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Season Preview: New York Mets will be one of baseball’s best in 2017

Terry Collins (c) is looking to lead the Mets back into the postseason for the third straight year in 2017.
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The regular season is finally here, with the New York Mets scheduled to begin their 2017 campaign Monday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. Before the season begins, let’s take a look at the Mets’ potential Opening Day roster.

Pitching Staff

The Mets boast one of the league’s best starting rotation, led by aces Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. Syndergaard has added even more velocity to his fastball and deGrom seems to be healthy after battling through injuries last season.

Matt Harvey and Steven Matz are slated to fill the next two rotation spots, though both come with question marks. Matz dealt with elbow and shoulder injuries last year and has experienced some elbow discomfort this spring that has his Opening Day spot in jeopardy. Harvey missed most of the 2016 season with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and has struggled to get all of his velocity back.

Matz and Harvey are the biggest question marks in the Mets’ rotation. When at their best, each is capable of pitching like a top-level pitcher, but their 2017 success hinges on their ability to stay healthy.

Robert Gsellman’s excellent spring earned him a spot in the rotation, while Seth Lugo and Zack Wheeler will serve as additional depth in the event of an injury to the other starters.

The bullpen will miss Jeurys Familia in the beginning of the season, as the closer will serve a 15-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. Addison Reed will step into the closer role, something he’s done earlier in his career. Fernando Salas, Hansel Robles, Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker will prove to be a formidable middle relief corps.

The Lineup

New York will enter the 2017 season with essentially the same lineup as its 2016 squad. Yoenis Cespedes returns to anchor the lineup, while Jose Reyes is back to fill in for injured captain David Wright.

Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker form a steady double-play combination up the middle and in the lineup, with Wilmer Flores providing some depth in the infield. Lucas Duda returns with his usual health concerns at first base.

The Mets are expecting more from Jay Bruce, who struggled mightily after arriving from Cincinnati in a trade deadline deal. He’ll play right field with Granderson in center and Cespedes in left. Juan Lagares was slated to be the fourth outfielder, but his injury has opened the door for Michael Conforto if the Mets’ choose to carry four left-handed hitting outfielders.

Travis d’Arnaud provides a solid bat from behind the plate, but his defense must improve if he is going to be in the lineup every day. Rene Rivera is a steady backup catcher who is a good defender behind the plate.

Expect the Mets’ Opening Day lineup to look something like this: Reyes (3B), Cabrera (SS), Cespedes (LF), Granderson (CF), Walker (2B), Bruce (RF), Duda (1B) and d’Arnaud (C).

Prediction: 95-67, First place in the National League East

The Mets have one of the deepest and most balanced teams in all of baseball.

They boast a stellar starting rotation and a strong bullpen to complement a good starting lineup. This team, if healthy, has the potential to win 100 games.

But with injuries and inconsistencies throughout the season, expect New York to finish with around 95 wins.

Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewelb@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4539.

Posted 12:00 am, March 30, 2017
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