New York Mets 2016 Season Review
The Mets had high expectations coming into the 2016 season after making it to the World Series the year before. Yoenis Cespedes returned to bolster the lineup and all the arms in the starting rotation were ready to go. Yet, things did go the way the Mets expected. They made it to the postseason for the second straight year, but they were not able to make it past the Wild Card game. The expectations were to win the division and make it back to the World Series. However, the injury bug determined otherwise.
The Mets were plagued with injuries throughout the whole season. From position players to pitchers, almost every part of the roster was hit with some type of injury. The pitching staff saw injuries to Zack Wheeler, Jim Henderson, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Jon Niese, and Jacob deGrom.
Wheeler was recovering from elbow surgery and was expected back around mid-season. However, he faced set-back after set-back and the Mets decided to shut him down for the rest of the season. Wheeler was supposed to be in their rotation come June or July, yethe did not pitch once. Henderson was lost for part of the season due to bicep tendinitis. He was expected to bolster the bullpen in the later innings. Harvey began the year shaky, but started to hit his stride before he was shut down for the year due to thoracic surgery.
Matz missed starts here and there, and was also placed on the 15-Day DL due to a bone spur. The Mets traded Antonio Bastardo for Niese at the deadline. Niese did not last long, as he was put on the 60-Day DL due to a left knee injury. deGrom was shut down for the season at the end of September due to right ulnar nerve surgery. That’s five starting pitchers lost to injuries throughout the year, and the Mets still managed to make the postseason.
Now come the injuries to the position players: Travis d’Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Lucas Duda, David Wright, Juan Lagares, Cespedes, and Neil Walker. d’Arnaud was placed on the 15-Day DL at the beginning of the year due to a rotator cuff injury. Flores was placed on the 15-Day DL in May and then shut down towards the end of the season. Duda was on the DL for about four months due to a lower back injury. Wright was shut down for the year in May because of a herniated disk. Lagares was placed on the 15-Day DL due to a left thumb injury.
Cespdes missed time earlier in the season due to a quad injury and then a month later was placed on the 15-Day DL for the same injury. Walker was shut down for the year due a herniated disk. That’s seven position players the Mets expected in their starting lineup for the full season, yet they still clinched the first wild card spot.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Bartolo Colon. The oldest player in the league, at 43 years old, was able to put together an incredible season. The spotlight loves him and he loves the spotlight. This year more than ever, people seemed to love Colon and all his highlights, from his home run to over-the-shoulder catches. The guy was a highlight reel machine. When he hit his home run against James Shields in May, he became the oldest player in MLB history to hit his first career home run. It was all over social media and Topps even made a special card for it. The homer became the new shot heard around the world. Colon made sure he basked in the moment, as he took a whopping 30.6 seconds to round the bases.
He was a stellar pitcher for the Mets this season. Watching Colon pitch is incredible, the way he commands the strike zone, and uses his off-speed and the movement on his fastball. At 43 years old, he can still dominate a lineup. Colon’s command was key to his success this year. He finished with only 32 walks in 191.2 innings pitched, the fifth fewest among qualified pitchers. He finished with a 15-8 record to go along with a solid 3.43 ERA. He was the most reliable and consistent pitcher for the Mets.
Colon was maybe the most valuable Mets arm throughout the 2016 season. He is on a quest to set the all-time wins record for Dominican Republic born players. He surpassed Pedro Martinez and is second all-time at 233 wins. He trails just Juan Marichal, who sits at 243 wins. Colon left the Mets this offseason to sign with the Atlanta Braves. Colon will be truly missed by all Mets fans.
The Future Looks Bright
Everyone thought the future of the Mets began and ended with the starting pitchers, including Harvey, Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Wheeler, and deGrom. They are indeed the future of the Mets. However, it does not end there. With almost all five of those pitchers going down at some point of the season, the Mets saw some unexpected arms to step up. Those arms include Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman.
No one expected either to come up and make a major impact. They were meant to just fill in and wait for the healthy arms to return. However, they were needed much more once Harvery, DeGrom, and Wheeler were lost for the season. Lugo posted a 5-2 record, a 2.67 ERA, and a 1.094 WHIP. Gsellman was torched in Triple-A, but came up and was outstanding. He posted a 2.42 ERA, a 1.276 WHIP, and struck out 42 batters in 44.2 innings pitched. With all the arms expected to be healthy for the Mets come spring, plus Lugo and Gsellman, the Mets look like they are stacked once again.
The future Mets do not end with the pitching staff. With a ton of injuries to position players, the Mets needed to look to their farm system to fill those holes. That is where Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini, and T.J. Rivera come into the picture. Last year, many people saw how much Conforto could contribute. He hit a sophomore slump this year, but he showed some positives. He improved his discipline at the plate and increased his walk rate from 8.8% to 10.3%.
Nimmo is another outfield piece to go along with Conforto. In a small sample size, he was able to post a batting line of .274/.338/.329. Cecchini came up in September and showed some potential, hitting two doubles in six at-bats. Then comes the hometown kid Rivera. Rivera was born and raised in the Bronx and went to Lehman High School. In his 105 at-bats, he finished batting .333 with three homers and sixteen RBI.