It’s often been said that everything went right for the Mets in 2022 and that virtually nothing did in 2023. But everything going right just doesn’t happen in MLB, not even for a perennially lucky team like the Braves. As exasperating as it is to watch good fortune happen consistently for that franchise, no one can deny that they work hard and work smart, in addition to being lucky. With that out of the way, let’s try to see how things played out in both 2022 and 2023 for the Mets. And let’s also try to take a look forward and see what type of luck the Mets will need to be a playoff team in 2024.

First, what is luck? It’s almost impossible to define that accurately and no doubt there are things beyond our comprehension trying to view things from the outside. But for this piece, we’ll attempt to define luck as noticeably surpassing (or falling short) of established norms. If Player X has a lifetime .800 OPS and puts up a .910 OPS in a season, we’ll call that lucky. On the flip side, if Player Y plays 150 games a year and then only plays 115, we’ll call that unlucky.

Without a doubt, the 2022 Mets had things go their way. But a bigger factor than luck in their success was the majority of their key players just performing to the back of their baseball card. Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil rebounded from down seasons. Pete Alonso and Starling Marte essentially did what they were supposed to do based on their track records.

There were six players who fell on the lucky side of things, starting with the health of Brandon Nimmo and Chris Bassitt. Max Scherzer was lucky with his HR/FB rate. Edwin Diaz was lucky with both his walk rate and his LOB%. Adam Ottavino was lucky with his BB/9, BABIP and LOB%. Trevor Williams was lucky with his strand rate.

On the other side of the coin, James McCann was unlucky with both his health and production, Carlos Carrasco was unlucky with his BABIP. At this point in his career, Jacob deGrom’s health couldn’t be considered unlucky. But his HR/9 and LOB% rates definitely qualified. Trevor May was unlucky in both health and BABIP. J.D. Davis was unlucky with his HR/FB rate. Dom Smith was unlucky with his ISO and BABIP. And Darin Ruf saw every one of his numbers crater when he put on a Mets uniform.

Fast forward to 2023 and we see good things happen in a bad season. Remember, we’re using lucky to denote something unusual happen, even if it’s not really “luck.” And vice-versa, too.

Nimmo was lucky with his power. McNeil was lucky with his health. And given that the rest of McNeil’s numbers were similar to what he did in 2021, it’s not really right to say he was unlucky there. Tommy Pham was lucky with his ISO. DJ Stewart was lucky with his hot streak. David Robertson was lucky with his BB% and LOB%. Brooks Raley was lucky versus RHB.

More so than in 2022, we saw players who were lucky in one category and unlucky in another. Joey Lucchesi was lucky with his HR rate and LOB% but unlucky in K/9. Drew Smith – as hard as it is to believe – was lucky with his HR rate but unlucky with his BB/9 and LOB%. Ottavino was lucky with his BABIP but unlucky with his K/9.

Of course, we can’t have a discussion of the 2023 Mets without talking about health. Edwin Diaz being lost for the season was definitely unlucky. And perhaps the best we can say is that it was a sliding scale of unluckiness for the injuries of Jose Quintana, Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Old guys get hurt.

But Alonso was unlucky with his BABIP, Francisco Alvarez was unlucky versus LHP. Mark Canha was unlucky with his wRC+. Omar Narvaez was unlucky with his health. David Peterson was unlucky with his BABIP. And Starling Merte was unlucky across the board.

Which brings us to 2024. At this point, we should be conditioned to see various things go in the Mets’ favor, along with things that just make the franchise feel cursed. We want to see a continuation in performance from Lindor and Nimmo, along with bounce-back seasons from Diaz, Marte, McNeil and to a lesser extent, Alonso.

We want to see Kodai Senga reproduce his initial season in this country and for Quintana to pitch as well as he did in 13 starts last year for 30 starts in 2024. We hope to see the Baby Mets take a step forward, with two of the three needing a leap more than a step. But then there’s the newcomers and where the problems start to become apparent.

