New York Mets

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Overview (Present Rank: 14th | Future Rank: 13th)

The New York Mets transformed from a losing team in six consecutive seasons to the surprising National League champions last year. After inking Max Scherzer to a substantial $210MM contract, many fans and experts were picking the Washington Nationals as the division favorites in 2015. Instead, one of the best and least expensive rotations in baseball led New York to a 49-32 record in the second half leading to the franchise's first National League pennant since 2000. The second half momentum carried the team all the way to the World Series before they ultimately fell short to a vengeful Kansas City Royals team.

With four ace-caliber pitchers under control for the foreseeable future, the Mets pitching staff looks to be among the league's best for years to come. However, New York must add impact players to their offense to put together a team that can continuously be featured in the Fall Classic. With a lack of top-tier prospects once Steven Matz loses his rookie eligibility, the Mets must turn to the trade market and free agency to strengthen the team's offense.

 

 

*Detailed analysis conducted April 4, 2016; rankings and charts updated throughout the season.

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Catcher (Present Rank: 26th | Future Rank: 7th)

When the Mets traded away reigning Cy Young award winner, R.A. Dickey, GM Sandy Alderson wanted to make sure he got some good, young talent in return. Alderson deserves an A+ for the return he was able to obtain for the then-38 year-old. Not only did he acquire Noah Syndergaard (an ace with six more years of control) and the team’s No. 8 prospect Wuilmer Becerra, but he also obtained their franchise catcher, Travis d’Arnaud. While d’Arnaud has dealt with a multitude of injuries in his short Major League career, he has shown a lot of promise from behind the plate when healthy. At 27 years old, don’t be surprised if d’Arnaud finally breaks out and elevates himself as a top-10 catcher.

While D’Arnaud was suffering through injuries, many in New York’s front office were beginning to think Kevin Plawecki would solidify himself as the Mets’ franchise catcher. Like D’Arnaud, Plawecki is a former top prospect rating as high as No. 63 on Baseball America’s list pre-2015. It shouldn’t be too long before Plawecki makes the right adjustments and shows he is starting catcher material. With D’Arnaud’s presence, he might not be in Queens for long, but right now the Mets own the best 1-2 punch among major league catchers.

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Future Outlook: Something’s gotta give

The Mets employ two former top prospects worthy of regular playing time. D’Arnaud is the incumbent starter and has the potential to be the best catcher in baseball if he can finally stay healthy. Plawecki has massive offensive potential as well, but doesn’t have the elite tools D’Arnaud possesses. If the Mets are forced to make a decision, D’Arnaud will stay, and Plawecki will go. If Plawecki shows any signs of being ready for a starting job, some team will show enough interest to convince the Mets to dispose of him. Targeting a southpaw starter to pair with Steven Matz in any deal for Plawecki wouldn’t be a bad idea. A third baseman, right fielder, or multiple relievers would also benefit the team more than having a glorified backup catcher.

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First Base (Present Rank: 27th | Future Rank: 15th)

Despite flying under the radar, Lucas Duda has provided the Mets with some real production in the heart of the lineup. Known as a very streaky hitter, Duda will need to prove he can continue his streak of effectiveness from the past two seasons as he surpasses the age-30 mark. Duda’s consistency of batting .250 with 20+ HR’s seem like the norm nowadays. After greatly improving his ability to hit lefties in 2015, Duda could now be a bigger threat for New York.

Duda doesn’t have much competition at the position now, but he will very soon. Duda’s production over the next two years will be the deciding factor in the size of his next contract, but regardless of how he does, 2017 will likely be his last season in the Big Apple. With Duda being 32 years old at the end of his contract, the Mets have been developing Dominic Smith to emerge as their everyday starting first baseman come 2018. After a successful year in High-A ball as a 20 year-old, Smith’s hopes to build the muscle needed to add power to his already solid hitting abilities. Fielding won’t be a problem for Smith with the athleticism and arm necessary to be a gold glove candidate for years to come.

