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Young Mets’ Call-Ups Leading Team Towards Playoff Berth In National League

Seth Lugo. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Seth Lugo. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)


Even before the 2016 MLB season started, the New York Mets were considered favorites to make it back to the World Series. With a pitching rotation that consisted of Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom and Steven Matz, it was a forgone conclusion that the pitching staff would lead the Mets to their first championship since 1986. Fast forward to September and the Mets had a problem.

Harvey was injured and will miss the rest of the season. Matz was shut down for a few weeks due to shoulder pain and DeGrom was recently shut down for the rest of season as he needs elbow surgery. The Met lineup was no better as three-fourths of the infield has either been out for an extended period of time (Lucas Duda) or announced to miss the remainder of the season (David Wright and Neil Walker). Even Yoenis Cespedes missed time due to back pain so it was assumed that the Mets were dead in the water.

But something happened to the Mets even with players being picked off due to the injury bug…they started winning games. Even without their regular pitching rotation and regular starting lineup, the Mets have jumped a number of teams to currently hold the 1st Wild Card spot in the National League. They have won three in a row and are 7-3 in their last ten games. This is all happening with Syndergaard (13-8, 2.43 ERA) and Bartolo Colon (14-7, 3.14 ERA) leading the way and a group of young players making major contributions to the Mets.

In the pitching department, the Mets were thin in the farm system as Rafael Montero and Logan Verrett were initially picked to plug the rotation holes. Both Verrett and Montero could not get the job done so Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins went to the second tier of their minor league pitchers Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. To the surprise of everyone, these two pitchers has held down the fort as they have turned in mostly good performances since being called up.

Gsellman, a 13th-round draft pick, is 2-1 with an earned run average just above three in four starts. This is after going 4-9 combined in Double-A and Triple-A earlier this season. Lugo, a 34th-round pick, is 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA in six starts. Both Gsellman and Lugo will not blow up the radar gun but they have been doing a great job of locating their pitches and getting timely outs, rare for pitchers in their first few starts in the majors.

On the batting side there has been major issues with the lineup throughout the season. Collins has done an admirable job of switching guys in and out of the lineup and adapting when needed. While the return of Jose Reyes has been a driving force in the team’s success, the call-up of T.J. Rivera could be the move that puts the Mets over the top. Rivera, who won the Pacific Coast League batting title with a .353 average, is hitting .344 since coming up from Triple-A Las Vegas and he hit the go-ahead home run against the Twins on Sunday. The ability to play multiple positions makes Rivera a commodity down the stretch as Collins will be able to move him around and keep him in the lineup through September.

The 2016 New York Mets have been snake bitten by injuries to almost everyone on the roster. What’s been keeping them above water and now in the thick of the playoff race are the contributions from the young Mets who are making the best of their opportunity and the expanded 40-man MLB rosters. The outcome of the the 2016 New York Mets season will depend on their continued contributions to the team and if it continues, the Mets could make an unthinkable throughout the playoffs once again.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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