- New York Mets finished 86-76 in 2019 and were three wins back of the Milwaukee Brewers for the second National League wild card
- Team went 46-26 after the All-Star break, but couldn’t recover from a 40-50 start to the season
- How will new manager Carlos Beltran deal with his first season as a skipper?
The New York Mets were one of the hottest teams in the National League over the second half of the season, going on a 46-26 run after the All-Star break and finishing just three wins shy of the second wild card.
As a result, their 2020 World Series odds are pegged at +2500, joint level with the Chicago Cubs in the National League, and ahead of teams like the Milwaukee Brewers, who edged the Mets for that final wild card.
So, what are the Mets true chances in a championship chase next year?
2020 World Series Odds for National League Teams
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+800|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+2200|
|New York Mets||+2500|
|San Diego Padres||+6600|
|San Francisco Giants||+10000|
Odds taken November 1st
Beltran Era Begins
Reports on Friday suggest that former star outfielder Carlos Beltran will succeed Mickey Callaway as New York’s manager. Though Beltran has spent the past two seasons as special adviser to New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, and was apparently very well regarded in the Yankees’ clubhouse, he has never managed at the major-league level.
There are always unknowns when a first time manager is hired. When it comes to Carlos Beltran though, there’s one thing that is known:
As a former superstar player, who is well-liked throughout the game, he immediately has the respect of that clubhouse. pic.twitter.com/pjQJrIjlL6
— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) November 1, 2019
Though it will be an advantage to have experience of the New York market as a player for both the Yankees and Mets, it remains to be seen what Beltran can do now that the Mets hot seat is officially his.
Something to Build On
Any review that Beltran does of the 2019 Mets would instantly point to the breakout seasons posted by National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, and sophomore second baseman Jeff McNeil.
However, it seems unlikely that Alonso will be able to replicate his rookie-record 53 home run-season in 2020, even if that MLB season is as homer happy as 2019 has been.
There may be no better example of the long odds of a repeat that across town at Yankee Stadium, where Aaron Judge has posted back-to-back 27-home run years in injury-marred campaigns following his 52 home run rookie season three years ago.
— MLB (@MLB) September 29, 2019
And in the case of McNeil, his All-Star 2019 season came at the ripe old age of 27, so it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the idea that there’s a whole lot more upside there.
Free Agent Frenzy
The Mets have eights players potentially entering free agency this winter. While some, such as Todd Frazier and Rajai Davis, almost certainly won’t be back, a key decision hinges on right-hander Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler went 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts this year, but has been a consistent presence on the mound for the Mets ever since he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.
Zack Wheeler is my favorite FA target outside of Grandal
* 9th in pitcher fWAR since 2018
* 3.65ERA | 3.37FIP | 8.9fWAR since 2018
* Averaged 30 starts the past 2 years pic.twitter.com/yYV3dAIVDY
— cody (@bravescody) October 31, 2019
The Mets will almost certainly give him a qualifying offer, but whether he accepts it or not is another thing entirely. If Wheeler leaves he will need replacing in what has proven itself to be a strong rotation with the likes of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman.
The Mets bullpen posted a 4.95 ERA in 2019, good for just 25th in the major leagues. While much of that can be attributed to Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia, who both struggled with 5.59 and 5.70 ERAs, respectively, they will both be back.
But if it hopes to contend, New York needs to add an arm or two here to improve a bullpen that blew 27 saves in 2019, tied for ninth most in MLB.
That shaky bullpen may be one reason why New York was 24-23 in one-run games this season. The good news for Mets fans there is that there will likely be little regression to the mean for a team that was basically .500 in those games, unlike, say, the Atlanta Braves, who posted a remarkable 28-16 record in one-run contests.
Running On Empty?
However, the Mets will need to improve their run differential in 2020 to have any shot at the World Series. At just +54, the Mets differential was only good enough to finish 14th overall in MLB.
The Mets, who finished 29th in the Majors with -93 Defensive Runs Saved this season, do not have a Gold Glove finalist for the fourth consecutive year.
That's easily the longest drought in MLB; no other team has gone more than the past two seasons without a Gold Glove finalist.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) October 25, 2019
Of the 10 teams that made the postseason this year, nine had a run differential of +100 or more. The only team to post a +100-plus run differential and not make it was the Cleveland Indians. Conversely, Milwaukee squeaked in to the last wild card in the National League with a run differential of just +3.
So while it is not essential, it certainly helps.
Pick: If the Mets make a splash in free agency, they would represent good value at +2500. However, the roster as it currently stands isn’t resilient enough to truly contend in a tight NL East race.