Sean Manaea needs to pitch like he did in the second half of 2023
Luis Severino needs to turn back the clock to 2018
Harrison Bader needs to be the 2018 or 2021 version of himself, not the guy from any other year of his career.
Jake Diekman needs to be the guy he was in a partial year with the Rays, not the pitcher he was with the White Sox or Red Sox.
Jorge Lopez needs to be the guy he was for three months in 2022, not the guy he’s been before or since.

It’s not that this quintet has no history of success in the majors. It’s just that their success has been sporadic or limited or a long time ago or all three. If the players who were on the Mets a year ago have a normal/traditional breakdown of lucky and unlucky seasons – how many of this quintet have to hit for the Mets to make the playoffs?

To at least some extent, David Stearns is wagering on all five of these guys. The Diekman and Manaea ones seem to me the most likely ones to work out for the club. Is that enough? It seems like it would take more good fortune than normal with the returning Mets for that to be the case.

11 comments on “The Mets’ good and bad luck the past two years and how that needs to play out in 2024

  • TexasGusCC

    With all due respect, the Mets don’t need any of those. I believe the starters the Mets have in tow – Megill, Butto, Lucchessi – are just as good as Severino, Houser, and Manaea. What the Mets need is for all eight lineup regulars except for the catcher to play in at least 140 games, including four play in 159, like the Braves did last year.

    You want to talk about luck? How much more do they need?

    • Brian Joura

      I want Butto and Lucchesi to get starts in 2024. And with Luis Severino in the rotation, I believe they’ll get that shot!

  • ChrisF

    Super interesting. Im always quite nervous when it comes to applying “luck” to things. Luck means:
    success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

    So someone striking out 50 times in a row swinging isnt bad luck, its bad swings, even if that goes beyond even the worst 50 PA stretch ever. If a player is making an action exactly what can be partitioned to luck is very hard to assess. For example, a fly ball that falls because of a gust of wind that takes a ball off a predictable path. Thats luck. I suppose you could take the specific data over time like BA or whatever and make a frequency plot to see if it is a normal distribution the look at standard deviation and say that things outside 2 s.d. are soooo unlikely, that it is abnormal so luck could be involved. Another example is the luck of not breaking a hamate bone on a HBP. Called strike 3 when the ball is outside the strike zone would be “unlucky”.

    I cant get over the issue we saw with Jake forever – he pitches a thriller only to have no support at the plate. Another plague is the teamwide events, like a couple people stop hitting and then everyone fall off a cliff. We can win by 8 runs one game and have 17 hits and then play the same team hours later losing by three and must only 3 hits for the entire team. The Jeckyll and Hyde nature of the team disturbs me. It happens so often that its hard to ascribe that to luck, but it sure feels like bad luck in my mind!

    • TexasGusCC

      Chris, consistency of events isn’t luck. A wind blown pop is inconsistent. Not scoring for DeGrom was consistent, and it happened alot. I believe in making your own luck.

      “The harder I work, the luckier I get”, Jimmy Johnson.

      “I don’t believe in luck, luck is for rabbits. I believe in hard work”, Pat Riley.

      Both of these extremely successful coaches made their players work their butts off, so when a break came their way, they capitalized. Or rather, when their overpreparation willed an opponent into a mistake they benefitted.

      It’s why I didn’t like Showalter last year blaming the injuries to his pitching staff for his team not hitting.

  • NYM6986

    As Paul McCartney would sing “with a little luck we can help it out, we can make this whole damn thing work out.” Not having to face Mike Scott in a game 7 in the NLCS in 1986 or for that matter the 10th inning rally and Buckner’s inability to bend down can certainly be called great bits of luck. Sweeping the Braves in 1969 and then toppling the O’s in five for the title that same year can be seen as luck. Even knocking off the Big Red Machine in 1973 could be seen as extraordinary lucky considering the team barely finished over .500 that year.
    One of my favorite lines in your entry was playing to the back of their baseball card. I have long offered that players just having an average career year would make the Mets a first place team. It’s certainly time for some of those players to get lucky and for the those on the fringe I’d like to offer up that it would be great if they had fortunate years – taking lucky to another level.

