Mancuso: Mets Have That Core

Yes, this has not been the plan that was for the Mets during this first half of misery. But that core of youngsters the Mets have developed does put things on the bright side with Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil. They  are headed next week to Cleveland with Jacob deGrom to represent the Mets as National League All-Stars.

And in a season so far, more of misery than championship aspirations, there is reason to be optimistic. If only that darn bullpen did not have the worst ERA in the National League perhaps the Mets would be closer to first than last place.

Leave that misery to play out the remainder of this season. You add Michael Conforto to the mix, if he is more consistent at the plate, Amed Rosario and playing to his potential, Dom Smith is showing his potential, and the Mets are looking good. Maybe not this year, but building around for the better in 2020.  

And there is J.D. Davis, a part of this core. Quietly this offseason acquisition from the Astros had another three-hit game as the Mets took the final Sunday night over the Braves. He’s not an All-Star, may not be McNeil who is the MLB leader in hitting.  Davis is not Alonzo with 28 home runs and headed to a possible NL Rookie of the Year season. 

But in this first half of misery, Alonso and McNeil are  two of the young stars in the game and J.D. Davis is doing his part to get there.  Alonso and McNeil are connecting with fans. Davis in the lineup and off the bench is quietly at Citi Field, where the Mets have a winning percentage, 21-16,  getting his share of cheers.

“We are building a nice core  and have an opportunity to do something big here,” Davis said. “We feed off each other. So happy for Pete and Jeff and for Jake as all-stars.”

Davis is one of five Mets along with Alonso to have multi-home run games this season.  His home batting average is .370 and developing more out in leftfield as opposed to his natural spot  as an infielder.

Leave that again for another day, but the Mets are quietly developing a core. Again, if there were more wins in the column you can almost be assured  the baseball world would be talking more about Alonzo, McNeil, Smith, Rosario, and Davis.

“They are building a good young core of players and all-stars as first year players it’s great to see,” said Doug Granville. The former Phillies and Cubs outfielder, notorious for hitting well at Shea Stadium, was in town Sunday night broadcasting for the ESPN telecast.

McNeil drove in the go-ahead runs in the eighth inning and got on base with three singles. First McNeil did the talking and said, “It was an unbelievable day.” The All-Star nod and then coming up with the big hit, and less than a year from  playing Triple-A ball in Las Vegas the former Mets affiliate.

\It’s like poetry in motion. McNeil leads off and Alonso follows. They get on base and combined they drove in four runs in a five-run eighth inning that paved the way for an Edwin Diaz three-out save and Mets 8-5 win.

“Sometimes you just have to touch the ball and good things will happen ,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said about McNeil. “That’s why he’s hitting .340 something and is on the All-Star team.” 

Alonso, the second round draft pick was not projected to be here. The job at first was going to Dominic Smith, but Alonso proved his worth. It’s all a good sign for this young and good core of Mets.  

“Me and him (McNeil) kind of feed off each other,” Alonso said. “He’s a sparkplug. We just have really good chemistry. I love him hitting in front of me.”  Alonso is also the fourth Mets rookie to make an all-star team.  

The Mets broke a seven game losing streak. They want to carry this momentum with the Yankees coming to Citi Field tomorrow night for two games.  And this is a good way for this core to shine more in front of their home fans before the all-star break.

McNeil said the way their day ended was awesome, Noah Syndergaard, in his first start off the injured list, was not perfect and got the no-decision . But this core has also impacted the Mets’ righthander.

“I can’t  praise them enough,” he said. “Kudos to them. They deserve it for sure.”  

And in a season of misery, this core is doing something special.

Comment: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso




About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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