FanPost

Can the 2014 Mets Contend?

There has recently been a lot of debate about what to expect from the Mets next year. I decided to take a look by examining the teams projected WAR. While WAR is not a foolproof way to determine a teams record it is better than nothing. So here it is, all teams sorted my Fangraphs projected WAR. For the record replacement is about 48 wins.

Team Bat Pit WAR
Red Sox 26.4 21.7 48.1
Tigers 22.7 21.0 43.7
Rays 28.4 14.1 42.6
Angels 30.7 10.6 41.3
Royals 25.0 16.2 41.3
Rangers 20.7 20.0 40.7
Athletics 27.2 13.5 40.6
Cardinals 26.9 13.7 40.6
Dodgers 23.9 15.9 39.9
Blue Jays 24.9 14.9 39.8
Indians 26.2 13.2 39.3
Rockies 21.0 17.6 38.6
Mariners 21.2 16.1 37.3
Giants 28.0 9.3 37.3
Braves 24.0 13.3 37.2
Diamondbacks 24.5 12.8 37.2
Nationals 20.2 16.3 36.5
Yankees 18.6 17.8 36.4
Pirates 24.8 11.4 36.2
Orioles 21.9 13.0 34.9
Padres 20.2 10.9 31.1
Reds 17.5 12.8 30.4
Mets 20.5 8.9 29.4
Twins 16.7 12.4 29.0
Astros 19.5 8.5 28.0
Brewers 19.0 8.9 27.9
Cubs 15.9 11.9 27.8
Phillies 15.1 12.6 27.7
White Sox 12.9 14.1 27.0
Marlins 8.8 10.3

19.1

As you can see the Mets are towards the bottom. But don't despair the Mets don't need to match the Red Sox. They only need to top the Nats/Braves. The Mets are projected for 29.4 fWAR, the Braves are at 37.2 and the Nats are at 36.5. Just for the sake of round numbers the Mets need to make up 8 WAR. Lets get started.

Catcher:

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Travis d'Arnaud 435 .254 .320 .419 .323 4.0 0.1 -0.7 2.7
Anthony Recker 173 .230 .306 .388 .306 -0.7 -0.1 -0.1 0.8
Juan Centeno 32 .261 .305 .346 .288 -0.6 0.0 0.0 0.1
Total 640 .248 .316 .407 .317 2.7 0.0 -0.9 3.6

No complaints here. Still need to make up 8 WAR.

First Base:

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Ike Davis 420 .238 .341 .439 .340 9.4 -0.4 -0.7 1.5
Lucas Duda 140 .237 .334 .404 .326 1.6 -0.3 -0.6 0.3
Josh Satin 35 .253 .337 .376 .318 0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Zach Lutz 49 .245 .320 .392 .315 0.1 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Justin Turner 21 .259 .314 .368 .302 -0.2 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Andrew Brown 21 .243 .309 .417 .318 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Brandon Allen 14 .231 .308 .404 .311 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .240 .335 .422 .332 11.3 -0.8 -1.4 1.9

Ok well here I think Fangraphs is a bit low. They seemed to have not platooned the first basemen. For their career Davis and Duda have a .357 and .354 wOBA against righties. Both have over 900 PA. The projections are much lower than that for both. Satin is too early to have a large enough sample, only 100 PA, but his is also far higher against lefties. I don't think it is likely to get an extra win simply out of using an effective platoon. So now we have 7 wins to make up.

Second Base:

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Daniel Murphy 525 .280 .323 .408 .319 3.0 0.5 -2.9 2.0
Wilmer Flores 70 .257 .296 .389 .299 -0.7 0.0 0.0 0.2
Justin Turner 56 .259 .314 .368 .302 -0.4 0.0 -0.1 0.1
Eric Young 49 .249 .317 .338 .294 -0.7 0.3 -0.1 0.1
Total 700 .274 .319 .398 .314 1.2 0.7 -3.2 2.4

I think this is a bit low but we will let it slide. 7 WAR left to make up.

