Predictions for the 2018 Mets

Each year with the predictions column I start by going back to the previous year’s piece. The goal is to get more than 50 percent right, while not making boring predictions. Not once in all of the years of doing this have more turned out right than wrong. Out of last year’s batch, only four were correct.

But you can’t be afraid to be wrong. No one wants to read a bunch of predictions like “the Mets will have a guy come down with a season-ending injury.” So here are a group of predictions that will range from head tilting to eyebrow-raising to outright aggressive. But these are all things I believe will happen, not ones made simply to be controversial.

1. Speaking of the DL, Travis d’Arnaud will not land there once this year.
2. Adrian Gonzalez will be cut/long-term DL before June 1.
3. Amed Rosario posts an OPS 100 points higher than last year’s mark.
4. Todd Frazier finishes with 20 more RBIs than last year.
5. Despite coming back in April, Michael Conforto plays fewer than 125 games.
6. Yoenis Cespedes sets a career-high in home runs.
7. A super-low HR rate will allow Noah Syndergaard to post the best FIP in the majors.
8. For the third time in four years, Jacob deGrom will set a career-best in IP.
9. Matt Harvey finishes in the top 20 in the NL in ERA.
10. Signed to be an innings eater, Jason Vargas makes fewer than 20 starts.
11. For the first time since 1986, the Mets will have two relievers with 20 Saves.
12. Dominic Smith posts a BABIP 75 points higher than last year.
13. Jose Reyes tops 300 PA.
14. After giving up the third-most BB of any pitching staff in the NL last year, the Mets finish with one of the five lowest marks in 2018.
15. The Mets will have a winning record against the Nationals.

36 comments for “Predictions for the 2018 Mets

  1. b
    March 27, 2018 at 11:42 am

    how many wins ?

  2. March 27, 2018 at 11:52 am

    So the upshot is, Brian is bullish on 2018.

    I kind of am, too. I see somewhere between 85 and 93 wins.

    • Name
      March 27, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      Or maybe he’s just trying to keep with the tone he set out at the beginning of the year.

    • March 27, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Certainly we went through times where it was hard to be optimistic. But here, before a single game is played, why not look at the glass as half full? It’s not like the cupboard is bare – there’s a lot of talented (if flawed) people on the roster.

  3. David Groveman
    March 27, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    1. From your lips to Gods ears.
    2. We can only hope.
    3. .765… sign me up!
    4. Solid prediction, I think he’s more central to the Met lineup.
    5. Now you make me sad.
    6. It is possible but I don’t think likely.
    7. Syndergaard should be on the Cy Young radar.
    8. Better yet, tell me the Mets negotiate his long-term contract.
    9. I agree.
    10. I could see Vargas going to the bullpen and being a success.
    11. Yes, likely.
    12. Totally on board with this.
    13. I don’t like agreeing on this.
    14. Unfortunately their offense breaks strikeout records too.
    15. Wishful thinking isn’t bad thinking.

  4. Madman
    March 27, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    1. Flores 350 ABs and 20 hrs.,70 rbi
    2.Syndergard and DeGrom 350 innings
    3.Familia 40 saves
    4.Cespedes 150 games,35 homers

  5. MattyMets
    March 27, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Based on 3, 4 and 14 can we conclude that Asdrubal Cabrera will break a leg?

    15 would be so so so amazing.

  6. Pete from NJ
    March 27, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    I think Brian’s 1-15 are certainly within reason. Yet a NY Times article on 3/26/18 written by Tyler Kepner: “…roster with a dubious health history–and questionable defense” leads us to the difference between 75 wins and Brian’s #15. Hoping for the latter.

  7. March 27, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    90 W’s, write it down !
    Yoenis, Bruce = 30 Hrs each, Conforto, Frazier, Flores, d’Arnaud = 20 Hrs or more each.
    Defense greatly improved, some injuries sure, but not like last year, pitching holds up with three 15 game winners on the staff, Thor, Degrom, and another surprise guy. Rosario, Yoenis, and Thor – All Stars.
    Watch out Nats for the Mets !
    And Mets, watch out for the Phils, they will be a pain.

    • TJ
      March 27, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      Edwin,
      +1…you basically read my mind.