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Future Outlook: Out with the old (Duda), in with the new (Smith)

One of the best problems baseball executives deal with is having more than one player worthy of regular at-bats at a certain position. While Duda’s contract expires after the 2017 season, Dominic Smith is rising and will soon be ready to take over the position. The Mets would be wise to try to obtain some value for Duda before he hits free agency leaving New York with nothing. They can trade the mashing lefty and take a flyer on someone like Mike Napoli, Pedro Alvarez, James Loney, or Mark Trumbo in hopes of getting similar production for a fraction of the price while netting a few prospects for Duda. (EDIT: The team has acquired James Loney after Lucas Duda has been sent to Disabled List [5/28/16]).

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Second Base (Present Rank: 13th | Future Rank: 16th)

Replacing Daniel Murphy was a tough task for Alderson this offseason after his explosion in the playoffs, although his errors ultimately proved costly in the Mets’ World Series aspirations. Like the R.A. Dickey trade, Alderson aced this move as well. Trading an expendable lefty (Jon Niese) who doesn’t have a spot in the rotation for similar to production at second base without the long-term commitment. Neil Walker will certainly be motivated in his new home as he faces a contract year in 2015. Mets fans will have to get accustomed to his poor speed and range though.

Walker isn’t the only second baseman in the organization that came from Pittsburgh. Brought in for Marlon Byrd in 2013, the Mets have an exciting young player on their hands in Dilson Herrera. The 22 year-old has demolished minor league pitching at very young ages exhibiting his advanced approach at the plate. Herrera flashes great speed and a hit tool that could be among the best second baseman some day. Herrera compacts some power in his 5’10” frame with a likelihood of double-digit homers annually. Herrera could start today, but with Walker in town for a year, he can work on improving his fielding in Triple-A before becoming the Mets everyday second baseman for the foreseeable future.

(EDIT: The Mets traded Dilson Herrera along with LHP Max Wotell to the Cincinnati Reds for Jay Bruce. Click here to see how Herrera will fit into an already crowded middle infiled [8/1/16]).

Future Outlook: Not matter of if, but when Herrera takes over

The Mets have their second baseman for 2016, and he has top-10 potential. New York has their second baseman for the future and he also has top-10 potential. At this point, it’s not a matter of if, but when Dilson Herrera will get his chance to regularly face major league pitchers. New York knows Walker is signing elsewhere this offseason, so trying to get something in return for him before he departs wouldn’t be a bad idea. If Herrera annihilates Triple-A pitching again, that’s a good indicator he’ll produce solid results at the Major League level.

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Shortstop (Present Rank: 17th | Future Rank: 18th)

The Mets are stacked with shortstop prospects. The position that puts defense at a premium has been a weakness offensively for New York ever since Jose Reyes took his talents to South Beach. That’s mostly due to Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores receiving the lion share of the playing time at shortstop in Reyes’ absence. Both players have made it evident they struggle against Major League pitching and fit better as utility players off the bench. However, as a former top prospect that's still just 24 years old, Flores can still become a league average hitter while maintaining his premium defensive value.

Sandy Alderson made another great move when he brought in Asdrubal Cabrera on a reasonable 2yr/$18.5MM contract. Cabrera gives the team an upgrade over Flores and Tejada despite their career years in 2015 that could have fooled other GM’s into keeping them as starters. Alderson made sure Cabrera’s contract wouldn’t guarantee anything after 2017 when the team’s numerous shortstop prospects should be ready for Major League action.

One prospect to watch is Gavin Cecchini. The Mets’ 12th overall pick in 2012 doesn’t have one specific tool that stands out, but his makeup and advanced approach at the plate allow him to make the most of what he has. Cecchini will never hit over 10 home runs consistently, but could bat around .280 with a healthy amount of walks. Cecchini is the likeliest of all the prospects to move from shortstop with a better feel for third base thanks to a strong arm. With David Wright locked up at third until 2021, one of the Mets’ top two shortstop prospects might have to move over to second base.

Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus both had high praise for Cecchini, but was left off each of their top-100 lists. Amed Rosario on the other hand was featured in both publications’ top-100 prospect rankings. He might only be 20 years old, but he’s already made an impact in the organization. Rosario is a true athlete with wheels and an arm that make even a casual observer say “wow!”. Fans will enjoy watching him play shortstop as he makes plays all over the left side of the diamond. Rosario has held his own at the plate despite being over three years younger than the competition at every level. All the potential is there for Rosario to be a centerpiece of what is looking like some very good Mets teams in the 2020’s.

Behind Rosario and Cecchini, the Mets have a pair of Luis’ that are capable of playing the position as well. Both Luis Carpio and Luis Guillorme share more than just a first name. Both players are plus defenders, with Guillorme getting praise as the best defensive shortstop in the minor leagues. Both players have slim-to-none power relying on their glove and contact ability to get them to the Majors. Neither player has a ceiling close to Rosario or equal to Cecchini, but they’ll be in direct competition with each other as they try to become MLB regulars in the big city.  

Milton Ramos and Matt Reynolds are also young shortstops in the Mets’ farm system. Neither player looks to make nearly as much noise as the four prospects ahead of them. However, each player could fill a valuable utility role off the bench in the future. There isn’t enough information out there to make valid evaluations on international amateur free agents Gregory Guerrero or Andres Gimenez, but they could be players to watch for with ETA’s in the 2020’s.

Future Outlook: There’s definitely quantity, but is there quality?

With an influx of talent at shortstop, it’s almost inevitable some players will be forced to wear a uniform that says something other than “Mets.” Now that New York can rely on Asdrubal Cabrera to man the position for the next two years, Wilmer Flores can go back to a utility role where he fits best. With Cecchini, Rosario, Guillorme, and Carpio all projecting to be Major League caliber shortstops, something’s gotta give. Sandy Alderson would be wise to package a couple of them in a big trade for a legitimate center fielder. If Cespedes doesn’t opt-out of his deal, he could move to right field so New York could have a legitimate defensive center fielder.  

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Third Base (Present Rank: 28th | Future Rank: 28th)

After only one playoff appearance throughout his 20’s, David Wright was giving serious consideration to playing elsewhere. A year before he was eligible for free agency he was sold on the Mets young pitching and declining debt so he reupped for another eight years. That move proved to be wise for Wright as the Mets not only made the playoffs in 2015, but won the National League pennant. Not to mention, Wright has dealt with lingering injuries that would have significantly depreciated Wright’s value on the free agent market. Wright is still the face of the franchise, but will have to stay off the disabled list before anybody can rely on him again.

With a team full of infielders capable of playing multiple positions, Eric Campbell doesn’t bring much value to this Mets team. He is likely to be picked up by another team off waivers within the year or sent back and forth between the majors and minors.

Future Outlook: A top draft pick needs to be used on a third baseman

The Mets have four draft picks within the top-100 in 2016 starting with their first one at 19th overall. Sandy Alderson and the rest of the front office must decide which pick should be used on a promising third base prospect. David Wright is locked up for the next five years making a high school draft choice likely. If the Mets focus on selecting the right guy and slowly developing him, they could have a franchise star ready to take over right when their current one is ready to settle off into the sunset. (EDIT: The Mets selected 3B Blake Tiberi out of the University of Louisville with the team's third round pick (100th overall) [6/9/16]).  

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Outfield (Present Rank: 3rd | Future Rank: 15th)

The big news coming out of Queens this offseason was the ongoing negotiations with Yoenis Cespedes. After hours of dialogue, the Mets finally agreed to extend their enigmatic superstar with essentially a 1yr/$27.5MM contract with the option to opt-out of two years and $57.5MM. Cespedes was always viewed as a raw power hitter and boosted his popularity by winning back-to-back home run derbies. He never really put it all together through a whole season until 2015 mashing 35 bombs and owning career high .542 slugging percentage. With limited range and a cannon for an arm, Cespedes fits better in a corner outfield spot, but with Granderson and Conforto already settled in there, Cespedes will have to play center field. That will be a situation to monitor as Cespedes could be a liability trying to cover gaps in the spacious Citi Field.

