MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Mets

Our Second-Half Predictions

We offered some #HotTakes back in April, some of which look prescient:

  • David Wright will not start the Mets’ 2016 playoff games (he’s out for the season, if you’ve been under a rock)
  • The 2016 team breaks the franchise record (200) for dingers (they’re 63% of the way there, having played 56% of their games)
  • Addison Reed will be the Mets’ best reliever (his 1.8 WARP is substantially better than the next-best Hansel Robles, at 0.88)

On some of our season props, we chose… poorly:

  • Michael Conforto (1.14 WARP, fifth on the Mets) will have a better season than Corey Seager (3.93WARP, 15th in MLB)
  • Travis d’Arnaud (0.57 WARP, 10th on the Mets) will be the best catcher in baseball (that would be Buster Posey, 5.39 WARP, second among all players, not just catchers)
  • Wilmer Flores redefines the super-sub role (he’s started only 10 games away from third base)

And a few could still go either way:

  • Bartolo Colon (5.19 DRA, 0.24 WARP) will be better than Zack Wheeler (no timetable for his return)
  • The Mets will miss Jon Niese (the team’s not ruling out a reunion)
  • The Mets will win the 2016 World Series (it could happen!)

Given that sterling .500 record (complete with incompletes) how could you not trust our forthcoming second-half predictions? — Scott D. Simon (@scottdsimon)

Jeurys Familia Saves More Than 56 Games, Setting the National League Record

With his 32nd save of the season, recorded Friday night in Philly, Jeurys Familia tied Jason Isringhausen’s MLB record for most saves in a year without surrendering a dinger. Sure, a lot of Familia’s peripherals are down a tick or two compared to last year’s breakout campaign, but a lot of that is likely BABIP noise. And seeing as how he leads all relievers in saves this season — a perfect 32-for-32 — he’s clearly been aces when called upon.

At this point, Francisco Rodriguez’s single-season record of 62 saves is probably a longshot, but with the Mets’ combination of reliably good starting pitching and generally low-scoring offense, Familia should have an excellent chance at breaking the National League mark of 55, set by John Smoltz in 2002 and matched by (an enhanced) Eric Gagne the next year. Even if the Mets fall out of the playoff hunt, we likely still have quite a few more blastings of “Danza Kuduro” on tap before the year is out, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Familia is inching toward 60 saves by the time October arrives. — Erik Malinowski (@erikmal)

Sean Gilmartin and Gabriel Ynoa will Make Starts for the Major-League Club

Matt Harvey is out for the season with thoracic outlet syndrome. Steven Matz is start-to-start  with a bone spur. Noah Syndergaard left his last start before the all-star break with a dead arm. Zack Wheeler has yet to throw a single pitch in a rehab game. Logan Verrett isn’t a safe bet to get through the sixth in any given start. And if you want to trade for an arm, well Drew Pomeranz just cost a consensus top-25 prospect.

It seems like every Spring Training we discuss the Mets’ pitching surplus, but as the team enters the dog days of summer, they may very well be faced with Gabriel Ynoa and Sean Gilmartin hopping a JetBlue flight on short notice. Both have pitched “all right” in the Pacific Coast League, all things considered, but neither have the top line stuff Mets fans have grown accustomed to in their pitching prospects. By the same token, they probably won’t conjure up memories of Jorge Sosa, Brian Lawrence, Claudio Vargas, or Brandon Knight (and we could go on for a while in this regard). This was distinctly not the way they drew it up in Spring Training. — Jeffrey Paternostro (@jeffpaternostro)

The Mets Reunite With Another Familiar Face

The Mets came into the season sitting on a buffet of delicious pitching, but injuries, along with standard bullpen attrition, have thinned the ranks. A starting-pitcher acquisition is less likely than a reliever, but the team will be watching the market and don’t be surprised if they bring in a familiar face. With the Mets having already added back two alums in Kelly Johnson and Jose Reyes, it’s hard not to notice that some ex-Mets arms are potential bargains to fill out the back end of the bullpen and also make spot starts.

