Why the Mets could be early National League East favorites in 2020

Those who believe the New York Mets could be early National League East favorites aren’t so crazy.

With each addition to an MLB roster, it becomes clearer where a team may rank in preseason predictions. Some have gone as far as to predict the New York Mets as early National League East favorites for the 2020 season.

How crazy is this? Well, not too nuts.

We’ll need to see anything to believe it, but let’s consider a few things first before poo-pooing the notion that the Mets are the team to beat in the NL East.

A lot went wrong for the 2019 Mets. Noah Syndergaard had his worst year, Robinson Cano was pretty much absent at the plate, and the team suffered its usual slew of injuries. Oh, and the bullpen had literally one arm they could rely on all year long.

Somehow, the Mets still managed to prevail and stay in the playoff hunt into late September.

The Mets aren’t going to suddenly fix all of these issues in one year. Solve one problem, though, and things are looking much brighter.

Imagine the 2019 Mets with Edwin Diaz at the top of his game. If Syndergaard pitched the way he has in the past, we may have seen some baseball in October. What happens when J.D. Davis and Brandon Nimmo actually get 500 plate appearances?

The only player the Mets lost this winter that may affect them negatively is Zack Wheeler. Their attempt to replace him with Rick Porcello and/or Michael Wacha may not inspire a load of confidence, however, each is capable of putting together a fine year.

At this stage of the offseason, predictions for the coming year are as speculative as ever. Rosters are incomplete. Major trades may still occur and there are plenty of free agents yet to sign a deal. About three months remain until we actually see games that matter.

Other fanbases have scoffed at the idea of the Metropolitans competing in 2020. It’s understandable, in a way. The Atlanta Braves are the young defending champions of the division and the Washington Nationals just won the whole darn thing two months ago.

This team isn’t going from worst to first, though. Once again, we’re heading into the year depending on plenty of “ifs.” Maybe the only difference between those past “ifs” and the ones presented to us now is the team has room for error.

The bullpen doesn’t need to be the best in baseball—just average. The team can place plenty of men on the IL throughout the year because they actually have serious depth nearly everywhere.

When a team hasn’t won a championship in over 30 years, has failed to make any major changes to the roster, and still comes away as an early offseason favorite to capture a division title, it makes sense why others question it.

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Let’s remember how improbable and unexpected many of the best years of Mets baseball has been. While being favorites is nice, I wouldn’t worry if plenty of people have their doubts at the same time.

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