Who weigh in on Mets’ and Yankees’ prospects for 2017?

The Yankees are the team of the future, but can they peak early? The Mets are the team of the present, but can they stay healthy?

Mark Teixeira said,“Realistically, I think this year is a year figuring out what you have,” the former Yankees first baseman turned ESPN analyst said on a conference call this week. “So you really want to know who the young pitchers on the staff or in the bullpen are, or in the lineup …
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“I think the Yankees will be in the race into September because they still have enough talent. They have a very good back end of the bullpen. They have the talent to be there in the race. But if they start falling out, you’re going to see cheap Clint Frazier jersey get called up. You’re going to see cheap Gleyber Torres jersey get called up.”

Before there was Todd Frazier and Ramon Torres in the Yankees system, there was Sanchez, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge. The Yankees will be banking on those three young studs to help carry the lineup and makeup for a suspect starting rotation.

For the Mets, talent in the rotation isn’t the question. If Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz can pitch a majority of the season, it is hard not to see the Mets as a strong challenger to the Cubs, Nationals and Dodgers in the National League. But that hope is not off to a good start, with Matz missing the start of the season with elbow discomfort. Harvey, however, showed signs of his old self as spring training went on, and Syndergaard and deGrom dominated from start to finish.

David Ross remembers what it was like going up against that Mets rotation at full strength, when his Cubs were swept by the Mets in the 2015 NLCS.

“You just you don’t get a break,” said the catcher, who wearing cheap mlb jerseys, retired after winning a World Series last season, and joined Teixeira on the ESPN roster.

“When you have that consistent pitching, you have that consistency of ‘I’ve got a guy that’s going to keep it under three runs.’ Even on a bad day they’re going to give up three. Their offense can really focus on manufacturing runs, and getting runs early, and giving it to that bullpen and a guy like [Jeurys] Familia (who is suspended the first 15 games of the season) who can shut it down at the end.”

Though Ross has taken on a front-office role with the Cubs, Teixeira has mostly stayed far away from baseball.

“I told the Yankees, please don’t ask me to come to spring training because I’ll feel bad saying no,” he said.

But Teixeira has helped nurture Bird’s development and stayed in touch with him throughout spring training. Bird was sidelined last season with a shoulder injury, but had an eye-popping spring with seven home runs, 13 RBIs and a .429 batting average.

“I could obviously relate to his [injury] frustrations,” Teixeira said. “But one of the things that me and Birdie always texted this offseason was trust. And we probably text every two weeks nowadays and just say, ‘Hey, keep trusting yourself, trust your talent, trust your health. You know you have the talent to do special things.’

“That’s what he’s doing. He’s going out there and playing the game. He’s not a guy that’s going to get caught up in New York, wholesale jerseys china. A lot of guys kind of make it in New York and then they stop working or they decide they’re going to be a Page Six superstar rather than a Yankee Stadium superstar. That’s not going to be Greg Bird. So I feel really good about his future.”

Ageless wonder Bartolo Colon outduels Jake Arrieta, continues to prove value to Mets

There was a pitcher keeping a good offense in check on Saturday night at Citi Field, flummoxing a fearsome lineup. And no, it wasn’t Jake Arrieta.

It was Bartolo Colon, the most underappreciated starter in the Mets’ fearsome rotation (heck, maybe in all of baseball), and a player who, in another year, just might be on the cusp of All-Star consideration.

Colon isn’t San Diego-bound this year, not with the likes of Arrieta and Madison Bumgarner and Jose Fernandez leading an overwhelmingly deep collection of National League starters. But the old man on the Mets staff has been quietly impressive (again), continuing a solid three-year run that’s seen him be the perfect fifth starter for a staff full of young guns.

Guess who’s led or tied for the Mets lead in innings and wins in each of the last two seasons?

Yup, Bartolo Colon. And he showed why on Saturday, when he outdueled Arrieta in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs, and really making just one mistake pitch through six innings of understated dominance.

“Sometimes, he escapes words,” Terry Collins said of Colon. “He just never ceases to amaze you, how he just handles the situations, whatever it is.”

“I think there’s a lot of talk about how old he is and the size, but the good thing is in this sport, as long as you’re healthy and have the ability to do it, you can,” added outfielder Curtis Granderson.

Really, every team should have a starter like Colon, a wily veteran who doesn’t take the game too seriously (teammates say he jokes around even on days he starts), but knows how to produce. Saturday’s win marked Colon’s seventh straight start of allowing two runs or less (excluding an abbreviated start against the Royals that he left after being hit in the hand by a line drive).

Colon has a 2.87 ERA and seven victories, tied for second on the team with Steven Matz. He’s walked just 17 batters, not quite Kershaw-good but fourth-best in baseball. Colon is 4-1 in his last eight starts, with a 1.96 ERA.

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Bartolo Colon (7-4, 2.87 ERA) may be the most underappreacted starter in the majors.

And on Saturday, he faced maybe his greatest challenge all year. The 43-year-old had to contain the powerful Cubs order, headed by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, had to find a way to beat the great Arrieta. Oh, and he had to do it while continuing to nurse a left leg injury that has nagged him since his mid-June start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a left leg injury that hadn’t been spoken of until Saturday.

Not that this injury is anything to worry about in a season in which Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matz have all had more publicized injuries.

“For now it hasn’t been bothering me too much,” Colon said. “The only thing is once I land, it bothers me a little.”

Nothing seems to bother Colon, and nothing bothered him Saturday. He didn’t allow a hit through the first two innings, didn’t allow a run until the fourth, when his 1-0 offering to Rizzo went out of the park, a two-run shot that tied the game, 2-2. The Cubs never threatened Colon again, and he left after six innings, having staked the Mets to a 4-2 lead and having frustrated Chicago’s batters, many of whom seemed lost on how to beat the pitcher with the 86 mph “heat.”

“The key is just throw strikes,” Colon said of his game plan against Chicago. “A team like the Cubs who are aggressive at home plate, you have to try and get after the batters.”

It’s an approach that got the Mets to 43-37, with a chance to sweep the Cubs on Sunday afternoon. What more could you ask from your fifth starter? To beat out that infield grounder he hit in the fourth inning maybe?

Because that’s the one thing Bartolo couldn’t do.

“No,” he joked. “Never.”