Over at FanGraphs, they published the median projected standings right now in the National League, according to the ZiPS projections. Now, this comes with the caveat that there are some big free agents still out there – no, the Mets are not going to sign one of those – that could shift things around. But as it stands right now, the Mets finish with 83 wins and claim the third Wild Card spot.

That seems like a reasonable forecast to me. It’s probably a win or two higher than I’d go, but nothing outrageous. And, of course, if the Mets are in the thick of the Wild Card race near the trade deadline, it seems likely that they would pull the trigger to add a necessary part or two. Last year they were trading away an old guy doing well on an expiring contract for a lottery ticket IFA player. It’s easy to see them on the other side of the equation this year if everything breaks right.

The text with the article had only this to say about the Mets – “ZiPS doesn’t think the Mets did enough to patch up their rotation, but if their starting pitchers are better than expected, they should contend for a wild card.”

My opinion is that the Mets have reasonable alternatives for the starting rotation should the projected starters flop. Instead, my worry is that they stick too long with under-performing players, whether they be pitchers or hitters. If they want to be serious contenders for a playoff spot, they can’t give 730 PA to two guys under the Galvis Line or 18 starts to a guy with a 6.65 ERA.

It’s tough to know when to stop giving playing time to a guy who’s struggling. It’s not like you can say if he doesn’t do it by May 1, he won’t do it at all. Yet it’s one of the things that the Braves are really good at doing. They don’t give 300 or more PA to guys who are stinking up the joint, especially outfielders. Instead, they’ll rotate thru options until they hit on one that works, even if that means calling up a guy from Double-A.

Are David Stearns and Carlos Mendoza the right combo to make the tough decisions? They’re both in the honeymoon phase right now. But they shouldn’t expect that to last very long. The natives will get restless if some combination of Harrison Bader, Brett Baty, Starling Marte and Mark Vientos have a sub-80 OPS+ after 150 PA.

Let’s hope that the manager and front office are up for this particular challenge.

8 comments on “Mets make Wild Card according to ZiPS median projected standings

  • Paulc

    A winning record seems optimistic. A shaky rotation and offensive holes at 3B, RF, CF, and DH (and possibly 2B with McNeil) is not a winning team. Everything would have to go right: Severino bounces back, Manaea’s end of 2023 is for real, Megill’s off-season new pitch works, Baty hits, Marte reverts to his career averages, and Vientos fulfills his promise. Unlikely, but it would be fun to see if it did and I hope it does.

    • Brian Joura

      I don’t believe that everything has to go right for the Mets to have a winning record.

      I could see Bader and Severino being busts, McNeil not getting back to 2022 form and Baty not taking a step forward and still have the club finish with 82 wins.

      The Mets have starting pitching depth, a reasonable bounce-back candidate in Marte and growth opportunities with Alvarez and Vientos.

      They need better health than they had a year ago and for Lindor, Nimmo and Senga to play at the top end of their range of expected outcomes.

      It’s a lot to ask. It’s just not everything.

  • Metsense

    I was be surprised if Severino and Manaea are pulled from the starting be for Memorial Day even if they don’t meet a 5.00 ERA. The same thing so Bader has a .622 OPS.
    My expectation is a .500 record and hope Baty, Vientos, Stewart and Taylor achieved a 100 OPS+.

  • T.J.

    “On paper” the Mets seem to be in that pack of trans that “has a shot” at the post season. .500ish with a little upside with some decent fortunes. ZIPS and PECOTA seem to endorse that unscientific view. I have a harder time accepting that low 80s wins will nab a wildcard spot than I do of the Mets finishing with low 80s win. But, I have nothing to support that besides a gut feeling.

    • Brian Joura

      All we have to do is go back and see what the 3rd WC team had – or would have had if that was in place at the time – when it comes to wins:

      23 – 84
      22 – 87
      21 – 83
      19 – 86
      18 – 88

      That’s a five-win difference worst/best in the last five years.

  • NYM6986

    I am struck by the experts projections and how that might convey to reality. The Mets have a legit chance to a wildcard spot if players hit their averages and a few step up to lead the team. Sure it was nice to see Verlander and Scherzer lead the rotation and while they had winning records it was not enough to keep them at last year’s trade deadline. It is not the least but amazing that the Braves will win the division and the Phillies come in second, yet most experts expect a regression for the Phillies. They say the Yankees will recapture the AL East and that the Orioles will drop from first to fourth, and the Rangers will lose their division to the Astros-not a shocker. They also pick the Cardinals to go from worst to first. To me this kind of shows that many teams are closer to playoff contention than one might think and that these predictions are not worth the paper they were written on.
    In fairness, all teams have injuries and players not living up to the back of their baseball cards, and the issue has always been who do they have to step in when that happens. The good teams with strong organizations simply pluck someone from the minors to fill the needed role. When the Mets get to that point, then they will be a perennial contender. That should be Stearns biggest goal and the best way to spend Cohen’s money.

    • CharlieH

      Agreed on all counts. I think it would be a safe bet to say that is exactly what Stevens’s goal is.

      • CharlieH


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