Wow! The Mets are 12-2 and giving the Washington Nationals something to think about as the season goes into full gear. Sure we all say that it’s a long season and you can’t get a real feel for who is going to be at the top until June or July, but I can honestly say that the Nats are not going to have an easy ride into the playoffs this year and it is not just the Mets who will give them fits.
You may not have noticed it yet but the second place team behind the Mets is not the Nationals but the Phillies. Yes the cellar dwellers in the National League East for the past few years. They are riding a 6 game winning streak with a team of young hungry players. They also have a farm system that is loaded with prospects who are for real and are on the doorstep of being good enough to challenge for a playoff spot soon.
But wait, the third place team is not the Nats. It is the Atlanta Braves who are equally talented from their farm system to the big leagues now. Get used to hearing the names Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Sean Newcomb and Ronald Acuña as they begin to gain more experience and confidence that could potentially see them dominate in the big leagues, just like Braves’ teams of the past. These names may not ever replace the “Larry, Larry” chants for Chipper Jones but I have a feeling the creative Mets’ fans will come up with another classic chant.
The Mets will get plenty of help from these two teams as the season progresses. Look for a fantastic season of competition in the NL East. With the unexpected emergence of these talented players on the Phillies and Braves, we are looking at a lot of exciting games in this division for a long time. Not to put a bucket of water on the fire that is the Mets right now but just be aware that the Mets do not, I repeat, do not have a farm system like the the Nationals, Braves or Phillies. The depth of these other organizations will make it possible to elevate more high ceiling young players to their big league club or use them in trades to complete their puzzles for winning the division or winning a wild card spot. And don’t forget the Marlins. They are beginning to go down the same road as the Phillies and Braves.
But that is still in the making. What are we looking at now? How long can Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez produce at the power corner positions? For now, they are doing better than expected. Both have done an excellent job on the field as well as in that young clubhouse as they have taken the pressure off of some of the younger players. That has given these talented young Mets’ players a chance to relax and just be themselves on the field. The Mets need to keep their foot on the accelerator and have this division won by August. With the development of the Braves and Phillies coming into view, this could be the last time the Nationals and I hate to say, the Mets, will be able to take it to the top for a bunch of years.
Will Washington be able to withstand the possibility of some stiff competition over the next few years? Their track record in winning playoff games is terrible and having a cake walk to the division the past few years is coming to an end. Can the Mets continue with what they’ve done and take this team to a division title and another World Series this year?
As our President says: “We’ll see what happens.”