Cleat Geeks

NL East 1st Place Prediction-New York Mets

mets4

The New York Mets, the reigning National League champions, are primed to be a good ballclub for a long time. The Mets boast an elite starting rotation consisting of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Three out of those four young studs can easily rank on anyone’s top 10 starting pitchers list right now. Don’t forget that they have another young horse, Zack Wheeler, on his way back from Tommy John Surgery. While the Washington Nationals are still a team with very good players, such as NL MVP Bryce Harper and pitcher Max Scherzer, the Mets are unquestionably the favorites to win the National League East this season. They still have a good lineup despite the departure of postseason hero Daniel Murphy who signed with the Nationals as a free agent. Yoenis Cespedes resigned with the ball club late in the off-season. He took less money and less years than what the Nationals offered. That says a lot about how much he enjoyed his time with the Mets in 2015, joining them at the trade deadline as the big piece that helped the team take off and capture the NL pennant.

harvey

It was their pitching that carried the Mets through the first half of their 2015 campaign which ended with 90 wins and a NL East division title, their first since 2006. The Mets’ offense was atrocious in the first half of the year. Their offense’s first half numbers ranked last or close to last in various categories. They stayed hovering around .500 entering the week of the trade deadline. They were three games behind Washington at that point and were still putting out a lineup with a couple of players who should be on the bench. Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson has been criticized in the past for not doing a whole lot to transform this team. He decided to go for it and added Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson to help the Mets’ offense. Then, it was reported that the Mets were to receive Carlos Gomez from the Brewers during the middle of a game. Wilmer Flores somehow was informed that he had been traded to the Brewers and was seen wiping his tears as he took the field at shortstop. The Twitter universe was buzzing as many wondered why he was kept in the game if he had been traded. Well, turns out he wasn’t traded. Sandy Alderson told reporters that the trade didn’t go through.

cespedesswing

After the game, Mets manager Terry Collins said he didn’t even know about the false report that stated Wilmer Flores was supposedly traded. The Mets did eventually acquire a new outfielder: Yoenis Cespedes. The Cespedes trade with the Tigers happened just before the 4pm deadline on July 31st and of course, Wilmer Flores hit a 12th inning walk-off home run vs. the Nationals that same night. The Mets went on a tear, going 20-8 in August and 18-14 in September/October. In 57 games with the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes hit .287 with 17 home runs, and 44 RBI. His slugging percentage with the Mets was .604 and his OPS was .942. He was red hot during those last two months of the season. It wasn’t only the new additions that helped the team turn things around. The Mets’ playoff run was also in large part thanks to Daniel Murphy’s breakout year. He may have left the team in free agency but they still have team captain and third baseman, David Wright, who is healthy and ready to go for 2016. He was put on the DL early in the 2015 season and returned to the ball club in the middle of their hot streak in August.

conforto

Left fielder Michael Conforto made his MLB debut and contributed to the team with 9 home runs, 14 doubles and a .506 SLG in 56 games. Not bad for the 22-year-old who was just recently drafted out of Oregon State in 2014. Veteran right fielder Curtis Granderson had another solid season as he drove in 70 runs and scored 98 runs. The pitching of the Mets was the main standout though. Jeurys Familia was named the closer just before the 2015 season began and he was fantastic. Then, there were the staring pitchers.

syndergaard

It’s scary to think that the Mets’ top guns; Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, are just beginning their career. Lefty Steven Matz made his MLB debut in the summer of 2015 and made six starts. He had a 1.23 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, and 2.27 ERA in 35 innings. Noah Syndergaard made his MLB debut in May 2015 and made 24 starts. He blew Major league hitters away like nothing. He struck out 166 batters in 150 innings. That’s a K/9 of 10.9. Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are the more “experienced” pitchers from the Mets’ four horsemen. Jacob deGrom followed his Rookie of the Year season with a terrific All-Star season in 2015. deGrom put up a WHIP of .979. Yes, his WHIP was under 1. He struck out 205 batters in 191 innings and had a 2.54 ERA. Matt Harvey struck out 188 batters and had a 2.71 ERA in 2015. It was a very nice comeback after his Tommy John Surgery which forced him to miss all of 2014. The ageless Bartolo Colon continued to make hitters look foolish and will return in 2016 but the Mets’ young arms are the core to their success in 2016 and beyond.

*2016 Projected Lineupgranderson

RF Curtis Granderson  .245/.348/.431

 

2B Neil Walker  .268/.333/.430

3B David Wright  .287/.354/.427

wright

CF Yoenis Cespedes  .278/.318/.495

1B Lucas Duda  .247/.352/.473

C Travis d’Arnaud  .261/.320/.448

LF Michael Conforto  .269/.328/.439

SS Asdrubal Cabrera  .251/.305/.396

*2015 BA/OBP/SLGnymets

2016 Projected Rotation

Matt Harvey

Jacob deGrom

degrom

Noah Syndergaard

Steven Matz

Bartolo Colon

Zack Wheeler

2016 Projected Bullpen

Jeurys Familiacolon

Antonio Bastardo

Carlos Torres

Addison Reed

Hansel Robles

Sean Gilmartin

 

cespedesFinal Word: After a storybook type of a season which unfortunately ended in a World Series loss to the Royals in five games, the Mets are loaded with arguably the best pitching staff in baseball. To complement their amazing arms, they have a line-up that is the polar opposite of what they had in the first half of 2015. David Wright is healthy, Michael Conforto is ready to take advantage of his first full season, and Yoenis Cespedes has proven he can carry an offense. They acquired Neil Walker from the Pirates to replace Daniel Murphy at 2B and they also got Asdrubal Cabrera to play shortstop. For all of the stars on the Nationals’, their pitching doesn’t come close to what the Mets throw out there on a nightly basis. In addition, the Mets don’t seem like a team that will disappoint. Many of the other contenders in the National League have upgraded immensely this off-season so it will be tough for the Mets to reach the World Series again. However, good luck to any hitter in a playoff game having to deal with aces that are at the level of the New York Mets’ pitchers.

 

 

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