  8. Remember1969
    March 27, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Another Mets site had a ’10 bold predictions’ the other day . . many were in the same vein as these .. i’ll paraphrase my post to that one, but keep the structure of Brian’s list:

    (1) There were no references to catching on the other one, but in general, I will not talk about DL, but I believe the the catchers will be an area of stability and reasonable strength this year – d’Arnaud and Plawecki will complement each well and be managed well by Calloway to keep them both healthy.
    (2) My comment yesterday was: that Flores will get a lot of ABs at 1st base as Gonzalez will be Gone-zalez by May.
    (3) I think Rosario will be much better, but .765 OPS is a huge stretch .. not sure where that is going to come from – he certainly cannot sustain the HBP to BB rate he had in ST (2 to 1) and he has to walk a lot more to come close to .750 or better OPS. .315 OBP and .450 slugging is the ceiling.
    (4) Sure .. Frazer will be a solid player. It depends where he hits and who is in front of him if he is going to approach 100 RBI.
    (5) Conforto ..I tend to disagree with Brian on this one – why only 125? Health or performance? or just spreading the OF at bats around? If he is truly healthy and comes back in April, no reason to think 140 is not attainable
    (6) You are more bullish than I am on Cespedes.
    (7) I am not going to argue about anything positive said about Thor .. I see a monster season coming.
    (8) I disagree with deGrom setting a personal best in IP. I also don’t see any issues with him hitting 180 very quality innings.
    (9) I agree with this . my notes on Harvey are: I, too, am bullish on Harvey and think 13-8 might not be a bad guess, with an ERA around 3.3 to 3.4 and Ks of > 7k/9 innings.
    (10) I have the same feeling about Vargas.
    (11) 2 RP with 20 saves each . maybe. . my ‘bold’ prediction was: Gsellman will become the closer sooner than later and keep that role – 35+ saves .
    (12) Sure. . I am not sure how to predict what will happen to Dom .. I would like to see him come up and be solid, not sure it will happen for a while. You say BABIP .. how many plate appearances are you predicting for him?
    (13) I disagree with Reyes getting that many ABs. A lot bad has to happen for that to come out. Another bold prediction .. he will not have much more rope than Gonzalez and be gone by Memorial Day. Cecchini and/or Guillorme will be the super sub.
    (14) Agree (vast improvement in walk rate by pitching staff)
    (15) The first month is going to determine this . . how confident is this club going to be? They certainly can go 10-9 or better, but are they a completely different club than last year who found ways to lose winnable games?

    Two more predictions – Syndergaard and deGrom both in top 5 of Cy Young voting. And Zack Wheeler will become a solid starter – for either San Francisco or Milwaukee . .

    Open for discussion . .

  9. Eraff
    March 27, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    I don’t believe you can predict wins because there is no way that this is a set team— I believe they will add to the team in June and July and win their way to a Wild card or division title.

    However, if this team doesn’t merit add-ons, it will sell very heavily and profitably into a Rebuild….. starting with Jacob deGrom—he may have the most valuable contract in MLB

  10. Metsense
    March 27, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Health and pitching sunk the 2017 Mets. Cespedes and Conforto will play more more games in 2018 and the offense will be fine. Rosario and Frazier upgrades the defense. Syndergaard and deGrom are a strong one- two and will carry the team. Last season the starting pitching was awful.Spring training has given me the confidence that Harvey, Matz, Vargas, Lugo and Gsellman will *all* have and ERA better than the average NL starter. Only Vargas accomplished that is 2017. Familia is back and Swarzak fortified the bullpen. 87 wins and the wild card just like 2016. Lets Go Mets!

  11. Chris F
    March 27, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Quite a few of the biggies put the over/under on the Mets between 77-82 Wins. I think this is a shade over .500 team, say 81-84 Ws. I hope Mickey can find some hidden talent in the cracks and do better. As Eraff notes, its hard to tell in the end as they may buy or sell in July/Aug which could change the outcome. I just wish everyone would let go of 2015. The Nats lost as much as the Mets won. They were rotten to the core and it showed.

    • TexasGusCC
      March 27, 2018 at 11:00 pm

      While I will only make two predictions, one is Flores will take over for an injured/ineffective Cabrera in May and never give up the job, I feel this team is a better team than 2015. The pitching is better and deeper, the bullpen is fortified from the outset with extra pieces, Cespedes and Conforto will be up all year and the lineup wont have black holes for long stretches.

      Let’s not forget, the Mets were treading water in late July with a 53-50 record – that was propped up by an incredible but difficult to repeat April 11-game win streak – and it took a monster August and September from Granderson, Murphy and Cespedes for them to run away from the Nationals.

      By having a strong roster from the outset, we can avoid:
      Plawecki (unprepared at the time): 258 PA’s, 61 OPS+
      Eric Campbell: 206 PA’s, 70 OPS+
      Michael Cuddyer: 408 PA’s, 93 OPS+
      John Mayberry: 119 PA’s, 50 OPS+
      Kirkkk Nuewenhuis: 117 PA’s, 88 OPS+
      Anthony Recker: 92 PA’s, 27 OPS+
      Darrell Ceciliani: 75 PA’s, 54 OPS+
      Johnny Monell: 52 PA’s, 24 OPS+
      Daniel Muno: 32 PA’s, 26 OPS+ (didn’t think it was that high)
      Eric Young: 9 PA’s, -65 OPS+ (had to throw that in as I never saw a negative OPS+ at any time)

      That’s 1,368 PA’s or over 20% of the team’s. I could have added Lagares’ 79 OPS+ in 465 PA’s, but he contributes exceptional defense that helps the scoreboard and no one else on this list can make that claim.

