Depth will be key. The Mets front office is making it known that they want to bring in professional hitters who can play a significant role on this team, even if that means inconsistent playing time and coming off the bench as a pinch hitter when needed. The newest addition to the roster is Tyler Naquin, acquired in a trade from Cincinnati. With a 97 OPS+ entering play on Thursday, Naquin should play a fourth-outfield type role for New York. He’s shown the ability to hit for power with 19 home runs last season, the third double-digit homer season of his career since his 2016 rookie year.
Max Scherzer is the current ace. Although Jacob deGrom is scheduled to finally return to the rotation next week in Washington, he must be considered a wild card in the Mets rotation. The Mets are hoping he’ll return to his Cy Young-caliber self, but there’s no guarantees after he’s been out of the major leagues for over a year with his arm injury. Scherzer threw seven shutout innings against the Yanks on Wednesday night and displayed exactly why the Mets signed him. If the Mets can’t rely on deGrom at the top of the rotation come October – which is certainly a possibility – then Scherzer will need to be at his best for the Mets to play deep into the postseason.
Narco is undefeated. Closer Edwin Díaz is seriously putting together a case to earn some Cy Young votes during awards season this fall. His latest heroic feat was recording a four-out save with four strikeouts to close out an epic Subway Series opener. It might be cliché at this point, but it must be said: When “Narco” blasts from the Citi Field speakers, the game is all but over in the Mets favor. Having Díaz pitch like this in the postseason will give the Mets the lockdown closer their were missing in the 2015 World Series.
David Peterson in the eighth inning may not be it. Since transitioning from the starting rotation to the bullpen this month, Peterson hasn’t fared too well. His latest miscue was allowing a game-tying two-run homer to the Yanks in the eighth inning on Wednesday. He also allowed an earned run the prior week against San Diego, also in the eighth. Peterson had been on a roll as a starter almost the entire season, but his role come playoff time may be more of a long middle-relief guy rather than an eighth inning setup man.
Bottom of the order steps up. One of the main concerns with the Mets offense this season has been a severe lack of production from the bottom third of the order. But strong weeks from guys like Escobar and Nido – both whom have had their fair share of struggles at the plate – is reason to smile. We all know the top-middle of the lineup can do damage. Getting consistent professional at bats from these unsung heroes is a must if the Mets want to win the close ballgames that postseason baseball brings.