Carlos Torres is having a good year for the Brewers. The Pirates are begging anyone to take the struggling Jon Niese (who was very effective for the Mets out of the bullpen in a small sample). On the slightly higher end of the reliever spectrum, Tyler Clippard has been very good for the imploding Diamondbacks. Sandy Alderson has always tended towards the devil-you-know approach to team building, so keep an eye on these names as the hot stove gets hotter. — Maggie Wiggin (@maggie162)

Jose Reyes is DFA’d

Eight games, you’d likely agree, is the kind of sample we refer to as “small.” So we shouldn’t hold 2016 Jose Reyes’s .286 on-base percentage against him without further context. One hundred sixteen games is a slightly larger sample size. Last year, in so many contests, Reyes hit .274/.310/.378 in Toronto and Colorado — two of the best hitters’ parks in the major leagues. Set aside Reyes’s heavy baggage and just look at the player. Over his last 554 plate appearances, essentially a full season’s worth of time, Reyes has slashed .271/.308/.391 at ages 32 and 33. That’s barely replacement-level.

PECOTA suggests Reyes will post a .266 TAv the rest of the way. A league-average hitter and below-average infielder is nobody’s idea of an essential cog in a playoff machine. When the Mets acquire another position player — and let’s be frank, the Mets need to acquire another one, even with Michael Conforto’s return imminent — the team apparently won’t cut bait on James Loney or Alejandro De Aza. The Mets signed Reyes because he was free and they needed a warm body. Soon enough, he’ll be waiver bait again. — Scott D. Simon (@scottdsimon)

The Mets Struggle to Re-Integrate Lucas Duda

Lucas Duda struggled before his back injury. His .297 OBP was more than 30 points lower than his next-worst season as a regular. His de facto replacement James Loney has exceeded expectations so far, providing 0.5 wins above replacement after being plucked from the minor-league discard bin. Both players have posted a .285 TAv in around 150 plate appearances. They both prefer hitting against righties. Loney has a reputation as a good fielder, but the stats show he’s actually been below-average. It’s very difficult to see the Mets carrying both players until rosters expand. Loney’s success does not seem sustainable. He hasn’t posted a True Average this high since 2007!

But a low contact hitter like Duda may himself show high variance as he regains his timing after months away from live pitching. I think the Mets will be extremely deliberate with Duda, since calling him up may force them to release Loney. If Loney struggles and Duda isn’t on fire in rehab, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wilmer Flores get a bunch of starts at first while Duda stays in his rehab assignment. — Noah Grand (@noahgrand)

Yoenis Cespedes Breaks the Mets’ Single-Season Home Run Record

Cespedes is dealing with a quadriceps issue at the moment, but I’m expecting/hoping for a speedy recovery. Yoenis is hitting for more power this season than ever before, as his .281 ISO easily bests his previous career high of .251, set last year. He has also already hit 21 homeruns in 80 games played this season.

The Mets’ single season homerun record is 41; set by Todd Hundley in 1996 and tied by Carlos Beltran in 2006. By no means is Cespedes a lock to reach this figure, but he already has a bunch of homers in the books and we’ve seen him go on unbelievable offensive stretches in the past. Cespedes has the kind of power to set a Mets record. Considering the Mets’ place in the standings, they are going to need every last homer they can get. — Tyler Plofker (@TylerPlofker)

Jacob deGrom Pitches the Mets into the Playoffs in the Last Game of the Regular Season

This Mets team does not appear to be as ready to roll into the playoffs as the 2015 squad was. Unfortunately, Matt Williams is no longer managing the Nationals. Although there’s plenty of season left, the odds are against Washington blowing a seven-game lead. Entering action on Saturday, BP’s odds put the Nats’ NL East odds at 89.3%, so the Mets will probably have to survive a dogfight for the Wild Card.

That tight playoff race will go down to the last week of the season, and after the final 10-game homestand against the woeful Twins, Braves, and Phillies, the Mets will occupy the second Wild Card spot. However, I predict they’ll lose the next series to the Marlins and blow an opportunity to clinch in Philadelphia. On the last day of the season, they will need a win to avoid a one-game playoff, and Jacob deGrom will come to the rescue. A tremendous outing to silence Philly bats will wrap it up, with Jeurys Familia slamming the door on the Wild Card spot. — Andrew Mearns (@MearnsPSA)

Photo Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

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