Mets Season Preview: Final record predictions
May 20, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) singles to right during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
The Mets’ greatest strength is their starting pitching. This is no secret. Despite a rather puzzling decision to slot Dillon Gee in the rotation over Rafael Montero, they have one of the most feared rotations in the game. This spring, Matt Harvey has silenced those who worried if he could regain his spectacular velocity, breaking pitches and control. Jacob deGrom has appeared to be in midseason form as well, striking out 21 and walking only four batters in 22 spring innings. While Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese don’t have very high ceilings, they can be depended on to provide the production of quality #3 starters. And let’s not forget the likes of Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard, who are within striking distance of big league roster spots. Even without Zack Wheeler, I rank the Mets’ rotation third in the National League.
The Mets appear primed to make some noise with their bats as well. New hitting coach Kevin Long has seemed to revitalize several hitters this spring, namely Curtis Granderson, Wilmer Flores and Michael Cuddyer. The Mets front office has clearly prioritized offense over defense with their position players, and I’m confident this will be the best Mets lineup since 2008. Lucas Duda is coming off an excellent offensive season and will likely improve his performance against lefties. Wilmer Flores has been spectacular in spring. The captain is finally healthy, flashing vintage David Wright opposite field power, which should play well with the new Citi Field dimensions. I don’t see a single “black hole” in this lineup. If healthy, all eight hitters in the projected lineup should easily exceed league average offensive production.
Unfortunately, the Mets’ strengths end there. While I applaud Sandy Alderson’s recent acquisitions, I am not fond of this bullpen. Many Met relievers project to suffer major control issues without recording enough strikeouts to compensate. While the Mets have several power arms in the back end of games, if you compare the group to others around baseball, they leave much to be desired. Vic Black and Bobby Parnell are major question marks due to injury and losing Josh Edgin was a major hit.
I project the Mets as the worst defensive team in the National League outside of San Diego. The Mets have the best center fielder in baseball and one of the best third basemen in baseball. But they will likely be significantly below average at every single other position. While I certainly hope Juan Lageras’ magic can compensate somewhat for the Mets’ shortcomings in the corner outfield spots, there won’t be much that David can do to atone for an inexperienced Flores and clumsy right side of the infield. Travis d’Arnaud has a talent for framing pitches, but a lack of talent for catching pitches and throwing out base stealers.
All things considered, I see this five-game improvement coming from increased production at third base, the corner outfield spots, and the starting rotation compared to last season. As hard it is for me to say, I’ll be pretty happy with 84 wins, even if it won’t be enough to make the playoffs. We’re almost there, we’ll just have to be a little more patient.
Final record: 84-78 (3rd in N.L. East), miss playoffs
Next: Cassandra Negley's Mets final record prediction