Posted by Richard Jones at 11:27 PM
I saw some 2017 projections for the Mets starters recently. They made no sense to me. There's very little science that you can put into projections like that. Bill James did publish some work that shows how players progress and regress during their careers. He has thousands of players stats to work with. You can see players as a whole progressing into their early thirties before they begin a downward curve of regression. There are players who don't fit the normal curve, like Barry Bonds who had his best seasons when he was in his late thirties and early forties. Then there are individual circumstances such as injuries and recovering from a year plagued by injury.
If you're going by stats alone each Met pitcher should have a slightly better year than he had in 2016. Every starting Met pitcher is still at an age when you would expect a player to progress. Many of the projections I have seen for Noah Syndergaard show a regression from the 2016 season. Most of these actually show an increase in innings which would suggest that the predicted regression is not caused by health issues. Predicting Syndergaard is healthy for 2017 and regresses is non-sense. There is absolutely no data to back that. To predict health issues would require information that fans like myself and like most professional writers have no access to.
My projections below are based on 5% stats and science and 95% my gut feeling. I don't believe anyone else is capable of doing any better unless you have access to their medical records. So don't take my projections or anyones elses serious. It's just for fun. We can comeback and revisit these in October.
I'm going to start with Matt Harvey. I saw the very short video he posted. He looked like he is in the best shape of his career. I feel he is 100% healthy and extremely motivated. I'm predicting a return to dominance and the Mets ace.
Next is Noah Syndergaard. I expect him to stay healthy. I believe his size and easy mechanics will keep him that way. I don't see any reason not to expect him to build off of last year.
Jacob deGrom returns to form. Before his injury he had been the Mets most consistant starter over the last 2 and a half seasons. He is the easiest to predict.
Matz is much more difficult to predict. He hasn't been able to put together a real long string of healthy games. I was real aggressive on my predictions for Harvey. I'm being more conservative with Matz. If he stays and pitches healthy he should perform better but that's a big if.
Wheeler is another difficult if not impossible prediction. How will the Mets use him? Will he be healthy? Even when he did start and was healthy he never came near fulfilling his potential. I always thought Mike Pelfrey had great stuff when he was with the Mets. He never could figure it out. Wheeler's stuff is even better but will he figure it out. He could easily put the numbers up that deGrom does. The question is will he?
I don't believe the Mets will go to a full 6 man rotation but I do believe they will limit the innings of several of their starters. Having a 6th starter like Gsellman will make that easy. I still believe he will get 20 to 25 start even if the other 5 stay healthy. They can start Wheeler in the bullpen or give him an extended spring traing. They can take turns shutting down Harvey, Matz, deGrom, and Wheeler to limit their innings. I don't think there will be an issue getting him starts. I believe he was the real deal last year.