It’s time once again for my annual prediction for the Mets season. Last year I wrote that I was more pessimistic about the Mets than I had been in a long time. This year I am a little less pessimistic, but not enough for the Mets to avoid their sixth straight losing record and a third place finish in the National League East.
There is no doubt the outfield of Curtis Granderson, Chris Young and Juan Lagares will be far better this season than in 2013, so that is something to celebrate. However, the rest of the team is the same, if not worse.
First base and shortstop are well-documented black holes in the lineup. Travis d’Arnaud is apparently a good receiver, but his poor offense in Spring Training mirrors his hitting in his brief time with the Mets in 2013. He is still young, so that can turn around. David Wright and Daniel Murphy will be just fine, as usual.
As far as the pitching, Bartolo Colon replaces Matt Harvey, and that will be a step down. Jonathon Niese’s health is a major concern. Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee really have to step it up as we wait for Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero to come to the rescue.
Out in the bullpen, Bobby Parnell’s velocity has been down this spring as he recovers from neck surgery. The rest of the pen should be all right, but as it is each year, it can go either way.
This is just a team with too many big question marks to even think about contending. They are a little better than last season, so I predict they will finish with a 76-84 record, two games better than 2013.
They will finish in third place only because the Phillies and Marlins are so terrible. In fact, the Phillies could end up in last place with the young Marlins making great strides. I think the Nationals got their comeuppance last year and will win the division this season, with the Braves second.
Elsewhere in the National League, the Cardinals and Dodgers get the nods in their respective divisions. The Braves and Diamondbacks will be the Wild Cards.
Over in the American League, I will go against conventional wisdom and say the Blue Jays, Royals and Angels will win their divisions. The Wild Cards will be the Rangers and Orioles. I think the Yankees and Tigers made poor moves this off-season and are in for long years. The Red Sox played over their heads in 2013 and will come down to earth this year.
So there it is. As I say every year, I would love to be wrong about the Mets, but I just don’t think I will be.