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Mets Series Preview: Q&A with Amazin’ Avenue

Chris McShane from our Mets sister site stops by to discuss the upcoming series with the Mets.

MLB: New York Mets at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins will be home for the entire upcoming week, and it starts with a three-game series versus the New York Mets. Looking to bounce back after a disastrous road trip, the Fish will face off against Noah Syndergaard Monday night at 7:10pm ET.

The Mets have been one of baseball’s hottest teams out of the gate, currently holding a 7-1 record. However, they’re coming off one of the more disappointing seasons in recent memory as they were plagued by injuries, poor performances from key players, and organizational changes. Chris McShane, Managing Editor at Amazin’ Avenue, was nice enough to speak with us about some of the offseason moves, roster preview, season predictions and more.

This past offseason was obviously wild for the Marlins. It felt like it was hard to just keep track of everything we had going on not to mention other teams. How would you sum up the Mets’ offseason for a Marlins fan?

Well, it wasn’t exactly the polar opposite of what the Marlins did, but the Mets made a series of moves, most of which made sense. It would have been preferable to see them do more, but by signing Anthony Swarzak, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Adrian Gonzalez, and Jason Vargas, they made an attempt to complement the rest of the roster.

Todd Frazier’s coming from the Yankees and Jay Bruce’s return from Cleveland stand out as the biggest moments from the winter to me. Which one do you think will have the biggest impact on the Mets in 2018?

It’ll probably be Frazier, if only because third base has been something of an open question for a while now, going back to the beginning of David Wright’s serious back injuries. Bruce isn’t as great a fit roster-wise, as the Mets are pushing Michael Conforto to center field to play Bruce in right, but that also doesn’t mean that Bruce can’t contribute in a positive way.

We’re obviously early here, but things have gone exceptionally well for the Mets so far. How do you feel about it? Anything you’ve seen so far that is overly concerning?

There haven’t been many things to be concerned about thus far, but I’m most concerned about seeing just where Matt Harvey and Steven Matz settle in, performance-wise.

Mets’ fans have (seemingly) nothing to be worried about with Mickey Callaway at the helm. One thing that stood out to me was how well he handled the bullpen on Saturday against the Nationals, where he utilized four relievers in three innings to lock up a 3-2 victory. What stands out to you in how he has handled the team versus how Terry Collins had recently?

It’s far too early to make any reasonable comparison between the two managers given the fact that Callaway has managed just eight games. He seems to be doing well without doing anything particularly unique or noteworthy when it comes to deploying his players. That’s probably a good sign.

First-year Mets manager Mickey Callaway.
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Yoenis Cespedes seems to be the biggest stand-out on offense for the Mets so far. How much of a difference maker is he when he is in the lineup?

Before his cold spell over the weekend, this was absolutely true. He’s a complete game changer, and I think people forgot just how good he is after he had the injury issues last year.

So the Mets’ Five Aces (Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, & Matt Harvey) are finally in the same rotation together. Miami will experience the first three and Milwaukee has Matz and Harvey. What are your expectations for this group? The Mets also have Lugo and Gsellman excelling early, which one of them do you think will swap with someone in the aforementioned Five?

I don’t think this group of five will last all that long, as Jason Vargas is incredibly likely to take a rotation spot when he returns from the disabled list. But getting to see these five pitchers take a turn through the rotation together at least once is exciting.

Wheeler joins Harvey and Matz in the “I don’t really know what to expect” group this year. Syndergaard and deGrom are capable of contending for the Cy Young. The other three could be anywhere from ace-caliber pitchers to guys that are on the brink of losing a spot in the rotation. I wouldn’t be surprised by any outcome for them.

Michael Conforto is back early from September shoulder surgery! Could this be another situation with the Mets’ medical staff or do you think he’s good to go?

I don’t have any concerns about Conforto being rushed back. Everything he did in spring training looked good, and if he was up to game speed, there wasn’t really much of a reason to make him play in the minors.

Who’s the one player in the Mets organization that will surprise people the most?

I’d say Gsellman. His stuff looks nasty, and the results have been good so far. He had a down year last year for sure, but it would be pretty great to see him emerge as an upper-tier multiple-inning reliever. And it seems possible.

What do the Mets have to do to win this series against the Marlins? What do they have to lose it? What is your prediction for the series?

With the Marlins’ roster in the state that it is, the Mets just need to do what they’ve been doing. If they pitch as well as they have and get even decent production from their lineup, they should do well. With things going as well as they are, I’ll predict that the Mets sweep the Marlins—a risky proposition for any series in Miami, where they’ve been tortured in the past, but that’s how it feels right now.