Mark Simon of ESPN New York, conjured one scenario in which the Mets take their 74-88 record and flip it around to 88-74. That would make them a borderline playoff contender, he writes, which in a division with the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves seems like an ambitious outlook.
What needs to happen for the Mets to win 88 games? Here’s how he does it:
- On the top of his list, David Wright needs to play like an MVP. - The Mets are not going to be an offensive juggernaut. They’re going to strike out a lot. They’re going to hit for a low batting average. They’re probably going to be very frustrating. To be a contender, the Mets are going to have to get maximum production out of their best hitter, and that means David Wright is going to have to contend for the MVP Award. He says that Wright “could” be a 7.0 WAR player even at 31.
- Bounce-back seasons from at least three players from this group. — Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, Curtis Granderson and Chris Young — turn back the clock a couple of years.
- Zack Wheeler finds his groove. - Despite the loss of Matt Harvey, Simon contends that the Mets’ linchpin is Zack Wheeler and that he needs reverse the lack of strike-zone command that was so prevalent at times last season.
- Rafael Montero is a Rookie of the Year candidate. - Oh yeah, I like this one. Can it happen? Why not… As Simon writes, Montero had a 2.51 ERA, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 5-to-1, and a homer allowed every 22 innings in 64 career minor-league appearances. He also excelled in the hitting friendly PCL and actually pitched his best during his final six starts of the season. He’s ready.
- The bullpen comes together well. - Ah yes, this is always what the difference is between having a good and great season. But I like what we have going into this year.
All in all, an excellent read by Simon that is definitely worth checking out. We’ll be rolling out our own Annual MMO Predictions in short order. Stay tuned…