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2008 Mets ZiPS Projections

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Over at Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski has posted his ZiPS Projections for the 2008 Mets. Before he gets rolling into the forecast, Dan has this to say about The Collapse:

While the Ny Mets are not my favorite squadron, reports of the Mets' demise are grossly premature. When a team collapses as badly as the Mets did the last few months of the season, people always look for some narrative to explain that loss. That the Mets are just a very good team that just played badly for awhile is generally not sexy enough for the headlines, but that's what most likely happened. How often did one hear OMG 4.67 SEC0ND HALF ERA!!!!!! the last few weeks of the season? While that's extremely disappointing, April, May, June, and the first third of July aren't exhibition games and the Mets did a very good job at getting those same big leaguers out over that span. Even with the bad second half, the Mets for the season got above-average performance out of both their rotation and their bullpen. Maine and Perez are young and back and while Pedro's health is likely going to always be a question-mark, 5 starts is certainly below Pedro's mean health projection.
Excellent Simpsons reference to get things started, and then he basically says what everyone knows but many have forgotten: The Mets are a very good baseball team that didn't play very well for a couple of months and played especially poorly for the last two weeks of the season. Fans, media, and subsequently the front office is likely to overract to those facts, particularly the last two weeks part, and are likely to dive head-first into the offseason in search of ways to dramatically improve this team.

The Good

Offensively, ZiPS is high on David Wright, projecting a .313/.405/.540 line. His 85% optimistic forecast is an absurd .334/.436/.608. He is going to be 25 next year, and he is going to get better. This is scary. In a good way.

Moises Alou is projected to hit .302/.365/.489 in 311 at-bats, both of which seem to be reasonable guesses at his production and health, respectively.

Lastings Milledge is pegged at .270/.355/.449, both minor upticks from his impressive (albeit truncated) 2007 season.

ZiPS expects a bit of a bounce back season for Carlos Delgado, projecting him to hit .257/.349/.476, overall higher than his 2007 marks and a higher OPS than the average projected 2008 first baseman. Forecasting systems are only an indication of what may be likely to happen, but the talk of trading Delgado to an AL team may be a bit premature. He isn't going to be the Delgado of old, but he should still have enough oomph in his bat to be an above-average offensive first-sacker.

On the pitching side, Billy Wagner, Pedro Feliciano and Aaron Heilman are all expected to turn in good-to-great seasons in the bullpen.

Pedro Martinez is expected to be relatively healthy, hurling 150 innings of 3.25 ERA, almost a strikeout per inning and a robust 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Oliver Perez, John Maine and Orlando Hernandez are all projected to turn in above-average ERAs and anywhere from 140 to 180 innings.

ZiPS is especially optimistic about Kevin Mulvey, who had a 3.24 ERA with Double-A Binghamton last season. ZiPS offers up a Major League projection of 4.02 ERA, just 38 walks and only 10 homeruns allowed in 141 innings.

The Bad

ZiPS doesn't think a whole lot of Ruben Gotay, forecasting a .245/.304/.361 line. Luis Castillo has a .294/.361/.359 projection, continuing his career trend of out-OBP-ing his slugging percentage.

Scott Schoeneweis, Jorge Sosa and Guillermo Mota are all expected to perform worse than an average reliever, though few of us (Willie Randolph and/or Omar Minaya, I'm *not* looking at you) would have predicted otherwise. These guys were the bullpen equivalent of water to a grease fire and are likely to remain as such for the foreseeable future. We don't need a fancy projection system to know that.

UPDATE: Check out Baseball Think Factory for more comments on this post and on the Mets' projections.