      This is the biggest reason that I’m so bullish on this year’s squad. Sure, there will be failures, but keeping them to less than 10% rather than such a large piece of the pie will make winning games easier leading to World Champs!

      • Steve S.
        March 28, 2018 at 9:02 am

        Much as I like Flores’s bat, the stats for him and Cabrera (both OPS+ and fielding numbers at 2B) really don’t seem that different. I would like better defense up the middle, so maybe we should look forward to bringing up Guillorme a bit into the season.

      • John Fox
        March 28, 2018 at 2:10 pm

        I agree, Gus, I think this year’s team could be better than the 2015 pennant winners. Cespedes for a whole season, Conforto for nearly a full season, more production out of the catching corps and short and third could be better as well.

    • Eraff
      March 28, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      c’mon Chris…Get off the 2015 thing. The Met’s Won Out in stunning fashion—beating the Nats in 7 of their last 9 meetings, and playing at a similar pace versus the world down the stretch. That’s called A Baseball Season!!!…and it was great.

      You may as well diminish the 1969 run or every great come from behind Pennant Chase. Yes…the opportunity presented…but they needed to knock down a mountain to win, and they did.

      • Chris F
        March 28, 2018 at 3:49 pm

        It was awesome. But you are kidding yourself if you think the rot of the Matt Williams clubhouse wasn’t huge. Papelbon taking a pot-shot on Harper in the dugout, on camera…Williams looking the other way. The Nats were a hot mess…it didnt hurt us. Ces was amazing, and August/Sept were phenomenal.

  12. Mike Walczak
    March 27, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    Lets have some fun.

    Syndergaard hits Utley with one of his100 MPH whistlers to finally get revenge.
    Harvey has a meltdown after he breaks up with another girlfriend.
    Mets get a great player in the June draft.
    Agon and Bartolo both retire as Mets and go on tour as Laurel and Hardy.
    When pitching injuries mount, the Mets sign Chris Young.
    Todd Frazier makes the all star team.
    Wilmer Flores becomes the latest player to hit 4 home runs in a game.
    Michael Conforto hits for the cycle.

    Team seems like a 79 win team, but Syndergaard and deGrom lead the way and the Mets win 86 games.

    Lets Play Ball.

    • Chris F
      March 28, 2018 at 10:01 am

      that was good Mike.

  13. March 28, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Some of these feel like surities and some seem insane, almost nothing in between. Wouldn’t be sad to see Flores and Smith take first over AGon ASAP.

    • March 28, 2018 at 11:35 am

      Which ones do you think are sure things?

      • Chris F
        March 28, 2018 at 1:05 pm

        What I would put money on

        2. Adrian Gonzalez will be cut/long-term DL before June 1.
        3. Amed Rosario posts an OPS 100 points higher than last year’s mark.
        13. Jose Reyes tops 300 PA.

        While I wouldnt call the others insane, I think the likelihood is less than even odds.

  14. Chris F
    March 28, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    And then there is fangraphs:

    “The Phillies aren’t expected to be a Wild Card team or challenge for the division, but the eight Wild Card votes they receive here represents a step up from the one (out of 55) they received last year. On the flip side, the staff is unmoved by the prospect of healthy pitching or Adrian Gonzalez, and gives the Mets just four playoff votes. They received 40 last year.”

    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fangraphs-2018-staff-predictions/

    My thoughts: Another of biggies shows little respect for Callaway and the managerial rebuild…and how it influences the play of the pitchers or FA signings. They arent alone in predicting a ho-hum season for the Orange and Blue. Interestingly, down 95 a spell, you see a full love-fest for the Phitin’ Phils. Further down 95 the yellow-brick road ends at the nation’s doorstep. The Nats got 40 votes for the playoffs. The Mets got 4 total, 1 division winner, 3 WC, while the Phillies got 8 WC votes.

    What I cant help but asking, is what do these people see that Mets fans dont…or vice versa. Makes no difference who crunches the numbers, you get a circum .500 result for the Mets. In the grand numbers game, Nate Silver and the 538 team is probably the best IMO, and here is their story:
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/your-guide-to-the-2018-national-league/

    Yep, 79 Wins.

    Anyway, its day 1, the Mets are still in first place in the NL East, and we have no one of significance on the DL. Im calling that a ST victory!

