There’s no question that the New York Mets have suffered from the injury bug throughout the better portion of the 2016 season. Pretty much every player the roster (David Wright, Matt Harvey, Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Reyes, Zack Wheeler, and Neil Walker) has been plagued with DL stints and nagging injuries. Over the next few days, the New York Mets will welcome back Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda, and Jacob Degrom. Even with all of the injuries this season, the Mets have managed to keep their head above water going into tonight 8 games above .500 with 16 games left in the season. Juan Lagares will provide the Mets with a much needed right- handed outfield bat and speed on the base paths. He will improve the outfield defense as his speed allows him to track down balls in the alley that Yoenis Cespedes is unable to get to because of his ailing right quad. Lagares will be a great asset off of the bench for Terry Collins as a pinch runner and defensive replacement late in games down the playoff stretch.
It seems as if Lucas Duda hasn’t seen action in a big league uniform since he made the throwing error from first base to home last year in the World Series. He has only played in 39 games this year and has been out since early May due to a back injury. In those 39 games, Duda hit 7 home runs and was on pace to have another 30 home run season before the injury. James Loney has provided steady defense at first base while hitting .261 with 7 home runs and 29 RBI in 310 at bats. Although Loney has been a decent fill in at first, the 32 year old is starting to look as if his age is catching up with him late in the season. Loney is hitting just .200 with 1 home run and 5 RBIs over his last 30 games and has been losing playing time to Wilmer Flores. Terry Collins has reiterated that Duda will be used in a pinch hitting role for his first few games back and will be able to return as soon as tomorrow. Duda will provide the Mets with power in the middle of the order and protection behind Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup.
The most encouraging news that the Mets have received is that of the return of Jacob Degrom. Sidelined since September 4th with forearm inflammation that has caused Degrom to miss multiple starts, Degrom looks to add to an already potent rotation. Degrom played a huge role in the Mets playoff run last year going 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 13 innings during the postseason. Degrom has carried that success into this year posting a 3.04 ERA, with 7 wins, and 143 strikeouts, while dealing with various injuries and poor run support in his starts. Last year, the big 3 of Syndegaard, Degrom, and Harvey carried the Mets into the postseason and to the World Series. This year, Bartolo Colon will have to join Jacob Degrom and Noah Syndergaard as the big 3 as Matt Harvey is out for the season and Steven Matz has proved to be inconsistent possibly due to bone spurs.
Assuming the Mets continue their strong play over the next two and a half weeks of the season, their roster now contains a nucleus of players that were on the World Series team last season. With the return of Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda, and Jacob Degrom, the Mets now have the depth capable of producing a playoff birth via Wild Card spot and possible World Series appearance.