You Read it Here First: Mets Will Win NL East (This Year)

First off, I promise this will not end with the phrase “April Fool.”

I realize that all March baseball stats need to be taken with several grains of salt, or as put best by the late great Ralph Kiner, hope always springs eternal in the Spring. That said, I am (cautiously) optimistic enough from what I have read and observed about our Mets this past month to make this prediction.

Part of my new sunny outlook is due to the rash of injuries the Washington Nationals have experienced (don’t forget they also lost Adam LaRoche to free agency) and part of it is from the on-going ineptitude that is the Miami Marlins. I am also relegating the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies to rebuilding mode, anticipating each will accept their lumps now in the hope of a return to glory before the end of the decade. As Mets fans, we tend to look only at our own team’s warts. Each one of our divisional rivals also have their share of holes, either on the field or in the front office, or both.

Then there are the Mets players themselves: Matt Harvey looks better than ever. Jacob deGrom doesn’t seem to have missed a beat. Yes, these are puff pieces, but Jon Niese’s comments about using his legs more and not relying fully on throwing hard is similar to the type of erudite posts we’ve read on this blog. Behind those three there is a plethora of interesting arms, both young and old.

The bullpen worries me, as the resumes of both Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia are still on the light side and their struggles this spring are very disquieting. I still will take both over the dreck they started with in the bullpen last year and try to find succor in the idea that each is trying out some new approaches. The additions of Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres works on several levels: a pressing need filled, GM Sandy Alderson actually making a trade (two on the same day!) and extra salary taken on. The Blevins deal reminded me a little of the 1984 trade for pitcher Bruce Berenyi. That trade and this one included a trade of a somewhat-regarded prospect in an effort to win now, which was/is the first time in years that the Mets had made a move like that.

I like the batting order. When Daniel Murphy finally returns there is a nice right-left setup to it, one through seven. I saw David Wright’s home run to right center against the Cardinals early in March and it looked like vintage David. I tend to not place too much stock in hitting coaches at this level, but if no less of an authority than Peter Gammons thinks that Kevin Long was one of the best free agent pickups this past offseason and the Mets continue to hit the way they have so far, I might have to change my mind.

The additional salary from Blevins and Torres, the Juan Lagares extension and the rumored one for Lucas Duda does signal that maybe, just maybe, the Wilpon wallet has creaked open a bit further. His public utterances aside, I wonder if the new commissioner had a heart-to-heart with Fred over this.

Maybe the Nationals pull the other hand out from behind their backs next week and deliver a 2014-style beatdown to our heroes next week. Maybe Giancarlo Stanton puts the Fish on his broad shoulders and carries them all the way to October. The Mets overall lack of team speed and suspect defense is a concern. Still, I am hopeful that these past few days and weeks are an indication that the years of self-induced wounds are over and that “The Plan” has gelled, just in time to take advantage of an otherwise-reeling division.

Play Ball!

A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
  1. mckeeganson April 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm
    This prediction is bold, but not altogether unwarranted. It’s impossible to say that Spring training success = regular season success, but on the other hand you would rather the team be playing better then not. The starting pitching looks locked in with exception of our opening day starter, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out of the rotation or traded by June. The lineup is actually swinging at good pitches as opposed to the old approach of taking pitches first, second, and usually third. The defense still is very underwhelming, especially in the outfield corners. Kirk better be subbed in from the 7th inning on in any game that we’re leading in. With all the depth we have at second base in the upper minors, it seems logical to trade Murphy as soon as his bat gets going. Muno and Reynolds would provide immediate upgrades with the glove and might even be real leadoff hitters.
  2. DaveSchneck April 2, 2015 at 7:33 am
    Not the most likely outcome but for once in a long while people won’t call this totally nuts.
  3. argonbunnies April 2, 2015 at 7:40 am
    If Werth and Rendon’s injuries turn into year-long things, and Harper gets hurt again, and one of the Nats’ aces goes down… and every starting Met stays healthy… then it might be kind of close. But probably not. The Nats have the consensus best roster in baseball.

    The real question in the NL East is whether the Mets can pass the Marlins for a wild card. The Fish boast better position players, a better closer, and an equal or better back of the rotation. The Mets have more aces… until Jose Fernandez returns. I think a lot depends on Mike Morse — he’s been about as creaky as Wright, but if he gets hurt and Wright doesn’t, the Marlins’ lineup would lose a lot of ground on the Mets’.