Talkin’ Baseball – Question 4: Where do you think the Mets will finish this season, why, and any predictions for the playoffs?
Posted by Mack Ade at 8:00 AM
Casey Wentworth -
Second Place behind the Nationals, which are still a more balanced team with a whole lot less of the annual injury type issue concerns. But right on these NY Mets heels should be the Miami Marlins, it just depends if Miami can keep their pencil thin starting rotation healthy and then on the field all season.
Gary McDonald -
I'm taking the Mets to go all the way this season. I'm not in love with the moves the Nationals made. Their lack of depth in the pitching department, no set closer, and questions throughout the lineup makes them vulnerable. The Mets have to have the odds in their favor to stay healthy this year, after last year’s rash of injuries. The Mets also are deeper in pitching and position players then I can remember in a long time. The Marlins are thin pitching wise will have a good start but fade, the Braves are young but not there yet, same with the Phillies. Mets take division in a close one, take NLDS,NLCS, and the Series.
Thomas Brennan -
Yoenis Cespedes will win the MVP, Jake deGrom will win the Cy Young, Rob Gsellman will win Rookie of the Year, and the Mets will Win the World Series. And we will all be smiling. Jennry Mejia will not pitch.
Jack Flynn -
There is the known, there is the unknown, and in between there are the predictions.
In one universe, the Mets have built a 110-win team that steamrolls to a World Series crown. Syndergaard and deGrom are 20-game winners, Matz and Harvey win 15 of their own. Gsellman, Lugo, Wheeler and Montero shuttle between the the fifth starter's spot, the bullpen and Las Vegas at the whim of Terry Collins, who deftly handles this embarrassment of riches and earns a Manager of the Year award. There are no rest stops in a lineup that sees at least 20 home runs from every position player except third base - and that guy somehow gets on base enough to score 110 runs and steal 35 bases (hint: it's not David Wright).
In another universe, the Mets have built an 75-win team that frustrates us all and starts making the Red Bulls look like interesting late-summer viewing. Syndergaard dominates, but walks too many batters. deGrom and Matz battle injuries. Harvey realizes that having 24 ribs is essential to being a viable starter in the National League. Gsellman and Lugo prove to be Quad-A starters, Wheeler never makes it all the way back and Montero gets released. Cespedes has 70 extra-base hits, but the position players strike out too much and too many balls get past them on defense. Reyes pulls a hammy, Duda and Walker grab their backs and D'Arnaud only throws out the pitchers bold enough to try to steal on him. It's a disaster.
So what will happen? Some combination of the two, of course. I suspect that the established longhairs in the starting rotation will combine for 35 wins, and Gsellman joins the Hair Club for Men by chipping in 13 to 15 of his own. The outlook is not so rosy for Matz, Harvey and Wheeler, none of whom reach the heights we've dreamed up for them. That makes Seth Lugo the difference between a division winner and a wild card berth - and do you want to bet that heavily on Seth Lugo?
The lineup is talented and younger than people realize, but they are going to strike out too much and too many unearned runs are going to artificially deflate the pitcher ERAs. Jay Bruce will be at first base sooner rather than later, but not because his bat has earned him the role. Rene Rivera will be the starting catcher by the All-Star Break, and the Blue Jays can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that they only traded one franchise corner stone for RA Dickey.
Final verdict: 89 wins and a single bad night in the office means that Citi Field will not see a home playoff game in 2017.
Reese Kaplan -
Despite the injury issues, the puzzling lineup decisions by the manager and the lack of any external resources added to improve the roster, I do believe the Mets are well positioned to win the division. The Nationals are the primary competition but they are slightly thin in the starting rotation and very thin in the bullpen. Furthermore, the depth that helped last year -- Trea Turner -- now is part of the starting lineup, thus watering down a suspect bench. Oddly, as much as I've criticized the Skipper over the years, I feel if he suffers any health issues that keep him away from the club for any extended period of time (2 weeks or more) then the Mets may indeed crumble as they have not prepared a succession plan for his inevitable replacement.
Many feel the Marlins are poised to take the next step forward but there is no pitching there to sustain a long run even if the bats remain healthy and productive. The Atlanta Braves are the surprising team that's going to sneak up on people with a very impressive pitching staff, some key offensive players and an attitude of bringing in the resources necessary to improve. The Phillies have also got some interesting offensive players but they do not have the pitching yet to compete beyond the first and second starters.
Christopher Soto -
The Mets will return to the promise land and retake the NL East title from the Nationals in 2017. While both teams have very similar quality rotations…the Mets have the required depth on both the pitching and hitting side to survive any injuries to pretty much any spot on the team that is not the C position. Should an injury occur in the Nationals rotation….they have nothing behind their front 5. In fact, there is only 1 other SP on the 40 man roster….and that’s AJ Cole who was recently shut down due to an arm injury. Not to mention, the Nationals lost 50% of their bullpen which ranked 2nd in the MLB. The new group of young upside arms + aging veterans look like a SEVERE downgrade from last year’s group.
David Rubin –
Waking up on Sunday morning, I felt like 2016 all over again, being greeted with the news that Steve Matz was going to skip his start on Monday due to "elbow tenderness." And yet, I know that it is NOT 2016 all over again- it's 2017, and I truly feel that the injury-bug won't bite as hard for a team that showed its' resilience last year where others would've simply crumbled under the weight of losing 3/5 of your starting rotation. A truly motivated Yoenis Cespedes; the most devastating hurler not named Clayton Kershaw; a logjam in the outfield of 30+ homer-hitters; and a number of top level prospects ready, willing and able to step up when and if needed! I really think that most writers have under-sold just how great this collection of ballplayers really is. One reason? Sabermetricians continually under-value or simply dispute the role that team chemistry has on an organization. Granted, it's not a quantifiable statistic, but it IS completely visible to anyone who follows the team. Cabrera waiting to take the helmet off of the teammate who just homered! Starting pitchers creating a pool where the winner is the one with the best offensive stats! Teammates who speak about each other in glowing terms!!! It's something special to be a part of, and it's not simply Mets fans wishing that the "Magic is Back" - it IS! Every time Thor brings it at 100mph; every time deGrom runs one up at the shoulders and the hitter can't help swinging; every time YO hits one so hard, so fast, that you haven't even finished a breath before the ball is over the wall; every time Walker hits a homer to win a game; and every time we look at the depth of the minor leaguers waiting for their chance to join a team that REALLY feels like a team!!! 1992 never felt so far away, and 1969 & 1986 never felt so close! Mets win the division, and beat the Cubs in 5 games to face the Indians in the World Series!!!!! And then it's Mets in 6!!! That's my story, and I'm sticking with it!!! Now pass that Rum, I've got a hot cuppa Joe waiting!!!!
I’ve been saying all off season that the Mets are going to come in third in the NL East. My early prediction was based on a combination of what felt was superior talent in Washington verses the ongoing Mets health problems that always keeps a high percentage of their primary talent on the disabled list. I was just about ready to move my prediction up to second when I got news about the Steven Matz setback. Add that to Juan Lagares and David Wright and here we go again. Still, the Mets pitching depth (with the bonus addition of Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman) and the eventual mid-season arrival of Michael Conforto should keep them in the race until the end. I now have them finishing second around five or six games behind the Nats. I do expect them to win their wild card game (Syndergaard pitching) and moving on to the World Series after they beat the Cubs in six, but, in my opinion, it stops there with a loss in the World Series.