Back in March, Amazin’ Avenue readers made predictions about seven Mets-related topics. With a quarter of the season now in the books, we thought this would be a good time to look back and see how those predictions are playing out. The stats below are current through Saturday night’s game, which was the team’s 41st of the year.
Our next update will come at the season’s halfway mark. Until then, let’s hope that the second quarter of the Mets’ season is better than the first!
We started our prediction series by asking who you thought would be the Mets’ best hitter, as measured by wRC+. Because we’re only considering players who would qualify for a batting title—which, as of Saturday night, requires 127 plate appearances—players like Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda do not make the cut, thanks to the time that they lost to injury.
A number of AA readers predicted big things from Michael Conforto, and those readers have been proven right. Conforto has been the Mets’ best hitter, leading the team with a 177 wRC+ that ranks fifth in the National League. Neil Walker, who ranked third in our poll, has been the Mets’ third-best hitter. The surprise entry on this list is Jay Bruce. After struggling in his first tour with the Mets in 2016, Bruce has been excellent with the bat and helped carry an offense that struggled mightily earlier in the year.
|1||Yoenis Cespedes||70%||Michael Conforto||177|
|2||Michael Conforto||10%||Jay Bruce||120|
|3||Neil Walker||5%||Neil Walker||99|
It’s pretty remarkable that, despite pitching just five games in 2017, Noah Syndergaard has been the Mets’ second-most productive pitcher. According to an average of Fangraphs’ and Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR (fWAR and bWAR, respectively), Syndergaard trails only Jacob deGrom in production. In our preseason poll, those two pitchers received the two most votes, only in reverse order.
Robert Gsellman rounded out the top three spots in our poll. Unfortunately, the righty has not performed well in this young season, allowing a much more effective Zack Wheeler to grab the third spot in pitching WAR.
|1||Noah Syndergaard||53%||Jacob deGrom||1.3|
|2||Jacob deGrom||38%||Noah Syndergaard||0.8|
|3||Robert Gsellman||2%||Zack Wheeler||0.7|
The Mets have not been a great defensive team in 2017. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that after Juan Lagares—whom AA readers predicted to be the team’s best defender, by an average of DRS and UZR—the Mets’ second- and third-best defensive players are only slightly better than league average. Whereas readers predicted Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera to round out the team’s list of best defenders, Wilmer Flores and Curtis Granderson occupy those two spots instead.
|Rank||Player||Vote percent||Player||Avg. DRS, UZR|
|1||Juan Lagares||35%||Juan Lagares||2.3|
|2||Yoenis Cespedes||23%||Wilmer Flores||0.8|
|3||Asdrubal Cabrera||11%||Curtis Granderson||0.7|
The category of “best rookie” has produced some of the more surprising results. Gsellman was understandably the overwhelming favorite in our preseason poll, but does not even crack the top three in actual performance (measured again by an average of fWAR and bWAR). Instead, reliever Paul Sewald has been the Mets’ best rookie so far. Sewald’s performance has been all the more surprising given that he wasn’t on the team’s 40-man roster on Opening Day, and was therefore not even included in our poll.
T.J. Rivera, who received the second-most votes from AA readers, has been the Mets’ second-best rookie. Fellow infielder Matt Reynolds takes the third spot, although Amed Rosario—who received a handful of votes in our poll—could see some time later this year. (It’s worth noting that, although the 0.0 WAR that Ty Kelly produced in his one pinch-hit strikeout with the Mets this year should technically qualify him for third place on this list, we’re choosing not to include him. Sorry, Ty!)
|1||Robert Gsellman||73%||Paul Sewald||0.3|
|2||T.J. Rivera||10%||T.J. Rivera||0.2|
|3||Amed Rosario||6%||Matt Reynolds||-0.2|
Best position player
As is the case with the “best hitter” category, second-place vote getter Conforto leads players in this category by a mile. By an average of fWAR and bWAR, Bruce has been the Mets’ second-best position player, taking the injured Cespedes’s predicted spot in the top three. Walker, the third-highest vote getter in the preseason, rounds out the list as the team’s third-most-productive position player.
|1||Yoenis Cespedes||65%||Michael Conforto||1.7|
|2||Michael Conforto||7%||Jay Bruce||0.6|
|3||Neil Walker||7%||Neil Walker||0.6|
Best overall player
Syndergaard’s dominance in just five appearances has, by an average of fWAR and bWAR, made him the Mets’ third-best player this year. Although AA readers predicted a first-place finish, his inclusion on this list nearly two months into the season is pretty remarkable.
deGrom, who had the third-most votes in the preseason, has been the Mets’ second-most productive player, by WAR. While Cespedes’s injury has resulted in less production than fans and readers had hoped for, Conforto’s outstanding start has made him the Mets’ best overall player so far in 2017.
|1||Noah Syndergaard||37%||Michael Conforto||1.7|
|2||Yoenis Cespedes||34%||Jacob deGrom||1.3|
|3||Jacob deGrom||12%||Noah Syndergaard||0.8|
This has been the most disappointing category so far in terms of results. Due to the Mets’ dramatic underperformance in the first quarter of the season, AA readers predicted far more wins than the Mets are on pace to achieve.
While the overwhelming majority of readers predicted somewhere between 87 and 95 wins, the Mets were on pace to win just 71 as of Saturday night. Thankfully, the baseball season is long, and there are a lot of games left to play. As a number of key players return from injury over the course of the year, the Mets hope that better health—and better performance from several players who have been healthy—can boost them into the playoff hunt as the year progresses.
|Rank||Predicted wins||Vote percent||Win pace|