In case Cespedes will need to be moved back to a corner outfield spot, the Mets have Alejandro De Aza and Juan Lagares ready to play in center field. The two were expected to split at-bats in center before Cespedes was eventually brought back. While De Aza is more of a fourth outfielder with better defensive metrics in the corner outfield than center, Lagares grades as a terrific defensive center fielder and added a gold glove to his resume in 2014. Lagares will need to hit better to prove to Mets management he can step in as a reliable starter once Cespedes likely opts out before 2017.

Surrounding Cespedes in the outfield is a player much older than the average major leaguer in Curtis Granderson and one much younger in Michael Conforto. If each player was in their prime, the Mets would have the best outfield in baseball. Unfortunately, Grandon’s prime ended three years ago while Conforto is at least three years away from reaching his.

Despite being 34 years old, Granderson’s productive 2015 campaign resulted in him finishing 18th in the National League MVP race. Bringing over former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long (who helped Granderson elevate his game in the Bronx) to the east side of the city played an important role in Granderson’s renaissance. With improved plate discipline, Granderson gives the Mets a quality leadoff man.

The tenth overall pick in 2014 quickly rose through the minors and impressed the Mets evaluators with his performance in the Show. Conforto’s superb .333/.313/.733 slash line in the World Series also helped raise his stock in 2015. Now Conforto will go into the season as the team’s Opening Day starter. He has the power potential of 25-30 home runs with an ability to stretch pitch counts, draw walks, and get on base at a high percentage. Despite not having the tools of a solid defensive outfielder, Conforto rated quite well in his debut at left field receiving a 26.5 UZR/150 for his work out there in Citi Field. With the potential of a No. 3 hitter, don’t be surprised if Conforto goes through some growing pains before he reaches that pedestal.

The Mets believe they have their outfield for the 2020’s all figured out with Conforto in left, Desmond Lindsay in center, and Wuilmer Becerra in right. Desmond Lindsay is the team’s No. 2 prospect (according to fangraphs) thanks to his ability to hit, run, and develop more power. After playing mostly third base in high school, Lindsay is new to the outfield, but has all the tools to succeed in center field and played quite well there in his professional debut. As a raw 19 year-old, Lindsay has a ways to go before getting a call-up to the show.

Previously mentioned was the compensation the Mets received for R.A. Dickey: Noah Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud. Wuilmer Becerra was just a throw in in the deal at the time, but he has emerged as a legitimate outfield prospect for New York. His power bat and strong arm are both above-average and makes him a solid fit in right field. He’ll go as far as his bat takes him considering he has average speed at best.

Brandon Nimmo was once seen as a future starting outfielder for the New York Mets. Now, it’s looking more likely that he will settle into a fourth outfielder type of role. Nimmo’s patient approach has worked in the minors, but scouts are hesitant to say that will continue. He was able to wait for pitchers to make a mistake, but those mistakes will occur much less often against Major League competition. Nimmo could prove worthy of a starting role if he ever improves his approach at the plate.

(EDIT: The Mets made a splash at the trade deadline by acquiring OF Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for 2B Dilson Herrera and LHP Max Wotell. Click here to read more about what Jay Bruce will bring to the Mets [8/1/16]).  

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Future Outlook: Some additions are needed in the coming years

With Michael Conforto showing signs of delivering on his potential, left field seems like a position the Mets are not concerned about anymore. Cespedes has one of the other outfield positions locked down, but he’ll likely hit the free agent market again after the 2016 season. Granderson on the other hand is only locked up for two more seasons. If the Mets truly believe Desmond Lindsay and Wuilmer Becerra are the long-term answers at center and right, Sandy Alderson needs to find viable stop-gap solutions that’s an upgrade over Lagares’ uninspiring bat until Lindsay arrives. They might need to do the same in right field if they don’t believe Brandon Nimmo can hold it down until Becerra arrives.

