I think so, David, and as SNY.tv's Ted Berg wrote on TedQuarters earlier this week, there is enough talent on the roster to win 94 games. But for that to happen, Johan Santana must be able to contribute consistently and at a high level, they will need growth from other starting pitchers such as Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey, and both David Wright and Jason Bay must rebound and perform. On top of all of that, they need to stay healthy, something they have failed to do for the better part of the last four seasons. That's a lot to ask, but this time of year is reserved for that kind of hope.
The starting rotation is, by far, the weakest area on the roster for the Mets. In fact, they probably have the weakest rotation in the National League East on paper.
Last year, the members of the projected rotation won 39 games (with Gee winning 13 of those 39), and pitched to a 4.17 ERA, walking 234 and striking out 491 and allowing 71 home runs in 720 1/3 innings pitched, averaging just over six innings per start. Those numbers must improve if the Mets have any chance at all to contend.
According to FanGraphs, Bill James predicts Gee will go 8-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 160 innings, Niese will go 9-10 with a 4.28 ERA in 160 innings, Dickey will go 12-11 with a 3.89 ERA, Pelfrey will go 9-11 with a 4.36 ERA in 188 innings, and Santana will go 14-7 with a 3.10 ERA in 189 innings. I agree with all of the projections except the one set for Santana because I don’t know if he will be able to throw that many innings, or what those innings will contain.
It concerns me there is so much of a dependency on Santana’s return from capsule surgery. Despite the belief he is ready to go for Spring Training, there are so many unknowns as to how he will respond to the rigors of camp and each Grapefruit League outing, let alone his ability to consistently contribute at the major league level. It all looks good in January when he’s throwing to Terry Collins in shorts and sunglasses, but it’s a whole other story three weeks from now.
The good news, Dan? The game isn't played on paper, and if the aforementioned pitchers can positively progress as needed, they should be able to contribute more than 39 wins.
Brandon, I cheer in both good times and bad because I love the Mets and the game itself. I love the fresh hope of Spring Training in February, and watching the season (and the stories it contains) unfold into October. Despite the negativity surrounding the team, it's owners and their finances, I still am very much looking forward to Mets baseball in three weeks.
Obviously, I'd prefer the Mets get past their current drama and win a World Championship or two, but the negativity doesn't make the inner fan in me fade. If you're going to go into a season with no hope on January 28, why bother being a fan to begin with? You never know what will happen which is part of what makes this game so great - see the 2011 Cardinals, 2010 Giants, and yes, the 1969 Mets.
To ask me a question, you can: