The Mets, like in 2018, are off to a strong start to the season, especially against the National League East, going 8-4 thus far against the Nationals, Marlins, and Braves.
The Mets required a strong start to the season, considering they play 16 of their first 21 games on the road and 19 of their first 24 games against the National League East. Unlike the 2018 team, there are more signs early on that this team has the sustainability to contend throughout the 6-month season. The offense has been the strength of the team early in the season, as the lengthened line-up and new approach to hitting has undoubtedly paid off.
Last year the Mets averaged 4.17 runs per game, which was 22nd in all of Major League Baseball. This year, albeit a small sample size, the Mets are third in MLB in runs per game averaging 6.29 runs, a full two runs better than the year prior.
Noteworthy starts for the Mets…
Brodie Van Wagenen promised to the fanbase that he would bring the best 25 players north following spring training, which he fulfilled by keeping Alonso on the roster, throwing away a year of service time. Alonso’s start to his Major League career has been electric. Currently, his stat line is .360/.439/.860 with 13 extra base hits and 17 RBI through 57 plate appearances. Alonso is already worth 1.1 WAR (In comparison, Mike Trout leads the league with a 1.9 WAR currently), and has brought a right-handed power presence that was missing without Yoenis Cespedes.
Now, in the National League, Alonso is third in total bases, third in doubles, 2nd in home runs, third in runs batted in, and first in hard-hit percentage. We’ll see if Alonso’s hot start plays throughout the entire season, but if he continues to homer every 8.3 at-bats, the Mets will be well situated at first base.
Many experts around the game picked this season for Michael Conforto to break out to a potential MVP candidate. He has made these predictions look like good bets as he has hit .340/.453/.623 with 3 hr and 9 RBI. Being slightly overshadowed by Alonso’s strong start, Conforto has been equally as impressive. His average exit velocity has been the hardest of his career so far, at 92.2 mph on average. Conforto is tied for 8th in National league offensive war (0.8), 8th in OBP (.453), 5th in runs scored (13) and 8th in hits (18). This steady production is precisely what the Mets need to contend in a tight National League East.
The Mets have starved for a legit number one catcher, and they certainly have that with Wilson Ramos. Ramos has been a force offensively, batting .350/.453/.375. Although the power hasn’t shown fully yet, with only one extra-base hit, he has been hitting the ball hard at 51.4% rate with an average of 91.7 mph exit velocity. Out of all catchers, Ramos is 2nd in average, 2nd in OBP, and 2nd in hits. The Mets were among the worst in every statistical category last year with the catching position, with Ramos on the team and healthy, this will drastically change their offensive output this season.
Robinson Canó was the Mets hottest hitter in spring training, batting over 400. He hit a home run in his first at-bat of the season but has been struggling a bit since batting .182/.237/.327. Cano is currently rated -0.4 WAR, and his exit velocity is at it’s lowest of his career at 85 mph. What is most alarming is Canó’s hard-hit rate is at 22% which is in the bottom 8% of the league.
The season is still young, and Canó has been a professional hitter his entire career. His swing still looks sharp, and there is no reason to worry yet about his production.
Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac / Getty Images