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PECOTA projects the Mets to be in Wild Card contention in 2015

And you'll never guess which player they project to hit 40 home runs (HINT: nobody)

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets will finish second in the NL East in 2015, according to PECOTA, Baseball Prospectus's annual projection system. With a projected 82-80 record, PECOTA expects the Mets to finish nine games behind the Nationals.

The Marlins (81-81), Braves (74-88), and Phillies (69-93) will round out the division, according to PECOTA.

The projections have the Dodgers winning the National League West with a league-best 97 wins and the Cardinals (89-73) winning the National League Central.

In case you think summer 2015 will be entirely spent looking up at the Nationals, Cardinals, and Dodgers again, PECOTA projects the Mets to be right in the Wild Card hunt. If PECOTA is correct, the Mets will be battling with Miami, Chicago (82-80), Pittsburgh (81-81), San Francisco (84-78), and San Diego (83-79).

So, how does PECOTA think the Mets will manage to contend, while finishing with a better than .500 record for the first time since 2008? They believe the Mets will score 646 runs, seventh best in the NL. They believe the Mets will also finish seventh in runs against with 640.

You can read the entire Mets breakdown at Baseball Prospectus. For now, here are a few highlights:

First, the offense:

  • You might have read an article, or 30, about the Mets' shortstop situation. PECOTA projects Wilmer Flores to receive 80% of the plate appearances and hit .254/.287/.404.

  • David Wright, coming off a 1.9 fWAR season, is projected to be the team's most valuable player (17 home runs, .267/.343/.427)

  • Only two players—Curtis Granderson (23) and Lucas Duda (22)—are projected to finish with more than 20 home runs.

  • Not much is expected from newcomer Michael Cuddyer, with just 14 home runs and a batting line of .259/.320/.412. This would be a significant decline from his 2013-2014 seasons in Colorado, when Cuddyer hit .331/.385/.543 with a 139 OPS+. Will it be $21 million well spent for the budget-conscious Mets?

As for the pitchers:

  • Dillon Gee is projected to lead the team with 197 innings pitched. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • With 151 innings pitched and team-best projected totals of 153 strikeouts, a 2.91 ERA, and a 1.10 WHIP, Matt Harvey is expected to return to being the staff's ace.

  • Jacob deGrom is projected to follow up his Rookie of the Year campaign with 144 innings pitched, a 3.53 ERA, and a 1.19 WHIP.

  • Recently settled Jenrry Mejia will handle the team's closing duties, with a projected a 25 saves and 1.23 WHIP.

It is hard to envision a scenario in which the Mets seriously contend with fewer than 300 combine innings pitched from Harvey and deGrom, no matter how effective they are. But don't get hung up on that right now. Spring training is three weeks away, and PECOTA projects the Mets to contend for a playoff spot. Enjoy the moment.