Throughout all of the negativity and incredibly bad luck the Mets have had to deal with over the past five seasons, the 2012 New York Metropolitans have exceeded all expectations and re-energized their passionate fan base. The team is currently sitting in second place in the National League East and holds the first Wildcard spot as of today. While fans of the team are enjoying a successful season so far, it is hard to forget the gruesome last couple of seasons fans had to endure.
The year was 2006 and the Mets were the class of the National League, boasting the league’s best record at 97-65. Much was expected of the National League East champions heading into the 2006 postseason with a third franchise World Series Championship in sight. A late Yadier Molina homerun and a wicked Adam Wainwright curveball, however, saw the Mets get ousted in game seven of the NLCS and fall short of their goal.
Everything has gone downhill since. Two historic September collapses, and three injury-riddled seasons have prevented the Mets from returning to the postseason. When injuries to key players such as Jose Reyes, David Wright, Johan Santana, and Carlos Beltran were not the main stories being talked about, the news of the ongoing Wilpon-Picard lawsuit put a further damper on things.
With A payroll cut of nearly 50%, Sandy Alderson had little money to spend in the off-season to address various holes in the roster. Most Mets fans had little faith in the team after the few off-season signings the team made and many thought the 2012 season would turn out the same way as the previous two seasons.
The skies over Citi Field have cleared and the black clouds that have followed the team have disappeared. There is much to be excited about with the team contending for a National League East pennant going into the month of July.
David Wright is having a tremendous bounce back season while batting .361 with 8 home runs, 40 RBI, and an OBP of .457. He is the unquestionable leader of the team both on and off the field. With an MVP candidate like Wright on your team, there is a great deal of hope for the Mets.
Starting pitching has also been outstanding as the rotation has an ERA of 3.49. The team has an incredible 1-2 punch with Santana and Dickey, and a solid back end of the rotation with Niese, Gee, and Young. It’s no secret that starting pitching wins games. The Mets certainly have this in their advantage.
Taking a look at the future, Mets fans should be excited with the farm system being loaded with young talent. Top-prospect Zack Wheeler looks to be the real deal in AA with a dominating 1.88 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 71.2 innings. His 95-97 mph fastball and his above average breaking stuff has drawn a lot of attention from major league scouts.
Then there is Matt Harvey who has impressed at AAA Buffalo this season with a 3.70 ERA and 81 punchouts in 80.1 innings. Mets fans might get a glimpse of Harvey at the major league level later this season as he is poised for a September call-up. Don’t forget about Jenrry Mejia who is still 22 years old with a cannon for an arm. Other prospects include 2011 first round pick Brandon Nimmo, the Mets two first round picks this year (Gavin Cecchini and Kevin Plawecki), 2012 MLB All-Stars Future Game representative Wilmer Flores, and Jeurys Familia.
Current big leaguers such as Kirk Niewenhuis, Jordany Valdespin, and Lucas Duda also provide hope to Mets fans that this team will be competitive for seasons to come. The team is currently being built to be a constant contender in the future as opposed to the 2006 team which consisted of aging All-Stars with little left in the tank. With Wright as the centerpiece of the team, the Mets can build around him with the talent from the minor leagues and remain competitive beyond this season.
Don’t forget the fact that the Mets have money to spend after settling in the Picard suit. New York can go after a top free agent this off-season and add a key piece to a roster that is already pretty solid. So Mets fans, have faith and don’t stop rooting for your team. They might not win it all or even make the playoffs this year, but the team is going in the right direction. With Terry Collins in the dugout and Sandy Alderson at the helm, you should not worry about this team in the future. There is now a culture of winning, scrappy play, fighting back, and never giving up; something that was not there under Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel. Things will only get better from here. ALL IS GOOD IN METSWORLD!