Spring Training is about to be in full swing for the Mets, and one metric already predicted an NL East title for New York's 2020 season.
Baseball Prospectus released its annual projections Tuesday, pegging the Mets atop the division with 88 wins -- one game ahead of the second-place Nationals and five games ahead of the third-place Braves -- leading to Wednesday's discussion on SNY's Mets Hot Stove.
After the simulations saw the Mets leading the pack at 88-74, followed by the Nationals (87-75) and Braves (83-79), Jim Duquette provided context behind the numbers.
"They've been doing this for a while and they're pretty conservative overall, and there's a lot to argue about, but they've been generally somewhat accurate over the years, too," Duquette said. "By the way, they picked the Mets to win last year, also, and that didn't work out. But they were pretty close, within a game or two of their projections.
"Basically, they take the projected roster, projected starting five and they run a thousand simulations with their against their opponents and come up with a projection and an average number of wins. They have a whole kind of range. There are ranges where there would be 92, 93, 94 wins all the way down to potentially in the 70s. But majority of the simulations that they ran were in that 88, 87, 89 range there.
"So with that, that's where they're hanging their hats on it. They're obviously not completely accurate on it, but are favorable with the Mets with pitching in particular. And I think also bounce-back seasons and the bullpen, which I think we all can agree is a little more uncertain."
So how much stock should Mets fans put into the analytics? John Harper weighed in, cautioning to take the sub-90 numbers with a grain of salt. The Braves needed at least 90 wins in each of their past two NL East titles from 2018-19, securing the division with 90 and 97 while the Mets notched 77 (fourth) and 86 (third).
"They're not pulling numbers out of the thin air, so I've got to give them some credence, but I think it's more to give you kind of a ballpark figure," Harper said. "And to me, what stands out is the Braves' 83. I mean, did they know Cole Hamels was already hurt when they made these projections? The Braves, to me, are still a team on the rise and they won the division two years in a row with 90-plus wins. So I think a lot would have to go wrong with that.
"And the Mets, I can see that. That's in that area. But really, this whole division, a lot of things -- it's going to depend on injuries and things we don't see coming. And as you said, can (Edwin) Diaz bounce back with the rest of that bullpen? There's so many variables that we don't know, but the interesting part is they have nobody in that division getting 90 wins and I think that comes back to the whole conservative nature of their projections. But I've got to believe somebody's going to win 90 games to win that division."