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Mickey Callaway and company are looking to exceed expectations (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Baseball

Can the Mets compete in 2018?

A lot of internal changes, plus a potentially healthy team, could result in a Wild Card spot for the Mets

In case you didn’t know, it’s Opening Day today! I’t’s a new start for all 30 MLB teams, a chance for all of them to to shock the world. For the Mets, it’s a chance for the new regime in Mickey Callaway and company to flourish in Flushing. This season, the young guns will finally get a chance to shine while the veterans provide that leadership to help them. Will all their hard work leading up to today result in a reward?

Sports Illustrated predicted  the Mets to win around 84-88 games, and snag a Wild Card spot. Impossible? Not entirely, but the Mets have a long way to go in order to reach that goal.

If the Mets have any interest in competing, the number one thing they need to watch out for is health. Over the past few years, injuries have destroyed the dynamic of this team, and the patience of the fans. That is especially true when it comes to the pitching staff.

We are still waiting on the Five Horsemen of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zach Wheeler to pitch at the same time. Due to injuries and inconsistent performances, we may never truly get that opportunity. It’s up to the beginning of the rotation to stay healthy and be the workhorses of the staff. For Harvey, he must relight the spark he once had, to prove that his struggles are behind him. He doesn’t have to be the ace, but a sign of hope. His comeback season can be in sync with the teams, if all goes according to Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland’s plan.

The power bats of the Mets must consistently hit the ball, and not just via the home run. All eyes will be on Yoenis Cespedes, who has traded in his golf clubs in order to focus more on baseball. Playing in more than 140 games will be key, and hitting at least .300 with 25 home runs would be a good sign by the Mets’ long-term outfielder.

Just like Cespedes, role players like Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier have to stay healthy and produce. Bruce might be busy manning multiple positions if Adrian Gonzalez can’t handle his role at first base. That would also mean that Dominic Smith is not close to joining the team once again. A healthy Michael Conforto could very well be the saving grace the Mets need to complete the puzzle.

The bullpen, a consistent question mark, will need to step up their game. Jeurys Familia has a lot to prove, as does AJ Ramos and new signee Anthony Swarzak. Jacob Rhame, who the Mets received from the Curtis Granderson trade, can prove that Baseball Maverick and Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson knew exactly what he was doing when he made the trade. If Jerry Blevins can stay consistent like the last few seasons, the Mets will be in good hands.

While the Nationals may have the better team on paper, the Mets will not go quietly. They have a chance to play spoiler against the NL East favorites. What’s the old saying? Oh yeah, Ya Gotta Believe! 

Baseball is unpredictable, which is what makes it such a wonderful sport. The Mets have an opportunity to exceed all expectations. With a consistent core ready to strike, there are endless possibilities for this team. Day one of a long season begins today, are you ready?

Prediction: 85 wins and a Wild Card spot for The Amazins

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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