The 2019 Mets have 86 wins despite all the bad stuff

The Mets finished the 2019 season with a sweep of the Braves, which got them to 86 wins on the year. It wasn’t good enough for the postseason but it’s right about where most people expected the team to be before the year started. As with any season, there were some highs and lows. Yet it feels like the lows were too low with a team that had the highs that this one did.

It’s now peak eulogy season for the 2019 squad and about a week ago, Joel Sherman of the New York Post had an article calling this “an all-time Mets wasted season.” Actually, that was part of the headline, which Sherman may not have written. But that phrase accurately describes his column. He listed things that went right and then concluded his column with these words: “What a waste.”

Things went right but you can say that about any season. Let’s take 2018 as an example. Jacob deGrom won the Cy Young Award, Brandon Nimmo was considered a fourth OFer when the season started but finished the year with a 148 OPS+. Zack Wheeler was even better than deGrom in the second half of the season. Jeff McNeil came up from the minors and put up an .852 OPS. After posting a 4.71 ERA in 2017, Seth Lugo put up a 2.66 mark. And that squad went 77-85.

You can’t just look at what went right in a season to determine how things should be. Since Sherman gave a list of what went right, let’s look at the other side of things and list what went wrong. Here’s a partial list:

The C who was brought in to stop the running game, threw out just 15% of his runners and was so bad defensively that pitchers were asking to have someone else behind the plate for their starts
The 2B was a major disappointment
The 3B started the year on the IL and was bad for long stretches
The SS took half a year to find himself
The CF played for six weeks when he shouldn’t have and then missed three months
The replacement CFers sucked
The 2B gave the RF a concussion and the RF was downright bad for one-third of the year after he returned
Three-fifths of the rotation underperformed
The bullpen was a disaster of epic proportions
One free agent signing missed nearly the entire year
The highest-paid player on the team missed the entire season
Former top prospect finally starts delivering and then gets injured and misses two months
In-season promotions contributed virtually nothing
Management made decisions that seemed designed to lose games

This list was considerably longer than the one that Sherman came up with in his what-went-right piece. And the what-went-wrong list could certainly be busted out and name individual relievers instead of grouping them together and be even longer. If you just woke up from a six-month coma and someone read you that list of bad stuff and asked you to name how many losses the team had, you’d probably say a lot more than 76.

The Mets went 46-26 in the second half of the season with a bullpen that had just two reliable arms. Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz, the two big offseason acquisitions imported to solidify the pen, combined for a 4.70 ERA and a 1.472 WHIP in 53.2 IP after the All-Star break. And outside of Brad Brach, none of the additions made to the pen throughout the year helped at all.

Contrast that with the Nationals. While their bullpen was a disaster, too, Tanner Rainey, Austin Roth and Daniel Hudson joined the team during the season and combined for a 3.15 ERA in 117 IP. Brach had a 3.68 ERA in 14.2 IP. Imagine if the Mets had an additional 100 innings of solid relief pitching from mid-season additions. Some of those late-inning meltdowns might have been avoided.

It’s almost unfathomable to have a year where you add 16 relievers to those who started the season in the majors and 13 of them stink and the other three combine for all of 17 IP.

So, yeah, a lot of things went right for the Mets this season, particularly the years by deGrom and Pete Alonso. It was those strong seasons that allowed the team to overcome the multiple bad things that happened. Only 17 teams in franchise history won more games than the 2019 squad did. It’s hard for me to sum up the season as a “waste.” This team showed an extended stretch of good baseball, including a 13-6 record in their last 19 games against teams above .500 when they played.

Those 19 games came after the disastrous 0-6 stretch against the Braves and Cubs that torpedoed the season. But they never gave up. Chalk that up to inspired managing or a great culture or high-character players on the team or whatever you want. Regardless of what label you give them, the end result was the 2019 Mets were a flawed team that battled until the last day of the season. That’s not a waste in my book.

10 comments for “The 2019 Mets have 86 wins despite all the bad stuff

  1. Mike Walczak
    September 30, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Ouch, but this is an accurate description. It feels good, because they played better in the second half and won 86 games, but that doesnt hide their weaknesses.

    By biggest disappointment is Syndergaard. Seriously mediocre all year.

    • September 30, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      I don’t want to let Noah off the hook but in my mind he gets behind Diaz and Familia.

      • Mike W
        September 30, 2019 at 6:06 pm

        Of course, but I had really high hopes for him.

        Diaz and Familia were train wrecks, but they are relief pitchers.

  2. Eraff
    September 30, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Embedded in the Stats for both Familia and Diaz is also a story about the fact that baseball is a game of Sequence. When you blow up a Game in the 5th, 6th, and 7th inning (or earlier) your team has some chance of recovery. The Late Game implosions are disasterous

  3. MattyMets
    September 30, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    3 things that will put us over the threshold in 2020:
    1-Improved bullpen
    2-Smarter manager
    3-new, less “slick” baseballs so Diaz, Syndergaard and Gsellman can rediscover their sliders.

  4. NYM6986
    September 30, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    As a fan from the beginning, this season can certainly be looked at as a success despite missing the playoffs once again. The team reminded me a lot of the 1984 in 1985 teams who made great strides and then made a major acquisition each year leading up to their 1986 championship season. We need to figure out how to find a Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter type impact players who can you throw us over the top.
    Your analysis was spot on as usual and one of the saddest parts of not having games any
    more is missing your game recaps.
    Very optimistic about 2020 and believe we have laid the groundwork for a playoff team. And quite frankly who would really want to face our starting staff if we can figure out how to rectify the bullpen so that seven strong innings don’t go to waste. Hoping
    to resign Wheeler and stay healthy in 2020.
    #LFGM

    • September 30, 2019 at 10:45 pm

      Thanks for the kind words!

      It will be curious to see if we have 3, 4 or 5 of the SP that we ended the season with back next year. I’ll hold my optimism until knowing that.

      • NYM6986
        September 30, 2019 at 11:24 pm

        Agree. We should still start the season with Jake, Thor and Stroman. I thought Matz turned the corner staying healthy. Not sure how to fix Diaz and Familia but it needs to happen in order to really compete. With all our bats it will still be the pen that makes or breaks us.

  5. TJ
    September 30, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    So, not to be the pessimist, but more the realist. The season was a failure given that the new GM declared that they were all in and as good as any team in the division. That proved not to be the case, by a significant margin, and they failed to qualify for the consolation one game playoff as well. It’s just the facts, and sometimes reality bites.

    That said, I will say that this was a rather successful failure, in fact one of the most successful failures in Met history. Despite some bitter disappointments and another dreadful June, I was quite entertained by the team, literally righ to the final at bat.

    I echo the above that the write up is spot on, and we all know the flaws and underperformances that led to a non-playoff finish. We know about the thinning of the prospect pool to win now. But we also know about the super performances. Most importantly, we see the critical mass of talented performers, most young with more upside and controllable. There is legitimate reason for hope and optimism. They have more depth and fewer holes than last year. Now the administration needs to perform, mitigate the mistakes of last offseason without over-reacting or overpaying in terms of money or prospects. Find the right arms to add to the pen and make the right call on the key positional upgrade, be it 3B, C, or CF. In the end, just find a way to be better than the Braves and Nats.

  6. footballhead
    October 1, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Imagine being a Phillies fan having to go over what went wrong in their season? They spent money like a drunken sailor last off season, and it sure didn’t help them!

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