This upcoming season of New York Metropolitan baseball offers fans equal parts optimism and uncertainty, as Terry’s Kids set their sights on the playoffs for a franchise-record third straight year. Here are five of the most Exciting and/or Worrying things coming up down the road:
1. The Studs – Exciting
Not since the days of Dwight and Doc has a Mets team boasted two players as exciting on both sides of the ball as Yoenis Cespedes and Thor Syndergaard. Noah and Big Ces are just BIG, THICK MOTHERFUCKERS, and they’re poised to make the entire baseball world bend the knee. With Ces, the Metros haven’t had legitimate middle of the lineup pants-shitting thunder like this since the Beltran/Delgado days. Yet LA POTENCIA somehow feels thicker than both Carloses rolled together. Meanwhile, Thor is one of the hardest throwing starters in the game and only getting better as he asserts his dominance over National League hitters AND his own good-but-not-Syndergaard-good rotation-mates. Suck it Harvey.
Best Case Scenario: An MVP here, a Cy Young there, and maybe some additional team hardware by season’s end.
Worst Case Scenario: Extended DL stints for either of these two saps the (admittedly deep) roster of its true potency, and the team never makes the leap from good to great.
2. The Duds – Worrying
Maybe Travis d’Arnaud, Jay Bruce, and Lucas Duda are actually great baseball players, but they sure combine to look like a pretty big pile of shit coming into 2017. Sure there’s some reason to be optimistic (d’Arnaud’s glimmer of hope in ’14, Bruce in the first half of last season, Duda for two weeks at a time every other month before he sucks again for three weeks) but they’ve all been—for certain stretches of time in a Mets uniform—horrible. You COULD make the argument that the lineup looks extremely potent on paper, with these three penciled in for starting jobs along with Big Ces, Grandy, Walker, and Cabrera… But you COULD also poop in the shower to save money on toilet paper.
Best Case: All three hit over .260 and combine for 80+ homers and/or Jay Bruce nets a Chapman-level impact piece at the deadline.
Worst Case: d’Arnaud succumbs to his many, many injuries and dies; Duda’s back keeps flaring up and he’s shut down entirely; Bruce has a panic attack before every at bat thinking about the scary, scary New York City spotlight.
3. Michael Conforto’s Sweetasssss Swing – Exciting
Yes, Conforto looked like ABC’s LOST for a good portion of the season last year. I saw it, you saw it, and papa Sandy saw it. But struggling after early success is so common they have a name for it, The Sophomore Something Something. I’m firmly of the belief that Big Mike’s struggles were 100% mental and the dude’s hit tool is still in there somewhere. The best way I can describe his hitting is that this motherfucker STINGS the baseball. Remember, he straight up MASHED in Vegas every time he got demoted—granted I don’t put a lot of stock in what happens on that launching pad—and despite the up and down bullshit, he has proven he can hang in the bigs (dude hit two homers in consecutive at-bats in Game 4 of the World Series remember?) There’s nowhere else for him to go at this point. He’s outgrown the farm system—Terry and Sandy both know that—so they need to do whatever they can to get him as many at bats as possible. Then sit back and watch the XBH’s roll in.
Best Case: To get fantasy baseballish for a second, I’d put Conforto’s ceiling for 2017 at 80/25/85/.299. Basically Daniel Murphy but in the outfield and not an annoying asshole.
Worst Case: Big, stupid Jay Bruce takes up all his playing time and it’s back to AAA where we have to hear about him hitting .569 with 20 homers in 200 ABs again.
4. Oh yeah, those assholes in D.C. – Worrying
And I’m not talking about Congress! Am I right?! Huh? Am I right? Tell me I’m right. You’re not laughing. WHY AREN’T YOU LAUGHING?! OK no, it’s the Nationals. Let’s stop pretending 2015 was some merit-based achievement and recognize that the Mets only won the East because Matt Williams and the rest of those hot-headed pricks completely imploded. I’m not trying to take anything away from the Mets that year—in fact I loved the Schadenfreude almost as much as I loved the BIG CES BOMBS—but lets face it, the NL East was and is D.C.’s to lose. All this is to say, I don’t actually fear this Nats team. I think Harper is soft, and there’s some strange, “loser-ish” vibe that seems to be hanging over RFK Stadium lately (must have blown down from Shea after 2007-2010). But baseball is long and generally good teams win lots of games. They’re a good team, Scherzer is a monster, and if the Mets aren’t careful they can easily lose out on a Wildcard spot this year too.
Best Case: With Papelbon gone, someone else steps up and chokes the eye black out of Harper as the Nationals spiral down the drain with all the rest of the Washington D.C. scum. Wait, they’re still draining the swamp right?
Worst Case: “You gotta tip your hat to the Nationals, that’s a good ballclub. A GOOD ballclub. Now, all you can do is prepare for next season and hope for a better outcome next year.” – Manager Terry Collins
5. The Grandyman can! – Exciting
Guys, what are we all worrying for anyway? Baseball is coming back! Who cares what happens, there’s like a million games and you’re gonna lose some of them. So what? Look at Curtis Granderson! He’s just such a good guy. Always smiling and playing hard. Can’t you be more like him and just stop worrying so much? Have a beer, get a tan, put your phone down. Cheer for Curtis Granderson. Sure we’re all gonna miss Bartolo, but it’s not the end of the world. Just relax and enjoy this season. I know Curtis Granderson will.
Best Case: You get to watch baseball. And you’re not starving to death on the sidewalk.
Worst Case: You still get to watch baseball. Shut the hell up and enjoy it.