By: Stache Staff

How 2019 is shaping up for the New York Mets

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Many feel that 2018 was a disappointing season for the Mets, the performance of a few individual players notwithstanding. Going into 2019 things are definitely looking up, with a greatly improved roster thanks to some smart picks in the off-season. That said there are still a few important gaps that need filling if the Mets’ 58th season is going to be the success it should be.

Starters

Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom hit career best scores in 2018 and will undoubtedly be the lynchpins of the Mets’ starting line-up in 2019. Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Jason Vargas will also be in there, but the usual health concerns that seem to plague the Mets- and those players in particular- may well surface once again. 

Corey Oswalt is the obvious sixth choice, and Seth Lugo may also join the starting roster, although it seems the Mets need him as a setup man more. Of the new recruits, White Sox veteran Hector Santiago and Kyle Dowdy both have impressive form, while promising newcomers like PJ Conlon, Chris Flexen and Drew Gagnon will hopefully live up to expectations. Whether they can make up for the loss of Franklyn Kilome to injury or Justin Dunn to the Mariners remains to be seen. The other big question is whether deGrom can maintain his stunning last-season form? The honest answer is that it seems unlikely, but even with a slight drop-off the 30-year-old player should still impress.

Betting odds

On the 50th anniversary of the Miracle Mets’ 1969 World Series Title, according to NJ Online Sports Bettingsites the current Mets are looking at 30-1 odds to win in 2019. That certainly makes them a dark horse but doesn’t put them out of the running. Big Apple rivals the New York Yankees are the favorites at 11/2, while the Red Sox, Astros and Dodgers are jostling for second place at around seven or eight to one. In terms of the National League, the Mets are looking at 12/1 with the LA Dodgers the 4/1 favorites. 

Filling the gaps

As the Mets go into spring training in Florida they’re counting on high profile new additions like infielder Robinson Cano, pitchers Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia, and catcher Wilson Ramos to make up the difference between 2018’s let-downs and a hopefully triumphant 2019. Indeed, at the end of 2018 general manager Brodie Van Wagenen claimed the Mets were the best team in the NL East. But less partisan observers have noted that there are still gaps that need to be filled, particularly in terms of the pitching line-up and finding a solid outfielder.

Yoenis Cespedes is still recovering from heel surgery and there’s no definitive indication of when he’ll return to active service. The All-star break is the optimistic prediction, so until then it’s down to Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo to hold the outfield together, with Juan Lagares in center position. The arrival of Keon Broxton from the Milwaukee Brewers will certainly help here, but Lagares still represents a serious vulnerability. Prone to injury, he’s an excellent defender but lacks a real ability to take the offensive. Making up for this with an aggressive style he’s often his own worst enemy.

One gap the Mets do needed to fill was a left-handed receiver, and that’s why they signed Justin Wilson. 

Young talent

Overall the Mets must be hoping that young players like Conforto, Nimmo, Amed Rosario and Syndergaard will fulfil the potential they showed last season and step up to the mark. Conforto and Syndergaard missed too many games in 2018 due to injury and weren’t at their best when they did play. Nimmo in contrast played in 140 games with an OBP of .404. He’s definitely a player to watch in 2019. And although Rosario only saw action in 28 games in 2018, he scored two home runs and 16 runs overall, going 32-113. More of this kind of form in 2019 may make Rosario the Mets’ next superstar.

With a much-improved bullpen and a positive attitude, things are looking bright for the Mets as spring training begins. There is still room for more talent to add greater depth, and a few worrying weak points need sorting out, however, every indication says that the Mets will improve on 2018 and may well do much better than their current odds would suggest.

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