Murphy’s Law had an absolute stranglehold on the New York Mets during the 2016 MLB season. Not only did they lose multiple position players and ⅗ of the starting rotation to season ending injuries, but the organization was also forced to watch the recently departed Daniel Murphy slug over 170 points better in a Nats uniform than he did during his tenure with the Mets.
Everything that could go wrong seemingly did for the Amazin’s in 2016; however, the fact that the ballclub was still able to make it to the National League Wild Card Game with a decimated roster showed just how much talent was in place in Flushing. All General Manager Sandy Alderson had to do this offseason was maintain that roster and bolster up the bullpen a bit.
Alderson got started pretty early by resigning star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on November 30th, which was essentially his top priority this winter. After checking Yo off his To-Do List, Alderson turned his focus to removing some outfield clutter and adding relief help, though neither task has manifested itself just yet.
The Mets were able to retain Jay Bruce at a decent price by exercising his 13MM club option for 2017, and also held on to Neil Walker who accepted the team’s qualifying offer back in mid-November. The challenge for manager Terry Collins this coming season will be finding the right platoon balance all across the diamond, but the everyday potential lineup should look very similar to 2016.
LF Yoenis Cespedes
2B Neil Walker
1B Lucas Duda
3B David Wright
RF Jay Bruce
The Mets potential starting rotation was what made them World Series favorites last year, and with some better luck on the health front, they should be able to carry that over to into 2017. The emergence of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo at the tail end last season will give the club a little more pitching depth as they look to ease Zack Wheeler back into the fold and replace the beloved Bartolo Colon at the end of the rotation.
RHP Noah Syndergaard
RHP Jacob deGrom
RHP Matt Harvey
LHP Steven Matz
RHP Robert Gsellman
TOP DRAFT PICKS (STUDS)
Syndergaard and Cespedes will likely be the first two Mets off the board in your fantasy draft this year, and for good reason. Synerdaard took a massive leap from his rookie campaign to sophomore season by posting a 10.68 K/9, 2.11 BB/9, and a microscopic 0.54 HR/9 which was best among starting pitchers.
Cespedes is coming off back-to-back 30+ HR seasons with the Mets despite the fact that he missed 30 games in 2016 with a nagging leg injury. Yo still slugged .530 on the year, and no other player with less than 140 games played went deep more than he did.
HIGH CEILING (SLEEPERS)
While Syndergaard and Cespedes will get most of the attention on draft day, I wouldn’t sleep on the guys who were hurt in 2016, particularly Jacob deGrom. Since his debut in 2014, deGrom has the 4th best ERA in all of baseball at 2.74 trailing only Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta, and Jon Lester. He also ranks 5th in FIP during that span, which encapsulates a few of your most important fantasy pitching categories (preventing baserunners and homers while also inducing strikeouts).
LOW FLOOR (BUSTS)
David Wright has most likely been a cautionary tale in your fantasy draft rooms for the past few years now; and as someone who’s been a diehard Mets fan for the entirety of his career, I’d urge anyone from even taking a flier on Wright for 2017. There is no doubt that The Captain was a Hall of Fame caliber player in his prime, but unfortunately that spinal stenosis will never go away and Wright’s recent slew of injuries have kept him off the field for the better part of the last five years. If you exclude the 2012 outlier, Wright has not been a difference maker for the Mets since 2010 and he will likely only play three out of every four games at most this coming season.
The closer situation in New York all hinders on the impending suspension of Jeurys Familia. Familia set the Mets’ franchise single-season record for saves last year with 51 and surrendered an MLB best 0.12 HR/9; however, based on how the MLB handled domestic violence last year, Familia’s incident will likely keep the star closer out for the majority of April.
Although Alderson is still on the hunt for some bullpen depth, Addison Reed will likely take on the closing duties in the meantime. Reed is entering his third season towards the back of the Mets’ pen, and quietly had a stellar 2016 setting up Familia. He even bested his counterpart in FIP, ERA, WAR, BB/9, games, and LOB%.
The Mets starting rotation gets most of the love from fans and evaluators alike, but the team’s most surprising stat is just how impactful their bullpen was last season. The Mets had two of the top-10 relievers in baseball in 2016, which lead the club to a 6.6 bullpen WAR according to Fangraphs. Their pen finished 2nd in baseball in WAR, 4th in K/9, and 3rd in FIP.
IMPACT MINOR LEAGUERS
21 year-old shortstop Amed Rosario cracked the top-five in the first prospect list to come out this winter from MLB Pipeline. Rosario is currently blocked at the major league level and will be 21 for the entirety of the 2017 season, so the organization will try not to rush his development. It is far more likely that we see some of the Mets #2 prospect, Domonic Smith, in 2017. Smith is a 21 year-old first baseman with a sweet left handed swing and an advanced approach at the plate. He won the Florida State League Player of the Year award in 2015 where he slashed .305/.354/.417 with 79 RBIs and 33 doubles. Smith continued to improve last season by hitting .302 with 14 HR and 91 RBI at Double-A Binghamton. He also played in 2016 MLB Futures Game and will likely be in Triple-A knocking on the door of the show in 2017.