Over at ESPN, friend of the site and cousin from a different bloodline Mark Simon uses rWAR to ponder the best-case scenario for the 2013 Mets, one in which they defy probability by making the playoffs.
Here's Mark's methodology:
We start with the idea that every major-league team, even one made up entirely of "Quadruple-A players," is going to win at least 52 games.
We then take the approach that if you sum a team’s total Wins Above Replacement that it gets from its roster, and add that to 52, you’re going to get a number that is reasonably close to that team’s win total.
It is not a perfect formula by any means, but for the purposes of what we’re trying to do, it suffices.
In our case, the target number we’re going for is 38. Why 38? Because the five NL playoff teams last season averaged 38 Wins Above Replacement for the season.
The 2013 Mets finished with 20 Wins Above Replacement last season. There’s a big gap between 20 and 38 (especially with Dickey gone), we don’t dispute that.
The rest of the piece, which you should well read, is a fun but fanciful "what if everything goes right?" ride through a 2013 season in which Johan Santana is a five-win pitcher, Travis d'Arnaud is a two-and-a-half-win catcher, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Justin Turner, and Jeremy Hefner all make positive contributions to the win total.
I should be perfectly clear that Mark isn't suggesting that any — let alone all — of these things will happen, just that they must happen for the Mets to Mets to make the playoffs.
- Here's a plain English explanation of Baseball-Reference.com's WAR.↩