That "other" New York baseball team hasn't made the playoffs since 2006, but expectations are very high with the Mets this season despite a devastating injury this spring. The Mets have a wins total of 81 on 5Dimes MLB odds. Good value or not?
Recap of 2014
Since I try to be a glass half-full type of guy, I'll mention that the Mets' 79 wins last season were their most since 2010. However, it was their sixth consecutive losing campaign. Manager Terry Collins has been in charge of the past four and I'm pretty shocked he's still on the bench. Put his name on any list of the first managers to be fired in 2015 -- that prop should be out soon at sportsbooks.
Obviously the Mets are a big-market franchise even though they are in the shadow of the Yankees. It's just that the Mets don't spend like a big-market team and certainly not even in the same stratosphere as that team in the Bronx.
The pitching staff was pretty good last year, ranking ninth in ERA (3.49) and seventh in quality starts (98). Jacob deGrom was the NL Rookie of the Year, chubby Bartolo Colon was a nice surprise with 15 wins, Jonathan Niese had a solid 3.40 ERA and Zack Wheeler won 11 games with a 3.54 ERA. More on Wheeler in a minute.
However, the offense was not good and it's time to stop blaming the dimensions of Citi Field. New York was 20th in homers (125), 21st in runs (629), 22nd in on-base percentage (.308), 27th in slugging (.364) and 28th in batting average (.239). Really the only guys who had good seasons were All-Star second baseman Daniel Murphy and first baseman Lucas Duda. Yet for some reason, the Mets didn't much address the lineup this offseason, which doesn't make them a valuable team for your MLB Picks.
Outlook for 2015
New York has a group of young pitchers that is the envy of any in baseball and Wheeler was a big part of that. Alas, he will miss the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, which is practically an epidemic for this franchise. Last year, Wheeler averaged 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings, joining teammate Matt Harvey (2013) as the only Mets starters to average better than 9.0 Ks per nine innings in the past 20 years. Sadly, Wheeler's injury came just two days after excellent lefty reliever Josh Edgin also suffered a season-ending arm problem and had TJS.
It's too bad because the Mets could have had a pretty spectacular top three of Harvey, Wheeler and deGrom. Harvey missed all of last season after his Tommy John surgery. He was the toast of New York in 2013 when Harvey was 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 178.1 innings. He also started the All-Star Game at Citi Field. Harvey has looked as good as ever this spring. DeGrom moves up to No. 2 and he's another guy who has had the Tommy John procedure. He was ticketed originally for the bullpen when called up in mid-May last year but proved too good to pull from the rotation. DeGrom finished 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA and personally lost just one start after July 4. The rest of the rotation will be Niese, the soon-to-be 42-year-old Colon and Dillon Gee, who was to pitch out of the bullpen this year before the Wheeler news. New York has a couple of touted pitching prospects on the cusp of the majors so I don't expect the Mets to trade to replace Wheeler.
As for the offense, it could be ugly. Lucas Duda hit a career-high 30 home runs last year (with 92 RBIs) but very easily could be a one-year wonder. He never had more than 15 previously. Third baseman David Wright is overrated because he plays in the Big Apple. He can't stay healthy of late and his power has vanished since hitting 29 in 2010 (Citi Field's fault!). Wright hit only eight bombs while batting .269 in 134 games a season ago. Outfielder Curtis Granderson was a bust in his first season with the Mets, batting.227 with 141 strikeouts and only 20 dingers. Center fielder Juan Lagares will hit for an OK average but that's about it. He's a great fielder. The only significant addition has been outfielder Michael Cuddyer, the 2013 NL batting champion. Except he's 36 and a player's hitting numbers tend to nosedive once they leave Colorado's Coors Field, where Cuddyer spent the past three years.
The 'over' is a -130 favorite on the Mets' 81 wins on MLB Odds. They are +700 to win the NL East and +1725 to win the pennant.
New York Mets Season Win Total: Everything in New York is overblown, and I think that's the case here. I don't trust the rotation after Harvey and deGrom and trust no one in the lineup at all. Why, again, didn't the Mets trade for a shortstop? Go 'under' the total and Collins won't be there next year.