Third Base:

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
David Wright 560 .289 .376 .476 .368 24.8 0.2 3.8 5.1
Wilmer Flores 70 .257 .296 .389 .299 -0.7 0.0 0.0 0.2
Josh Satin 35 .253 .337 .376 .318 0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Justin Turner 21 .259 .314 .368 .302 -0.2 0.0 -0.1 0.1
Zach Lutz 14 .245 .320 .392 .315 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .282 .363 .456 .356 24.2 0.1 3.8 5.6

I think it is reasonable to add a win here. David is projected for a .368 wOBA, dropping from .391 last year. His career wOBA is .381. So that seems a bit low. In addition, he was worth 6 WAR last year in just 112 games, so projecting him for 6 WAR in a full season seems reasonable. In addition, he was worth 7.4 WAR in 2012. So projecting him for a 5 WAR season seems low. We now have 6 wins to make up.

SS:

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Ruben Tejada 420 .260 .317 .339 .293 -6.1 0.1 1.0 1.3
Wilfredo Tovar 105 .238 .287 .314 .269 -3.5 -0.2 0.1 0.1
Justin Turner 70 .259 .314 .368 .302 -0.5 -0.1 -0.2 0.2
Wilmer Flores 56 .257 .296 .389 .299 -0.5 0.0 0.0 0.2
Brandon Hicks 49 .217 .280 .367 .286 -1.0 0.0 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .253 .308 .344 .290 -11.7 -0.2 0.9 1.9

Obviously we might sign or trade for a SS, in which case this changes completely. But we will go with this for now. 6 WAR left to make up.

LF:

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Curtis Granderson 525 .228 .320 .429 .329 7.1 0.4 -0.8 1.8
Eric Young 49 .249 .317 .338 .294 -0.7 0.3 -0.1 0.0
Lucas Duda 49 .237 .334 .404 .326 0.6 -0.1 -0.2 0.1
Andrew Brown 35 .243 .309 .417 .318 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.1
Mike Baxter 21 .243 .327 .373 .311 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Chris Young 21 .223 .310 .392 .309 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1
Total 700 .232 .320 .418 .324 7.1 0.6 -1.1 2.2

Now this seems way off. Granderson's wOBA might be low, his last full season he put up a .346 wOBA, but that isn't what I really find off. It is the fielding number. I don't know how Granderson would be a negative defender in the LF. I am going to add a win and a half solely based off his defensive value in the corner. We have 4.5 wins left.

CF:

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Juan Lagares 385 .254 .295 .365 .289 -6.9 -0.2 7.1 1.4
Chris Young 70 .223 .310 .392 .309 -0.1 0.1 0.3 0.3
Matt den Dekker 70 .236 .287 .367 .287 -1.3 0.0 0.0 0.1
Eric Young 70 .249 .317 .338 .294 -1.0 0.4 -0.2 0.2
Kirk Nieuwenhuis 35 .231 .302 .378 .300 -0.3 0.0 0.1 0.1
Mike Baxter 35 .243 .327 .373 .311 0.0 0.0 -0.1 0.1
Andrew Brown 21 .243 .309 .417 .318 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1
Curtis Granderson 14 .228 .320 .429 .329 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .246 .300 .369 .294 -9.4 0.3 7.2 2.3

I don't get how Juan regresses that much defensively. Juan was worth 3 wins in a similar amount of PA last year (421). I also don't get why he isn't getting that much playing time but I guess they are assuming an injury. Still, the 1.4 WAR seems low. Lets still assume a decent amount of regression from last year but raise the WAR from 1.4 to 1.9. 4 more wins left to make up.

RF:

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Chris Young 420 .223 .310 .392 .309 -0.7 0.5 1.7 1.0
Eric Young 105 .249 .317 .338 .294 -1.5 0.6 -0.2 0.1
Andrew Brown 42 .243 .309 .417 .318 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.1
Juan Lagares 35 .254 .295 .365 .289 -0.6 0.0 0.6 0.1
Curtis Granderson 28 .228 .320 .429 .329 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.1
Matt den Dekker 28 .236 .287 .367 .287 -0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0
Mike Baxter 21 .243 .327 .373 .311 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Lucas Duda 21 .237 .334 .404 .326 0.2 0.0 -0.1 0.1
Total 700 .232 .311 .384 .307 -2.5 1.0 1.9 1.5

Once again that wOBA seems low. For his career he is at .325, and in 2012 it was .325. Plus 2013 was primarily cause by a .237 BABIP so significant improvement should be expected. In addition, him being a scratch defender in right seems unlikely. I think it isn't hard to assume Young as a 2 WAR player. We now have 3 WAR left.

