The Kings of New York Still Reside in the Bronx: An In-Depth Analysis

A crushing loss in the World Series finally drew the Mets surprising season to an end. A talented and young pitching staff guided the team through the season while midseason additions jump started their once stagnant offense. Many in the baseball world were quick to jump on the Mets bandwagon and crown them as the Kings of New York. Let me say this, I was very happy to see the Mets do well and make it to the World Series. They are an exciting, talented young team that earned their place in October. I just could not bring myself to root for them because at heart, the Mets are a rival and I am a die-hard Yankee fan. The two teams are two completely different in their own ways and in this article, I’m going to give a position by position breakdown to see which team has the edge at each spot and why the Yankees still reign supreme in New York. in the present and future.

Starting Rotations

                          Yankees                                                                     Mets
Masahiro Tanaka- Their #1 starter, pitched more like a #2 or #3 this season and has yet to regain his ace form from 2014 as he allowed a whopping 25 home runs. However, his splitter is still one of the best in baseball and when his fastball has movement, he can dominate games.
Jacob deGrom- An All-Star in 2015, he has really come into his own as the go to guy for the Mets, shutting down hitters in the #1 spot for the rotation.
Michael Pineda- A coin flip every time he takes the mound even though he gives flashes of ace potential, with efforts such as his 16 strikeout game against the O’s. Other times, he looks like a mediocre spot starter.
Noah Syndergaard- Another young starter who remember, was acquired along with Travis d’Arnaud for R.A Dickey. Thor, as he goes, is an imposing figure on the mound at 6’3 with a fastball that routinely touches 100 mph.
C.C Sabathia- He looked for much of the season as if it could be his last, giving up runs left and right and never going deep into games. However, he regained his old self in August and improved greatly, going deeper into games.
Matt Harvey- The Dark Knight, is an interesting case. Adored by Mets fans until a missed practice and innings limit caused a flurry of controversy. Then he came out and dominated the Royals in the World Series to silence the critics. With all this aside, Harvey is a consistent and dominant force that could carry any staff.
Nathan Eovaldi- “Nasty Nate” transformed from a thrower to a pitcher in his first year in the Bronx. One of the hardest throwers in the game, he turned to newfound splitter that elevated his game. He went 14-3 before elbow inflammation took him down.  
Steven Matz- One of the Mets midseason additions from the farm, Matz finished with a 2.27 ERA in 6 games started with 34 K’s. Him being the #4 in the rotation shows how impressive the staff is.
Luis Severino- Dazzled in his two months in pinstripes with an electric fastball, good mix of offspeed pitches and intense energy. Should be a cornerstone of the rotation for years to come.
Bartolo Colon- The ageless wonder, Colon was an effective bargain for the Mets as he provided long relief and a quality starting arm. His career is winding down but 2015 was a great season for him.

Edge: Mets
The injury bug and inconsistency have hit the Yankees hard in recent years. This Mets rotation is downright nasty. Jon Niese and Dillon Gee serve as valuable depth pieces which have proven to be a necessity for teams, as rest for the starters is imperative. Many tend to forget that the Mets still have Zack Wheeler, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. He will most likely slide into the #5 slot in the rotation next season.
                           Yankees                                                                      Mets
Brian McCann- Two years into his 5 year $85 million deal, slumps and hot streaks have defined McCann. However the 2015 season was a definite improvement over his underachieving 2014 season. An All-Star snub, he drove in 94 runs, a career high, and was the league leader for catchers with 26 home runs. His defense behind the plate was solid as was his reputation for mentoring his pitchers. Although his production dipped after the All-Star break, he had an overall rebound year and produced as one of the league's best catchers.
Travis d’Arnaud-  Showed to be one of the better young catchers in the game with a solid overall season in 2015. d’Arnaud only played in 67 games due to the Mets willingness to start Kevin Plawecki for much of the season and injury, but in those 67 games, he hit .268 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI’s almost matching his output from 108 games in 2014.  Plawecki is an average backup catcher hitting for generally low average, but serviceable nonetheless.
John Ryan Murphy- Showed in limited action this year that he is one of the best backup catchers in baseball. In 67 games behind the dish, he hit a solid .277 with 3 home runs and 14 RBI’s. At the young age of 24, Murphy has shown impressive calm and a mature demeanor when it comes to dealing with his pitchers.

