My answer to the above headline? I won’t pretend to know. Mark Simon of ESPN is a tremendous numbers guy, and he did a great job breaking down what he feels it will take for the 2013 Mets to make the postseason. I’m a baseball traditionalist in many ways, but I put great emphasis on advanced statistics such as WAR, BABIP, and LD%.
With that said, it gets a bit out of control when anyone attempts to project precisely what each member of a still incomplete roster would have to do in order for their team to make the playoffs. I don’t expect the Mets to make the playoffs or come very close to making it this coming season, but it’s still pointless to take anything concrete from projections like these.
For example, Simon opines that in addition to a host of other players stepping up, David Wright must have an MVP caliber year (a WAR of 7.0) in order for the Mets to make the playoffs. How does that hold water? What if Wright hits .285 with 22 home runs and 95 RBI’s, but isn’t worth the wins above replacement Simon states he must be? Meanwhile, Ike Davis has an incredible offensive year, coupled with both Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey becoming legitimate ace type starting pitchers (thus exceeding Simon’s expectations)? Would Wright’s lack of MVP credentials/7.0 WAR keep the Mets out of the postseason because Mark Simon said in January that it would?
I’m not trying to engage in an argument with the numbers guys or debunk their methods. I respect their work. I understand the need for production and where it has to come from, and agree that the Mets are severely lacking in several areas. If I were to place a bet right now, it wouldn’t be on the Mets’ success this season. In his report, Simon notes that Dan Szymborski of ZiPS gives the Mets a 0.8 chance of making the playoffs in 2013. To cite one old example, the Orioles were projected to have a miniscule chance of winning the AL East in 2012 and nearly pulled it off (making the postseason as a wild card instead).
I’d like to think that baseball draws most people in because of the beauty of the game, its countless nuances, and the knowledge that anything can happen in any given game or any given year – none of which should ever truly be surprising (think of the ’69 Mets, ’91 Braves, ’08 Rays, or a host of other teams that came out of nowhere). To repeat, I’m not saying the 2013 Mets will make the playoffs or even come close. What I’m saying, is that I’ll let the games bear out what the 2013 Mets will be instead of giving up on the season in January based on sterile projections.