    • Name
      March 28, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      You seem to care a lot what others think. And what projection systems think. Which, year after year, seem to always pick the same teams that went to the postseason in the prior season to once again make the postseason in the current system. Sure takes a lot of effort to “project” that.

      The fangraphs consensus is picking 8 out 10 to repeat as playoff teams and 538 has 4 of 5 repeating.

      What does the actual data tell us? The current playoff system has been in place since 2012, so let’s start from there

      Of the 10 teams that made the playoffs in 2012, only 5 also made it in 2013.
      Of the 10 teams that made the playoffs in 2013, only 4 also made it in 2014.
      Of the 10 teams that made the playoffs in 2014, only 4 also made it in 2015.
      Of the 10 teams that made the playoffs in 2015, only 5 also made it in 2016.
      Of the 10 teams that made the playoffs in 2016, only 5 also made it in 2017.

      Anyways, that’s what the data shows. Go ahead and believe the projections and pundits and experts and pre-season analysis bullshit if you must.

  15. Chris F
    March 28, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    I place little value on all these things. Im just saying, take off the orange and blue tinted beer goggles and the rest of the world sees something else. I just cant be all 90+ Wins!, Division Champs! WS winners!, MVP!, Cy Young!, RoY! ra-ra just because I love the Mets.

    So the prediction systems crunch numbers, basically all the metrics we cant live without and then come up with conclusions. I guess that means if you disagree with the numbers, then you question the metrics as well?

    None of these models or any metric for that matter predicts injuries, heroic years, trades, and just poor seasons…and so we play the games not actually knowing the outcome. But odds are, this team is not touching 90 Wins as constructed.

    • Name
      March 28, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      “rest of the world sees something else.”

      The rest of the world sees 2018 as a continuation of 2017, just like the models do. Models (and humans) try to use past performance to predict future outcomes. Evidently, past performance is not a good indicator of future outcomes.
      When the projections system never model an outcome of a surprise (good or bad), and yet there are surprises every year, then how useful are they? It’s like the weather – no one cares if you get sunny and 80 degrees right, it’s about whether you can predict 3 inches vs 6 inches of snow.

      If you had to place baseball on spectrum from random (rolling a dice) to well-modeled (stock market -assuming normal conditions), it’s much closer to the dice than the stock market.

    • Name
      March 28, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      Just for fun try this exercise.

      From past experience, half of the 2017 playoff teams will also make the 2018 playoffs. Which 5 won’t?

      That means that there are 5 spots for the 20 non-playoff teams last year. Can you identify 5 teams that you would choose to get in ahead of the Mets?

      • March 28, 2018 at 6:36 pm

        You’d almost have to pick the Wild Cards in this scenario. To close it out, I’ll add the Cubs.

        The D’Backs and Rockies both cleaned up against the Padres and Giants and both had winning records against the Dodgers. I think the bottom two teams in the West will be better and it wouldn’t be unlikely that they would fail to repeat against the Dodgers. The D’Backs had a phenomenal home record – maybe the humidor changes that? And the Rockies were below .500 in the second half.

        • Name
          March 28, 2018 at 6:51 pm

          How about the hard part? Most people have no problem picking 1-2 new teams for the playoffs and the popular consensus this year seems to be the Cards and Angels.

          But it’s hard for people to conceptualize 3 more teams beating out 3 current playoff teams, even though history tells us that’s likely to happen.

          My pick for 5 new teams are : Mets, Blue Jays, Cards, Brewers, and the Mariners (who will finally break their drought!)

          • March 28, 2018 at 7:54 pm

            Well, I had 3 NL and 2 AL

            NL – Mets, Brewers and ugh. I don’t believe the Cardinals have the pitching. That leaves … uh, San Diego?
            AL – Angels, Blue Jays

  16. Eraff
    March 28, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Interesting Take, Name

  17. TJ
    March 28, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    I agree with Name for the most part, but given my Met-centric fandom, I do like to see what others think as an alternative view. All in all, I think most level-headed folks can agree that the Nats are a deserving favorite that the rest of the NL East will need to aim for. The Phillies look to be improved, as do the Mets. The Braves can be a nuisance as well, based on how their youngsters perform, and the Marlins will have a long year. 90 wins for the Mets will take a lot of things going right, but that is the case for any 90 win team. I am optimistic while acknowledging the potential weaknesses. ,

  18. TexasGusCC
    March 30, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Gents, the Mets won 70 games last year without a pitching staff and missing their better bats for a big part of the season, being injury or trade. If the Pitching can be what we hope, the hitting should be there, why can’t we give this team a good chance to fight the Nationals and at least have a good chance at the wildcard?

    I know the Nationals are stacked, but I, for one, give my boys a chance due to the back end of the rotation being marginal at best, and their depth being very slim, especially on the hill.

  19. Chris F
    March 31, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Why worry about that in any real way today?

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