For many many years the Mets have been the red-headed stepchild of Major League Baseball teams in New York. The Yankees have been like the All-American older brother; the most popular kid in school, captain of the football team, showered with praise from parents and peers and teachers. Meanwhile the Mets have been locked in the pantry when guests come over, and forced to mop the floor at midnight. An embarrassing afterthought.
Before this analogy gets any more tortured, let's just leave it at "the Mets have been bad for a while without much reason to be hopeful for the future." They weren't expected to be any good this year, but now after a 15-11 start the Mets are turning some heads (gee, sort of reminds me of the Rockies). Are they actually legit, or is this just a random vagary of April baseball?
Well, I'm looking at their stats, and I'm just not seeing it. They have amassed all of 1.0 fWAR from their hitters, 28th in the league. They have a .619 team OPS. Improbably, their pitching has been even worse, collecting only 0.4 fWAR this year, 29th in the Majors. Their collective 3.57 ERA looks solid enough, but they play in an offensive dungeon in Citi Field. They have a mediocre 4.04 FIP and one of the lowest BABIPs allowed in the league at .283.
But danged if they haven't made it work so far.
The Mets definitely have some weapons to bring to the table. Zack Wheeler, game two starter, is a budding young star plucked from the Giants in 2011 (major props for that) who has been striking out more than a batter per inning. Dillon Gee won't blow up any radar guns, but he owns a 2.88 ERA in the early going, though his .202 BABIP probably won't survive Coors Field. Jenrry Mejia is another good young arm.
Then again, they also employ Bartolo Colon, a 40-year-old sentient pile of pancakes.
Offensively, though, the Mets are nothing special. Their top performer has been Juan Lagares who rocked a .633 OPS last year (with terrific outfield defense). This year he's at .314/.345/.471 with a .395 BABIP. Daniel Murphy at second base is hitting a completely empty .304 at second base. Former Rockie Great Eric Young is leading off, and he has a .540 OPS. Lucas Duda can hit some dingers, and not much else.
Curtis Granderson has been an absolute zero, hitting .136.
Most surprising to me has been the decline of David Wright. The Mets' one superstar is hitting like a utility infielder; in 118 plate appearances he has a paltry .632 OPS. He's probably been itching for this four game set at Colorado, since Wright owns a 1.172 OPS at Coors Field. Holy crap. The man they call Captain America is too good to hit so poorly (he racked up nearly 6 WAR last year), so underestimate him at your own peril.
So the Mets' hot start might be mostly smoke and mirrors, but they have players that can hurt you. If the Rockies can get after their starters, who aren't used to ballpark conditions like Coors Field, they could definitely earn a series victory. As long as they continue the muzzling of David Wright, these games should be winnable.
Thursday: Juan Nicasio vs. Bartolo Colon
Friday: Jorge De La Rosa vs. Zack Wheeler
Saturday: Franklin Morales vs. Jenrry Mejia
Sunday: Jhoulys Chacin (?) vs. Dillon Gee