6 reflections on Mets' 2022 season

October 14th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Anthony DiComo’s Mets Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

This one is going to sting for a while.

Shortly after the Mets bowed out of the Wild Card Series with a one-hit performance in a win-or-go-home Game 3 on Sunday, several players began acknowledging the reality of their lost opportunity. Next year’s roster is going to look different -- perhaps much different. First baseman Pete Alonso called the inevitable “disbanding of the group” the most painful part of the Mets’ defeat. That’s truer than ever this year, with Jacob deGrom, Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Díaz and other central roster pieces set to become free agents.

“This league is unforgiving,” veteran starter Max Scherzer said. “It finds a way to punch you in the face every single time, and you’ve got to find a way to respond to it and come back out and want more. That’s the life of being a Major Leaguer. I wish everything could be gravy. I wish everything could work out in our favor. But more often than not, it doesn’t. It’s how you respond from that and how you rebound from that when you show up the next year.”

Scherzer acknowledged the difficult offseason that lies ahead, speaking specifically about how he and his teammates must train toward a better outcome next year. The front office also has much work ahead of it with large chunks of the roster set to turn over.

Those plans are already taking form, even though the Hot Stove action will not begin until November. For now, manager Buck Showalter said, he hopes his players will take time to rest, to recover, to reflect upon a difficult ending to one of the winningest summers in Mets history.

“It happens every year that you go back to your house and you start thinking, analyzing how the season went,” shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “You start taking things in. In the moment, it’s hard to do that, to take a step back and look at the season from a different angle. That’ll come. That’ll happen. And I’m sure there will be things I don’t like, a lot of things I don’t like. But as of now, I don’t regret anything.”

Defining moment: The 2022 Mets will always be defined by the final weekend of the regular season, when they traveled to Atlanta needing only one win to remain in control of their own destiny. Instead, the Mets were swept with Scherzer, deGrom and Chris Bassitt on the mound, effectively ceding the NL East to the Braves over the course of three nights. Two days later, Atlanta made it official, knocking the Mets into the Wild Card Series that they ultimately lost to the Padres.

What we learned: Nothing comes easy. Over the past two years, owner Steve Cohen has implemented countless changes to improve both the on-field roster and the top-down culture of the organization. Almost universally, those changes have been positive. But Cohen, who has often cited the Dodgers as the model for the type of organizational sustainability he would like to achieve, has yet to replicate Los Angeles' consistent winning ways.

Best development: There was no singular player who put the Mets in the position to win 101 games. Instead, the combined efforts of stars like Scherzer, Lindor, Alonso and Díaz led the team to its second-winningest season in history. The idea that the Mets are capable of such feats under Cohen, thanks to improvements in analytics, medical science and other areas, bodes well for the future.

Area for improvement: Although the Mets finished fifth in the Majors in runs, their offense lacked power, which affected its consistency. The Mets finished tied for 15th in home runs and ranked eighth in slugging, despite Alonso’s 40-homer season. In their two Wild Card Series losses, they hit one home run, scored one total run and went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

On the rise: As one of the younger contributors on a veteran roster, David Peterson established himself as a capable rotation fill-in, producing a 3.86 ERA in 19 starts and even hitting 99 mph on the radar gun in the second half of the season. Peterson worked out of the bullpen down the stretch and in the playoffs, but he’s a prime candidate to begin next season as a regular rotation member.

Team MVP: Lindor led the Mets in fWAR. Jeff McNeil led them in bWAR. Nimmo and Díaz contributed plenty as well. But the most valuable player in Queens? That was Alonso, who served as the Mets’ most consistent power source all summer. The first baseman finished with 40 home runs and a franchise-record 131 RBIs, tying Aaron Judge for the Major League lead in the latter category. He remains the engine of this offense.