Alyssa Rose: Wow. It's here. HAPPY OPENING DAY, Y'ALL!
I'd say I feel like a kid on Christmas Morning, but I have no idea what that feels like, so I'll just say I'm extraordinarily excited. We're coming into 2018 coming off of a 70-win season, which in my mind, means only one thing: The 2018 Mets are going to top the 2017 Mets.
Can you remember the last time you were able to wake up on Opening Day and say, "I am 100% certain that this team will be better than last year's team?" Same. I'll be honest, I was a little nervous a couple of days ago, but when I saw the Harvey interview proclaiming the boys are going to shock a lot of people this year, I instantly shot my win prediction up 10 games. Do I think it'll be enough to make a playoff run? Not even close. But do I think we'll squeak away with a solid 81 wins? You betcha.
I would, however, put every penny in my savings account on Noah winning the Cy Young. I don't have a savings account, because I make a very middle of the road salary living in New York City and have a shoe shopping addiction, but if I did, I'd be all in on Thor.
Nick Giacone: It’s dangerous to be this high on the Metsies, but on paper they are a division-winning team. This year, the injury gods will ignore Citi Field, which will allow the pitching staff to show their full potential. Sandy and the front office quietly addressed every need this offseason, which will yield an improved infield, a consistent lineup, and a staunch bullpen. Bringing back Jay Bruce and Jose Reyes and adding Todd Frazier and Adrian Gónzalez will reinforce strong clubhouse leadership. There won’t be any Cy Young awards or MVP candidates, but rather a stout team effort from the whole roster. Everyone say it with me: “October baseball will be back in Queens.”
Record: 91-71, NL East champs.
Tim Fitzpatrick: Optimism is not a strong suit for most Mets fans, but there are a number of reasons to feel excited about this 2018 squad.
For starters, they're due to see some progression toward the mean on the health front. Last season could not have gone worse for them there, and they've taken multiple measures during the off-season to make sure it doesn't happen again. The rotation has two top-tier starters in Thor and Jacob deGrom that can match-up against anyone in the league, while both Steven Matz and Matt Harvey showed signs in Spring Training that they can competently anchor the back end. The lineup has its fair share of boppers and will score plenty of runs, and their defense will be greatly improved with the addition of Todd Frazier and a full season of Amed Rosario at shortstop. I anticipate Gónzalez will play himself out of the lineup within the first month, and Mickey Callaway will eventually go with a platoon of Jay Bruce and Wilmer Flores until the team is finally ready to give Dom Smith a real shot. Mickey will find a challenge in managing some of the delicate pitching arms on the team, but the bullpen will be deep enough to allow for some growing pains.
I expect Noah Syndergaard to finish top-three in Cy Young voting, and if Clayton Kershaw's balky back finally does him in this season, Thor could win it. The Mets play in a division with one true threat in the Nationals. The Braves and Marlins are in various stages of rebuilding, and I'm not yet sold on the Phillies as a contender. This means the Mets get to bank some wins against some pretty bad teams for a good chunk of their season, which will give them a leg up on other Wild Card contenders. Ultimately, I see them playing a home Wild Card game against the Diamondbacks. The playoffs are always a crap shoot after that, but the top-end of their rotation and deep bullpen gives the Mets a great chance at making a run after that. Record: 89-73, Wild Card.
Tim Reilly: Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Matt Harvey will finally click on all cylinders for an entire season together, winning at least 15 games each. Once Michael Conforto settles into the every day lineup, the offense will do its part in taking some of the heavy lifting off the staff’s shoulders. Look for Wilmer Flores, Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares, and Jose Reyes to form a bench that becomes one of the team's biggest strengths. The Mets will give the Nationals a fight until the end, but ultimately finish a Wild Card spot, and later, overpower the Nats in a playoff series.
Record: 92-70, Wild Card.
Not only did it seal the victory, Yoenis Céspedes' monster grand slam taught Mets fans a lesson worth remembering this season: Don't panic over a couple of losses. Not with this team.