The New York Mets had an up-and-down season offensively in 2017, due in large part to a plethora of injuries plaguing the hitters at the heart of the order. However, with a healthy roster, the Mets have players who could put up massive numbers during the 2018 season and provide consistency to an offense that sorely needs it.
Batting Average: Michael Conforto
Projected 2018 Statistics: .283 BA, 20 HRs, 60 RBI
2017 Statistics: .279 BA, 27 HRs, 68 RBI
Despite appearing in just 109 games last season, Conforto put together perhaps the most impressive season of any Mets hitter, besting his career highs in both home runs and runs batted in by an impressive margin and earning a spot on the National League All-Star team. Conforto’s power will likely be affected by a devastating shoulder injury suffered last season, but for a team that finished with an unimpressive .250 team batting average in 2017, Conforto’s average at the top of order will be just as important to the team’s success as his power numbers.
Home Runs: Jay Bruce
Projected 2018 Statistics: .249 BA, 35 HRs, 105 RBI
2017 Statistics: .254 BA, 36 HRs, 101 RBI (with Mets and Indians)
Bruce was traded to the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline, but still finished the 2017 season as the Mets’ team leader in home runs with 29 long balls. Bruce struggled down the stretch for Cleveland, hitting just 7 HRs in 43 games, but played phenomenally during the Indians’ brief postseason run. After resigning with the Mets earlier this offseason, Bruce will be prepared to do some serious damage as the Mets’ cleanup hitter.
Runs Batted In: Jay Bruce
As with home runs, Bruce led the 2017 Mets in RBI with 75. Batting fourth in the order behind hitters like Conforto, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes will give Bruce plenty of opportunities to drive players in, and his production over the course of a full season will hopefully help improve a Mets offense that finished 19th in the league in runs scored.
Runs Scored: Yoenis Cespedes
Projected 2018 Statistics: .280 BA, 30 HRs, 85 RBI, 80 Runs
2017 Statistics: .292 BA, 17 HRs, 42 RBI, 46 Runs
Cespedes battled through hamstring injuries that ultimately limited him to 81 games in 2017 but still showed the uncanny ability to make plays both at the plate and on the basepaths when it mattered most. After having a whole offseason to rest his hamstrings, Cespedes has the potential to return to the form that saw him score 89 runs in 2014 and 101 runs in 2015.
Stolen Bases: Amed Rosario
Projected 2018 Statistics: .260 BA, 8 HRs, 30 RBI, 35 Steals
2017 Statistics: .248 BA, 4 HRs, 10 RBI, 7 Steals
Jose Reyes tallied 24 steals last season, the only Mets player to collect more than 7 steals. The Mets finished with 58 steals as a team, the fourth-lowest total in the league, and with Reyes turning 35 years old in June, it will be up to Rosario to become the team’s primary playmaker on the basepaths. Given his outstanding speed, he should have no trouble topping 30 steals, something that no Mets player has done since Eric Young Jr. in 2014.
It will be hard for the Mets’ offense to start the season off strong given Conforto’s injury and the relative inexperience of young players like Rosario. Still, the pieces are in place for the Mets to be good on both sides of the ball by season’s end; it is up to the team to play well enough to keep them in the playoff hunt until then.