Baseball Prospectus' 2019 PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) projections are out, and they foresee big things from the Mets -- especially the starting rotation.
PECOTA is a system that "takes a player's past performance and tries to project the most likely outcome for the following season. It looks at all of the numbers, and all the numbers that make up the numbers, to see which players are more likely to repeat their success and which ones benefited from good fortune."
When it comes to the Mets' starting pitchers, PECOTA -- a projection system that is notoriously conservative -- sees things shaking out like this:
While PECOTA has Jacob deGrom being dominant again and Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler coming in near their career averages (which are quite good), the system sees Steven Matz achieving a career-best WHIP of 1.16.
MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone recently wrote about why Matz could be poised for a breakout year.
The projected bounceback season from Jason Vargas would also be enormous for the Mets, who are hoping to not have to dip into the bullpen to call on Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman to replace Vargas.
One quick note: Don't be alarmed by the low innings totals, which have deGrom reaching the higest at just 186 innings. Like the PECOTA projections as a whole, their projected innings totals are extremely conservative. For comparison, their projected innings total for Nationals ace Max Scherzer is just 195 (he averages 216 per season). And the most innings they project any Yankee pitcher throwing is 174 by Luis Severino.
PECOTA's projections for the Mets' bullpen include new closer Edwin Diaz dominating while posting a 1.80 ERA and 0.96 WHIP with 93 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched.
When it comes to PECOTA's offensive predictions, some of the most noteworthy things include Peter Alonso hitting 17 homers in just 340 plate appearances, and strong seasons from Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil.
Overall, the Mets are projected by Baseball Prospectus to finish 88-74, which would be one game behind the Nationals (89-73) and give them the first Wild Card spot in the National League.