By: Brian Mangan (@brianpmangan)
I’m going to do something I don’t usually do in these pages and make some fearless predictions for 2015. I usually do predictions as they come, rather than go out on a limb, but I’ve had such a great track record recently I figured, “what the heck?”
As a little recap, here’s how I did in 2014.
- I was the most pessimistic about Curtis Granderson, predicting he would hit only .240 with 22 HR and post 2.5 WAR. He actually hit .227 with 20 HR and posted 1.2 WAR.
- I predicted that Travis D’Arnaud would hit only .242/.305/.400 last season, when everybody was crazy about him. He hit .242/.302/.416.
- I predicted Juan Lagares would hit .267/.312/.412, 5.5% BB, 20.5% K, and he finished at .281/.321/.382, 4.4% BB, 19.2 K%.
- I said that firing the hitting coach would do nothing, and the Mets batted .237 and scored 3.9 runs per game under Hudgens, and batted .238 and scored 3.8 runs per game under Johnson.
There are more, which you can read about here in my 2014 Predictions in Review article. Even my predictions this offseason were pretty spot on. I predicted the Mets would roll with Wilmer Flores at shortstop, and they have. I predicted the Mets would address their bullpen issues and they have. I predicted the Mets would send Eric Campbell to the minor leagues and they have. And let’s not talk about Zack Wheeler, ok?
Without and further ado, here are my fearless predictions.
— Bartolo Colon will have an ERA above 4.25, and be out of the rotation by August.
Although most fans and observers think that Dillon Gee will be the weakest link in the Mets rotation, it is Bartolo Colon who will flounder the worst. His magic, age-defying ride into his 40’s has to end some time, so it might as well be now. Colon posted a 4.09 ERA last year, underperforming his peripherals, and I think he will do the same this season.
— Travis d’Arnaud will not take a step forward this year, replicating 2014
I like d’Arnaud as a player, and many are projecting that over a full season he will build on his strong 2014 campaign. I don’t think that he will. Despite hitting .265/.313/.474 last year in the second half, d’Arnaud will finish the year with 16 home runs and an OPS close to his total from last year. Nagging injuries will allow the Mets to get their first look at Kevin Plawecki.
— Michael Cuddyer will play 115+ games, contribute 2+ WAR/15+ HR.
Despite averaging only 93 games played over the last three years and entering his age 36 season, Michael Cuddyer will put together a mostly healthy season for the Mets in 2015. The Mets will and should baby him, giving him off days regularly, but he will avoid major injury.
— After two consecutive years of 26+ Defensive Runs Saved in partial seasons, Juan Lagares will finish with only 20 Defensive Runs Saved in a full year.
The aging curves for defense are not pretty, and the odds of someone doing something historic a third year in a row is slim in all cases. Juan Lagares will stay healthy and have a great season in 2015, but the defense will slip substantially.
— Juan Lagares will make the All Star Team anyway
Despite the drop in defense, Lagares will coast to an easy All Star Game start based on the fact that 1) he is still the NL’s best defensive outfielder and 2) his hitting will improve. An offseason with Mike Barwis and Kevin Long makes Lagares a legitimate offensive player, and he bats .285/.320/.395 with 10 HR and 20 SB.
— Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey will both post ERA’s below 2.80 and receive Cy Young votes
Perhaps this is not bold enough? Harvey looks like he’s back and healthy, and deGrom has looked otherworldly this spring. I’ve been telling people this, but deGrom’s sequencing and control remind me of a young Greg Maddux.
- The Mets will finish ahead of the Marlins, for CERTAIN.
- The Mets will play the whole season with Wilmer Flores at shortstop, who will hit .266/.304/.425 with 16 HR and only 65 K, but will lead the team into double plays grounded into.
- David Wright will bounce back some, but not all the way, finishing with 3-4 WAR.
- Lucas Duda will replicate his awesome 2014 (as I wrote here for Metsblog in December).
- Ruben Tejada will be a fantastic backup middle infielder.
- Jenrry Mejia will lose the closer role almost immediately to Jeurys Familia. If Bobby Parnell returns healthy, he will reclaim the job because of Familia’s platoon splits.
- Noah Syndergaard, who posted a 3.54 ERA in the second half in Triple-A last year, will dominate the PCL to start 2015 and his performance will demand a call-up. The media will say it is because he matured, and that will be a load of bulls*it. Syndergaard will end the season, before he is shut down for innings, as the Mets #3 starter.
Despite the great season, the Mets will finish in second behind the Nationals. They will finish two games out of the second Wild Card. The ownership group will not make an in-season or deadline deal to improve the team. Final record: 86-76.
- HR: Duda (30), Granderson (23), Wright (23), Cuddyer (18), Flores (16), d’Arnaud (15)
- Strikeouts: deGrom (205), Harvey (201)
- Saves: Familia (27)
- Batting average: Murphy (.285), Cuddyer (.279), Lagares (.275), Wright (.273), Flores (.266)
- All Stars: Harvey, deGrom, Lagares, Familia.
- Awards: Gold Glove (Lagares), Rookie of the Year (Syndergaard, 3rd place).