The New York Mets have been among the most consistent teams across the league this season. The starting rotation is led by a couple of future Hall-of-Famers in Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. The bullpen is anchored by Edwin Diaz, who is having a historic season closing games for New York. The lineup, led by Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso, includes a balance of contact, on-base ability and power. The Mets still find themselves atop the AL East, though the Atlanta Braves have erased a once massive deficit in the standings to make the two-team divisional race a fascinating one that should come down to the wire.
Pair of Aces
It is not often a team gets to slot two pitchers the caliber of deGrom and Scherzer into their rotation. Although the two have only made 27 combined starts due to injury, their dominance has shown when healthy.
In just seven starts this year, deGrom has looked every part of the pitcher who won back-to-back NL CY Young Awards in 2018 and 2019. He has limited hitters to an unfathomable .374 OPS and has fanned 63 batters while only walking four in 43 innings of work. His strikeout-to-walk ratio this season is far and away the best of his career to this point.
As for Scherzer, he has looked the part as well. The three-time NL Cy Young winner has a 2.26 ERA and 153 strikeouts in about 128 innings. According to Baseball Reference, his hard-hit percentage is the lowest he has ever allowed since hard-hit percentage started being tracked in 2015. His strikeout percentage is actually the lowest it has been since 2014. He is also inducing ground balls at a career-low rate of 29.4 percent.
The rest of the New York Mets starting rotation has not looked too shabby either. While deGrom and Scherzer have dealt with lingering injuries all season, others have stepped up. The trio of Carlos Carrasco, Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker have all had solid seasons to help turn the rotation into a strength with plenty of depth.
After a rough first year in Queens a season ago, Carrasco has improved to the tune of a 3.80 ERA in 135 innings. He has also lowered his walk rate, strikeout rate, home run rate and WHIP all from a year ago.
Since being traded from Oakland to New York this offseason, Bassitt has been very reliable for the Mets. With a 3.44 ERA in 165 innings, he is closing in on his career high in strikeouts at 159 that he posted a year ago with the Athletics.
Rounding out the rotation, Walker has impressed as well with a 3.48 ERA in about 135 innings. The biggest improvement he has made since last year is his ability to limit the long ball. Last season he gave up 26 home runs in his 30 starts. This season, however, he has limited opposing hitters to just 12 home runs in 25 starts.
Sound the Trumpet
Closing games has been no issue this year for the Mets. Edwin Diaz has been magnificent in what has unquestionably been the best season of his career. The 28-year-old right-hander has asserted his dominance against opposing hitters with a 1.47 ERA. He has held opposing hitters to a .172 batting average while only giving up three home runs in 55 innings. He has also struck out a ridiculous 105 batters averaging over 17 strikeouts per nine innings. Although he will come far short of his career-high 57 saves when he lead the league in 2018, he has only blown three save chances in 32 opportunities.
The rest of the Mets bullpen has been formidable, with a couple of guys standing out from the pack. Adam Ottavino has an ERA just a tick over two in 58 games this season. He is averaging more than a strikeout per inning and is inducing line drives at a career-low rate.
Since making his MLB debut with the Mets in 2016, Seth Lugo has put together his best season in three years. He has a 3.34 ERA and his hard hit percentage is at the lowest it has ever been in his career.
Trevor Williams has been a nice addition to the bullpen after coming over from Chicago last year. His season ERA sits at three, with injuries to other pitchers forcing him to make some spot starts over the course of the year.
One exception from the bullpen that has had a rough season thus far is Joely Rodriguez. His ERA sits over five and he has had trouble with his command once again this year. For his career, he averages a walk every two innings. This season his walks per nine is at a career-high 5.6, having given up 26 free passes in under 42 innings. His FIP (fielding independent pitching) is at a much more respectable 3.69. FIP measures a pitcher’s ability to prevent home runs and walks while also striking out batters at a high rate. His walk rate is high, but he strikes hitters out and prevents home runs at very efficient rates which helps lower his FIP.
Big Sticks in The Big Apple
The New York Mets lineup has been among the best in the league this season. They rank second in on-base percentage and are in the top 10 in slugging percentage across the entire league. Leading the charge is the powerful bat of Alonso who has launched a team-high 34 home runs. He also leads the club in OPS, slugging percentage and extra-base hits.
Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte have had great seasons as well, each posting an OPS+ over 130. McNeil leads the team in hitting and doubles with a stellar .323 average and 36 two-baggers. Marte has 45 extra-base hits and is just shy of a .300 average, while trailing only Alonso in slugging percentage.
Other major contributors to the lineup include the aforementioned Lindor, Mark Canha and Brandon Nimmo. Lindor has been terrific with a flourishing a 6.1 WAR this season according to FanGraphs. He has shown an ability to hit for a combination of power and speed, with 23 home runs and 15 stolen bases.
Signing as a free agent this offseason, Canha has had a nice season as well. His .784 OPS is the second highest of his career among years where he has taken at least 200 at-bats. His ability to hit the ball the other way has been evident as well, with nearly a 25 percent opposite field hitting percentage.
With an innate ability to get on-base over his career, Nimmo is actually hitting for much more power this year. He has hit 14 home runs, six triples and a career-best 28 doubles. His on-base percentage has slipped considerably below what he has been accustomed to, however. His .777 OPS is the lowest of his career excluding his first season where he only had 80 plate appearances. Despite it being an off year for Nimmo, he has still been much better than the league average hitter in 2022.
Kings of Queens?
Having not won a championship in 36 years, Mets fans are starving for another title. With a two-headed monster leading the way in the rotation paired with the dominance of Edwin Diaz, the pitching staff can take this team deep into the playoffs. The offense, while not among the elite, is very productive. If they are able to stay the course and maintain the same level of production they have manufactured so far, it could be a wild postseason for the city of New York.
The Mets and Yankees faced off in the 2000 World Series when the Yankees took the series 4-1. A rematch 22 years in the making could come to fruition if things pan out for the Mets in the postseason this year. Buck Showalter is still looking for his first title in the league as he wraps up his 21st season as a manager in the league and his first with the Mets. He managed the Yankees from 1992-1995.