It seems like a generation ago – and frankly, it almost is – where the Mets brought up two phenoms, who became cornerstones in the Mets lineup.
In 2003, the world was introduced to Jose Reyes and then a little over a year later David Wright was brought up to man third base.
For years, both Wright and Reyes were the faces of the franchise, with No. 5 and No 7 jerseys and shirts flying off the shelves, and both were fully embraced by the Mets fanbase.
It proved one constant and that was unless you are a Hall of Famer, like Mike Piazza, Met fans generally love their homegrown players. They could be starting pitchers, like Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Noah Syndergaard or position players, like Wright and Reyes were for so many years.
But now, with Wright maybe not playing a game again and Reyes second tour of duty in Queens coming to an end, maybe at the end of the year, the Mets need fresh faces for the fanbase to embrace.
Sure, the starters seem like the logical stars. After all they already have the cool nicknames and All-Star pedigrees, but the fact remains, if healthy, you only have a 20 percent chance of seeing your favorite starter on any given day.
However, you have an 80 to 90 percent chance of seeing your favorite everyday player. That’s why you will see the Mets move their Wright and Reyes marketing to Michael Conforto and Amed Rosario.
Conforto is an obvious choice. Coming up two years ago out of offensive necessity, the now 24-year-old helped the Mets win the division and go to the World Series in 2015. Although he regressed last season and was sent down to the minors, the outfielder bounced back and is hitting .296 with 21 homers and 56 RBI.
Much like Wright, he hits for a high average, while maintaining a nice power stroke. And those Matinee Idol looks don’t hurt either.
After four games in the majors, it may be too soon to anoint Rosario the next Jose Reyes, but you can see the tools are there. He has the speed to steal bases and his glove looks great at shortstop. It’s only a matter of time until the 21-year-old is leading off games, replacing Conforto, who should be hitting third.
But more than that, it’s that smile he has. Much like Reyes’s grin, it shows the joy he has playing the game. It infectious on the field, which flows into the clubhouse.
The fatal flaw of the 2017 Mets was the tread on the tires for many of the everyday players. With most of the lineup over 30, it was hard for the whole lineup to stay on the field all season. The Mets need youth, energy and athleticism. Now, you will start seeing that with Conforto and Rosario. Dominic Smith will be brought up soon, as well.
In fact, of the starting eight from Opening Day, maybe Yoenis Cespedes will be the only player still on the club.
And that’s a good thing, because the Mets need a youthful lineup if they plan on going back to the World Series while their starters are in their primes.
Thirteen years ago, the Mets needed youth and came up with David Wright and Jose Reyes. Now the baton has been passed to Michael Conforto and Amed Rosario.