For Mets fans, this is the best things have looked on Opening Day in a long time. That doesn't mean it'll be easy, or even reasonable. But, there are reason that the Mets can be the last team standing come early November, here's how:
The projected Opening Day lineup for the Mets has four players at or younger than 26 years old: Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores, and Travis d’Arnaud. It’s been said time and time again how exciting it is to watch Juan Lagares to play in the field, but if he can become a two-way player and give the Mets a threat at the top of the lineup like he was in spring training, he could be a great player.
Travis d’Arnaud showed in the second half of last season that he’s able to hit major league pitching, and he should take the next step this season. At shortstop, all eyes will be on Wilmer Flores. Sandy Alderson decided to stick with Flores at short instead of pursuing outside help. Flores had a good spring, but he has to hit to make Alderson's experiment at short work.
For the Mets to have a shot at winning the World Series this year, they absolutely must stay healthy. David Wright and Michael Cuddyer have missed a combined 223 games over the last two seasons. But if they can both stay healthy for the grand majority of the year, the Mets look much better. Both Wright and Cuddyer crushed the ball this spring, and if it’s a sign of things to come, they'll anchor this Mets lineup this season.
Last season the Mets batted only .244 with runners in scoring position and batted only .239 as a team overall. The former ended up ranking 21st in baseball. The Mets also ended up with a +14 run differential last season, which wasn't bad, but playoff teams tend to fare better. Adding a bat like Cuddyer in the middle of the lineup should help with ru scoring, but it's going to take support from guys like Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson, and Travis d'Arnaud. Hitting just a little better with runners in scoring position adds up over time.
Based on the results we've seen this spring, Matt Harvey is as ready as he's ever been to return to pitching. Nobody expected his command to be as spot on as it has been this spring, his velocity hasn't seemed to dip at all, and his numbers were outstanding.
The back of the rotation
Everybody knows that the strength of this Mets team lies in the dominance of the pitching staff. Losing Zack Wheeler for the season is obviously a major blow, but the Mets were actually well prepared for this. For the most part, you know what you're going to get out of Harvey and Jacob deGrom. Beyond that—whether it's Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, or someone else—the Mets are counting on that part of the rotation to make an impact.