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New York Mets 2018: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Expert Insight

Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom

The Mets hope they can be postseason contenders, but reality may intervene. After a 2015 World Series appearance and the 2016 Wild Card Game, the team bottomed out last season by losing 92 games. They won’t bring the same high expectations into 2018.

The Mets’ once-vaunted pitching staff is a mess. Only Jacob deGrom remained healthy over the last few seasons and can be relied on this year. If Noah Syndergaard stays in the rotation and Matt Harvey bounces back from a 6.70 ERA, maybe they’ll have something. New manager Mickey Callaway, the former Indians pitching coach, will have his hands full trying to get that staff back in shape. But there are too many holes to project the Mets back into the playoffs. 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the METS

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“Mickey Callaway was a smart choice as manager, because he worked magic with that Cleveland staff, and everything here comes back to those starters. If they can get 80 percent of Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler — and Jacob deGrom is the guy he was last year — they can hang in the Wild Card race. They’ve got a nice bullpen protecting those guys, with AJ Ramos and Anthony Swarzak ahead of Jeurys Familia. But unless everything goes right with the pitching, they won’t have enough offense to seriously challenge Washington. They need Amed Rosario to show better plate discipline. Travis d’Arnaud showed some good signs late last year, but you never know what September numbers really mean. The only guys you can count on to carry that lineup are Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto, but they were hurt last year. Bottom line: If the Mets don’t pitch, Washington runs away with this division again.”

Beyond the Box Score

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Dues Paid

Mickey Callaway took his first managing job in 2008 as the head coach at Texas A&M International University. He was the coach at the school for one season before pitching one more season in Taiwan to conclude his playing career. Callaway went 19–37 at TAMIU, but it sparked his interest in coaching. He joined the Indians organization in 2010.

Injury Casualty

The Mets’ most controversial offseason change might have been firing team trainer Ray Ramirez. A longtime scapegoat for fans, Ramirez had been in the job since 2005 despite the team being bogged down by injuries during his tenure. The Mets have said they will restructure their medical and training staffs in 2018. The Mets were fourth in days spent on the disabled list in 2015, according to Spotrac, and led the majors in money spent on players on the disabled list last season. 

Back in the Fold

Omar Minaya returned to the club this offseason as a special assistant to the general manager. It’s a curious move for the Mets because Minaya served as the team’s general manager from 2004-10, until he was fired and replaced by Sandy Alderson, who will be Minaya’s new boss. Minaya has a reputation as a strong talent evaluator and scout. He’ll focus on player development and acquisitions for the Mets. Alderson also received a two-year contract extension to remain in a job he’s held since 2011.

History of Success

 New pitching coach Dave Eiland has been on the staff of two World Series-winning teams — the 2009 Yankees and the 2015 Royals, who beat the Mets — and helped the Royals get to the 2014 World Series. Mickey Callaway was the pitching coach for the 2016 American League champion Cleveland Indians.

Power Outage

 The Mets hit 224 home runs last season — seventh most in the majors — but the players accounting for 43.8 percent of them won’t return for 2018.  

200-Inning Wall

The Mets have had just one pitcher throw more than 200 innings in a season since 2015 — Jacob deGrom threw 201.1 innings last year. Only 15 starters in the major leagues reached the 200-inning threshold in each of the last two seasons. The 1986 World Series champion Mets had four pitchers break that mark.

Projected Lineup

CF     Juan Lagares (R)
2B     Asdrubal Cabrera (S)
LF     Yoenis Cespedes (R)
RF     Jay Bruce (L)
3B     Todd Frazier (R)

1B     Adrian Gonzalez (L)

C     Travis d’Arnaud (R)
SS     Amed Rosario (R)

OF     Michael Conforto (L)
INF    Jose Reyes (S)
C       Kevin Plawecki (R)
3B     Wilmer Flores (R)

RHP     Jacob deGrom
RHP     Noah Syndergaard
RHP     Matt Harvey
LHP     Steven Matz
RHP     Zack Wheeler

RHP     Jeurys Familia
RHP     Rafael Montero
RHP     Anthony Swarzak
RHP     AJ Ramos
LHP     Jerry Blevins
RHP     Paul Sewald
RHP     Hansel Robles
RHP     Seth Lugo