Mets Season Preview: Final record predictions
Feb 23, 2015; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) during spring training at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
After eight seasons of variously-disappointing baseball, the Mets will return to the playoffs in 2015. And it’ll be on the back of Norfolk, Virginia.
The Mets offense wasn’t awful last year, except for left field. How bad was left field? Let’s compare to #MetsTwitter punching bag Ruben Tejada:
Left Field: .216/.306/.309 (80 wRC+)
Tejada: .237/.342/.310 (89 wRC+)
Left Field: 6 HR in 694 PA
Tejada: 5 HR in 419 PA
Michael Cuddyer brings the power and veteran credibility the position needs. Fellow Virginian David Wright is expected to rebound from a balky shoulder in 2014, and a strong spring has set the bar high for the Captain. Assuming every other position holds steady, that alone could be enough to give the Mets a top-5 offense in the National League.
The pitching needs no introduction. Matt Harvey is awesome. Jacob deGrom is awesome. Jon Niese is healthy. Bartolo Colon is immortal. Dillon Gee had a 30-start stretch as dominant as anyone prior to last May’s trip to the DL, and it’s not impossible he’ll regain that form. And if he doesn’t? Rafael Montero looked great this spring, and even he’s overshadowed by Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.
The bullpen isn’t going to be a strength, but it isn’t the Robert Carson-y hodgepodge it’s been in the past – especially after Sandy Alderson acquired Alex Torres and Jerry Blevins earlier this week. The improvements in the other two phases should ease the pressure on them, though, allowing the Mets to nail bite their way through 2-1 late-inning leads.
The most understated thing in the Mets’ favor though is their division. The N.L. West has three or four teams who can compete. The N.L. Central has four teams with playoff aspirations. The N.L. East has Washington, who might be the best team in baseball. Beyond that though? Miami made a bunch of sexy moves that didn’t really improve much, and their depth is suspect. Atlanta and Philly appear destined for 90+ losses.
If the Mets can stay healthy enough to hold an advantage on the Marlins and maybe eke out an extra win or two against the Nationals, little stands in the way of their first playoff berth since 2006.
Michael Cuddyer isn’t a sexy move, but he and John Mayberry improve the Mets’ two biggest holes (left field and the back half of first base). But healthy David Wright and Matt Harvey are game changers.
Final record: 87-75 (2nd in N.L. East), Second Wild Card
Next: Rich Sparago's Mets final record prediction