ICYMI: Mets projected to finish 82-80, second in NL East

This post originally published on January 28, 2015

Baseball Prospectus projects the Mets to finish 82-80 and in second place in the NL East this season (BP, Jan. 28).

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They project the second Wild Card team to be the Padres at 83-79.

cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone: For most people, it’s all about the record at the finish. However, for me, as a fan of a team ending their rebuild, like the Mets, success is about momentum. In the above scenario, for instance, we will have watched 162 Mets games, all of which had playoff implications.

Sure, they fell short, but the above means being on the edge of our seats, a packed Citi Field up until the last day of the season and a ton of compelling action. There will be momentum and an exciting feeling about 2016. I’d prefer the Mets win 85-90 games and have there be no race, because the Wild Card or division was locked up in advance. But, short of that, a thrilling, wall-to-wall pennant race and confidence heading in to the offseason will be another step in the right direction.


mangan avatarBrian P. Mangan: This is just a projection model, so everyone is regressed toward finishing around .500 or so. What is more important is that the Mets 82 win projection is sixth-best in the NL and two wins from being fourth-best, according to PECOTA. In reality, each of these teams are +/- 7 wins based on luck, injuries, etc., so a few teams will get up to 85+ wins or more. The Mets are well positioned to be one of those teams. So, while 82 would be a disappointment, being the sixth-best team in the model is very  good.


Matt Harvey is the team’s linchpin player for 2015

In a post for ESPN.com, Buster Olney lists Matt Harvey among the 10 linchpin players for their respective teams in 2015 (ESPN Insider, Jan. 29).

“The Nationals have a chance to be a great team, a really deep team, while the Mets need a lot to fall their way,” he explains. “The Mets’ offense could be sporadic, and it’s hard to imagine them being relevant in the NL playoff race without Harvey contributing a strong 2015 season — a tall order, perhaps, because he still hasn’t thrown a pitch in a major league game since undergoing Tommy John surgery and some pitchers take two years to fully recover from that procedure.”

FanGraphs.com’s Steamer projections put Harvey at 11-8 with a 3.13 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 26 starts.

The FanGraphs community projects Harvey to have a slightly better record and ERA in the same amount of starts.

mangan avatarBrian P. Mangan: The Hardball Times found that a pitcher’s ERA, walks and strikeouts are all between 4.5 and 6 percent worse than when compared to a year before Tommy John surgery. The American Journal of Sports Medicine similarly found that ERAs are about 6 percent higher the first year back.

That said, a comparison to all pitchers in MLB that had the surgery doesn’t necessarily provide an accurate picture of what to expect from Harvey. Harvey is a strong, young, ace-in-the-making, so he should only be compared to the pitchers that are similar to him >> Read more.

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ICYMI: I love the Mets, but covering their coverage is exhausting

This post originally published on January 30, 2015

cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone: It’s amazing to me how much the Mets dominate news and reaction in New York, especially for a team that has been to the playoffs once in 14 years.

In the last few weeks — in the dead of January, when most teams and fans are praying for the start of Spring Training — the Mets have been involved in stories about paying for offseason fitness programs, fan-backed billboards, failed social media campaigns, scoreboards vs. shortstops, pre-game hosts, finance committees and urns, not to mention trade rumors, prospect rankings and debating ways to improve the actual roster… To read more of this story, click here

NY Post: How inactive Mets have lost ground to NL rivals

Pitchers and catchers report in roughly three weeks, yet there is little buzz about the Mets nationally. The Cubs, Marlins, Nationals and Padres won the NL winter, but who gets the spring, summer and fall?

Here’s a look at how the NL breaks down, as related to the Mets, heading into spring training >> Read more at the New York Post


ICYMI: New commissioner Manfred is OK with Mets payroll and strategy

This post originally published on January 29, 2015

New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has no problem with how the Wilpon family handles the Mets, he told reporter Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports, Jan. 28).

Here is the Mets-related portion of their conversation, which covers everything from Alex Rodriguez, to marketing MLB, to potential rule changes…

Ken Rosenthal: The Mets play in one of the biggest markets in the game. I know Commissioner Selig was close with (Mets owner) Fred Wilpon and that you just appointed Mr. Wilpon head of your finance committee. Yet, this team’s payroll is lower than some lower-revenue teams, certainly projects to be that way again in 2015. How do you justify to their fans the Mets’ inability or reluctance to spend more on players?

Rob Manfred: I’m a huge fan of Sandy Alderson. I think Sandy Alderson is as good a general manager today as there is in the game. You could go back 20 years and argue that he’s one of the best. I think they have developed a strategy with respect to the Mets they’re going to try to grow from within so that they have a team that can be competitive and sustainable, and I have no doubt that as that process continues and it requires the owners of the Mets to invest additional dollars in payroll that they are going to be willing and able to do that.

In early January, Rosenthal wrote that the Mets having a payroll less than some low-revenue teams is ‘absurd,’ and the commissioner’s office should consider getting involved (FoxSports, Jan. 14).

“The situation is what the situation is, for whatever reason it is,” ESPN’s Buster Olney told a group of New York baseball fans at Pitch Talks New York in early January, and no amount of billboards, complaining or reporting is going to change that because the Wilpon family is in good standing with Major League Baseball.

According to Olney, despite taking a loan from the league, which he says other teams have done as well, the Wilpons have never pocketed baseball money or refused to pay their employees, which is what essentially led to Frank McCourt being forced to sell the Dodgers.


Kevin Plawecki is underrated and ready to contribute

mangan avatarBrian P. Mangan: It’s easy to see how 23-year-old C Kevin Plawecki might get lost in the shuffle of highly-touted Mets prospects, especially since the big-league team already has a young, highly-touted catcher in Travis d’Arnaud,

However, very few prospects in all of baseball offer a level of certainty or the same high floor as Plawecki, which is probably why MLB.com ranked him the sixth-best catching prospect in all of baseball. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s been healthy, and he’s gotten rave reviews for his receiving and game-calling, so there is a lot to like  To read more of this story, click here