Underachieving. Disappointment. Those two words describe New York baseball over the past decade. Every year, it seems as if the New York Mets and New York Yankees go into the season with championship expectations and always end up disappointing. Last season, both the Mets and Yankees had World Series expectations going into the season. However, after a brutal second-half collapse, the Mets ended the season with a 77-85 record–missing the playoffs. The Yankees lost to the Boston Red Sox in the Wild Card Game after having hovered around .500 for a good portion of the season.
Following a disappointing offseason for the Bronx Bombers, general expectations weren’t set as high as they usually are. The Metropolitans have underachieved every year over the past four years, so expectations were relatively low.
This year seems to be a different story, however. Both the Yankees and Mets currently hold the best records in the American and National League, respectively: the Yankees are 17-6 while the Mets are 16-8 and first in the AL. While the season isn’t even a quarter over yet, something about these two teams feels different than in the past. Below, I’ll discuss why I believe this is the best New York baseball has been in a while.
Pitching- New York Yankees
Everyone knows who Jacob DeGrom is. Everyone knows who Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole are. However, the pitching of both New York teams has been phenomenal outside of them too. Since Cole hasn’t been pitching as well as everyone expected him to in the beginning of the year, other starters have needed to step up and get the job done. And for the most part, they have. For the Mets, DeGrom is most likely out until June, and the rest of their rotation has been great.
The emergence of Nestor Cortes has been a huge reason why the Yankees’ pitching has been so successful this season. After being an afterthought in the Yankees’ rotation coming into the year, with him being the fifth starter in the rotation, he has been nothing short of amazing this season. He has posted a 1.31 ERA in four games, which is far better than anyone would have expected coming into the season. In addition, Jameson Tallion, Luis Severino, and Jordan Montgomery have also been quite solid for the Yankees so far this season.
The Yankees bullpen has been arguably the best in all of baseball. Currently, they hold a 2.47 bullpen ERA, which is second to the Detroit Tigers. Everyone from Miguel Castro to Michael King has had a significant impact.
Pitching- New York Mets
With Jacob Degrom out a few months, many people had significant concerns regarding the Mets rotation. Coming into the year, Tylor Megill was an unknown, Carlos Carrasco was an unknown, and many thought the team needed to rely heavily on ace Max Scherzer. However, other pitchers have stepped up in huge ways too. After an up-and-down rookie season, Megill has been excellent so far in 2022, posting a 1.93 earned run average. Off-season acquisition Chris Bassitt has also been great thus far, proving he can be an elite third starter on this Mets team when DeGrom returns.
The most significant question mark coming into this season for New York was Carrasco. After an injury-riddled and career-worst season in 2021, there was not much hope he would be even a shell of his former Guardians self. However, while he hasn’t looked like a Cy Young candidate, he is looking like everything Jeremy Hefner and the Mets could have wanted in him as a reliable and consistent fifth starter. Besides an outing last week where he surrendered eight runs, he has held opponents to two runs or less in every one of his starts this season.
Extra Fuel- Mets and Yankees
Both the Mets and Yankees are playing with much more energy and passion than a season ago. This is probably due to their discouraging finishes in 2021, but it is great to see.
Overall, these two teams have had excellent starts to their seasons, and if it keeps up, we could be in for a Mets-Yankees World Series.