Key acquisition Curtis Granderson looks to help improve Mets fortunes (©GettyImages)
Key acquisition Curtis Granderson looks to help improve Mets fortunes (©GettyImages).

New York Mets poised to make major leap this season

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Recently, New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson came out and said he believes the team can win 90 games this season.

Some might scoff at such lofty expectations, especially coming off back-to-back 74-win seasons, but I think Alderson’s 90 game prediction is doable. I believe this team is much more talented this year, and a 16-game improvement may seem ludicrous but they have the young powerful pitching arms to back him up.

Even with the loss of ace Matt Harvey to Tommy John surgery, the starting rotation appears to be a strength of the team. Having a full season of top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, a healthy Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee, and Jenrry Mejia in addition to former Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon who signed a two year contract as a free agent in the offseason provides a great chance for the team every game.

There is also a lot of depth waiting in the wings in case one of these pitchers were to get hurt. There is former Washington Nationals left handed pitcher John Lannan, former Boston Red Sox player and Japanese phenom Daisuke Matsuzaka who pitched for the team last year, along with current top right handed pitching prospects Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard likely making their debuts sometime in June. The rotation is a big strength for this team and if everyone pitches to their talent, it is quite possible this rotation carries the team.

The bullpen also looks much improved from a season ago, judging simply by talent. However that talent, consisting of players like Jeruys Familia, Ryan Reid, Vic Black, Josh Edgin, Gonzalez Germen, Scott Rice, in addition to closer Bobby Parnell, is largely untested. Outside of Parnell, no one has pitched more than one full season in the majors. It’s a lot to expect from these young pitchers but I see them performing well. Most of these pitchers are power arms, which will help their success.

Like the starting rotation, there is also a lot of depth in the bullpen. If neither Mejia nor Lannan crack the rotation, they are likely candidates to be placed in the bullpen. Other candidates looking to land a spot include hard throwing lefty Jack Leathersich, right hander Carlos Torres who served as the long reliever and emergency starter last season, even former top major league closers Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde, who each signed a minor league contract, have a chance to make the club and improve the bullpen.

The starting lineup is the big question mark on this team. What will happen at shortstop? Will Ruben Tejada remain the starter? Will Ike Davis or Lucas Duda step up to win the first base position? Will outfielder Chris Young be able to step up and supply much needed power in addition to his defense? Will top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud stay healthy and provide good production behind the plate? These are big questions. The addition of former Yankees’ slugging outfielder Curtis Granderson should help protect established bats in the lineup like star third baseman David Wright and second baseman Daniel Murphy.

With the surplus in young power arms, it is entirely possible that the team makes a trade before the start of the regular season. But even with the roster as currently constructed, I expect big things from this team. While I don’t believe they will quite reach the 90 win mark, I do see them making a significant leap, winning 85 games and contending for one of the wild card playoff spots ending a seven-year playoff drought.

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