The Mets, and projections

Projections are one of the weirdest things that a baseball fan can consume. These predictions, based on statistics and expert predictions can be the best friend of a fan, or the worst enemy depending on what side of the spectrum they fall on. In a way, we all put our projections for how our team will do out there in one way or the other. What’s so peculiar what makes people decide to side against or for the projections laid out in front of them. On Tuesday it was revealed that PECOTA projected the New York Mets to win the NL East.

This is interesting, considering the only substantial move that the Mets made on the field this offseason was acquiring Dellin Betances. Yet, even as the statistical predictions pile up in favor of the Mets, there are plenty that doubt them. They have seven players placed on the “Shredder’s” list on the MLB network so far, which ranks the 10 best players at each position. Jacob deGrom came in first, to no one’s surprise for starting pitcher. Still, pessimism remains for a lot of Mets fans following the debacle that was the attempted sale of the franchise. There are several reasons to be optimistic about the season, however. Even if it be cautiously optimistic.

To start, the Mets are projected to have a bullpen that marks amongst the most elite in baseball. According to Fangraphs, it is supposed to be the top in the NL East with a total WAR of 5.0. The second closest is the Braves, who check in with a 4.2. Outside of the computer-generated projections, there are the obvious eye tests that one could point to that could also lead someone to that conclusion. A renaissance for essentially the same bullpen from last season will require bounce back efforts from Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, and a healthy Betances. It will also require an equivalent effort from Seth Lugo to what we saw last season. Familia’s way of attempting to bounce back from last season is to get into better shape, and he has done exactly that by cutting his weight by 30 pounds. Familia had stated that he was too overweight last season, which led to his struggles on the mound.

With all of this making sense, it should come as no surprise that PECOTA pegs the Mets to finish as high as they have them finishing. If this is the case, then why are there so many who are doubting this team? Well, statistics will always miss one key aspect of every ballplayer, and that is the human aspect. This is a team that while on paper will be ready to tear the cover off of the ball, is liable for injury. Last season, the Mets lucked out with the health that their rotation sustained, as they were able to start 154 of the 162 games last season. It would be hard to expect that same kind of health from starters this season.

The same problem translates to the starting lineup. No one really knows what Yoenis Cespedes we’ll be seeing on the field this season, and no one knows where in the world Jed Lowrie is. This should make it nearly impossible to predict what kind of season J.D.Davis is going to have for the Mets, simply because it is impossible to predict his workload. At the moment, he seems like he’ll be a dynamic bench piece, but that can quickly change with an injury to a corner outfielder or Jeff McNeil. Despite all of the maybes that come with this team, and all of the offseason turmoil with coaches and the front office, there still should be optimism with the season ahead.

Despite the flimsy predictions that truly only serve to entertain us and help with fantasy drafts, there are other ways to read this team. Having a top three made up of deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman should evoke fear in other teams. The fact that last season the team went 20 games over .500 in the second half with a team that has nearly the exact same makeup as the one they’ll be fielding this season should be encouraging as well. With a better bullpen last season, the Mets would have been a postseason team. This season, they’re counting on that better bullpen becoming a reality. Forget projections, common sense, if there was ever such a thing used in the same sentence as “New York Mets,” should rule that the team makes the postseason this year.

Three Things:

PECOTA projected the Mets to win the NL East
Jacob deGrom is going for his third consecutive CY Young award
Mets starters pitched in 95% of their games last season

12 comments for “The Mets, and projections

  1. NYM6986
    February 15, 2020 at 9:21 am

    I believe that a healthy Nimmo in CF makes a huge difference regardless of where he bats compared to others who played that position. Conforto and Rosario took big steps forward and McNeil at third should be a big offensive improvement over fan favorite Todd Frazier. Ramos had a good year at the plate and is actively working on stronger D. Seems no reason Alonso won’t hit 40 HRs as teams will clearly avoid throwing strikes in an effort to get him to chase pitches and he’ll need discipline to accept a walk or dump a single the other way. All we are asking is for health from Cano and Lowrie and they will be good contributors. That of course may be a big lift. When you combine all this with a strong starting staff and bullpen – well, they are as likely to take the division as anyone else. Will Stroman be an ace at #3? Will Matz stay healthy and give them a huge #4. Can Porcello strike gold as a #5 and if not they have Wacha in the wings and not an unproven not ready for prime time AAAA Syracuse roster holder.
    Then there’s Cespedes – holding out hope that he comes ready to play, even at 34, as he is feared at the plate and a game changer with a rocket arm.
    Let’s get this party started. #LGMets

    • Henry
      February 15, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      Todd Frazier was a fan favorite??? Not at any of the games I went to last year, nor on the many different blogs!

  2. John Fox
    February 15, 2020 at 11:06 am

    The elephant in the room is the fact that Zack Wheeler, the second best SP on the team last year, signed with Philadelphia. Two marginal veteran pitchers will battle in SP to replace him, and it would be shocking if either one could come close to his production.

    • José
      February 15, 2020 at 2:08 pm

      Despite Wheeler’s superior WAR valuation (4.1) compared to Thor’s (2.2), it’s somewhere between arguable to dubious to assert that Wheeler was their second best starter. Their numbers were extremely similar across the board:

      Name Thor. Wheeler
      ERA. 4.28… 3.96
      IP….. 197.2. 195.1
      HR…. 24…. 22
      BB…. 50…. 50
      SO… 202.. 195
      ERA+ 95…. 102
      FIP…. 3.60.. 3.48
      WHIP 1.234 1.259

      Plus, Thor has a much healthier history, is 3 years younger, and 2019 was arguably his worst season, while 2019 was arguably Wheel’s 2nd best

      • José
        February 15, 2020 at 2:15 pm

        I’d amend my previous remark to state that 2019 was definitely Thor’s worst

  3. MYM6986
    February 15, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Except that Wheeler’s replacement is Stroman who I believe was the BlueJays ace. So we are again looking to fill the #5 starter role with two guys who are far better than unproven rookies and washed up retreads. I wish Zach well but with other players that need to be signed they Mets were not giving him $20
    Million plus per year. Signing Thor needs to be a priority.

  4. Boomboom
    February 15, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    92-95 win team on paper. I think we re in for a really fun season.

  5. MattyMets
    February 16, 2020 at 11:49 am

    The more I obsess over our 2020 roster, the more optimistic I feel about our chances. I really like the makeup of this team. A lot of talent, depth, versatility and a nice clubhouse feel with guys who get along and have fun. A few bounce backs from among last year’s injured and off year guys and this is a playoff team. Defense is my biggest concern. Guys like Marisnick, Guillorme, and Rivera/Nido need to be used wisely in late innings and when Stroman pitches.

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