By: Stache Staff

Can The Mets Be Relevant in 2015?


New York Mets fans are ready to win.

The struggle has been real. 2006 was the last time our team made the playoffs and won 90-plus games. Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and David Wright led the Amazin’s on their run to the NLCS in which they lost in game seven to the Saint Louis Cardinals.

When Adam Wainwright struck out Beltran on three consecutive pitches to send the Cardinals to the World Series, many Met fans were aggravated. They felt so close, but so far. Beltran could have at least swung the bat, right? Yadier Molina had to be the guy to beat us? Did Endy Chaves’ infamous catch really have to go to waste? We thought we needed better. We thought we deserved better. Maybe we did.

It has been eight years, two months and 29 days since we watched Tony La Russa and his team storm the field on their way to beating the Detroit Tigers in the World Series a week or two after sending us home.  Meanwhile, the Metropolitans haven’t won 90 games since. They haven’t made the playoffs. They haven’t sniffed the World Series. Were we overly critical when Beltran struck out looking? Probably. Would we sign a contract for that same season in 2015? Definitely.

The fact is the New York Mets have been stuck in mediocrity for too long, and for a “big market, low payroll team” (Thanks Wilpon Family) it is just unacceptable. But those are the cards we are dealt, and we have to root for this team regardless. With the vast potential of the star-studded pitching staff, both in the bullpen and in the rotation, many supporters of the Mets feel that this is the year we make the jump. Although a bunch of us are worried about the shortstop position, there will be 25 players on the Opening Day roster, and they should be competitive regardless.

The question is then, how realistic is it for a team that isn’t competitive in one year to be in the playoffs the next? Well, I took a look. From 2004 to 2013 there were 133 teams that won less than 80 games. 16 of them went on to win 90 or more a year later. 15 made the playoffs (sorry to the 2010 San Diego Padres). Here is the list below:

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 2.44.24 PM

16 teams of 133 are roughly 12 percent that fell below the 80 win threshold a year prior. Of these, one went on to win the World Series in the 2013 Boston Red Sox who went from 69 wins to champions. What does that tell us? The odds of going from bad to really good aren’t great but definitely doable. Keep in mind in the past 10 years the Mets haven’t been one of the teams to make the jump into contention. Is this the year we are due? I sure hope so.

The pieces are just about in place (except shortstop) for 2015 to be one to remember for all Mets fans. There were 15 teams that won less than 80 games in 2014. That means just about two of them have a statistical chance of winning 90 or more games this year. Here is the list of all of them:

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 2.49.12 PM

Obviously you can’t assume that two teams from this list will automatically win 90 games, but it’s fun to make assumptions so we are going to do it anyway. So besides the Metsies, who stands out from this list? Many pundits think the Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres had huge off seasons that will vastly improve each of them. A team like the Red Sox you can never count out and the Cincinnati Reds certainly has the firepower to compete in the National League Central.

Besides that, it would be a gigantic surprise for any of the other teams on this list to make the jump. The Tampa Bay Rays have traded Wil Meyers and Ben Zobrist, which leads one to believe that they will regress this year. Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs seem to be moving in the right direction, but are still a year or two away from real relevance. The rest of the teams on the list are in definite rebuild mode.

Then, according to the math, the Mets would have a one in three chance at winning 90 games. The other teams in contention are the Marlins, Padres, Reds, Red Sox, and White Sox. So as a Met fan that hasn’t seen his team make the playoffs since 2006 would I take those chances? Absolutely.

Sure the team isn’t perfect, the manager isn’t perfect, and I sure as hell would prefer ownership that spends big market money like big market teams should. However, that’s not the cards we’ve been dealt in 2015. It makes me want to bang my head against the wall a decent amount, but at the end of the day, this is the team that true fans need to love regardless.

Could we use a stud shortstop that can transform our franchise? Yes, but I am not willing to say the year is a lost cause without one. We can be what we hope for if David Wright, the captain, can return to his All-Star form, if Matt Harvey can pitch like the monster we know he is, if Lucas Duda can be decent against lefties, if Jacob DeGrom avoids a sophomore slump, if Michael Cuddyer can manage to stay healthy, and if Terry Collins shows faith in his young guys rather than give the reigns to older veterans who have proven they aren’t any good.

If these things all happen, we can be the team that bursts on to the scene in 2015. We can be the team that is a factor in the National League East. We can be the team that fans are once again prouder than ever to support.

Keep in mind that the roster we have on Jan. 17 is not the roster we will have in April, and certainly not the roster we will have in September. Are there holes? Of course. Without question though this Mets team has as much hope and anticipation as any in recent memory. That should get Mets fans excited for 2015 and, hopefully, they deliver on the field.

About Joey Papandrea

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