Edwin Diaz and Bold Predictions

Here’s a bold prediction. Edwin Diaz will be better next year. The peripheral stats support that. An expectation that he won’t be better is just pessimistic. He was literally the worst closer in baseball last year. He could just be average and that would be significantly better.

You know what, that’s not bold enough. Since Diaz will be better, the Mets will be one of the wild card teams competing to get into the playoffs. Forget that, the Mets will win the National League East. Let’s get really crazy. The Mets will be World Series Champions.

Are all of those predictions really so crazy? Yes, the Mets are not the perfect Baseball team, but isn’t that the nature of the sport? Is there a team out there that doesn’t have question marks? Baseball is a game in which there are always a lot of moving parts that need to come together for a team to win a championship. The 1986 Mets were one of the most talented teams of the 1980’s. They won one championship and never made it back to the World Series. The 2015 Mets had a losing record in the first half of the year and needed the boost of several trades to push them to the World Series. That team never made it past the wild card round again. Baseball isn’t like Basketball or Football, where a star player can make significant change. A big three in baseball doesn’t mean dominance like the Miami Heat had after signing Lebron James. The 1997 Seattle Mariners had three of the greatest players in the last 30 years on its roster, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson. It also had arguably the greatest designated hitter of all time, Edgar Martinez. That team won 90 games. Four years later, those three great players were gone and the Mariners won 116 games.

Does that mean a team doesn’t have to have good players to win? Of course not. Does it mean a team can throw out a group of Triple-A pitchers and expect that all of them are going to exceed expectations? That’s just silly. A team doesn’t have to be perfect for a bold prediction to be accurate.

Let’s look at the reasons for why the Mets could be in line to compete for a championship. The argument is multi-faceted. Have the Mets improved this offseason? Yes, the team has. By acquiring Jake Marisnick to platoon with Brandon Nimmo and thus committing to more permanent positions for Jeff McNeil (third base) and Michael Conforto (right field), the Mets have improved themselves defensively. The lineup is strong and varied, both in terms of representation on both sides of the plate and the types of hitters in the lineup. It’s a nice blend of power hitters, players who work counts and players who put balls in play. By signing Rick Porcello, the pitching staff is arguably as good as it was starting last year with Marcus Stroman in place of Zack Wheeler. By signing Michael Wacha, the team has added another quality arm to the bullpen and set themselves up better for if injuries hit the rotation. Who knows what Dellin Betances will be coming off of an injury, but an even average version of himself is better than the likes of Jacob Rhame and others. Yes, the Mets have not made the pretty move. The Mets didn’t sign Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon or Gerrit Cole. The Mets haven’t traded for Starling Marte. However, what the Mets have done was target weaknesses while not weakening the major league roster or further depleting its pool of prospects.

Additionally, the Mets competition in the National League East hasn’t exactly improved either. If Josh Donaldson leaves for Minnesota, both the Braves and Nationals have taken steps backwards. Yes, the Nationals signed Strasburg, but the team already had Strasburg. It isn’t like the Nationals replaced Joe Ross with Strasburg. The only team that has improved is the Phillies, but how improved are they. Is Didi Gregorius so much better than Cesar Hernandez? The numbers last year don’t show that. Wheeler is a really good pitcher, but even with his addition, the Phillies still have arguably the fourth best rotation in the division.

This is the time for bold predictions and the Mets have every reason to feel good about where the team is and how it fits in with the other teams in their division and in the National League. Will the Baseball gods shine down on the team this year? Who knows, but isn’t that the fun of expectations? Isn’t that the joy of the offseason, that as fans, we don’t know what’s going to happen yet? It’s a new year. The Mets are in a good position for this year and years to come. With spring training around the corner, it’s time for some excitement.

10 comments for “Edwin Diaz and Bold Predictions

  1. Pete from NJ
    January 4, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    From an emotional standpoint, I agree with everything you stated. But of course we’re all vanguard met fans who are inherently biased towards our guys. Compounded by the winter blues, not to mention all the viral infected writers/readers what else can we think and hope for. I might go so far and say as a GM my team construction would be very similar.

    What I really see is division rivals who are either vastly improved or playoff proven teams. I’m on board with our guys but I have to hide my sarcastic smile as I think about the 2020 team.

    • Scott Ferguson
      January 4, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      I just don’t see the vast improvement. The Nationals are basically the same team. Will Harris is a nice addition, but it looks like the replacement for Rendon is going to be Starlin Castro. That’s a step back, so the Nationals just seemed to be in the same spot. They’ll be good, but are they so significantly better than the Mets? If the Braves lose Donaldson, I’d argue that they have taken a step backwards. The offseason isn’t over yet, but I still think we have as good a shot as anyone in the NL east

  2. January 4, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    The Mets can solve a lot of problems by playing better against the Phillies and Braves. They went 15-23 against those two

  3. TexasGusCC
    January 4, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    If we do an open thread, and everyone can put only one bold prediction concerning one player, I wonder what it would be and about which player. We all hope for the Diaz revival because of his history, but I would say Nimmo is more important because there isn’t anyone to replace his position and what he does. Also, if Cano will once more need 500+ plate appearances to satisfy BVW, then Cano is in the conversation also, but the WAR leader amongst these three will undoubtedly be Nimmo.

    • Remember1969
      January 6, 2020 at 10:59 am

      My pick is Michael Conforto. He will be in his age 27 year and my bold prediction will be that this will be his career year. He may not improve a lot on his HR, but he will hit the same 33, but improve the BA from .257 to .292 and bump up the doubles into the 40 to 50 range. Also both RBI and Runs Scored will pass 100, and his OPS will end up over .900.

  4. NYM6986
    January 4, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    It’s the time of year for having fingers crossed and high hopes. We are improved from our 86 win 2019 season and as noted have settled some players into positions they are stronger defenders at. We have essentially replaced Wheeler with Stroman and have a former Cy Young winner as our 5th starter. Mix in a little health for Nimmo and Cano and Lowrie and we can compete with most teams. If the pen comes together we will win our division. How can we not be excited for SP to start? Perhaps Brodie has an Aranado up his sleeve. Stay tuned …….

  5. Mike W
    January 4, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    I dont see our defense being drastically better. Maybe it will he marginally better.

    I think our most important player is Syndergaard. It is time for him to light it up and have a great 18 win season. Teams that win usually gave a great one two punch.

    • TexasGusCC
      January 5, 2020 at 12:49 am

      Good point.

  6. TexasGusCC
    January 5, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    Some eyebrow raising stuff from MLBTR today:

    “As they say, the ball don’t lie, and that’s good enough for Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who marks the Nationals as the winners of last year’s offseason thanks to their championship in October. Of course, a year makes all the difference, as Sherman names the Red Sox the top loser of last year’s offseason for their ill-fated attempt to keep the good vibes going after their 2018 World Series title. Sherman makes this particularly interesting note about the fates of those giving multi-year offers to relief pitchers: “There were 11 relievers who signed for multiple years last season. Six had zero or negative WAR (Baseball Reference version). Just two improved on their WAR from 2018 to 2019, and just three ([Zack] Britton, [Adam] Ottavino and Justin Wilson) improved their ERA.” For what it’s worth, the Nationals can be counted among the group of teams handing out multi-year deals to a reliever this offseason.”

    • Scott Ferguson
      January 8, 2020 at 4:45 am

      Giving out multi-year contracts to relievers is always an uncertainty. Relievers just aren’t reliable year to year. Familia is a perfect example of this. I’d probably still look to sign Hector Rondon though.

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