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Left-Handed Starting Pitchers (Present Rank: 9th | Future Rank: 11th)

The Mets have numerous amounts of flamethrowing frontline starters. They added another one when they called-up Steven Matz from Triple-A last year. Like Matz has always done as a professional, he dominated opposing batters keeping an ERA below 2.30, striking out almost a batter per inning, and only walking 2.5/9IP. Matz has the stuff to join the Mets’ upper echelon of pitching and he’s a favorite for National League Rookie of the Year in 2015.

After Matz loses his rookie eligibility, quality lefties in the Mets’ system will almost be nonexistent. The only other pitcher of note is Max Wotell. The 2015 third round pick brings size, stuff, and a funky deliver to the Mets organization. Wotell could surely develop his offspeed offerings to clinch a spot in the rotation. Considering the Mets already have a stacked rotation locked up for the foreseeable future and Wotell’s control issues, a move to the bullpen is more likely.

(EDIT: The Mets traded Max Wotell along with 2B Dilson Herrera to the Cincinnati Reds for Jay Bruce [8/1/16]).

Future Outlook: New York must prioritize developing more southpaws

As mentioned before, the Mets have four draft picks within the top-100 in the upcoming draft with the first one being No. 19. While one of those picks certainly has to go toward their third baseman of the future, Sandy Alderson would be wise to use one of those on a high-ceiling lefty. The Mets can take some risk on pitchers considering the abundance of high quality pitchers already in the organization. Plucking a high school prospect with frontline starter potential with an ETA after 2020 could be the best decision for the Mets going forward.

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Right-Handed Starting Pitchers (Present Rank: 4th | Future Rank: 5th)

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While New York doesn’t have much depth behind Matz among lefties, they are loaded with quality right-handers. From Matt Harvey to Jacob deGrom to Noah Syndergaard to Zack Wheeler, the Mets have a plethora of ace-caliber righties in the organization. Many thought the metropolitans would trade one of the highly regarded pitchers, but the front office decided it was a better idea to head into the season with the best rotation in baseball.

What a difference a year makes. Steven Matz was seen as a mid-rotation level starter at his peak, Jacob deGrom was due for regression after a stellar rookie season, Noah Syndergaard hadn’t thrown a pitch in the Majors, Zack Wheeler was set to miss the season after elbow surgery, and Matt Harvey had question marks of his own after undergoing Tommy John surgery a year prior.

Now, Matz is seen as a future ace after mastering his changeup, deGrom somehow got better in 2015, Syndergaard dominated opposing hitters in his big league debut, Wheeler is set to return by midseason, and Matt Harvey came back as the dominant ace we’ve come to expect from the 27 year-old. Although the team seemed to be in a rough spot last year, they are now viewed as the undisputed best rotation in baseball. All the Mets have to worry about now is locking up the Dark Knight before he hits free agency after the 2018 season. (EDIT: After being shut down for the season, Harvey's future outlook is in doubt, as the team will need to see what he can do next year post-surgery before even considering a long-term extension [7/8/16]).

Proving his doubters wrong in 2015, Jacob deGrom cruised to finish with an outstanding 2.54 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 0.979 WHIP, and a 5.39 K/BB ratio. Of course, deGrom did benefit from a low BABIP, but there’s no reason that can’t be sustainable with his kind of stuff. A lackluster defense behind him could hurt his overall numbers, but only a little bit. He’s still a stud atop of the Mets rotation for at least the next five seasons.

While those two pitchers are exciting in their own right, Noah Syndergaard might have the most electric stuff in the majors. Syndergaard’s blazing fastball (97.1 MPH) was the fastest among all Major League starters (Minimum 150IP) in 2015. His ability to command it is even more impressive as showcased by his remarkable 1.86 BB/9. ‘Thor’ has the most potential of all the Mets frontline starters, and that’s saying something. It might take him a few years to reach his ceiling, but he’s still be a frontline starter until he does.

