Mets, Yan­kees re­liant on home­grown tal­ent.

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - SID ROSEN­BERG

Baseball is back. Well, it’s al­most back.

This is the last Thurs­day be­fore the Ma­jor League Baseball sea­son starts and as al­ways, I am ex­cited. There will al­ways be baseball sto­ry­lines in New York, and re­cently the Yan­kees have got­ten the wrath of the tabloids for not pro­duc­ing or show­ing prom­ise. The Mets have been the po­lar op­po­site, pro­duc­ing promis­ing young tal­ent, play­off ap­pear­ances and con­sis­tency. But for the first time in what feels like a long time, both the Mets and Yan­kees are look­ing to their sea­sons to win now — rid­ing on a core of youth­ful, home­grown tal­ent.

Over the past three ma­jor league sea­sons we have seen the Mets build a nu­cleus around an en­tirely home­grown pitch­ing staff. Noah Syn­der­gaard, Ja­cob deGrom, and Steven Matz all spent four plus sea­sons in the Mets farm sys­tem and have been ma­jor cogs in the Mets pitch­ing ro­ta­tion with a bright fu­ture ahead of them. Af­ter fail­ing to ful­fill the hype, Matt Har­vey has taken a back­seat to these three guys — es­pe­cially Syn­der­gaard, who has be­come the leader of this pitch­ing staff.

The now-253-pound Syn­der­gaard has the po­ten­tial to put up some gaudy num­bers with a fast­ball con­sis­tently hit­ting triple dig­its and a slider that pulls the chair out from un­der bat­ters. If Thor lives up to what some say he is ca­pa­ble of this sea­son we may have the first Cy Young Award win­ner from New York since R.A. Dickey in 2012. If Syn­der­gaard is able to get up over 200 in­nings this sea­son it will be the first time he does so, and that would give him more chances to strike out bat­ters. Who knows how high the to­tal might get if he stays healthy.

There are also some MLB and fran­chise mile­stones in reach for two long­time Mets. Jose Reyes is just 12 steals away from reach­ing 500. If Reyes gets there, he will join Ichiro as the only other ac­tive player with 500 or more steals and 906 stolen bases — be­hind Rickey Hen­der­son for the all-time lead. David Wright also has a chance to break Dar­ryl Straw­berry’s club record of 252 home runs. Wright needs 11 big flies to sur­pass Straw and be­come ar­guably the best Mets po­si­tion player of all-time.

On the other side of town, the Pin­stripes have put all of their chips on a guy they have been groom­ing for seven years in Gary Sanchez. In all hon­esty, in the small sam­ple size of games that Sanchez played in last year, the guy was a more than pleas­ant sur­prise for Yan­kees fans look­ing for some­one to take the spot­light off of A-Rod and to show some hope in fill­ing at least one of the shoes Derek Jeter left three sea­son ago.

Last sea­son, Sanchez showed a vet­eran pres­ence not only in the bat­ter’s box but also be­hind the plate han­dling the Yan­kees pitch­ing staff and keep­ing run­ners at bay. Sanchez has a non­cha­lant way about him, which is pre­sum­ably good for the pitch­ers he is catch­ing, and he did throw out 13 of 32 (or 41 per­cent) of baserun­ners try­ing to steal on him last sea­son. The fu­ture looks bright for this Sanchez kid.

Let’s. Go. Mets.

MLB PHO­TOS VIA GETTY IMAGES

Noah Syn­der­gaard was named the Mets’ Open­ing Day starter on Wed­nes­day.

Sid Rosen­berg co-hosts “The Bernie and Sid Show” on WABC in New York. You can reach him on Twit­ter @SidRosen­berg

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