Opening Day is only three days away and there hasn't been this type of excitement going into a season for Mets fans in a long time. Last season's 79 wins were a little better than most expected and this year's roster is significantly improved from last year due to offseason acquisitions, regained health of star players, and continued growth of young players. Here are five reasons why Mets fans should be excited for 2015.
1. David Wright is healthy and ready to mash
He will most likely end up as the franchise's best hitter of all time, but David Wright's 2014 season left some to wonder if his decline stage is upon us at age 32. Nobody knows for sure how much of last year's struggles were to blame on a nagging shoulder injury or if his best days are truly behind him, but considering how well he hit when healthy from 2012-2013, Wright should still place among the league's best hitters in 2015.
Spring training stats have to be taken lightly, but Wright looks every bit like the player who finished sixth in the 2012 MVP voting. He looks and sounds as healthy and confident as ever and is hitting the ball to opposite field with power, which was always a sign that Wright was at his best earlier in his career. With the best lineup protection he's had in recent memory and a smaller Citi Field, The Captain appears poised to return to All-Star form in 2015 and lead the charge into October.
2. Two of the game's elite young pitchers leading the rotation
They may not be on display Opening Day, but Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom will be a treat to watch in 2015. The rest of the rotation is solid, but these two guys could end up dueling each other for a Cy Young award. Matt Harvey's situation has been compared to other hard throwing pitchers returning from Tommy John surgery, but I think his performance this season will force pundits to keep him in a class of his own. His elite velocity is back to where it was in his electrifying 2013 season and his command has been impeccable this spring. His dominant pitching ability is complemented by his superstar personality and a fierce demeanor on the mound that will revitalize the clubhouse culture in 2015. Does this tweet get you excited?
Evaluator on Matt Harvey’s last outing: "That’s as good as you can be. You can’t throw better than he is throwing… Hall of Fame stuff."— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 24, 2015
3. More help is on the way
Prospect flamethrowers Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are on track to join the aforementioned Harvey and DeGrom in the 2015 rotation during mid-season. Not every pitching prospect will be able to have dominant rookie seasons like Harvey and deGrom did, but Syndergaard and Matz certainly have the type of stuff to make an immediate impact. Both feature a high-90s fastball and impressive secondary offerings for their age. Plugging these guys into the pitching staff has the potential to give the Mets a pitching prowess not seen in Queens since the 80s glory days.
4. Young position players ready to breakout
Coming off his new four-year extension, Juan Lagares has supplanted himself as the Mets center fielder of the present and future. As always, his out of this world defense in center field will be one of the biggest things to look forward to when the Mets play, but another step forward with the bat in 2015 would make Lagares among the league's best players. The power he has shown this spring combined with the speed he showed towards the end of last season could make Lagares the Mets most potent leadoff hitter since Jose Reyes.
Former top prospect Travis d'Arnaud was among the league's most productive catchers in the second half of last season, hitting .265/.313/.479 with 10 home runs after returning from a June stint in Triple-A. At age 26, d'Arnaud has all the tools to emerge as a top five catcher in baseball in the upcoming season.
Sandy Alderson took some heat earlier in the offseason for not going out and getting a shortstop, but sticking with Wilmer Flores has at least looked like a good decision this spring. Flores will have his difficulties in the field, but his bat is what we should be excited for. If Flores, d'Arnaud, and Lagares continue to progress as expected, the Mets will have a nice group of young up-and-coming hitters to join the more proven veterans in their lineup.
The Phillies and Braves sat atop the N.L East for much of the last decade, but these two teams will be the division's bottom dwellers in 2015. It will definitely be fun to watch the Mets beat up on these depleted rosters this season, even if the Nationals and Marlins prove to be a bigger challenge. Sandy Alderson has built a roster that should be able to compete with every team in the division. There may be a lot of "if's" on this team, but fans have to be excited for what is the most talented Mets team to be fielded in at least the last five seasons.