The New York Mets’ roster has been disintegrating over the last few weeks with injuries not only testing the team’s depth but challenging the depth behind that depth.
While you try to wrap your head around that, consider this: the Mets have 13 players including four starting position players (Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil), three starting pitchers (Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Noah Syndergaard), and major depth pieces (Albert Almora, Kevin Pillar) on the injured list with just over 20% of the 2021 season having been played.
Most years under previous leadership regimes would have seen the Mets quickly wilt away to bottom-feeders in the National League East — especially considering how loaded of a division it is this year.
But the Steve Cohen-era Mets made organizational depth a priority and it’s doing exactly what was expected heading into the season.
The Mets remarkably won a series against the Atlanta Braves, who many considered the favorites to win the NL East for a fourth-straight season, with a rag-tag lineup that wasn’t given much of a chance to keep up down in the Peach State.
Just take a look at some of the main contributors during the first two games of the series — both wins: Tomas Nido hit the game-winning home run on Tuesday night, Jonathan Villar drove in a pair, Johneshwy Fargas in his MLB debut drove in a run on Monday.
“I don’t think anybody’s trying to be the hero, I think we’re all just trying to play our part, and when you focus on the task at hand good things happen. It’s a lot of fun playing for this team,” Nido said. “This team has a big heart. All around it’s a big family, everybody pulling for each other. It’s a long season… this brings us even closer.
“So everybody in this clubhouse is willing to do anything and everything to bring home a victory for us.”
What’s even more remarkable about all this is that entering Wednesday night’s action, the Mets still held the top spot in the NL East as the culture has shifted remarkably over the last calendar year from doom and gloom to in it to win it.
“I think the things that other guys started are being passed to the guys that are coming into play. It doesn’t matter, even the guys coming from the [Triple-A] roster that we called up, they’re in it,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “Some guys haven’t really been involved that much offensively, but they’re playing. They’re playing hard, their confidence level is high and this is what these games are doing to the group that is ready to play and will be ready to play.”
Of course, the bench mob’s contributions would be downplayed if not for solid Mets pitching — especially from the bullpen down in Atlanta — that has helped keep things afloat on the mound.
After Taijuan Walker left Monday’s game in the third inning due to discomfort, the bullpen allowed just four runs in the following 15 innings.
“It was really special,” closer Edwin Diaz said. “Everyone did their job. We all did the job that we needed to do. The Braves are a great team. They have a great lineup, but we went out there and we went at-bat-for-at-bat and that’s what we did.”
With the way things are currently going, just imagine what the Mets will be like when they return to full strength. Nido has certainly put plenty of thought into it.
“We know what we can do. We know when this team is healthy and everybody is full-go we are going to be very dangerous,” Nido said. “Top-to-bottom, guys on the bench, we know where we stand with everybody in the league. We just have to stick together, battle through this, and once we get over that little hump it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”