Fear and Loathing in the National League, East: the Mets

On our last stop on our tour of the N.L. East, we’ll meet the Mets. They’ve been a bit of a punching bag lately. Indeed, given their general manager’s propensity for self-deprecating tweets, it’s almost as if a separate Mets satire account is unnecessary–but that hasn’t stoppsed the Internet from creating one anyway).

Well, get this: I predict the 2012 Mets will win 79 games. Yup, that’s better than the Marlins this year. Yeah, that shocked me, too. How do the Mets manage to do it?

Everything depends on a healthy Johan Santana. Santana’s coming off the same shoulder-capsule repair surgery that the Nats’ Chien-Ming Wang underwent. Although Wang had a few promising starts in 2011, Santana made no MLB appearances, and it’s not entirely certain that either man can fully recover from this sort of surgery. If the Mets can get at least 160 innings of Santana’s 3.59 FIP pitching this year, and if Niese, Pelfrey, Dickey and Gee can hobble through the rest of the rotation, the Mets should actually be in pretty good shape.

The Mets defense is a net minus, (-3 UZR). David Wright at third base posts a -7 UZR. (Not great, when you consider that fellow Tidewater Virginian Ryan Zimmerman posts a +8 UZR at third base for the Nats.) But overall, the Mets defense isn’t too bad.

The Mets offense, however, is pretty anemic. The Mets offense is projected to score a total of 687 runs, nowhere near the 718 runs the Mets put up last year–they’ll really miss José Reyes in Flushing!

Assuming Santana is healthy, the Mets might surprise a few people in the N.L. East. They shouldn’t be treated as push-overs, as weak as they are presently. If Santana isn’t healthy, well…the Mets might be Amazin’ for the wrong reason.

All told, the outlook for the Mets isn’t terrible. Indeed, it looks an awful lot like Matt’s optimistic scenario:

With Johan back for a full season, its like the Mets get a sort of ace pitcher stimulus package. Also, keep in mind the walls in the outfield of Citi Field have been modified. The modification should help to yield better home run chances for David Wright, Jason Bay, and other sluggers who have seen their number suffer due to the quirky nature of Citi Field. The Mets may not have the best chance of seeing the playoff in 2012, but at the same time who says they will even have a losing record? Perhaps some of the inexperienced rookies put it together and have some good seasons. Who knows, they are the amazin’ Mets so let not write them off just yet.

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