With the New York Mets’ first spring training game in the books, let’s talk about some bold predictions for the upcoming 2018 season.
The New York Mets have their sights set on the playoffs thus far in the early portion of Spring Training. However, if the team wants to be playing games in October this year, some players will need to outplay the status quo.
The hard part is figuring out who will be able to set a new performance standard this year, and in what categories. We’ll start with a young gun looking to establish himself.
Dominic Smith will be the full-time first baseman by May
This will be considered a hot take by many, but it is something I firmly believe will happen. For starters, let’s talk just about Smith’s weight loss.
Whether or not his awful debut season statistics were due to his weight will always be up for debate, but there’s no arguing the amount of time and effort he’s put into transforming his body for the 2018 season.
Down 30 pounds and ready to rock! Read more on Dominic Smith's offseason transformation: https://t.co/KVm0ETcfuj
— Las Vegas 51s (@LasVegas51s) February 18, 2018
Smith looks like an athlete nowadays, and the added muscle should help him hit even more home runs. Yeah, he hit .198 last season, but he also smacked nine home runs and drove in 26 RBI in just 49 games played.
To sum things up, he’s a 22-year-old in the best shape of his life and needs to outperform a 35-year-old with a significant back injury. Considering he has been on more than one Top 100 prospects list, I’m putting my eggs in Smith’s basket.
Hopefully for both the Mets and Smith, he locks up the everyday job sooner rather than later.
Jacob deGrom will have fewer strikeouts, but a better ERA
The Mets pitching staff basically went nuclear last season, as almost every viable starter went down with injury. But, the keyword in that statement is almost, because deGrom managed to set a career high in wins, strikeouts, and innings pitched.
Even with those accomplishments in hand, deGrom’s 2017 was an odd year as he allowed a career-high in home runs and ERA. With Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland’s fresh philosophy, I expect deGrom to attack hitters even more this year and subsequently throw fewer pitches.
The former Rookie of the Year will probably not replicate his 239 strikeouts from a year ago, but I expect his ERA to rebound back to a number below three.
Tim Tebow will play more games than David Wright
This is a prediction that was tough to put in writing. The captain has long been the face of the Mets franchise through thick and thin, but it seems like his time has come.
Since 1901 David Wright is 1 of only 12 players to post the following through their first 13 seasons:
▪️OPS+ of 130 or better
▪️OBP of .375 or better
▪️SB rate of 75% or better
▪️WPA of 30 or better
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) February 17, 2018
Not only was Wright a great leader on the field and in the clubhouse, he also put up some pretty staggering numbers through the early part of his career. After failing to play more than 38 games in either 2016 or 2017, Wright’s career is on the line this spring.
Tim Tebow is the second part of this equation and it seems he might just be on the big league radar in 2018.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he thinks Tim Tebow will play in the majors, but what's your take? pic.twitter.com/T6p5xQTu8N
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 21, 2018
There is no way to know if Sandy Alderson is just trying to create buzz around a prospect that many have doubted over the past year. Whether Alderson seriously believes he has a chance to make an impact on the club or not, Tebow is on his way up while the captain is in a downward spiral.
Even though the season has officially just begun, it’s never too early to make some predictions, no matter how crazy they may seem right now.
Book it. Come the end of the 2018 season, this will all be true.