The calendar has flipped to August, and the New York Mets’ season is all but over. The Mets check into today’s game seven games below .500 and 10.5 games out of a playoff spot, a far cry from where they thought they would be in spring training. After bringing back the key pieces from last year’s wild card team, the Mets thought they would get back to the World Series, so playing out the string with two months to go is certainly a disappointment. Despite the fact there won’t be any playoff baseball this year, the Mets do have some intriguing storylines to track over the final 59 games of 2017. Here are a few things to watch as the Mets come down the stretch:
Can Jacob deGrom Win 20 Games?
The most consistent Mets’ pitcher has been Jacob deGrom, who ripped off eight straight wins to improve to 12-4 with a 3.29 ERA. deGrom figures to have roughly 12 starts left this season, and he would need to win eight of them to become the first Mets’ pitcher to win 20 games since R.A. Dickey back in 2012. Dickey won the Cy Young Award that season, and deGrom could make an argument for the award if he hits 20 wins and lowers his ERA to the mid 2’s. It will be tough sledding, however, with both Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer off to outstanding starts this year.
How Will Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith Transition to the Major Leagues?
The future starts tonight for the Mets, when highly touted prospect Amed Rosario finally makes his big league debut in Colorado. The Mets’ other top prospect, first baseman Dominic Smith, should join Rosario at the major league level over the next few weeks. Both players figure to get every opportunity to succeed at the big league level, and how they fare will significantly inform the Mets’ offseason plans.
What Other Vets Will Be Dealt?
Despite buzz of a heavy sell off, the Mets only dealt two players prior to the trade deadline: first baseman Lucas Duda and closer Addison Reed. The Mets held on to veteran position players such as Asdrubal Cabrera and Curtis Granderson due to a low demand for their services. Although the trade deadline has passed, teams can still make deals in August as long as players pass through trade waivers. The Mets have several high priced veterans that should easily pass through waivers, including Cabrera, Granderson, Neil Walker, and Jay Bruce. Any of those players who pass through waivers would need to be dealt by August 31st in order to be eligible for postseason play on another roster.
Which Injured Players Make Their Way Back To The Field?
The Mets are focusing on 2018 now, and seeing some of their injured players make their way back onto the Citi Field playing field would ease a lot of their concerns heading into next season. While it looks like David Wright won’t be playing this season, several other Mets could be on their way back to the diamond. Outfielder Juan Lagares, who began a rehab assignment last night, figures to be the closest to coming back. Starting pitchers Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, along with closer Jeurys Familia, are all working on throwing programs as they try to come back from their respective injuries. If they progress at a normal rate, Harvey and Familia should be back near the end of August while Syndergaard could return at some point in early September.
What Other Prospects Make Their Big League Debuts?
Things should get interesting in September for the Mets, who may use the last month of the year to get some prospects a cup of coffee at the big league level. Starting pitcher Chris Flexen already made his big league debut last week and should get some more run in September. The Mets may also look to give two of the prospects they recently acquired via trade, relievers Drew Smith and Jamie Callahan, a look in the bullpen to see if they can be factors in 2018. The team’s choices about who to promote will be interesting as they have to make more tough 40 man roster decisions this winter.