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Mets predictions: Half-season update

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The Mets have played half of their season. Let’s see how our preseason predictions are playing out!

MLB: New York Mets at San Francisco Giants Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

As we hit the halfway point of the 2017 season, we wanted to check back on the preseason predictions Amazin’ Avenue readers made back in March. The stats below are current through Sunday, July 2, which was the Mets’ 81st of the year. You can revisit our quarter-season update here, and stay tuned for the next quarterly update at the end of August!

Best hitter

The Mets’ three best hitters are the same as they were at the quarter-season mark. Among qualified players, Michael Conforto leads the back in wRC+, followed by Jay Bruce and then Neil Walker. While the top three hitters are unchanged, Curtis Granderson’s hot hitting has raised his wRC+ to 110 and moved him into a close fourth spot. Lucas Duda (141 wRC+) and Yoenis Cespedes (133 wRC+), meanwhile, seem poised to crack the top three if they can accumulate enough plate appearances in the remainder of the season to qualify.

Rank Player Vote percent Player wRC+
1 Yoenis Cespedes 70% Michael Conforto 150
2 Michael Conforto 10% Jay Bruce 124
3 Neil Walker 5% Neil Walker 118

Best pitcher

If someone told you in March that, by an average of fWAR and bWAR, Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins would be two of the Mets’ three best pitchers in the first half of the season, you would think that something went terribly wrong…and, of course, you’d be right. Between injuries to Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Seth Lugo, as well inconsistent play from Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman, the Mets’ starting rotation has dramatically underperformed expectations. As a result, Jacob deGrom has assumed the role of ace, with relievers Reed and Blevins following him as the second- and third-most productive pitchers on the team, respectively.

Rank Player Vote percent Player WAR
1 Noah Syndergaard 53% Jacob deGrom 2.3
2 Jacob deGrom 38% Addison Reed 1.1
3 Robert Gsellman 2% Jerry Blevins 0.9

Best defender

Defense has not been one of the Mets’ strengths in 2017. Perhaps the best evidence of this is the fact that Bruce, by an average of DRS and UZR, has been the team’s second-best defensive player. While Juan Lagares still holds the top spot (as the plurality of AA readers predicted), Duda rounds out the top three as a result of his strong defense at first.

Rank Player Vote percent Player Avg. DRS, UZR
1 Juan Lagares 35% Juan Lagares 4.3
2 Yoenis Cespedes 23% Jay Bruce 2.9
3 Asdrubal Cabrera 11% Lucas Duda 1.3

Best rookie

The Mets haven’t gotten a ton of production from their rookies—least of all from Gsellman, who was the overwhelming favorite to be the team’s most productive rookie in 2017. Instead, T.J. Rivera has the top spot for his solid play in a utility role, with reliever Paul Sewald right behind him. Brandon Nimmo ranks third despite playing in just 13 games, and could be in line for more playing time if the injury bug continues to hit the Mets’ outfield.

Rank Player Vote percent Player WAR
1 Robert Gsellman 73% T.J. Rivera 0.4
2 T.J. Rivera 10% Paul Sewald 0.4
3 Amed Rosario 6% Brandon Nimmo 0.1

Best position player

The Mets’ three best hitters have also been their three best position players overall when accounting for defense and baserunning. As is also the case with the best hitter category, however, Granderson and Duda (1.3 average WAR each) are both making a strong push for the top three, while a big second half from Cespedes (0.8 WAR) could put him in the mix as well.

Rank Player Vote percent Player WAR
1 Yoenis Cespedes 65% Michael Conforto 2.3
2 Michael Conforto 7% Jay Bruce 1.7
3 Neil Walker 7% Neil Walker 1.4

Best overall player

It’s no surprise to anyone who’s watched the Mets this year that Conforto has, by WAR, been their best player. deGrom is just a hair behind him before rounding up. Injuries to Syndergaard and Cespedes, whom most considered the team’s two best players heading into the season, have allowed Conforto and deGrom to take the spotlight, with Bruce rounding out the top three after an excellent first half.

Rank Player Vote percent Player WAR
1 Noah Syndergaard 37% Michael Conforto 2.3
2 Yoenis Cespedes 34% Jacob deGrom 2.3
3 Jacob deGrom 12% Jay Bruce 1.7

Team wins

This continues to be the most disappointing category on the list, with the Mets on pace to win just 76 games. That does, however, represent an improvement from the team’s 71-win pace at the end of the first quarter. If the Mets are to fight their way into contention, they’ll need to build on their improved play of late and win a lot more games in the second half of the season.

Rank Predicted wins Vote percent Win pace
1 90-92 38% 76
2 93-95 32%
3 87-89 13%