People don’t root for the Mets because they want to be associated with its business brand or because of where analysts and experts pick them to finish. They do it for the ten-pitch at bats and exciting plays at the plate- for the love of the game itself, in other words.
Few things inspire that more than the sight of young talent and the Mets have their fair share to showcase.
Both sophomores Ike Davis and Josh Thole had encouraging rookie seasons. The 24-year-old Davis showed impressive power and keen defensive play at first base. Like most rookies, he slumped after pitchers made their initial adjustments to him but he rebounded nicely, making September his strongest month of the season.
Thole proved he's the kind of catcher who can manage a major league pitching staff- helping the Mets to a respectable 3.73 team ERA- while also hitting righties at an impressive .299 clip. He earned a starting spot before spring training even started.
On the mound, the Mets have penciled in Jonathon Niese for the rotation. Niese, 24, is entering his fourth year with the club but has only had one full season under his belt. Last year he pitched the most innings of his career but seemed to tire towards the end, which isn’t uncommon for young pitchers still learning what it takes to last through an entire big league season.
Though Niese doesn’t project to ever be a front line starter, he’s proven he has the pitching arsenal- including a commanding 12-to-6 curveball- to be a solid major league pitcher for years to come.
All three players still have plenty to prove. This season represents their first real opportunity to prove they belong and that they can continue to succeed at the major league level. Watching them mature over the course of the season could be very exciting, regardless of the team's wins and losses.
Along the way they're bound to excite, disappoint, frustrate and surprise us. And they’ll probably do it on a nightly basis, just like the rest of the team. But what else is new?