The Mets almost pulled off a miracle last year; not quite amazing, but darn close. Now they try to take the next step. But how do they get there & will they have any betting value next season?
New York Mets Off-Season Outlook
The Mets just rode a super young pitching staff to within three wins of a World Series title. Now, the task is to take the next step, and win the World Series.
But of course, that's easier said than done.
New York, as with any team, has needs, or should we say holes; the offense could use a boost, the defense is a little iffy and they got caught thin on the end of the bullpen during that Series defeat to Kansas City.
The future seems incredibly bright for this team, with all that young pitching, and the Mets will go off next season among the favorites to win it all. What they do over this off-season will help determine their fate.
2014 in Review
After going 79-83 in 2014 New York went off last season as a 6/1 shot on the MLB odds to win the National League East, getting 15/1 to win the NL pennant and 30/1 to win the World Series, with a wins OVER/UNDER of 83. The Mets hadn't even finished above .500 in seven years, but they did finish fairly strongly in '14, and seemed to have one thing in particular that can elevate a team in short time; a good, young starting rotation.
New York announced its intentions for the season when it won 11 games in a row in April. The Mets then played about .500 ball from there into the All-Star break, and trailed Washington by three games in the NL East into August. But a 37-17 run pushed New York past the Nationals, and they won the division title with a week to spare.
The Mets then knocked off the Dodgers in five games in the NLDS, beating Clay Kershaw and Zack Greinke once apiece. They then put a halt to that insipid case of Cubs Love that was going around, sweeping Chicago out of the NLCS in four games, as Mets pitching stymied those big Cubbies bats to the tune of eight runs through 36 innings.
The dream ended, though, in the World Series, when the Mets themselves were held to three run or less three times by Royals pitching, resulting in a 4-1 Series defeat.
When the dust had settled Matt Harvey won Comeback Player of the Year in the National League, but he was almost overshadowed by the emergence of Jake deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and, near the end, Steven Matz. deGrom followed up his Rookie of the Year performance of two seasons ago by going 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA, striking out 205 in 191 innings; Syndergaard posted a 3.24 ERA in 24 starts as a rookie, with 166 whiffs in 150 innings; and lefty Matz went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA as a rookie, producing several quality outings down the stretch.
Back around the trade deadline the Mets took a chance and landed OF Yoenis Cespedes, and the move paid off, as the former A/Red Sock/Tiger slugged 17 homers in just 57 games for his new outfit.
Out in the bullpen Jeurys Familia came out of nowhere to record 43 saves in 48 chances, although he did blow two saves in the World Series.
All in all a very pleasantly surprising performance, after years of disappointment, and one New York hopes to build upon.
By the Numbers
New York ranked 17th in the Majors last season in scoring at 4.2 runs per game, just 28th in team batting average at .244, 20th in team on-base percentage at .312, eighth in home runs with 177 but 29th in stolen bases with just 51.
On the other end of the spectrum Mets pitching ranked fourth in the Majors with a 3.45 ERA, second with a 1.18 team WHIP, second in quality starts with 101 and 10th in strikeouts with 1,337.
Out in the pen New York ranked 11h in ERA at 3.48, converted 50 of 71 save opportunities, ranked eighth in WHIP at 1.23 and 15th in K/BB ratio at 2.62.
Finally, the Mets ranked 10th in team fielding percentage at .986 and 10th in errors with 88. But they also made six errors in the Series, including a couple that proved very costly.
The Mets need a few upgrades, and they also have to deal with several unknowns; will they be able to keep Cespedes? Do they even want to? What are they going to do with playoff hero Daniel Murphy? How much can they depend upon David Wright? What's the plan for the back end of the bullpen? Who's the fifth starter? And a few more.
In early free-agency rumblings New York has been linked to versatile IF Ben Zobrist and SS Asdrubal Cabrera, among others, and they both would help, especially if Wright needs to be spelled at third base, as is expected. But the Mets are somewhat limited financially, and may simply try to upgrade from within.
Betting the Mets in 2016
As of early December, just before the free-agent market was about to burst open, BetOnline was giving the Mets +1000 to win the World Series next season.
Good pitching, especially a solid 1-4 rotation that eats good innings, goes a long way toward contending in any long baseball season. And as long as the Mets can avoid the injury bug they figure to contend again.
But to get to where they want to go they could use another reliable stick, they'll have to tighten up a bit on defense and they probably need to add an arm or two to the bullpen.
New York is also a candidate to regress, simply based on the observation of how many teams that make great jumps one season seem to take steps back the next. The Astros and Cubs will also fight that same battle this season. But take heart, Mets fans, because the Royals actually overcame that tendency last season.
Also, New York will become a considerable day-to-day betting favorite, with that starting rotation, and it can be tough making money betting at -160 and -180 all season long.
With all the hype surrounding last season's success, the value on the Mets on the MLB futures market is probably limited.