The Mets have four players who could make or break their 2024 playoff hopes

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies, pete alonso
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Morale is high in the New York Mets’ locker room at the moment. The Mets (34-37) are winners of six straight games and are also 8-2 in their last 10 contests. Both of those numbers are the best in the MLB as things stand. New York has dug themselves out of a rut that could’ve festered leading up to the midway point of the year.

Instead, their 3.5-game deficit under .500 looks manageable now. The thoughts around the ball club are that the playoffs are attainable. The Mets will need their entire roster on their A-game to get them into the postseason this fall. However, four players were labeled as most crucial in such respects.

Mets’ four X-Factors are also four of their best players

Jun 1, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets injured starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) throws a baseball in the outfield before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Serby of the New York Post highlighted Pete Alonso, Kodai Senga, Francisco Alvarez, and Edwin Diaz as the most crucial players that need to support their already successful four-man unit of Starling Marte, Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor and J.D. Martinez.

Alonso is hitting for power and is on pace for over 30 home runs, though he’s not quite at the level he’s produced at in 2022 and 2023. He’s also getting by without wowing at the plate with a .232 batting average, though his .771 OPS masks that figure. If the Mets are going to make some serious noise down the back half of the year, they’ll only go as far as Alonso takes them.

Their ace, Senga, has yet to play in 2024 due to a shoulder strain sustained this spring. He is expected to be out through the All-Star break. The Mets desperately need their lead man back on the mound. The Japanese phenom posted a 2.98 ERA and 202 strikeouts in his rookie outing with the Mets in 2023. New York’s pitching staff is competent, but Senga makes it borderline formidable, with a clear-cut 1-2-3 spearhead of Senga, Luis Severino, and Sean Manaea, and a good assortment of talent rounding out the unit.

The Mets have a superstar pitcher and talent at catcher that can catch fire at the right time

New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez (4) picks up a bunt and throws out Detroit Tigers centerfielder Parker Meadows in the fourth inning at Clover Park
Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Alvarez is highly esteemed — and with good reason. He hasn’t been able to follow in the footsteps of his emergent 2023 campaign where he went for 25 home runs, 51 runs, and 63 RBIs. Injuries have limited him to only 22 games played this spring. If he can approximate that production at the least, once he hits his stride as the year wares on, he could be just the X-factor that gets the Mets over the hump in the National League.

As for Diaz, the Puerto Rican flamethrower staggered in the month of May with four blown saves and an uncharacteristic lack of command on the mound. He is back on his job with a win against the Miami Marlins on June 13 and a save against the San Diego Padres a day later. His chronicled throwing woes seem to be behind him, which will help the Mets capture wins that go down to the wire.

Each of those players are probably their four best. They’ll need to play like it with every opportunity they get in order to leapfrog teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks for a Wild Card spot come October.

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