Earlier this week, I made an Instagram post that gave away my awards, divisional, and World Series predictions for this season. Some takes were more basic while others were hotter. Some folks around the community may even consider some of my takes scorching hot.
Many may be thinking to themselves that some of my claims will cool off and possibly freeze at the end of the season. Now the real question is: Were my takes really that hot, or is the general consumer not able to handle a little bit of heat? Maybe it’s time I provide some context behind these scorching claims.
In terms of the individual awards, some were more unusual than others but you can’t really get everything spot on because you simply don’t know. The betting favorites to win certain awards rarely ever win it.
In terms of my World Series predictions, it’s the most basic World Series prediction possible, especially based on Vegas odds. I have both the Dodgers and Yankees, both at 4-1 odds to win it all (highest in the Majors), making the Fall Classic with the Bronx Bombers winning the series. So far, pretty basic predictions.
The divisional predictions is where things get a little bit spicy. I didn’t pick the favorite in 3 out of the 6 divisions. The NL Central, AL West, and NL East. In terms of the NL Central and AL West, I went with the Cardinals and Athletics but both of those aren’t odd picks because they are right on the tail of the favored team in their division.
The National League East, however, raised a couple of eyebrows. I did not go with the reigning divisional champion Atlanta Braves who are even more experienced coming off of a 97 win campaign last season. I didn’t even go with the reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals. I went with the team that finished third in the division last year. I went with the New York Mets to win the NL East.
Now this may be a surprising pick, but I believe that the Mets have all the correct components to win the division. There have been two main problems that have held back the Mets for years. One of them is health, and the other is the lack of additional bullpen support.
The health concern, although it is a concern, is not necessarily a red flag anymore because the players have had additional time to rest and get healthy during quarantine, and with a shortened season, there will be less wear and tear on their bodies.
In terms of bullpen support, the Mets currently feature one of the better bullpens in the major leagues. Their bullpen is composed of Dellin Betances, who they signed during free agency (career 2.36 ERA, 621 K), Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, and Brad Brach. Those are some of the best relievers in the MLB and have all been All-Stars in the past four years.
TWSN Analyst Tom Seipp has placed very high expectations on the Mets Bullpen. When describing the bullpen, he stated, “Edwin Diaz is primed for a bounce back season after an abysmal 2019. Given the long layoff, expect Diaz to bounce back completely. The addition of Dellin Betances is huge, while returning Seth Lugo, Justin Wilson, and even Brad Brach to a sustainable pen. Jeurys Familia also dropped 30 pounds since last year, so don’t be shocked if he returns to his old self.”
Now that we’ve addressed two of the more glaring problems within this organization, let us get to the offense. The Mets have arguably one of the more slept on offenses in the entire big leagues.
They have NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, who led the MLB with 53 home runs last season, rising star Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario and Robinson Cano (2018 All-Star) filling up their infield, Wilson Ramos, who is a top 3 catcher in the sport, and an outfield that features Michael Conforto (former All-Star), Jake Marisnick, and J.D. Davis. Not to mention with the DH coming to the National League, Yoenis Cespedes, who was a former superstar and very productive when healthy, has the chance to be an everyday bat in the lineup.
They also have a deep depth chart with Brandon Nimmo, Eduardo Núñez, Andrés Giménez, and Jed Lowrie (when he returns from injury). This Mets offense is one of the more dangerous offenses The King of Queens has seen in quite a long time.
We’ve gotten through all of the areas the Mets shine in and how that outweighs the clear weaknesses. The other aspects of their team are so great that their pitching staff has now become the weakest part of their team. A pitching staff that features reigning back-to-back Cy Young Winner Jacob deGrom, All-Star Marcus Stroman, and former Cy Young Winner Rick Porcello is the weakest part of their team. They also have Steven Matz who was very consistent last year and Michael Wacha who is a former All-star.
The reason why the pitching staff is the weakest part of this team is because other than deGrom and Stroman (when he gets back from his minor injury), we don’t know if the others will maintain consistency. In a perfect reality, all of them would be consistent but that probably won’t happen.
If two of the bottom three starters are able to find combined consistency, the Mets will be in a really good place in terms of their starting pitching. They also have a great minor league prospect in David Peterson who they can promote if they feel that Wacha, Porcello, and Matz as a unit aren’t meeting the expectations.
Now, to the viewer of the original post stating my divisional predictions. Is it still such a hot take? The Mets are often looked down upon because they will never be the face of New York and they don’t have the flashiest team but in reality they are extremely diverse. They have a tremendous offense, much improved bullpen, quality starting pitching, and health benefits provided by the shortened schedule. So I will ask you once more. Is this take still ablazing, or does all this context fit together?