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The Mets’ young core coming into their own is a reason to be optimistic

Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario, and Brandon Nimmo are a trio of young players to build around.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

With so much negativity surrounding the Mets lately—and trust me, there is a lot to be pessimistic about—the recent performances of Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario, and Brandon Nimmo have gotten lost in the shuffle among injury updates and bullpen meltdowns. It is high time those performances are acknowledged and highlighted as something that makes the outlook for the future of the team much less bleak. The month of May was not kind to the Mets, but it was very kind to the young trio of Conforto, Rosario, and Nimmo.

Conforto had a rough start to the season, looking visibly unlike himself, which raised some concerns about whether he returned too soon from shoulder surgery and was potentially affected by not having a spring training. However, he looks a lot more like the Conforto Mets fans know and love lately, putting up a 119 wRC+ in the month of May and looking even better lately with a 162 wRC+ over the past two weeks. Perhaps most importantly, he also holds a .189 ISO over that span, which is a sign that his power, which is what was lacking the most early in the season, is returning.

Nimmo posted a 172 wRC+ in May, which leads the team for anyone with over 10 plate appearances. He has absolutely thrived since injuries have given him the chance to play every day. He rank ranks fourth in baseball in on-base percentage among players with at least 100 plate appearances—behind only Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Freddie Freeman, which is MVP-like company to keep. He’s scored 16 runs in the month of May and stolen four bases, looking every bit the part of an everyday leadoff hitter, something the Mets have sorely lacked in the recent past. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, he’s also shown a substantial amount of pop, hitting five home runs this month. Nimmo has put up 1.3 fWAR in May alone and it’s hard to make a case that he should ever see the bench again when Yoenis Cespedes returns from the disabled list.

It is important to note too that both Conforto and Nimmo—whose defensive capabilities were questioned at times when coming up as prospects—have looked great defensively at the corner outfield positions this year and perfectly fine in center field. Between Conforto, Nimmo, and Cespedes, the Mets’ starting outfield situation seems to be pretty well set for the future.

Like Conforto, Amed Rosario had some bumps in the road to start the season, but he has also been looking better and better as the season has progressed. He is second only to Asdrubal Cabrera in hits for the month of May with 26. His ten RBIs are also second to Asdrubal Cabrera for the team lead and he has a 97 wRC+ for the month and a 118 wRC+ over the past two weeks. And given how good he has looked at shortstop lately, that level of production from Rosario at the plate is more than fine. He has shown that he is fully capable of being an everyday shortstop at the big league level. And if this is what he can do at age 22, the future certainly seems like it may very well be as bright for the young shortstop as Mets fans had hoped.

While the Mets may be hanging around the middle of the pack in baseball as a team, there is an argument to be made that their young core of players at the big league level is on par with the better teams in the league. The question when it comes to this front office, as always, is whether they will surround this core—and we can consider Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard while they remain under team control as part of that core, as well—with the proper supporting cast the team needs to be successful. The Mets shelled out the money for Yoenis Cespedes, but Sandy Alderson is already potentially expressing some ambivalence about the contract. And thus far, Alderson’s free agent acquisitions for 2018 have proven to be a combination of unsuccessful and insufficient to build a winning team around their young stars.

But the fact remains that if the Mets really wanted to retool or rebuild, they aren’t starting from square one. Conforto, Nimmo, and Rosario are performing like foundational building blocks for the future of the franchise and should be treated as such.