It is no secret that the New York Mets have World Series aspirations this season.
Owner Steve Cohen has made big moves to acquire the necessarily talent to do so, setting themselves up to make a run into October.
They have arguably the two best starting pitchers in the league, along with a star-studded lineup that can compete with any other.
Hitters beware. pic.twitter.com/RpxnDDuNsf
— New York Mets (@Mets) March 24, 2022
Now, they have a single clear path to winning the franchise’s third championship: their health.
If the Mets can stay healthy, there will be very little standing in their way.
However, the team’s history of various injuries raises question marks for the fans heading into the season.
Avoiding A Repeat Of Last Year
Going into last year, the Mets looked like they were the NL East favorites and would compete for a World Series.
As the season went on, their pitching rotation became devastated by injury.
Some of their position players even struggled with injury themselves.
‘Dominic Smith says he played with partially torn labrum last season for Mets’ by @timbhealey for @Newsday: Smith said the shoulder injury affected his performance last season, when his numbers were down… https://t.co/2bH6MwWVfQ #Mets pic.twitter.com/2hImeaSt1r
— New York BBWAA (@NYBBWAA) March 19, 2022
It even reached the point where the team ran out of Major League starters, turning to their Minor Leaguers for quick replacements.
Because of this, the team made efforts to increase their depth heading into 2022.
However, this may not be enough.
It will be critical for the Mets rotation to stay healthy and continue to be the team’s greatest strength if they hope to make a big playoff run.
Can Their Arms Stay Healthy?
The center of the Mets’ success lies in ace starting pitcher Jacob deGrom.
He is a transcendent athlete that is a distinct level above the rest of his competition.
The only problem is that his health last season struggled, as he was ravaged with a variety of issues for much of the season.
With the amount of stress he puts on his body while pitching, there is some worry surrounding how he will continue holding up as he ages.
However, a fully healthy season from deGrom could be the key for the Mets.
The team’s other ace, Max Scherzer, has been the pinnacle of health when it comes to starting pitchers.
He has avoided any serious injuries during his career while being statistically one of the best since 2013.
The only issue is that towards the end of last season, he suffered from arm fatigue as he helped the Los Angeles Dodgers in the postseason.
"What I'm dealing with is just my arm's dead. It wasn't like I'm dealing with tendons or ligaments… I wasn't dealing with red flag injuries, it was just my arm was tired." Max Scherzer discusses some of the fatigue he felt on the mound. pic.twitter.com/IyUam7rPTY
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 18, 2021
While this may just be a one-off issue, the 37-year-old is not getting any younger.
Could the struggles with his arm that Scherzer faced at the end of last season carry into this one?
This health concern will be at the center of any Mets storylines as the season continues.
It is hard to argue how strong their starting rotation and bullpen is, and its potential to be historically one of the best.
Their only obstacle to dodge on the way to becoming that is the injury bug.
Mets Lineup Has Potential… Barring Injury
The Mets made big moves to strengthen the depth of their lineup.
Last season, the core of their lineup stayed healthy for most of the season.
They didn’t have stellar years, especially Lindor who didn’t quite live up to the pressure of his major contract.
With bounce-back seasons, this lineup could be very strong and well balanced.
Because of this, the only thing in their way is staying healthy.
If their stars can get on the field for around 140 games each, the Mets are going to find themselves in the playoffs and very likely at the top of the NL East.
Updates on James McCann's sore back and other Mets injuries, including Starling Marte:
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) March 23, 2022
Marte in particular is the player to watch for this.
Throughout his career, Marte has been susceptible to small, nagging injuries that have taken him off the field.
It has already happened this year, as he is nursing an oblique injury that he hopes to return from for Opening Day.
If Marte remains healthy for the full season, it will be a promising sign that the Mets are able to avoid the injury issues that have derailed their previous years.