Now that the 2022 season is over for the New York Mets, we will spend the next several weeks taking a look at the big picture. This deep dive will be broken down into phases every weekday, continuing today with a look at some of the biggest surprises and disappointments of the year.
It feels strange to see a 101-win season come and go in the span of about a week but the New York Mets were a different team in 2022. Popularly epitomized as These Mets, the team defied preseason expectations and found a way to put up the second-best regular season in franchise history. As we continue our look back at the year that was, let’s take a peek at three of the biggest surprises and disappointments from the 2022 campaign.
The biggest shocker of all was that Diaz, who was much maligned by Mets fans over his first three years in Flushing, re-emerged as a dominant force. Diaz was the best relief pitcher on the planet, recording 32 saves and pitching to a 1.31 ERA while striking out 118 batters in 62 innings pitched. The Mets wouldn’t have gotten anywhere close to 101 wins if Diaz wasn’t as electric as he was this season.
The Mets projected win total just prior to the season was 90.5 and slipped by two when news of Jacob deGrom’s injury broke. The fact that this team found a way to win 101 regular season games was downright shocking as the Mets were one of the most consistent teams in baseball over the first five months of the year. While the ending was bitter, it can’t take away from the thrilling ride that this team went on in 2022.
Brandon Nimmo’s defense
When the Mets signed Starling Marte over the winter, the expectation was that Marte would become the team’s new center fielder. Things changed in spring training as the Mets moved Marte to right and put Brandon Nimmo back in center, a move that was questioned when it was made but became one of the best decisions Buck Showalter made. Nimmo played elite defense in center field and stayed healthy for the first time in years, helping the Mets outfield defense become a team strength.
Billy Eppler’s trade deadline
Despite possessing a team in hot pursuit of its first division title in seven years, Eppler refused to pay the price necessary to add an impact bat or top-shelf reliever that the Mets needed. Eppler upgraded at the margins, acquiring Daniel Vogelbach, Darin Ruf, Tyler Naquin and Mychal Givens for J.D. Davis, Colin Holderman, and a bunch of the team’s lesser prospects. The moves didn’t provide nearly enough support to the Mets, who got caught by the Atlanta Braves in September and fell out of first place on the season’s final weekend.
Extreme Patience With Prospects
The Braves caught fire in June when they promoted Michael Harris and Spencer Strider to the majors, adding an infusion of talent to the roster that put the team on a historic pace over the final four months of the year. The Mets opted not to take that approach, stubbornly refusing to give Brett Baty, Mark Vientos or Francisco Alvarez a shot until their hands were forced by injuries. The kids showed some potential but the Mets never game them a chance to truly help by waiting so long to call them up.
It was not a true collapse in the sense of the word but the Mets squandered an extremely soft September schedule to allow the Braves to catch them in the division. Getting swept in Atlanta was a bitter pill when the Mets could have secured the division title with just one victory. The end result was a trip to the Wild Card Round that saw the Mets get eliminated by the San Diego Padres, wasting the joy of a 101-win season before it could even reach the true deep stages of the postseason.
Check back tomorrow as our Season in Review series continues with a look at the 2022 team MVP!