The Stories That Tell The Tale In Spring

The grass is green, the sun is shining and baseball is ready to be played. Tomorrow, the New York Mets begin their 2017 preseason as they open up Grapefruit League play at Fort Meyers, Florida against the Boston Red Sox. There are a few story lines heading into play this year that the team will be concerned with.

Can the captain stay healthy this year for a possible title run?
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The biggest question probably starts from the captain himself David Wright. After two seasons cut short by injuries, can Wright make it through a season without being hurt and get back into big league form? The Mets need Wright's leadership and bat in the lineup if they are looking to make a run at the postseason.

The Mets might be without Familia to begin the season.
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Another story line is Jeurys Familia as he may face a suspension to begin the season. Familia was arrested last October for domestic violence. Familia was acquitted from the charges, but could still face punishment from the MLB. This would lead to Addison Reed closing games for the Mets to start the season. With that, the Mets are also looking to fill in the role for the setup spot. Right now, the Mets are leaning towards Fernando Salas to take the spot.

Will the Grandyman leadoff or bat in the middle of the lineup?
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Another story line that is playing out is who will be the lead-off batter in the lineup? Curtis Granderson was the lead-off batter for much of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. Granderson saw a bit of a slump in the beginning of the season and was switched to the middle of the order. Then Granderson started to get into a hot zone where he seemed to get a hit almost every game. Should the Mets decide to keep Granderson in the middle, they'll probably go with Asdrubal Cabrera or Neil Walker. Both Walker and Cabrera are coming off good seasons, despite having been injured. Another name thrown out there is long time lead-off man Jose Reyes, but he will see limited roles with Wright, Cabrera and Walker all back in the lineup. 

Will Zack Wheeler be the fifth starter?
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Another story line is who will be the fifth starter in the rotation? Right now, the job is up for grabs between Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo and former big name Zack Wheeler. Wheeler would've been the favorite had it not been for the Tommy John surgery that cost him both the 2015 and 2016 season. Gsellman and Lugo both did a great job filling in for an injury plagued rotation during the playoff stretch. Time will tell who will win the fifth spot. Lugo will pitch the first game against the Red Sox tomorrow.

In order for the Mets to compete, they need to keep a healthy rotation.
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Finally, the last story line will be the health of the rotation. Last season, the Mets lost three of their five starters at one point to injury. They first lost Matt Harvey for the season with a shoulder injury. Harvey did not have a great season at all in 2016 and was plagued by the injury all season. The Mets eventually shut Harvey down. The Mets also lost Steven Matz and Jacob deGromm to injuries as well. In order for the Mets to compete for a deep postseason run, they will definitely need the strength of their rotation to get them back to where they were in 2015. 

All of these storylines will be played out at the start of Spring Training. Some people feel the preseason doesn't mean much, and can't determine a team. While this is true, it does determine how a team looks and who will be there to begin the season. The Mets have a lot of story lines going into the 2017 campaign. These story lines will play out during Grapefruit League play.