Many baseball experts think that the difference between who wins and who loses the NL East will be who gets injured and how long they are lost for.
Both the Mets and Nationals have started this season with multiple injuries to key players. We know the Mets that have been lost, but let’s not forget RHRP Chris Stammen (torn flexor tendon), LF Nate McLouth (shoulder surgery), 3B Anthony Rendon (left knee sprain), and CF Denard Span (core muscle surgery) have gone down for the Nationals.
Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs said about the Nats:
“Something like two pretty major injuries could put them in a dogfight with the Mets. The Mets, of course, have had their own injuries, so that’s a problem, but it’s clear the Nationals are top-heavy. Injuries are the key to that division having an actual race worth paying attention to.”
I’ll throw something else in. Promotions from within your system, like starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Rafael Montero, may also be the difference, especially in the second half of the season. I have no idea who’s next in line for the Nats, but they can’t project as high as these three do.
Dave Cameron/Fangraphs also took a nice stab at the Mets chances of making the playoffs .
The question is just how deep can you go into the Mets system before you literally run out of decent players to replace all the regulars going on the disabled list?
I can’t see this team continuing any degree of .600+ percentage winning unless veterans like Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy begin to put together a decent season. Two of the team’s top .300+ hitters have now been lost (David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud) and you can’t expect rookies like Kevin Plawecki to pick up the slack.
It will still come down to superior starting pitchers, timely hitting, and holding on for dear life when the pen takes over.
I had a ‘healthy’ discussion with one of Mack’s Mets readers, ‘Zozo’, over on Twitter this past weekend about his support to the guys that bought those billboards outside CitiField asking for (calling for) the Wilpons to sell the team. No billboard in the world is going to get this done, but Zozo and his supporters seem to think that the Wilpons are the first owners of a baseball team that didn’t open their books to the fans.
I wish the Wilpons would sell the Mets. I really do. But, as a native New Yorker, I find the whole billboard thing insulting. Is the whole Madoff/Ponzi stuff relevant anymore? The team is playing better, the payroll is over $100mil, and fans have returns to the home games.
Sure, mistakes were made in the past, but no one thinks that the Wilpons put themselves in their past financial situations on purpose. From that point on, you practice good business sense and good business sense is spending less than you have coming in. If fans like Zozo and his billboard guys think that’s lying to the fan base, I’m not going to be the guy that can change how they think.
No one liked the owner of the Yankees and Knicks either, but their fans didn’t embarrass the players on that team by buying a billboard outside of Yankee Stadium or The Garden.
I think it’s bush and, since this is my column, I can say that.
There was an interesting article here on Noah Syndergaard earlier this week in the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.
I found the Wally Backman quote interesting:
“He’s improved since last year. He’s grown up. He might be coming in with a little chip on his shoulder this year. He’s determined to prove to people that he’s really that guy.”
Neither Syndergaard (2-starts, 7.2-IP, 6-BB, 1.96-WHIP) or Steven Matz (3-G, , 15.1-IP, 11-BB, 1.43-WHIP) have both started off the 2015 season with control problems though Matz has produced a lower ERA (2.93) than Syndergaard (4.70).
And lastly… Karl de Vries on Eric Campbell –
“But for better or for worse, Campbell is going to get his shot for an extended period of time. Wright is going to be sidelined for at least the next two weeks, probably three, and although the team could theoretically move Daniel Murphy to third base (or Wilmer Flores, for that matter), manager Terry Collins so far has shown an aversion to shaking up his double play duo. Campbell is nothing more than an NL-only play, to be sure, but he’s credible and versatile enough to find his way onto a handful of rosters in deeper leagues.”
Mack – I really like what Campbell has done since his return to Queens. I especially fell in love with his ability to hit a long fly ball that sacrifices a few runs home at a critical time in two games. The injury-riddled Mets are going to have to manufacture some runs around great starting pitchers if they want to stay in this fabulous position they find themselves in so far this season. Campbell does very little things pretty in the field but, so far, he hasn’t cost the team a game. Frankly, his timely hitting might have won at least one of them. That’s enough for me right now.