Are the Mets truly NL East favorites?
This is far from an exact science, but our little thought experiment indicates that the Mets and Nats are the two top teams in the division, with the Braves and Phillies each regressing back towards the middle of the pack, while the Marlins are still in the midst of a full-blown rebuild.
On paper and according to this way of looking at things, BVW is right. The Mets are the favorites in the NL East. But it’s so close (28 points for the Mets to 27 points for the Nats) that its basically a tie.
A possible flaw in the scoring could be the Atlanta Braves. Logic would dictate that the division winners from last season who add a former MVP in Josh Donaldson and have another year of experience for Acuna, Jr., Albies, and their young pitchers should remain the favorites.
But what this rating system did was discount the Braves’ young arms, as only Gausman, Teheran, Toussaint, and Minter made the list at their respective positions and they only managed a single point apiece.
Perhaps there is some merit to this, as the pitching staff is not the team’s strong suit. Although it didn’t seem to bother Atlanta much last year.
We shall see.
This simplified system of analysis also says that the Nats underachieved last season, that the Mets improved this offseason, that the Phillies from the second half of 2018 are closer to what we’ll see this year than what they showed in an unexpectedly hot first-half last season, and that the Marlins are a long ways away as of this moment.
I can’t say I disagree with any of that. Nor would most people.
All in all, the ending point totals for each team roughly reflect what the prognosticators wielding statistical analysis beyond my scope of intellect have concluded if you were to combine all of the Pecota, Fangraphs, Caesars, etc data from above.
The NL East didn’t quite follow the script they were handed by the experts last season, however, as the Braves and Phillies surprised just about everyone. And my crystal ball has been in the shop forever, so this is far from a prediction of 2019’s ending NL East results and more of a loose guide to where we’re at right now (on paper, at least).
What does this mean for the Mets in particular, however?
Well, it means they look pretty good on paper and that’s a starting point, but we all know that’s not where seasons are played. They’re played out on major league ball fields over 162 games.
But more important for the Mets than rankings and points awarded in the offseason is the willingness for BVW to stick his neck out there, be bold, and assure his team that he has as much, if not more, confidence in them as they do in themselves – both individually and collectively.
This confidence publicly resonating from the top down is a far cry from Sandy Alderson’s measured approach to, well, just about everything. Yes, there is an air of ”fake it ’til you make it” to the whole thing, but it certainly feels as though the players are starting to buy in.
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And so am I.