If the Mets can get back to the playoffs, their potentially stellar pitching could carry them to a World Series title. But it won't be easy with MLB futures odds favoring the Nationals in the NL East Division.
Having already let the cat out of the bag picking the Washington Nationals to win the NL East, all of the mystery is gone from a call for the New York Mets to play bridesmaids in the division. That doesn't mean, however, it won't be a successful season for the Queens Nine.
Thanks to the extra wild-card spot, Mets can still find their way to the postseason, just not as division champs where MLB futures odds have them around +175 to +200 and directly behind the Nats (-150). New York is going off about 7/1 to win a second NL pennant in three seasons and 13/1 to win its first World Series in 31 years. BookMaker has Terry Collins' crew on an 87½ win total, that shop taking more 'over' wagers than 'under.' It's in the win column I believe the Mets might be able to exceed expectations.
Unsettled Bullpen Can Be Very Unsettling To Bettors
It all starts on the mound, and specifically the rotation, for New York. Led by Noah Syndergaard, Collins has the potential to own the best rotation in baseball ... assuming good health. That has been a big part of spring, monitoring three arms coming off injuries: Steven Matz (elbow), Zack Wheeler (elbow) and Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet surgery) are all reportedly throwing pain-free.
The general consensus is Wheeler starts on the DL or in the bullpen, with Matz and Harvey in the rotation. They'll be trailing Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, two of the strongest NL Cy Young contenders, with Robert Gsellman also in there.
The bullpen is a bit of a mess mostly due to closer Jeurys Familia expected to begin the season on suspension from a domestic violence incident. Addison Reed is the most likely candidate to take over closing duties based on experience, but he has been a trainwreck in Grapefruit League action. Collins has used Corey Taylor, a 7th-round pick in 2015, for a lot of ninth-inning work, but the San Antonio native has never pitched above A-ball. It's definitely a situation worth monitoring as spring training draws to an end.
Bruce Could Give Offense Huge Boost
While the starting rotation is the strength, the everyday lineup has plenty of room for improvement. The Mets ranked 11th in the NL in scoring (4.14 rpg) in 2016, and while they did rank second in homers with 218 they have to consistently put more runners on in front of boppers like Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson. Jay Bruce simply can't go into his long dry spells and the team can't wait around for Michael Conforto to take the right field job.
New York's first 32 games come against division foes, 18 of those at Citi Field where the Mets were 44-37 a season ago. Most of their interleague slate comes against the AL West, plus the annual home&home set with the Yankees. The Mets have to get off to a good start through early May or they won't have a chance to compete for the division title. The win total looks spot-on to me, but I'm willing to have a little faith in the pitching to take the 'over' for my free baseball pick.Free MLB Pick: 'Over' 87.5 WinsBest Line Offered: BookMaker