Miami Marlins Season Preview: Predicting the NL East

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#3- New York Mets – 2014: 79-83, tied for 2nd in the National League East

Projected Lineup: CF Juan Lagares, 2B Daniel Murphy, 3B David Wright, 1B Lucas Duda, LF Michael Cuddyer, RF Curtis Granderson, C Travis d’Arnaud, SS Wilmer Flores

Projected Starters: Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee

The Mets are an interesting case, as there’s enough here to produce a sleeper in the National League, while punching enough holes into the discussion to make them a middle of the road team. Since Carlos Beltran watched Adam Wainwright’s breaking ball go right by him in the last game of the 2006 NLCS, the Mets have been irrelevant in the national spotlight. But with the fall of the Yankee dynasty, and the retirement of Derek Jeter, the New York media is ready to champion the boys from Queens. So let’s step right up and meet the Mets. 

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How it can go right: Harvey’s return from Tommy John surgery bolsters a rotation what was pretty good to begin with, now adding a CY Young candidate to the mix can only make things better. He hasn’t pitched since 2013 and one worries about rust, but then Harvey finishes Spring Training with a 1.19 ERA and all is right with the world. Harvey, Colon, and reigining NL Rookie of the Year deGrom, are key reasons why the Mets have sleeper potential.

How it can go wrong: But then they lose Zach Wheeler for the season and that vaunted staff takes a hit. While still very good with their front three starters, losing Wheeler leaves questions with the rest of the rotation. One also has to wonder if Adonis Colon can still pitch at high level at the ripe old age of 41. And while super-prospect Noah Syndergaard is waiting in Triple A – he’s a similar victim as Kris Bryant with the Cubs, as the Mets will probably keep Syndergaard in the Minors to delay his service time – Niese and Gee will have to not rock the boat until he arrives.

Then comes the question of their offense, as the Mets were middle of the NL in runs scored. Wright started to shows of decline last season, finishing with .269/.324/.374 slash line, his lowest batting average since 2011, and his .698 OPS was the lowest of his career, while Granderson hasn’t provided any real return on the four-year, $60 million investment that the Mets made in him. To help with the offensive woes, New York went out and brought in Cuddyer, who hit 30 homers over the last two seasons…as a member of the Rockies. Last time I checked, Citi Field isn’t exactly Coors Field. Not to mention he battled injuries last season and is 36 years old, but he got a two- year, $21 million deal because LOL Mets.

First month (or so) of games: @Washington (3), @Atlanta (3), Philadelphia (3), Miami (4), Atlanta (3), @Yankees (3), @Miami (3), @Washington (4)

Although starting the first week on the road, the Mets get their next 10 games at home against a bad Phillie team; a weak Braves squad; and fellow sleeper Marlins, so the schedule is their friend in April. Even though they finish the month on the road, they get three of those in the same city, so they won’t leave New York for two weeks. A sleeper team, with a friendly early schedule, can be a dangerous one.

Win/Lose Prediction: 81-81. Yet I can’t buy into them. There’s more question marks with this team: Where is the offense coming from? Can Wright bounce back? Will Colon keep it going, bringing hope to overweight forty-something year olds everywhere? Things are fun when the Mets are relevant, but this might be as close to it as they can get.

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