There was hope heading into this season that the Mets could be contending for a playoff spot in September, but even the most unbridled optimist couldn’t have expected the start the Mets got off to in April. At their peak, the Mets were 13-3 and won 11 straight games, good enough to tie the franchise record for consecutive wins. They currently sit at 19-11 and lead the NL East.

As expected, the Mets are winning because of their pitching; young flamethrowers Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom have met expectations this year, and the Mets bullpen has done a good job clamping down and protecting the lead late. The New York offense has done enough to get by despite injuries to David Wright and Travis D’Arnaud, and once they get them back in the lineup the Mets look like they’ll be a handful late in the season. There are also three unsung heroes on this squad who deserve accolades, because without them the Mets might not be in such a nice spot:

 

Bartolo Colon

Colon was only 15-13 with a 4.09 ERA last year, and the fanbase was less than enthused when he was handed the ball on Opening Day. But Colon has been lights-out on the mound this year; he’s currently 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA and 34 Ks, and he’s surrendered just one walk all season. It’s hard to believe, but at age 41 Colon is having a career year. If he keeps up at this rate it will be much easier for the Mets to give Harvey and deGrom extra rest in order to save their arms and avoid having them reach their innings limits.

 

Jeurys Familia

Familia was slated to be the set-up man out of the bullpen, but an injury and subsequent suspension to Jenrry Mejia forced the Mets to slide him into the closer role. And Familia has been unfazed. Familia has converted all 12 save opportunities he’s been presented with while allowing just three earned runs in 16.0 innings pitched. His K/BB ratio is a stellar 6.67, his WHIP is a miniscule 0.625, and batters are hitting just .132 against him in 2015. Considering what a mental ordeal it is to be a closer in the major leagues, Familia has been incredible, especially since he was thrown into the role unexpectedly.

 

Juan Lagares

Juan Lagares is, of course, valued for his exceptional defense in center field but he’s stepped his game up at the plate this year. After beating the projections and batting .281 last year, Lagares has improved slightly to a .286 batting average in 2015 to go along with 13 RBIs in 119 ABs. Lagares has been good enough to get promoted to the two-hole in the absence of Wright and D’Arnaud after starting the year batting sixth. If Lagares can stay at or around .300 and continues to wield his gold glove in center, he’ll be one of the Mets’ most valuable players this season.