  • Metsense

    I would rather have a team constructed by players that consistently play to the back of their baseball cards. It lends to stability. This team wasn’t constructed like that.
    Four of the quintet would to have perform in order to make this team a playoff team. With luck, maybe three of them.

  • Dan Capwell

    The Mets best stroke of luck would be an MLB re-alignment that puts Atlanta in a different division! But since that isn’t likely to happen, what they really need to do is plan for the worst-case scenarios.

    Worst Case Scenario #1: The five penciled in starters either regress or reprise the worst of their 2023 performances. There is some depth here, with Megill, Butto, Lucchesi and perhaps a AAA or AA callup. The real question becomes how long the Mets stick with a failing starter before they pull the plug.

    WCS #2 is injuries. The entire starting outfield is injury-prone, and I am not sold on Taylor or Stewart as replacements. Do they end up rushing Gilbert or Williams to the bigs in that case, ready or not? A better veteran 4th OF like Duvall would be a good hedge here, but I do understand that the Mets are reluctant to pay the luxury tax.

    WCS #3 is Vientos and/or Baty failing the test. Lots riding on these kids and no real backup plans in place, at least as of this writing. The abuse heaped on either kid if they can’t deliver will probably be enough to run them out of town. I think these are the two players I am rooting for the hardest for this year.

    The Mets and their shills in the media are certainly pushing the “hey you never know” narrative about contention this season. While I will always hold out hope, it does look like a whole lot has to go right (I didn’t even get near the possibility of a premature season-ending injury to Pete, Lindor or Alvy) for them to even be in the conversation for the playoffs come the ASB.

    • TexasGusCC

      Dan, nodded with your earlier comment but that last paragraph is what I was thinking about the last month. Great comment!

  • Edwin e Pena

    Mets are most likely not going to be as bad as they were in 2023, and probably not as good as they were in 2022. They are probably somewhere in the middle, which if that pans out this year, that would equate to 85-89 wins and a likely WC birth. However, Stearns really needs to wake up and get a true DH and soon. This would help the offense so much and protect the two top hitters in the lineup, Lindor and Alonso, perhaps build some needed confidence for the patched up rotation, which just may surprise if healthy. If Baty or Vientos comes around and takeover the 3B job with good defense and offensive production, and Marte returns, the position players are good enough to win. I am optimistic about the rotation. Bullpen, well, not so much, but at least Diaz is back. Get a DH Stearns !

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

  • José Hunter


    As usual, fascinating article.

    I had some thoughts about luck and 2015, so putting those words into my archives, I found something that Mr. Computer claimed I have previously posted here.

    I have no memory of even writing it, but it does seem relevant:

    Because let’s face it, dudes; 2015 was a big fluke. The Nationals crumbled, and until they added Cespedes, those 2 quality former closers to beef up their bullpen, and those two utility infielders formerly of the Braves with a winning attitude that had been lacking (forgive me for forgetting those 4 names), the Mets weren’t going to end up atop the NL.

    The 3 best teams in the Senior Circuit were the Cards, Cubs and Pirates (all of whom were the only 95+ game winners in the NL). The Mets drew the 4th best NL team in the first round, the Cubs knocked off the Pirates in the WC game and then took down the Cards in the NLDS. Then the Cubbies rolled over and died in 4 straight to push the Mets into the WS, so yeah, the Mets had some incredible luck in 2015.

    • Brian Joura

      Off the top of my head, I have a hard time believing that the Dodgers with prime Kershaw and Greinke fronting their rotation were the fourth-best team in the NL.

      Edit: Record-wise they were, because the Dodgers didn’t have a lot behind those two aces. But Greinke was 19-3 with a 222 ERA+ while Kershaw was 16-7 with a 173 ERA+. The Mets faced those two four times in the five-game series and came out on top. The other three teams had more depth with their SP but couldn’t come close to matching LA’s top two. In a five-game series with the multiple days off that were the rule back then, the Dodgers were the toughest out. I don’t see the Mets being lucky at all with that draw.

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