Team Preview #19: New York Mets
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2018 Record: 93-69, 2nd Place NL East, 3 Games Back. Lost NL Wild Card game to San Francisco
The Miracle Mets kept chug chug chuggin’ along in 2018. They’re 6th straight 90+ win season and 6th straight post-season appearance. It ended disappointingly though, as they lost the Wild Card game. Can they take the division and more in 2019?
C Joe Mauer (FA)
RP Brad Brach (FA)
The Mets had a sturdy offense in 2018, they were 2nd in the NL in OPS, Avg and OBP. It netted them the 4th highest scoring offense in the NL last year. They are led by a pair of dynamic outfielders, MVP Josh Wilcox (.332, 38 HR, 117 RBI, 40 SB) and CF Matt Den Dekker (.316, 37 2B). Joining that pair in the outfield is Xue-Liang Wong (.296 15 HR) who will share time in RF with Kirk Russell (.255, 26 SB, 0 CS). Behind the dish they have a Joe Mauer-sized hole, and look likely to start Travis D’Arnaud (.214) and Blake Forsythe (.224) as a platoon. Across the infield they’ve got Jefry Marte (.275, 18 HR) at 1B, Jose Torres (.254, 24 2B) at 2B, Elvus Andrus (.274, 13 SB) at SS and at 3B they’ve got Chad Lewis (.256, 16 HR). All 4 are plus defenders, at worst.
The rotation looks locked and loaded for contention. The headliners are Alberto Vega (12-6, 3.47 ERA), Jon Lester (11-10 3.54 ERA) and Jonathan Niese (14-6, 3.01), then following those two are a pair of veterans returning from past struggles or injury, Matt Harvey (3-5, 4.54 in 2018, 17 wins in 2017) and Max Scherzer (7-4, 3.40 ERA in 18 GS). Covering the holes and aiding the bullpen will be Vance Worley (9-9, 3.7 ERA) and Zach Lee (11-9, 3.83 ERA). Speaking of the bullpen, 2-time NL Saves leader Boone Logan (5.07 ERA, 48 Saves) is the closer and he will be setup by Fernando Salas (2.99 ERA and 14 Hld) and Bobby Parnell (2.11 ERA, 21 Hld). Helping in the middle innings are Lendy Castillo (3.58 ERA), Alex Rivers (3.55 ERA) and Lenny Linsky (2.53 ERA)
The Mets certainly have the goods to run with any team in the NL. Losing Mauer behind the plate hurts, but the rest of the offense is potent and rather deep. If Wilcox has another MVP level season, they could easily ride it to the division crown. The rotation has a number of options, perhaps even too many as it could get tough to settle on a continual 5. I like the back end of the pen quite a bit, but Logan needs to be more of the 2017 version than the 2018 version.
It’s going to be a close competition with the Braves the whole way, likely just coming down to head-to-head matchups. I think the Mets end up as the Wild Card again at 92-70, but win that Wild Card game before falling in the NLDS.