2015 Recap: New York Mets
New York Mets (90-72, first in NL East)
For the past six years, the Mets were mired in the 70 wins range. The roster was David Wright and little else. But even in 2014, there were signs that change was coming.
In 2013, Matt Harvey had his first full-time season as a starting pitcher and in 26 starts, he had a 2.27 ERA. Second baseman Daniel Murphy hit .286 with 13 home runs. Harvey was forced to have Tommy John surgery and miss 2014.
But the Mets went 79-83 in ’14. Jacob deGrom made 22 starts as a rookie and had a 2.69 ERA. Lucas Duda hit 30 home runs and Murphy hit .289 again. Jeurys Familia had a 2.21 ERA in 76 games as the seventh inning reliever.
In 2015, the Mets got out of the gate with an 11-game winning streak, all against fellow NL East teams the Atlanta Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Miami Marlins. The Mets would lose Wright for a majority of the season with spinal stenosis.
The Mets were bound by the hard fastballs of Harvey and deGrom. Harvey made 29 starts and went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA. deGrom made 30 starts and was 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA and 205 strikeouts. Bartolo Colon was great in a supporting role and was 14-13 in 31 starts. Familia took over as the closer for Jenrry Media, who was suspended for PED use. Familia had 43 saves and a 1.85 ERA.
The Mets were a quality team even before they acquired Yoenis Cespedes.
The struggles of the offense were exaggerated.
The most games they were under .500 was one. They were looking for their first winning season since 2008. The Mets had seven players with at least 10 home runs, including Duda with 27 and Curtis Granderson with 26. Duda and Murphy had 73 RBIs each. Murphy hit .281 with 14 home runs. Cespedes had 17 home runs in 57 games. The Mets had breakout years from Wilmer Flores and Michael Conforto. Flores had 16 home runs and Conforto had nine home runs in 56 games.
The result was the Mets’ first division title and postseason appearance since the heartbreaking loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS in 2006.
The Mets had one of the most impressive runs to the World Series.
They took down the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS by out pitching Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke once a piece. And both times it was deGrom who prevailed. deGrom in game one went seven shutout innings with five hits allowed, one walk and 13 strikeouts. That was enough against Kershaw in game one at Dodger Stadium.
In game five against Greinke, with the series on the line in Los Angeles, deGrom went six innings with two runs, six hits and three walks while striking out seven. Greinke allowed three runs in the loss.
It also helped that Murphy hit three home runs in the series; two off Kershaw and one off Greinke.
Murphy would continue his home run tear against the best home run hitting team in the National League the Chicago Cubs.
The Mets swept the Cubs by beating Jon Lester and Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and by their young pitchers holding the Cubs to eight runs in four games.
Murphy hit four home runs in all four games, including one off Lester and one off Arrieta.
Harvey out pitched Lester in game one with two runs, four hits, two walks and nine strikeouts in 7.2 innings. 22-year old Noah Syndergaard got the win in game two against Arrieta despite pitching 5.2 innings thanks to three hits, one walk and nine strikeouts.
The Mets won their fifth NL pennant and reached the World Series for the first time since 2000. They have the most pennants of all the expansion teams since 1961.
But they ran into the buzz saw that was the defending AL champions the Kansas City Royals.
One the one hand, it had to be a letdown to lose the series 4-1 coming off wins over the Dodgers and a sweep of the Cubs. But on the other hand, the Mets were a surprise to get to the World Series after many years of irrelevance.
The Mets’ young pitchers appeared to hit the wall against the experienced Royals hitters who thrived on putting the ball in play.
The Mets’ young quartet of Harvey, deGrom, Syndegaard and lefty Steven Matz had a combined 4.20 ERA and it was too much for the Mets’ offense, who hit .193 with a .298 slugging percentage in the series.
But those four pitchers, along with the return of Zack Wheeler, give the Mets the best starting point of any team in baseball.
Postseason: Lost 4-1 in the World Series to the Kansas City Royals
RF Curtis Granderson: G 157, AB 580, HR 26
SP Jacob deGrom: GS 30, IP 191.0, ERA 2.54
SP Matt Harvey: GS 29, IP 189.1, ERA 2.71
1B Lucas Duda: G 135, AB 471, HR 27
CL Jeurys Familia: G 76, IP 78.0, ERA 1.85
Biggest Need: Infielder (shortstop or third baseman)
Flores will maintain shortstop because he’s young and he hit 16 home runs, but he had a .295 on base percentage because he walked just 19 times and he made 14 errors and he didn’t seem adept at tracking them down. Ruben Tejada also was mediocre defensively and he hit just .261 with a .688 OPS in 116 games. They also can’t be certain they can rely on Wright for a full season even though he made it through the postseason with no ill-effects. He’s a franchise icon so he’ll be the customary third baseman until he retires, but he could use some help.