In 2015, the New York Mets fell just short of their first World Series title in nearly 30 years. They were defeated four games to one by the Kansas City Royals in a series that, in hindsight, should have been much closer. Many even say that the Mets should have taken the series, as they had late leads in games one, four, and five. While I do credit the Royals for their relentless comeback efforts, and their ability to capitalize on errors made by the Mets in the late innings of games four and five, I wholeheartedly believe that the Mets ultimately acted as their own worst enemy.
Mets closer, Jeurys Familia, who had been nearly perfect all season, blew three saves in the World Series. Two of these blown saves were direct results of errors made by Mets infielders (second baseman Daniel Murphy, and first baseman Lucas Duda). Perhaps it was the pressure that took a toll on the team during those late innings. Many of the 2015 Mets players had never played in such high stakes games before. Going into 2016, I believe the experience they have gained will propel them right back to the Fall Classic, and that we are likely to see a different outcome. I could very well see the 2016 World Series featuring the Royals and the Mets once again, but I believe the Mets have what it takes this time around.
2016 holds more promise for the Mets than ever before, with a key returning bat in Yoenis Céspedes, new additions in Asdrúbal Cabrera and Neil Walker, and the resurgence of Zack Wheeler to undoubtedly the best (and newly postseason experienced) rotation in baseball. All of this under the leadership of the Captain, David Wright, leaves me with little doubt that Mets can perform to at least the standard that they set in the previous season.
With all of that being said, I do not by any means believe that the Mets will run away with the league championship, or even the division title. The Washington Nationals will yet again pose a significant challenge to the Mets in the East, but the Mets’ rotation is what should ultimately lead them passed worthy competitors.
Other teams will now be more eager than ever to knock off the reigning National League Champions in what should be a very exciting season.
Here’s to 2016.