The 2021 New York Mets weren’t good: they finished 77-85, third in the National League East after leading the division for months.
With a wealthy owner and several high-profile signings, they were expected to make the playoffs, but the poor performance of some stars, plus a myriad of injuries, were just too much to overcome.
The 2022 season, however, should be better for New York, and it all could start with resurgent campaigns from these 2021 underperforming stars.
3. Carlos Carrasco
Things started going south for Carlos Carrasco in spring training, when he reported elbow soreness.
Then, a few weeks later, he suffered a hamstring tear that took away nearly two-thirds of his season.
When he came back, he wasn’t good, as he finished with a 6.04 ERA in 53.2 innings for the Mets.
We all know what a healthy Carrasco can do with a proper spring training routine.
He is a career 3.86 ERA pitcher, with 9.41 strikeouts per nine frames.
That’s about what fans can expect him to contribute in 2022, and if that happens, the team will have absolutely no complaints.
So far, the trade with the Cleveland Indians (now Guardians) that netted the Mets Carrasco and Francisco Lindor hasn’t worked out as hoped.
But both men carry considerable bounce-back potential.
Yes. Carlos Carrasco is our #3 and we need a power bat. https://t.co/QBwpRHFntR
— semaJ (@semaJ7272) December 4, 2021
2. Dominic Smith
When the 2020 campaign ended, the Mets thought they had a budding star in Dominic Smith.
After all, he had slashed .316/.377/.616 with 10 home runs and a 166 wRC+ in 50 games.
The wRC+ stat means weighted Runs Created Plus and evaluates the offensive performance of a player in comparison to his peers, with 100 being ‘average’.
His 166 wRC+ that year meant that his production was 66 percent better than the average, which is extraordinary.
Unfortunately, Smith couldn’t sustain his 2020 performance in 2021: he slashed .244/.304/.363 with an 86 wRC+ in 493 plate appearances.
In other words, his production this year was 14 percent worse than his peers.
However, there are reasons to believe Smith can bounce back.
He was very unlucky in 2021, with a noticeable difference between his .291 wOBA (weighted on base average) and his .324 expected wOBA.
The wOBA stat considers outcomes (doubles, hits, triples, home runs, strikeouts, outs, walks, etc.) while expected wOBA evaluates quality and quantity of contact.
Additionally, Smith has first-round pedigree (drafted in 2013) and also performed admirably in 2019, with a .282/.355/.525 line (134 wRC+).
He is not as good as his 2020, but certainly not as bad as his 2021.
1. Francisco Lindor
Lindor was perhaps the Mets’ most disappointing player in 2021 considering the sky-high expectations and his mammoth contract.
He slashed .230/.322/.412 with 20 home runs and a 103 wRC+.
His career-high in home runs is 38, and he has a 117 wRC in his MLB tenure, so we know very well he can be a lot better.
However, he had to adapt to a big city and a huge market and cope with unfair expectations while being the face of the team.
He struggled during the first two months, but was his normal self after June.
Francisco Lindor had an .852 OPS with 16 XBH (9 HR/5 2B/2 3B) and 127 wRC+ over his final 35 games (149 PA)
from 2017-19, he had an .856 OPS, 122 wRC+, and an XBH every 8.95 PA
XBH per 9.3 PA down the stretch above. really not far off
— Tim Ryder (@TimothyRRyder) December 8, 2021
Since June 1, Lindor slashed .252/.340/.482 with a 124 wRC+, very close to his career .278/.343/.478 career line.
Then, most of this production came after late August, because he missed more than a month after injuring his oblique in mid-July.
It was a rough year for him, but he is still Lindor: he will undoubtedly be better in 2022.