Another Tommy John victim, Zack Wheeler is setting mid-July as his timetable to return. After witnessing Matt Harvey come back as good as new, if not better, many fans are expecting the same from Wheeler. One reason of caution: Matt Harvey had a 3.62 ERA through his first 12 starts and didn’t have the same command he developed as the year went on. Wheeler won’t have the benefit of being able to pitch in 29 games to knock off the rust like Harvey did. While Wheeler might struggle as he gets off the disabled list in 2016, his future outlook is still very bright.

While Wheeler recovers from Tommy John, the Mets can enjoy another season of Bartolo Colon as he continues to defy the law of aging. He pitched quite well in his age-42 season including an impressive postseason run of only giving up 2 runs in 8.2 innings of work. Colon will likely retire after this season, opening up a spot for Wheeler in the rotation long-term.

A lot of scouts view Robert Gsellman as a future relief option. However, there’s still a chance he can fill a role in the back end of the rotation. With a 6’4, 200 lbs frame, there’s some projectability that Gsellman can add some ticks to his fastball velocity. The lack of secondary stuff is a reason to migrate to the bullpen, but his curveball showed promise this season, and his changeup already grades as an above-average offering. Gsellman could fill the back-end of the rotation, or at the very least be a reliable middle-relief option considering New York’s crowded rotation situation.

Marcos Molina will miss the 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery. He showed promise before going down, and Baseball America thinks enough of him to still rank him sixth on the annual Mets prospect list this year. It remains to be seen what he can bring to the table post-surgery. Chris Flexen is another potential starter, but his ceiling is limited to a No. 5 role.

Logan Verrett and Gabriel Ynoa are both low-end rotation options with a likelier future in the bullpen. It’s likely each player is given chances to start at the Major League level like they’ve been doing in the minors. After inevitable rocky results due to a lack of quality offspeed stuff, the move to the bullpen will make much more sense.

Future Outlook: No longer in debt, NYM must open their pocket books

It’s not everyday a MLB General Manager has four ace-caliber pitchers on his roster with a potential fifth one if Wheeler can successfully recovering from TJ surgery. That may be rare, but it’s pretty much not heard of to have all of those pitchers on their rookie contracts with at least three years of control each. The money will have to come soon enough. Mets owner Fred Wilpon knows he’ll have to pony up some cash to keep these electric arms in the Big Apple. The real question is: who to extend first? Only time will tell.  

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Bullpen (Present Rank: 5th | Future Rank: 27th)

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Losing Jenrry Mejia to a life-time suspension hurts, but the Mets showed they could live without him when he was serving his 80-game ban in 2015. Jeurys Familia’s emergence is primarily the reason Mets fans are already forgetting about Mejia. In Mejia’s absence, Familia took over the closer role from his close friend last season. As a former top prospect, Familia ended the year with the third most saves (43), a 1.85 ERA, and an exceptional 4.52 K/BB ratio. Luckily for the Mets, the 26 year-old is still under team control for three more years.

Another former top prospect, Addison Reed had a shaky start to his Major League career. After dominating minor league hitters, Reed was handed the closer role in his first full season as a member of the White Sox. Since then, he’s been traded to Arizona and then shipped to New York last August. He’s racked up 105 saves in his four full seasons, but owns a paltry 4.01 ERA. Reed showed a resurgence in NYC throughout his 15 innings there last year. He’ll be given the set-up role after that sensational performance.

It is said that relief pitching is the most volatile position in baseball because of their inconsistent performances. Of course some players prove themselves as the exception (Mariano Rivera, Craig Kimbrel, etc) to the rule. Antonio Bastardo is not one of those exceptions. In his seven Major League seasons, Bastardo has posted an ERA above 4.30 three times, but also an ERA below 2.99 three times. His peripherals have remained similar, so Bastardo is still a southpaw with a good enough fastball-slider combination to be viewed as a quality set-up man. (EDIT: After struggling once again in 2016, Antonio Bastardo has been traded to the Pirates for Jon Niese [8/1/16]).