Edge: Yankees
Even though d’Arnaud is young and will have a full season to produce next year, the reliable bat and work ethic of McCann combined with a solid backup in J.R Murphy gives the Yankees the edge at this position. J.R Murphy is only 24 years old and will in all likelihood become the Yankees catcher of the future once McCann finishes his deal. d’Arnaud is just two years older than Murphy, and it will be interesting to see how they both fare when they have a full season under their belt.

First Base
                             Yankees                                                                     Mets
Mark Teixeira- Before going down with an unfortunate and random injury, Tex had been enjoying a resurgent year that again had him as one of the top first basemen in all of baseball. In 111 games, he drove in 79 runs, hit 31 home runs, played stellar defense and was in the conversation for Comeback Player of the Year award and even AL MVP.
Lucas Duda- Had great 2014 and 2015 seasons hitting at least 25 homers and over 70 RBI’s each season. A prototypical first basemen with a big bat, and big part of the Mets lineup as well as being a leader in the clubhouse.
Greg Bird- A focused and mature player beyond his years, the 21 year old Bird did everything asked of him and more while filling in for the injured Teixeira. In 46 games, the rookie hit 11 home runs and drove in 31 runs while playing admirable defense. Look for him to take over for Tex after the 2016 season.

Edge: Yankees
This seems like it should be closer considering how good Duda has become in recent years, but when Tex is healthy, he is simply one of the best offensive and defensive players in the game. Having Bird, the eventual starter waiting in the wings, gives the Yankees the overwhelming edge.

Second Base

                               Yankees                                                                  Mets
Stephen Drew- The most hated Yankee on the entire roster, he produced one of the weirdest seasons in recent memory, hitting under .200 for the majority of the season but hitting 17 home runs. He is a free agent and we can only hope they don’t resign him.

Rob Refsnyder- A fan favorite, he showed improvement with his defensive work but also flashed his reputation for having a good bat hitting .302 in 16 games in the bigs.

Dustin Ackley- Brian Cashman’s lone deadline acquisition, he came through to help the Yankees down the stretch with some timely home runs and versatility in the field.
Daniel Murphy- The postseason hero of the Mets, he played a solid second base all year and hit for a great .281 average while knocking in 73 runs. Soft-spoken and well received by the fans and his team, Murphy has proven to be a consistent and reliable infielder. Will the Mets re-sign him?

Edge: Mets
The Yankees haven’t had a real second baseman since Robinson Cano and this year reminded us that they still haven’t found the answer. Daniel Murphy is the model of consistency and quiet leadership. It is fair to wonder though, if the Mets will re-sign him free agency. If they do not, it will be interesting to see who replaces him, with the most likely option being from the farm. It’s a toss-up of who will be the starter for the Yanks but depending on who the Mets have next year they could very easily have the edge here.

                             Yankees                                                                     Mets
Didi Gregorius- Started off the year with bad defense and a weak bat but turned himself around to hit for a .265 average and provide highlight reel plays. He is quick on the bases, provided some pop hitting 9 home runs and drove in 56 runs. He was the 4th best shortstop in the AL this past season.
Wilmer Flores- Had a good season splitting time with Ruben Tejada at second baseman. Hit for a .263 average and drove in 59 runs all while improving his glove work. Provided good power for a shortstop with 16 home runs.
Brendan Ryan- Stellar with the glove and below average with the bat. A serviceable bench piece who can play multiple infield positions.
Ruben Tejada- In 116 games the shortstop hit .263 with 28 RBI’s. A good defensive shortstop the entire season, he along with Flores made for a solid combo.

Edge: Even
Didi Gregorius’ defense is superior to both Flores and Tejada, but when it comes to the plate it is almost dead even. Didi’s .265 average and 56 RBI’s are nearly identical to Flores’ .263 average and 59 RBI’s. After settling into the Bronx after year one, Gregorius should have a great 2016 campaign. Flores and Tejada both can show what they’ve got next year and who will be the definitive starter.

Third Base
                               Yankees                                                               Mets
Chase Headley- In his 1st season of his brand new contract, Headley greatly under performed. He hit for an average of .259 while driving in 62 runs and swatting 11 homers. Respectable numbers, but not as good as his contract suggests. His biggest problem however came in the field as he committed a career high 23 errors.
David Wright- Captain America was injured for much of the 2015 season as he only managed to play in 38 games. It’s hard to judge him off this past season but it is fair to say that Wright has been the heart of the Mets for years. A career average of .298 and solid defense at the hot corner, Wright has been a consistent offensive force for his whole career.

