Keys To a Successful 2017 Season for the New York Mets
The New York Mets were able to make one of the biggest moves of the off-season when they resigned slugger Yoenis Cespedes to a huge contract. Despite securing the best free agent on the market, not much else has gone right for the Mets this offseason. These are the three biggest keys to success for the Mets in 2017 to help them make the playoffs in three straight seasons for the first time in franchise history.
Get Michael Conforto Plenty of At-Bats
Michael Conforto has the talent needed to be one of the best young outfields in the National League, but the Mets have limited Conforto’s at-bats since selecting him with the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft. Conforto will never develop if the Mets continue to refuse to give him at least 500 plate appearances in a season. New York currently has a surplus of corner outfielders, so Conforto will struggle to get playing time unless a trade is made before spring training. Blocking young stars with aging players is never a good idea, but it is even worse when the player has the talent and potential of Michael Conforto.
Find a Way to Improve the Bullpen
The Mets had a lot of success last year because they had the sixth best bullpen in the MLB, but their relief pitching looks like it could be a huge liability in 2017. Mets closer is likely to receive a 30-game suspension for his domestic violence arrest this past November, so Terry Collins will have to play around in Spring Training to determine his closer for the first month or so. If New York is unable to resign Jerry Blevins and Jim Henderson, then they will lose two key pieces to their bullpen from last year. The loss of Bartolo Colon will also force Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman out of the bullpen and in the starting rotation for most of the 2017 season. The Mets need to add at least two more solid pitchers to their bullpen if they want to replicate the performance from last season. Converting Zack Wheeler to the rotation could work, or they could deal him in a trade that brings back a proven contributor to the bullpen. Relief pitchers are never easy to find, so the New York Mets need to make a big move soon before they are left with no options to improve the bullpen.
Keep the Young Starting Rotation Healthy
Nobody will deny that the New York Mets have one of the best young starting rotations in baseball, but all of their starters are prone to injuries. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz all underwent surgery in the off-season. The Mets may still have a deep rotation, but they will probably not make the playoffs if one of their top starters is forced to miss an extended period of time from another injury. The best way to keep these young pitchers healthy is by limiting their innings in the beginning of the season. It may also be a good idea to get Harvey, deGrom and Matz extended rest during the season by using a six-man rotation. With seven proven starting pitchers on the roster, the Mets have all the resources needed to keep their stars healthy throughout the entire season. If Terry Collins manages the rotation properly, then the Mets make a return trip to the playoffs.