The New York Mets are off to one of the strongest starts in MLB this season.
At 28-15, they have already opened a quick eight-game lead in the NL East.
Now the team will look to select players to step up and shoulder the load as the team tries to battle their way back to the postseason.
A special moment for Starling. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/HU0TDSkkf5
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 21, 2022
3. Pete Alonso
It goes without saying, but Pete Alonso is the heart and soul of this Mets team.
He has the potential to carry them offensively, and he has done so in the month of May.
In 2022, Alonso currently leads the league in RBI (36) while slugging 10 home runs and adding a .286 average.
Being at the center of their lineup, much of the pressure will fall on Alonso to drive in runs.
When he does, they are certainly hard to beat.
On top of this, Alonso’s emotional style of play helps to energize the team, lifting the play of others when he is playing well.
Pete Alonso on the Mariners intentionally walking Francisco Lindor to get to him in the 9th:
"I love being put in those pressure situations. I love that. I wouldn't have it any other way. He executed. It is what it is. It stinks to end the game that way." pic.twitter.com/AJJmF3DeXa
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 15, 2022
With this status as the leader of their offense, even more of the responsibility falls on Alonso to perform.
If they want to hold onto their division lead, look for Alonso to build on his strong start.
2. Chris Bassitt
The Mets trade for pitcher Chris Bassitt from the Oakland Athletics may go down as one of the most underrated moves of the entire offseason.
Over the last five seasons, Bassitt has crafted himself into a legitimate arm at the top of a rotation.
33 seconds of Chris Bassitt filth from tonight.
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) March 30, 2022
While he may have suffered from being in the small market of Oakland, he is now under the bright lights.
With the injuries to deGrom and Scherzer, he is now this team’s ace.
So far, he is off to a strong 4-2 start with a 2.77 ERA.
This is the level of performance that will need to continue in the absence of their other starters.
If Bassitt can consistently provide this production, it will set a tone for the Mets; no longer are they injury-ridden and cursed, instead they can push through it.
1. Taijuan Walker
With Bassitt needing to take a bigger role as the ace of the staff, someone needs to fill the depth.
This falls directly on Taijuan Walker.
After making the All-Star Game and then struggling late last season, Walker has bounced back early in 2022.
He has posted a 3.52 ERA in five starts to give the rotation a boost.
Taijuan Walker, Filthy Splitters. ✌️ pic.twitter.com/LMLpKnnWpl
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 11, 2022
Now, the absence of both Scherzer and Megill make his role even more important.
Walker will need to give the Mets enough strong starts to bridge the gap until the team’s rotation is healthy again.
If he can return to his All-Star form, it would surely help the Mets maintain their lead in the NL East.
While it will take a team effort for the Mets to avoid falling off later in the season, these are the three players who can carry the team most as they navigate injury troubles early in the season.