New York Mets projected to capture the NL East by Baseball Prospectus

Michael Conforto, New York Mets. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Michael Conforto, New York Mets. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The New York Mets will add their seventh National League East Division crown to kick off the ‘Roaring Twenties’ according to Baseball Prospectus

Baseball Prospectus projects the New York Mets to stand atop the NL East. Their PECOTA system gives them 87.8 wins, just a slight tick over the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals at 87.1 wins. The Atlanta Braves are predicted to be an 82.8 win team, followed by the Philadelphia Phillies at 76.8 wins and the Miami Marlins with 71.3 wins.

Due to a second-half surge last season, the Amazins scratched and clawed their way to an 86-76 record, just missing out on a Wild Card berth, while overcoming injuries to Robinson Cano and the underperformance of closer Edwin Diaz and reliever Jeurys Familia.

It’s a bit startling to me that PECOTA projections give the New York Mets only a two-win improvement. Their only major loss was the departure of Zack Wheeler to the Phillies.

Could it be PECOTA doesn’t believe in rookie manager Luis Rojas? Unlikely. The freshman skipper gets ringing endorsements from the players in the clubhouse. That’s before he’s even managed a game. Rojas isn’t the only staff member who’ll have an impact.

With former Mets starter (2012-13), turned pitching coach, Jeremy Hefner at the helm, New York’s pitching staff along with its bullpen can markedly improve. He helped work miracles in the Twin Cities.

While serving as assistant pitching coach for the Twins last season, Minnesota’s team ERA improved from a 4.50 in 2018 to a 4.18 in 2019, which ranked fifth in the American League and ninth in the Majors. The New York Mets meanwhile ranked sixth in the National League with a 4.24 ERA and 11th in MLB.

Their rotation headlined by back-to-back NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom will feature Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz. Free agent signee and longtime New York Mets fan Rick Porcello will take the mound as the fifth starter. Newly signed Michael Wacha will be making spot starts, but mostly pitching in long relief. NYM will only get better.

The real “X-Factor” this season is the bullpen.

Diaz, who still managed to save 27 games despite a 2-7 record and an inflated 5.59 ERA, has told reporters that he hopes his slider (which gave many fans nightmares last season) should be much improved since he enlisted the help of Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.

Familia has also gone on record and held himself accountable for last season’s woes (4-2 record with 5.70 ERA in 66 appearances). Per the New York Daily News’ Deesha Thosar, the 6-3 hurler dropped 30 pounds this offseason and looks to improve. Fans seem to forget, but Familia set the franchise’s consecutive saves streak with 52 in 2016.

Adding former Bronx setup man

Dellin Betances to Seth Lugo, Justin Wilson, Robert Gsellman, Brad Brach and company, the Mets have the makings of a dominant bullpen.

Lastly, with a positional core of 2019 National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, all-star Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, and Michael Conforto, the Amazins should have a productive offense. Their success will also hinge on the health of Yoenis Céspedes and Cano. If both are able to play in 100 games, Mets fans should call their ticket representative and slap a deposit down on playoff tickets.

One last tidbit, whoever is able to capitalize and beat the Miami Marlins along with other bottom feeders of the National League (although I don’t think there will be too many) will win the division. I agree with PECOTA’s projections on the Mets taking the division, but I do believe they are a 90 win club.

Next. deGrom and Cole among MLB Network’s top 10 pitchers. dark

What do you think bout the Mets chances in 2020? Let us know in the comments section below or on social media.