Edge: Mets
Although Chase Headley is a fine player, David Wright is just a better player in almost every way. Wright hits for average and power, while providing proven leadership in the Mets locker room. The Yankees can only hope that Headley improves his game next year from both sides of the plate.

                               Yankees                                                                   Mets
Brett Gardner- One of the better left fielders in the game, Gardner produced an average campaign with a .259 average and 66 RBI’s. His production dipped heavily after he was named an All-Star but overall he was great at the top of the lineup, getting on base and providing some pop.
Michael Conforto- The rookie proved to be a valuable member of the Mets despite playing in only 56 games as he drove in 26 runs and hit 9 homers.
Jacoby Ellsbury- Was playing like an All-Star before an injury limited him to 111 games. He provided great defense in center but was never to regain his early season form at the plate.
Yoenis Cespedes- The catalyst for the Mets offense in the second half, Cespedes had a monster year and will be paid a pretty penny in free agency, despite his postseason woes.
Carlos Beltran- The most consistent of the Yankees outfielders, Beltran enjoyed a rebound season that saw him hit .276 while being an extra base hit machine with 34 doubles and 19 homers. His defense is definitely below average, but his bat makes up for it.
Curtis Granderson- The former Yankee had a great year for the Mets, clubbing 26 homers and providing valuable leadership to the Mets young core. His arm strength has weakened in RF but he’s still a solid overall player.
Bench- Chris Young was a monster against lefties this season and a capable defender, but probably won’t be resigned.
Bench- Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Michael Cuddyer and Juan Lagares round out the Mets OF depth with Lagares being the best of the trio.

Edge: Yankees
This was a tough one. The Mets had great contributors from all parts of their outfield this season, but will there are many questions to be asked. Will they be able to re-sign Cespedes? Can Granderson keep producing as he enters his age 35 season? The Yankees on the other hand have experience and incoming youth on their side. Gardner and Ellsbury are one of the best 1-2 combos in baseball, Beltran found his fountain of youth and it is just a matter of time before prospect Aaron Judge makes his debut. Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams are young depth pieces for the Yanks OF as well.

                                    Yankees                                                            Mets
The Yankees bullpen was one of the best in all of baseball this season and perhaps the best part of their team. Adam Warren was able to come in for effective long relief and with capable 6th & 7th inning arms such as Justin Wilson and Chasen Shreve (before his late season meltdown), they provided the bridge to the almost unhittable duo of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. Betances is the best setup man in baseball depending on who you talk to and Miller just took home the hardware for being the best reliever in the A.L.
In Queens, the bullpen improved greatly from previous seasons. The acquisitions of Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed put the finishing touches on a pen that finished 11th in baseball. Closer Jeurys Familia proved to be a dominant closer to lock up games in the 9th with a 1.85 ERA in 78 innings pitched. Jon Niese served as a valuable asset to the team, starting games or serving in a long relief role.

Edge: Yankees
Although the Mets bullpen improved greatly, the Yankees bullpen essentially made games with leads 6 inning affairs. The dominant force of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller was the best 1-2 punch in the game. Arms like Justin Wilson and Adam Warren were effective and helped shorten games. If the Yankees can sign another power righty to take some pressure off of Betances, their bullpen should be just as dominant next season. If the Mets can re-sign free agent Tyler Clippard their bullpen should be a solid group.

It is clear to see that the Mets and Yankees are two very similar but very different teams. The Yankees biggest strengths being their bullpen and power hitters while the Mets rotation and infielders were for the most part superior. Free agency will have a big impact on how these teams look next year and who will hold the edge at each position. Both teams’ futures are bright, but in different areas. However, even though the Mets made it to the Fall Classic, the Yankees still wear the crown in New York. Big contracts will be coming off the books and the rise of talented prospects such as Greg Bird, Luis Severino and Aaron Judge have the makings of a solid core to build on. The yearly Subway Series should get a whole lot more interesting the next few years, with the Mets trying to steal the crown, and the Yanks sitting on the throne.

Article by: Phil Akre
Follow me on twitter @PhilAkre
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