2015 New York Mets Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
by Alan Matthews - 3/17/2015
In my opinion, there's no excuse for a team based in New York to miss the playoffs for eight straight seasons. Baseball has no salary cap, so the big-market teams should have a huge advantage in terms of local TV revenue, etc. Spend to win. However, the New York Mets haven't acted like a big-market team for many years. Part of it was their ownership was caught up in the Bernie Madoff scheme and it cost the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, hundreds of millions of dollars.
That's all in the past, and the Mets are somewhat like the Cubs now: A team with a touted group of young players who have arrived in the majors or are about to and a franchise that appears headed toward contention very soon. Only with the Mets it's young pitching, while with the Cubs it's young hitting.
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Last season's 79-83 mark was the Mets' sixth straight losing campaign, and a seventh in a row would be a huge disappointment. If the Mets aren't at least a .500 team, I think Manager Terry Collins is a goner.
Mets 2015 Projected Lineup
New York didn't lose anyone major off last year's every-day lineup but also didn't add much of note, which surprised me -- especially at shortstop. The team was tied to just about every major shortstop possibly available, led by the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki and Cubs' Starlin Castro. But New York has been hesitant to deal any of that young pitching. I'm not a big fan of this lineup.
The leadoff hitter should be center fielder Juan Lagares (.281, 47 RBIs, 13 steals), who is a tremendous defensive player and won a Gold Glove in 2014. He will be followed by very good second baseman Daniel Murphy (.289, nine HRs, 57 RBIs), an All-Star (the team's only All-Star last year). Murphy could have a big season because he's staring at free agency unless he and the team agree to an extension. Apparently the Mets don't want to talk contract during the season so it appears Murphy may test the market unless something is done this spring.
David Wright (.269, eight HRs, 63 RBIs) plays third and hits third and remains the face of the franchise. Maybe Wright's power will return now that the fences at Citi Field have been moved in again. Wright hasn't hit more than 21 dingers since 2010. He has played 134 games or less in three of the past four seasons. One of the more underrated players in MLB last year was Mets first baseman and cleanup hitter Lucas Duda (.253, 30 HRs, 92 RBIs). Duda became just the 17th Met player with 30 dingers in a season and did it on the final pitch he saw in 2014. Was he a fluke?
New York's biggest offseason acquisition was outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who should bat fifth. Cuddyer hit .332 with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs for the Rockies in 2014 but was limited to 49 games, with three trips to the disabled list because of hamstring and shoulder injuries. I don't get that signing at all as Cuddyer is a product of Coors Field. Outfielder Curtis Granderson (.227, 20 HRs, 66 RBIs) bats sixth. He's been a bust. The lineup will be rounded out by catcher Travis d'Arnaud (.242, 13 HRs, 41 RBIs) and shortstop Wilmer Flores (.251, six HRs, 29 RBIs).
Mets 2015 Projected Rotation & Closer
This looked to be a major strength and it still may be, but the team got horrible news this week in learning that young Zack Wheeler will need season-ending Tommy John surgery. Wheeler, 24, went 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 32 starts for the Mets last season. He averaged 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings, fifth-best in the NL.
With all due respect to Wheeler, he isn't the ace. Matt Harvey is. He was dominant as a rookie in 2013 (9-5, 2.27 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 191 strikeouts in 178.1 innings) before his season ended due to Tommy John surgery, with Harvey missing all of last year. He looks great this spring. Presumably the Mets are going to watch his innings this season closely.
Harvey should be followed by 2014 NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom. He was 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 140 1/3 innings over 22 starts. DeGrom initially was called up to the majors to work out of the bullpen but an injury kept starter Dillon Gee on the DL so deGrom stayed in the rotation.
Jon Niese (9-11, 3.40), Bartolo Colon (15-13, 4.09) and Gee (7-8, 4.00) round out the starting five. Gee had been mentioned as trade bait and was supposed to pitch out of the bullpen, but that plan has been shelved with Wheeler's injury. If one starter falters, the Mets have another top prospect in Noah Snydergaard (and lefty Steven Matz) waiting in the wings.
The closer spot should belong to Jenrry Mejia to start the season, but after last season Collins said he views the job as Bobby Parnell's to lose. Parnell is only about a year removed from Tommy John surgery, however, and likely won't be ready to start the season. Mejia was 6-6 with 28 saves and a 3.65 ERA last year. The team did lose excellent set-up man Josh Edgin to a season-ending Tommy John surgery as well.
Mets Futures Odds & 2014 Trends
At Bovada , New York is +3300 to win the World Series, +1400 to take the pennant (both odds same as Yankees, strangely enough), +500 second-favorite for the NL East crown and has a wins total of 82.5 (both -115). At Sportsbook.ag, Duda is +10000 to win the MLB home-run crown and has an 'over/under' of 23.5 dingers (over -120 favorite). DeGrom is listed with a wins total of 10.5 (over -125 favorite). The Mets were 92-70 against the spread last season and 72-72-18 O/U. On the moneyline, they were +311 units on the year.
Mets 2015 Predictions
FanGraphs projects New York to finish tied for second in the NL East with a record of 81-81. I probably would have gone over that total before Wheeler's injury. Now I'm not sold on that rotation from No. 3-5. The lineup looks rather weak. Maybe the Mets get Tulowitzki during the season and that changes things, but I can't count on that. Go under the 82.5 wins but over on deGrom's victories. Duda won't win the HR title.
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