Mets Eyeing 2024 Wild Card Playoff Spot

Mets Eyeing 2024 Wild Card Playoff Spot
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 04. Apr 2024.

The New York Mets opened the 2024 season on March 28 with a 4-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field, looking to rebound from last year's disappointing campaign. Despite boasting an MLB record-high payroll, the Mets finished 75-87 last year and are eager to prove that they can translate their investment into wins. The opening game's result, while not ideal, is just the first step in a long season ahead.

Optimism from the Top

"For the first time I am excited about what we're building in this farm system," Mets owner Steve Cohen said in his annual spring training State of the Mets address. "We haven't developed pitching in a long time and for the first time, it looks like we have depth down there.

"For the first time we're starting to look stacked and I don't think I ever would have used that term before, and that is a good feeling."

Strategic Acquisitions and Returns

Besides adding talent to a previously uninspiring farm system, the Mets also inked a trio of sluggers - J.D. Martinez, Teoscar Hernandez, and Cody Bellinger. While Martinez signed late and will begin the season in the minors, the designated hitter is poised to reinforce an offensive lineup that is oozing with potential.

The Mets replaced veteran skipper Buck Showalter after two seasons with Yankees' bench coach Carlos Mendoza. President of baseball operations David Stearns is confident that Mendoza can lead the franchise back to the postseason.

"Carlos has a brilliant baseball mind and a finely honed ability to collaborate with others," Stearns said. "He comes with a fantastic reputation as a trusted leader and someone who has been beloved at every stop of his career. Carlos knows what it takes to lead, especially here in New York, and I am looking forward to partnering with him to bring sustained success to this franchise."

New York also welcomed back All-Star closer Edwin Diaz, who missed the entire 2023 season after injuring his knee last spring at the World Baseball Classic international tournament. Diaz impressed himself with three strikeouts in his first spring training outing.

"I knew I would be really good," Diaz said. "But three strikeouts in the first outing was amazing."

Pitching Prospects and Challenges

The starting rotation faces early challenges, notably with Kodai Senga's injury sidelining him at the season's start.

"I feel good," Senga said through his interpreter recently, hours after Mendoza told reporters the latest MRI on the Mets right-hander was clean. Senga was given a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in February to help with the healing and will need six weeks to build up his arm strength before coming off the injured list.

Quintana Steps Up

Jose Quintana's role as the Opening Day starter against the Brewers, despite the loss, signals the depth and potential of the Mets' pitching staff moving forward. The 35-year-old posted a 3-6 record with a 3.57 ERA and 60 strikeouts over 75.2 frames last season.

"That's special for me to be Opening Day starter," Quintana said. "I understand we have a great rotation, so one of those guys can be Opening Day starter, too. It's an honor for me so they give me the ball first day."

Seeking Redemption: Severino and Manaea

Former Yankees hurler Luis Severino endured a nightmare 2023 campaign and will look to rebound this season. The 30-year-old right-hander compiled a 4-8 card and a 6.65 ERA with 79 strikeouts over 89.1 innings of work.

Lefty Sean Manaea went 7-6 a year ago while splitting time as a starter and reliever with the San Francisco Giants. The 32-year-old posted a 4.44 ERA with one save and 128 strikeouts over 117.2 innings. 

Filling the Gaps: Houser and Megill

Veteran right-hander Adrian Houser and youngster Tylor Megill will round out the rotation until Senga returns in May. Houser finished last season with an 8-5 record, a 4.12 ERA, and 96 strikeouts over 111.1 innings.

"He's a guy that knows how to pitch," Mendoza said. "He's gonna move the ball around. He's gonna use that sinker, gonna get ground balls. But the fact that he was heavy today, he had life, and for him to use it on both sides of the plate, it's gonna go a long way."

Pete Alonso's Future

A season-long storyline will be the impending free agency of first baseman Pete Alonso. Although the homegrown product has indicated that he would like to start negotiations on a new contract during the season, Cohen wants his star slugger to focus on baseball and not contract negotiations.

"We haven't had any discussions and I think at this point as far as for Pete it's best for him to go have a great year and not be distracted," Cohen said. "I think it's best for the ballclub. We know how to do this. We did it with Edwin , we did it with Brandon after the season. We'll figure it out when we get there."

Batting Lineup Outlook

The Mets' offensive lineup, blending seasoned veterans with rising stars, is poised for a significant role in the team's pursuit of success. The early performance, particularly in the opening game, sets the stage for key hitters to drive the team's offensive strategy.

1. RF Brandon Nimmo - The nine-year veteran batted .274 last season with career-highs in hits (162), home runs (24), and RBIs (68).  

2. CF Harrison Bader - The defensive-minded outfielder hit .232 with seven dingers, 40 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases last year with the Yankees and Reds.

3. SS Francisco Lindor - The switch-hitter enjoyed another productive year at the plate with 153 hits, 31 long balls, 98 RBIS, and 31 stolen bases.

4. 1B Pete Alonso - The cleanup hitter led the Mets with 46 home runs and 118 RBIs. The 29-year-old slugger will hit the free agent market next winter.

5. DH J.D. Martinez - The 36-year-old regrouped after a subpar 2022 campaign with 33 homers and 103 RBIs last year. Martinez should join the Mets in April.

6. LF Cody Bellinger - The eight-year veteran resurrected his career with a banner campaign last season with a .307 batting mark, 26 homers, and 97 RBIs.

7. 2B Jeff McNeil - The 31-year-old hit just .270 with 10 long balls and 55 RBIs in a disappointing 2023 campaign. A slow start could cost McNeil his starting gig.

8. C Francisco Alvarez - The 22-year-old catcher batted an ugly .209 but displayed promising power with 25 dingers while driving in 63 runs in his first full season.  

9. 3B Brett Baty - The former top prospect failed to deliver last season and hit .212 with just nine home runs and 34 RBIs in 107 games.

A Season of Potential

Despite the initial stumble, the New York Mets are poised for a year of growth and competition. With strategic signings, leadership changes, and a focused approach to player development, the team is determined to leave last year's disappointments behind and vie for a spot in the playoffs.

These factors will also heavily influence MLB betting predictions and odds across New York's best MLB betting sites, where aficionados and bettors alike scrutinize the fluctuating dynamics. 

With the Mets' comprehensive approach to overcoming last season's hurdles, bolstered by strategic acquisitions and the return of key players from injury, the stage is perfectly set for an engaging and potentially rewarding season.

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