Almost everyone is going to pick the Mets to finish fourth in the division. That’s a given. They are looking up and down at team rosters, and giving their projections based on the players on those rosters. A roster is simply a list of names. It can’t tell you if a player is going to have an up year or a down year, it can’t tell you if a player is going to get injured or not, nor can it tell you if the guys on that roster have the heart and determination it takes to win baseball games. So while the analysts make their predictions based on names on a roster because those names are associated with better baseball ability, there is really no telling what can happen over the course of a 162 game season.
Another flawed way to try and determine whether or not a team can win a specific number of games is by looking at the starting rotation, trying to project how many wins each pitcher will have, and then adding them up. Another major mistake is asking oneself who is going to replace the twenty wins that R.A. Dickey tallied in 2012.
This way of thinking is so fundamentally flawed that I don’t even know where to start. While pitching is very important, let’s not forget that there are still eight guys on that field playing the game. Dickey did not win twenty games by shutting out twenty opponents, his other teammates actually contributed as well. In fact, trying to ask where the Mets will get those twenty wins from is a waste of time. It’s safe to say that the average wins that the ace of a team gets is 17 in a season. That would mean the Mets really are only looking at making up three games at most from losing Dickey, not twenty.
Sticking with the pitching projections, if you add up all their predicted wins from the starting rotation you can’t forget to add all the wins that the bullpen accumulate throughout a season. Any wins that the many potential call-ups and spot starters accumulate also have to be included. But this really is a waste of time when trying to determine how many wins the Mets will garner in 2013.
So how can the Mets win 85-90 games in 2013?
The same way teams have been winning games for over a century: with solid pitching, good defense, getting on base, and timely hitting. It doesn’t matter who is on the roster if the team can’t accomplish those things.
The Mets have to break the game down incrementally into it’s simplest form: innings. They have to treat each inning as if it is a mini-game. The goal is to win more innings than your opponent. Baseball games are nine innings for a reason; if your team wins five innings, and your opponent wins four, you win the game. It really is a best out of nine series. The Mets have to take the season inning by inning, and then when all those innings are added up, it should translate in the win column. Met prospect Jack Leathersich actually said as much to Joe D. just last week in his interview with him.
How easily we forget that in 2012, the Mets were on pace at one point in the season to win over 80 games. They were winning games with solid pitching and timely hitting. That’s the classic recipe for winning baseball games. The Mets were ranked as high as ninth in the MLB Power Rankings and Mets fans started to believe that there could be a playoff run in the future. However, after the All-Star break, the team never did get back on track. I’m sure one of Terry Collins‘ goals in 2013 will be to get off to a hot start like the Mets did in 2012, but this season, keep his team motivated and finish the season just as strong as it starts.
Everyone complains about how awful the Mets outfield looks now, but did it honestly look much better before the 2012 season? Maybe a tad, but let’s not kid ourselves. Did you ever consider the Mets outfield in 1969 and more recently in 2000?
Scott Hairston had a great year, but nobody anticipated that. Aside from Hairston the Mets outfield was equally as awful in 2012. Who is to say that the Mets won’t get another outfielder to step up in 2013? Maybe this year the Mets will have two surprises instead of one. One of the great things about having a lot of youth in the outfield is that these guys will play hard because they want to stick with the team. That means the potential of one or two of the young guys stepping up in 2013 is actually promising. And while the outfield may still be a question mark, the Mets infield has the potential to be one of the best in the entire National League.
The Mets also received virtually no offensive output from the catcher position in 2012. In 2013, this trend should change. Travis d’Arnaud should be arriving some time in May, and should easily be able to out-perform the Mets catchers from 2012. He will inject at least fifteen home runs into the lineup over the course of the season, and the healing process for the fans that were heart-broken when Dickey was traded will begin.
If the analysts projections were correct every year, then what would be the point of playing the season out? They could all save us a lot of time and hand out trophies based on rosters. However, this is not a contest for putting together the best roster on paper, this is about winning ball games. The Mets can win over 85 games in 2013 if they stick to the winning formula: solid pitching, good defense, getting on base, and timely hitting.
While one prominent Mets site has Policed the situation, concluded his investigation, and determined that there is no evidence to suggest that the Mets can replace those 20 wins from Dickey, I say this Mets team is still innocent until proven guilty.
There is a lot to look forward to in 2013 as Mets fans. There are some exciting young prospects waiting in the wings and if the Mets stay healthy, they are going to sneak up on a lot of teams this year. This is going to be an exciting season of Mets baseball.