SP:

Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Zack Wheeler 193.0 8.1 4.2 0.9 .299 70.7 % 4.12 4.00 1.5
Bartolo Colon 180.0 6.5 1.7 0.9 .304 70.1 % 3.80 3.54 2.1
Jon Niese 132.0 7.0 2.8 0.7 .305 69.5 % 3.90 3.59 1.4
Dillon Gee 140.0 6.6 2.6 0.9 .303 68.9 % 4.18 3.92 1.0
Carlos Torres 122.0 7.4 2.9 0.9 .302 70.7 % 3.95 3.80 1.0
Jeremy Hefner 84.0 6.4 2.7 1.0 .303 69.1 % 4.27 4.02 0.5
Rafael Montero 63.0 7.5 2.7 0.9 .302 70.6 % 3.86 3.64 0.7
Jenrry Mejia 47.0 7.5 3.2 0.7 .305 71.2 % 3.70 3.53 0.5
Total 962.0 7.1 2.8 0.9 .303 70.0 % 3.99 3.77 8.8

So lets start with Zack Wheeler. They are predicting essentially no improvement from his rookie season. In addition, they are saying he will do worse then he did in the 2nd half, after he made some adjustments he pitched to a 3.76 FIP. If we assume no further improvement that leaves us with a 3.76 FIP. The closest comparison I found to 193 IP and 3.76 FIP is Jorge de La Rosa and Jeff Samardzija who had a 2.8 and 2.9 WAR. Lets be a bit more conservative than that and just project him to 2.5 WAR. That leaves us with 2 left. Colon pitched to a 3.9 WAR last year and a 2.4 and 2.9 WAR in 2012 and 2011. I think you can reasonably project him for an extra half win up to 2.6. That is still significant regression from the year before and so isn't really optimistic. 1.5 wins left unaccounted for. Niese is projected for his worst year ever and Gee is projected for his worst year since 2011. To compensate for that we will add a total of .5 WAR, obviously a lot more could be added here. But, this is supposed to be a reasonable prediction not an optimistic one. For some reason Carlos Torres has 122 innings and Montero only has 63. Montero will be called up at the latest in June. So simply swap the innings allocation between the two and keep the same stats. That slices Torres' WAR to .5 and ups Montero's to 1.4. Thats about a .5 WAR increase. That leaves us with .5 WAR to make up. Finally, we have Hefner, who is no longer on the team. Those 84 innings or so are likely to be replaced by Thor. Steamer projects him for a 3.5 FIP, although that is in 1 IP. But, that seems reasonably for a prospect of his caliber. So lets say he pitches 84 innings at that level. Eric Stults put up a 3.53 FIP last year in 203 IP and a 2.6 WAR. If you adjust the IP you get 1 WAR over 84 IP. And there we have it, we have hit our target.

Final Remarks:

Many people will claim I am being overly optimistic but I don't really think any of my projections are that out there. In addition, not all of my projections were optimistic. For example this has Mejia essentially missing the whole year and a lot of other players missing significant time. I'd also like to point out we have very capable back ups in case of injuries at most positions (Den Decker and EY in the OF, Flores at 2b etc). Finally there were a lot of areas I didn't touch. For instance in the projections category there is a DH table that has 300 AB. I'm assuming that is mainly PH but that is projected to -.9 WAR. In addition I didn't touch the bullpen. Our bullpen WAR is projected to be the 2nd worst in baseball. With the fact that we will probably be adding some arms and the fact that bullpens are very volatile I thing it is very likely we don't actually have the 2nd worst bullpen. In addition I didn't really expect any real breakouts. For example, I could of just said Wheeler pulls a Harvey, or Lagares becomes a 5 WAR player or something. All in all I think this is a very reasonable projection that provides us with a good chance to make the playoffs.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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