The New York Mets came so close to glory in the 2015 season, only to be defeated by the Kansas City Royals in the World Series in a 4-1 loss.
The Mets battled past the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Divisional Series and then the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship series, securing a clean sweep on their way to the MLB Finals.
However, the Royals proved to be too much of an obstacle to overcome, with four fine performances in the World Series clinching their second crown.
There was hope that the club could bounce straight back into contention for their third title, although the departure of second baseman Daniel Murphy robbed the Mets of one of their star men – following his key role in guiding the club to the World Series.
Despite Murphy’s exit to the Washington Nationals, Terry Collins’ men still put forward an impressive 87-win season, finishing only behind the Nationals in the NL East to secure a wildcard berth. However, they were dumped out of the playoffs at the first hurdle in a 3-0 defeat to the San Francisco Giants.
The Mets have had time to take stock of their loss in the off-season and will be determined to come back strongly in the 2017 term, although Collins will know that his side are in dire need of improvement on offense, which proved to be the club’s downfall in the last campaign.
New York are still among the leading contenders for the National League crown, being backed in the latest bet365 MLB odds at +900 to secure a berth in the World Series for the second time in three years.
The club have been limited in their moves in the off-season, choosing to retain their key men rather than splurging out in the trade market or free agency. Yoenis Cespedes was rewarded for his excellence in the 2016 campaign, with a four-year $110m deal.
The 30-year-old blasted a team-leading 31 home runs – the second-highest mark of his career – along with a .280 batting average. His form was vital as help was not forthcoming from other areas of the side other than Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera.
Only four teams scored fewer runs per game than the Mets in the MLB last season. Although Cespedes and Walker produced fine seasons, the club will need stronger contributions from players such as Jay Bruce. The three-time All-Star hit only eight home runs in his 50 games as a Met, while his average was well below the mark he set during his stellar career with the Cincinnati Reds.
It will be imperative for the 29-year-old to have a stronger second campaign with Collins’ men to ease the pressure on Cespedes and Walker.
In the Mets’ run to the World Series in 2015 they boasted one of the strongest rotations in the MLB. They’ve lost a veteran leader from their line-up, with Bartolo Colon joining the Atlanta Braves, although Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom will return to action after ending the previous campaign on the disabled list.
With 2016 All-Star Noah Syndergaard and the impressive Steven Matz, the Mets will send out a formidable unit for the new campaign, one that could well lead them into the post-season for the third season on the spin and another surge for the World Series.