Baseball Prospectus released its annual PECOTA standings on Tuesday morning, with a pick for top in the National League East that may surprise some - none other than the New York Mets! The Mets are given a 48% chance of winning the division with a 75% chance of making the playoffs.
Per PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) the team is expected to notch 88 wins, one more than the Washington Nationals. Last year’s division winners, the Atlanta Braves, come in at third with 82 wins. Like many projection systems, these totals skew towards the average, so it’s a safe expectation that the eventual division winner will win more than 88.
Leading the charge for the 2020 Mets is of course Jacob deGrom, who PECOTA does not expect to regress much at all from his second consecutive Cy Young season. DeGrom is projected for 6.5 Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP), the best number in baseball by almost a full win. PECOTA also expects a big bounceback from Noah Syndergaard with a 2.86 ERA.
Also expected to improve over last season are relievers Edwin Diaz and Dellin Betances - a development that would go a long way towards getting the team to the postseason.
On the offensive side, Pete Alonso is expected to nearly match his superlative rookie season with 4.5 WARP, an OPS of .909, and 46 home runs. PECOTA doesn’t place any other Mets hitters in this same elite echelon, but Michael Conforto is projected to match his strong 2019 season with Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, and Jeff McNeil also performing well.
It’s not all positives, though, as Robinson Cano is projected to underperform as well as Marcus Stroman.
It’s just one projection from one system, but it’s a good reminder that the Mets have a handful of truly outstanding players and with a few key comebacks - not to mention some good luck on the injury front - they can and should be expected to vie for the playoff spot that has eluded them since 2016.