The New York Mets dealt with multiple injuries during a season ago. Even with key players out, the bench propelled the team to the playoffs.
The Major League Baseball season is a long, grueling 162 game grind in which a team’s viability can change in an instant. Players suffer bumps and bruises — occasionally, injuries that can end their season.
This was the story of the 2016 New York Mets.
What looked to be a promising year as a contender was riddled with injury after injury to key players. Most notably, three-fifths of the starting rotation. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz were all lost to the injury bug at separate points of the season.
The Metropolitans battled on en route to a Wild Card berth where they met one of the predominant Playoff pitchers of all-time, Madison Bumgarner. With Noah Syndergaard as their lone standing “Super Hero”, Thor was unable to advance New York to the next round, leaving fans wondering “only if.”
It may not feel like it, but it was a huge accomplishment for a team with a multitude of injured players to even have a realistic shot at the playoffs, let alone a World Series. Terry Collins instilled the “next man up” mentality to the players left standing. A mentality that led to a 27-13 record to close out the regular season.
To replace stars of the caliber of Harvey, deGrom and team captain David Wright. Sandy Alderson was tasked with investigating all trade opportunities and scouring his minor league system for players with the potential to fill such gaping holes in the roster.
Familiar faces returned and young unknowns found themselves thriving on the big stage. What looked like a lost season, as late as August 19, quickly changed and the Mets faithful found solace in that old mantra “Ya Gotta Believe.”
2017 offers a new chapter in the Alderson and Collins era of the Mets. The days of pinching pennies by the Wilpon family may remain, but Alderson has the organization running like a well-oiled machine, top to bottom.
The 2017 campaign will be without some popular faces, mainly “Big Sexy” Bartolo Colon, who has joined division rival, the Atlanta Braves. Without Colon in the rotation, Collins could turn to two pitchers who both made their mark during that late summer run, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. Another choice that will be available to the Skipper will be once highly touted pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, who will finally make his return to the Major League after a long absence recovering from Tommy John Surgery.
While the starting rotation will have “Super Heroes” returning to start the season, it will be a cast of “Super Subs” who will play a large part in how successful the Mets season will end and help break a 30-year-old drought without a World Series.
Here is a closer look at the dynamic bench of the New York Mets: