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2 METS

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ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP NEW YORK

If the rotation is healthy, they're a World Series contender. There's not much of a gap between them and the Nationals.... I'm not saying he's ever going to come all the way back, but Matt Harvey has shown flashes; his velocity was ticking back up in the mid-90s, and it seems to a lot of people that he's straightened things out. He needs to find his release point in his breaking ball—and stay out of the tabloids. If he's three-fourths of what he was, that's good enough in a rotation with Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom.... With all the big lefty hitters in the division, Steven Matz needs to solidify his place in the rotation to balance out the righthanders.... Look, Adrián González is a pro, but the ceiling for him is being a good platoon player.... As Yoenis Céspedes goes, so goes the office.... With David Wright out, Todd Frazier has quickly emerged as the veteran leader; he instantly becomes a favorite in every clubhouse he steps inside. Now, if he can hit above .250, they'll like him even more.... Jay Bruce clearly wasn't comfortable with the New York media, but the dynamic got better through the year. Brandon Nimmo, though, is the really intriguing guy in the outfield. The former first-rounder has always been a gap-to-gap guy, but now he's flashing some power. He has upside. This is a sneaky-good offense to go with that pitching staff.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

For all the additions the Mets made to shore up their offense and defense, this remains a squad that will live and die by its rotation. No player is more important than Noah Syndergaard. Thor, the single most exciting pitcher in baseball, threw just 30 innings last year, missing most of the season with a torn lat muscle. Syndergaard announced his return with authority, topping 100 mph on half his pitches in his spring debut, but therein lies the problem: Can the 25-year-old not only deliver heat at the top of his range but also feather the throttle enough to make 32 starts and pitch the 200 innings the Mets desperately need? Finding the balance between dominance and endurance will be essential for Thor's career and for the Mets' playoff hopes.

OVER / UNDER

81

With full seasons from a healthy Céspedes and Syndergaard, this team, which won 70 in '17, could improve by as much as 20 games this year.

THE LINEUP

1. SECOND BASE

Asdrúbal Cabrera

.325 OBP/16 HR/4 SB

2. LEFTFIELD

Yoenis Céspedes

.507 SLG/29 HR/3 SB

3. RIGHTFIELD

Jay Bruce

.468 SLG/26 HR/4 SB

FANTASY BREAKOUT

4. SHORTSTOP

Amed Rosario

.256 BA/8 HR/15 SB

His speed makes him a fantasy asset. The bat may be lagging, but his glove will keep him in the lineup.

5. THIRD BASE

Todd Frazier

.236 BA/26 HR/9 SB

6. FIRST BASE

Adrián González

.259 BA/.420 SLG/10 HR

7. CATCHER

Travis d'Arnaud

.256 BA/.430 SLG/12 HR

8. CENTERFIELD

Juan Lagares

.253 BA/4 HR/4 SB

THE STAFF

1. RH STARTER

Jacob deGrom

13 W/3.45 ERA/1.16 WHP

2. RH STARTER

Noah Syndergaard

13 W/3.11 ERA/1.09 WHP

3. LH STARTER

Jason Vargas

9 W/4.46 ERA/1.35 WHP

4. RH STARTER

Matt Harvey

7 W/4.72 ERA/1.40 WHP

CLOSER

Jeurys Familia

33 SV/3.60 ERA/9.0 K9

THE SKIPPER

Mickey Callaway