The New York Mets are 13-10 in spring training. They won both of their games with the Yankees, are tied for the best record in the league at this point, and are ranked first in just about every offensive category in pre-season action. What does it all mean? To quote Darth Helmet in Spaceballs: “Absolutely nothing.”
Sure it feels good to see the Mets playing well this preseason, but whether that transcends to ultimate success on the field when the games really do count is never a guarantee.
Take a look around the majors: the Royals (13-8), Dodgers (12-6), A’s (14-9), and Angles (12-8) have all played well this spring, but they are all expected to be very good this year. However, the Rockies (13-9), Blue Jays (13-9), Astors (10-8), and D-Backs (12-10) have also played well this spring. How many people have those teams pegged for a playoff spot this year? You won’t find many hands going up for that question.
In contrast the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants are 6-18 this spring, and the Detroit Tigers who many think are a World Series team in the A.L. are 8-15 in spring action. I think it’s safe to say both will be much better when it really counts.
The Mets are first in batting average (.297), first in doubles (52), first in home runs (25), first in on base percentage (.368), first in slugging (.490), first in OPS (.858), and first in runs per game (6.0). Those are fantastic numbers. Obviously new hitting instructor Kevin Long is having some effect if a fair number of the hitters the Mets plan on bringing up North are producing extremely well.
However, we are forced to ask that same question: what does it really mean? Take last season for example. The Mets didn’t have a great pre-season record, yet one of the best hitters on the team in the month of March was Chris Young who hit .310. He was released before August after hitting .205 in the regular season.
I even remember in 2008 the Mets had the best record in preseason, 20-11, and we all know what happened. Willie Randolph was fired at 3 a.m. in the middle of a trip to Anaheim, and the team missed the playoffs after another awful collapse.
So I am not going to say take the preseason with a grain of salt, because it’s hard not to get excited when one sees that Curtis Granderson is hitting .424, Kirk Nieuwenhuis is hitting .364, Juan Lagares (.395) Michael Cuddyer (.351), Wilmur Flores (.342) and David Wright (.303). It’s also hard not to get excited when Matt Harvey looks great a year after reconstructive elbow surgery, and Jacob deGrom is blowing people away with his fastball.
The Mets came into 2015 with lofty expectations, even for a team that hasn’t had a winning season in seven years. But until the real games begin, and with knowledge of how we’ve been teased in the past, Mets fans can only hope such numbers exist in August and September.