winning pace, but it's entirely possible that this start has given the Mets a legitimate chance of playing meaningful October baseball for the first time since 2006.