The New York Mets are one of the best teams in Major League Baseball this season. They currently have a 97-57 record, good enough for first place in the National League (NL) East division, according to ESPN’s official MLB standings. They have already clinched a playoff spot, although their rival Atlanta Braves sit 1.5 games behind the Mets for first place in the division according to the same source.
It’s a good time to be a Mets fan. The organization is having their best season since 2006, in which they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in heartbreaking fashion in that year’s National League Championship Series.
Although the record speaks for itself, Mets fans can all agree that this season can be summed up in one word: stability.
The Mets have long been mocked as being not only one of the most poorly-run and mismanaged teams in baseball, but across all sports. The Mets were widely ridiculed for their poor decision-making both on the field and in the front office, and it stemmed all the way to the top of the organizational hierarchy chart: the ownership. The Wilpons, the family that previously owned the Mets until they finally sold the franchise to the much more competent Steven A. Cohen in October 2020, were one of the worst ownership groups in the history of sports.
The Wilpons, headed by longtime chairman Fred Wilpon and his son, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon, failed to recognize that they were involved in every aspect of the organization. The lack of accountability, direction, acceptance of drama and finger-pointing were the norms in management. It set the franchise back years. Although the family went through a period of financial hardship (being one of the biggest victims of the fallout of the Bernie Madoff scandal, it still didn’t give them a pass for being one of the worst ownership groups in sports.
Under the direction of Cohen, he has completely turned this once-ridiculed squad into a legitimate contender. He instilled core values of accountability and discipline into the team, which were things that were missing during the Wilpon era. One of his first moves as owner was bringing back longtime executive Sandy Alderson as team president. Alderson was known for his tranquil demeanor during his tenure as the Mets’ general manager from 2011 to 2018.
Another home-run hire that Cohen made was longtime manager Buck Showalter who brings stability to the managerial office. After the disastrous managerial reigns of Mickey Callaway and Luis Rojas, hiring someone who is knowledgeable while showing a willingness to adapt to the modern game is exactly what the Mets needed.
Franchises around baseball are scared to death of this talented bunch, who possess arguably the most balanced roster in the league. Their starting rotation is star-studded, finding new and unique ways to destroy any momentum opponents have at the plate. It is led by longtime aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, who both refuse to show any signs of slowing down despite them being 34 and 38, respectively.
DeGrom has been a Met his whole career, debuting in 2014 and posting remarkable statistics ever since. DeGrom’s season start was postponed after struggling with injuries in the past year. However, for eager fans, they were able to see his season-premiere performance this August, looking like the ace fans long envisioned.
Scherzer, acquired in free agency in December, has been worth every penny spent on his $130 million contract. All he’s done is dominate, possessing a 2.13 earned runs average to go along with an 11-4 record and 169 strikeouts. They have been supported by much-needed depth pieces Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco and Tylor Megill, all of whom excelled this season when called upon.
On the offensive side of the plate, the Mets have a solid core that can wreak havoc on opposing teams’ pitchers, starting with first baseman Pete Alonso, who continues to be a force in the batter’s box. Known as “Polar Bear” to fans, he has 39 home runs and 128 runs-batted-in this season while batting .270 in the process.
Shortstop and four-time all-star Francisco Lindor had a rough first season with the club but has responded by hitting .275 while kissing 25 long balls goodbye and bringing 103 RBIs in the process. Homegrown talents Jeff McNeill and Brandon Nimmo are having the best seasons of their careers, hitting .317 and .268 respectively to go along with high on-base percentages in the process. Also adding to the fuel is newly-acquired outfielder Starling Marte, who finally feels at home after bouncing around with multiple teams during the past two seasons. Marte is batting .292 while also containing a high OBP.
The talent doesn’t end there — we haven’t even touched on arguably the most valuable player on the team this season.
Enter closer Edwin Diaz, the electrifying pitcher who was nearly run out of town when the Mets first acquired him three years ago. To the tune of 31 saves with a 1.40 ERA, Diaz has proven his place in Queens. His extremely popular entrance song, “NARCO” by Timmy Trumpet, signals that any hopes of making a comeback have all but vanished for visiting teams. He is supported in the bullpen by set-up man Adam Ottavino, who has quietly been one of the Met’s secret weapons this season, posting a 2.18 ERA.
The Mets are legitimate World Series contenders, both this season and in the future. What is also scary is the ever-growing Mets’ farm system. Francisco Alvarez is currently the top prospect in baseball; not only is he projected to be the catcher of the future but a Mets franchise cornerstone. Third baseman and 18th-ranked prospect Brett Baty recently got his first taste of major league action and did not disappoint. The Mets also have shortstop Ronny Mauricio and outfielder Alex Ramirez, two players who boast loads of potential. The two are working up the ranks and should be on the roster in a couple of years.
This season has been one that Mets fans will remember for years to come, and it is just a reminder that this is the start of something special. It will be exciting to see how this team will progress in the years that follow and the accomplishments that they will achieve. In the meantime, here’s to a fantastic season thus far.
Let’s go Mets!!