Expectations were very tempered for Hansel Robles as he made his Major League debut last year. Robles went on to be a key piece in the Mets’ National League winning bullpen exceeding all expectations in the process. Now he’ll look to build on his solid rookie season with his 96 MPH fastball and sweeping slider.

When the Mets are in a close game in the later innings and are preparing to face a few left-handed hitters, there’s one guy they’re calling: Jerry Blevins. Blevins is a lefty specialist who has held same handed batters to a miniscule .206/.257/.322 slash line in his career. Thanks to a repertoire consisting of a sinker and curveball, don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

After suffering multiple elbow injuries in his career, Erik Goeddel finally made it to the show at 25 years old in 2014. Before dealing with another elbow injury, Goeddel owned a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings last year. His performance dropped off as a result of the injury and he finished the year removed from the Mets 25-man roster for the NLCS and World Series. Goeddel has proven to be a valuable relief pitcher when healthy. He’s also proven to be unreliable because of his frequent lingering elbow issues.

A typical spot starter, Sean Gilmartin found himself in the Mets bullpen for all but one of his appearances after being selected in the Rule 5 draft before the season. Despite being unfamiliar with coming out of the ‘pen, Gilmartin enjoyed moderate success in his rookie season. His presence gives the Mets another guy who can start games if need be, but one that can also bring value in the bullpen. Gilmartin ended up being one of the best Rule 5 picks last year.

Josh Edgin was improving with every year of Major League experience. This culminated in 27 innings worth of 1.32 ERA ball with the robust peripherals (2.69 FIP, 0.915 WHIP, 4.67 K/BB) to match in 2014. Then he underwent Tommy John surgery in Spring Training last year, and it’s all a mystery again. Relievers always have question marks, but there might not be a reliever in the game with more of them than Edgin in 2016.

The other relief pitcher named Josh in the Mets system has an even cooler last name, Smoker. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and Josh Smoker definitely throws fire. His fastball touches 98 MPH with life which he pairs with a slider and splitter. His command of those offspeed pitches will be the difference in Smoker being a back-end bullpen presence, or just another guy with a unique last name.

Future Outlook: Jeurys Familia needs to be extended

Since the starting pitchers draw most of the attention, Jeurys Familia’s success has been more under the radar. After leading the league in games finished last year, Familia has established himself as one of the best closers in the league. The Mets certainly have their attention on extending their dynamic starters, but they can’t forget about their flame-throwing closer. The Mets should take a when, not if, approach to locking Familia up for the foreseeable future. With Reed and Robles incapable of filling the void, extending Familia becomes a must for this franchise if it’s looking to stay in contention.  

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OVERALL OUTLOOK: Pitching, pitching, and more pitching

As New York found out first hand last year, you can never have enough pitching. The Mets rode the dominant quartet of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz for an historic stretch in the second half to reach the playoffs as the surprise NL East champions. While teams typically employ one ace, New York essentially has four of them. The best part about their fearsome foursome is that they’re all under team control for at least three more years. Other teams should be worried that Zack Wheeler has the stuff to give the Mets a fifth ace-caliber pitcher atop of the rotation if he can successfully rebound from Tommy John surgery like many of his peers are able to do in today’s MLB.

If those five suffer injuries, or battle through growing pains, the Mets have some young pitching in the minors as well. Those young guns likely won't make much of an impact anytime soon considering the Mets have the best rotation in the league heading into 2016. Besides maybe Bartolo Colon (who’s getting replaced by Wheeler next year anyways) each of New York’s pitchers are expected to get even better over these next few years. The Mets will be in contention solely because of their dominant rotation year in and year out. If Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto develop into All-Star caliber players like expected, New York could be perennial favorites to represent the National League in the Fall Classic if they can add some more pop to their lineup.

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