New York Mets:
The Metropolitans find themselves in an unfamiliar space. They – not the Yankees – are the best team in New York, and their are lofty expectations that come with that claim. Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated has called the New York Mets’ pitching rotation to be “the best in baseball.” When your biggest problem is NOT knowing who your “number one” pitcher is – and all of them have “the goods” – your problems are pretty awesome. Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom lead the charge with veteran Bartolo Colon and (a-hopefully-ready by mid-season) Zack Wheeler rounding out a possible six man rotation. The Mets pitching staff is their lifeline and it should be enough to carry them into the playoffs. David Wright’s spine didn’t agree with him last year and was limited to less than forty games during the regular season, but looked pretty good in the post-season and in spring training this year. If right can give them consistent production at the third base spot, the Mets will have that corner of the infield in good hands. It showed on one-too-many occasions last year, how much his glove was missed at the “hot corner.” The Mets re-signed Yoenis Cespedes to a big deal, and they better hope this isn’t a case of a “sucker them in deal.” Cespedes’ bat was a much needed addition to the Mets’ offense and he helped lead the charge into the playoffs from the Summer and on. Mets fans are weary of the showboat though (if anybody caught his opening day lackluster drop in left field, that should be enough reason to justify that worry.) Curtis Granderson is a fan favorite with one of the most vicious swings in baseball. His stat line is confusing though – he strikes out a lot, but it seems when he’s not striking out, he’s getting on base or driving in a run. The Mets have a century to go before ever being mentioned in the same breath with the New York Yankees, but this is their moment and it’s now or never for the blue and orange boys out of Queens.
New York Yankees:
Some will say that last year proved one can never count the New York Yankees out, the others will say – they got lucky. You’re kind of right if you’re on either side of the argument. The Yankees are the most recognizable sports franchise in America and for good reason. The legacy alone, strikes fear into competition and if “hate” truly concealed “jealousy” – the Yankees are swimming among weaker human emotions as they hold their numerous banners high in the greatest city in the world – New York. But last year – was pretty lucky if we’re being honest. The resurgence of a forgotten Mark Texiera and a public relations nightmare in Alex Rodriguez, ended up being the most important pieces to this line up. Texiera had an on-base-percentage of .357, a slugging percentage of .548 and 100 hits last season. A-Rod blasted 33 homers with 131 RBI, a year after being suspended for PED use. The Yankees know they’d be hard pressed depending on their veterans for the same kind of production again so they signed former Chicago Cub, Starlin Castro. The Yankees will most likely try to find a places for their big young bats Greg Bird and Aaron Judge. Both of these kids display some raw power at the plate and if the vets struggle, it won’t take long for these kids to be put into place. The Yankees starting pitching is a bit nerve racking and inconsistent, which is why the Yankees were thrilled that they had guys for the 7th, 8th and 9th innings to close games in Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman – but a domestic incident resulted in a 30 game suspension for Chapman, which resulted in Miller getting the closer spot – and now Miller is pitching through a wrist injury to start the season. The Yankees had a nice start to the season last year and burned out towards the end. The same may happen again – and that’s thinking positively.