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Keith's Worst Team Predictions of 2009

New York Mets

by Keith Glab, BaseballEvolution.com
November 16, 2009

Many people considered the Colorado Rockies to be the biggest surprise team of 2009 and the Chicago Cubs among the biggest disappointments.  Both teams did about what I had expected them to do.  I missed Colorado's win total by five wins, but had them winning the NL West, a division I had underestimated as a whole.  I also correctly predicted the Cubs would miss the postseason, overshooting their overall winning percentage by just 15 points.


This isn't to say that my predictions were immaculate.  I missed three teams' actual win totals by more than 15 games, the worst of which was a 27-win differential.  That's pretty embarrassing, so I sat down to examine why I was so wrong about each club.

Bad Predictions: Mets | Indians | Giants

2009 Standings
Keith's 2009 Predictions

New York Mets Actual Record: 70-92
Keith's Mets Prediction: 89-73
Difference: 19 games

Frankly, this is one huge miss that I'm not too embarrassed about.  No member of Baseball Evolution pegged the Mets for fewer than 87 victories. Just about everybody figured the Mets would enjoy a good year with David Wright and Jose Reyes approaching their primes and a revamped bullpen that was lauded as one of the decade's best

It's no secret what happened.  David Wright was the healthiest member of the 2009 Mets, and even he spent time on the disabled list after getting drilled in the helmet.  Reyes was limited to just 118 plate appearances, although even that was more than Carlos Delgado managed.  Delgado's 112 plate appearances was fewer than any games played total he has accumulated since the age of 23.  Carlos Beltran played in only 81 games, the first time he appeared in fewer than 140 since his sophomore slump year of 2000.  Gary Sheffield battled injuries all season, but the 40-year old realistically gave the team as much as they could have hoped for, particularly considering that they only paid him the major league minimum.

As bad as the position player injuries were, the pitching situation was even worse.  Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz were supposed to form an unparalleled 1-2 bullpen combo before being joined by 182 career ERA+ southpaw Billy Wagner in August.  Putz had a 5.22 ERA in 29 injury-riddled games, K-Rod was merely solid, enduring his worst season ever, and by the time Billy Wagner got healthy, the Mets were so far out of it that they traded him for two minor league first basemen (notice I avoided using the word "prospects").

How about the rotation?  This was one area in which people realized the Mets would be thin going into the season, but it got far worse than anyone could have predicted.  Johan Santana was fine, but only started 25 games before undergoing season-ending elbow surgery in August.  After him, the rotation was a horror.  Mike Pelfrey was a workhorse by starting 31 games, but pitched the year with a tired arm because of his 2008 workload and finished with an ERA over 5.00.  Livan Hernandez and Tim Redding combined to make 40 starts; I won't waste time telling you how those went.  John Maine was solid in 15 starts, but fell prey to injury.  Oliver Perez finished second on the team with 58 walks despite finishing 11th on the team with 66 innings pitched. 

It was so bad that Pelfrey and Santana were the only Mets pitchers to fan over 76 batters.  It was so bad that Patrick Misch, Nelson Figueroa, and Fernando Nieve felt like the second coming of Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, and Sid Fernandez when they took over 60% of the rotation late in the season.  It was so bad that Sean Green was used 79 times out of the bullpen.

Again, we knew that this was a thin team that would be susceptible to injuries going into the season.  But A) no one could have predicted as many injuries to as many key players and B) normally when he Mets hit a spell of bad luck, they just throw money at the problem.  But this year, Mets ownership fell prey to an investment scandal and could barely afford to keep Citi Field lit, much less patch holes for a ramshackle team.  I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone that Mets ownership got fleeced, seeing as how they recently inked Oliver Perez to a three-year, $36 million contract.

The Mets began the season with the second-highest payroll in baseball at just a hair under $150 million.  They are going to feverishly hack away at that this winter.  Even if Beltran, Reyes, Delgado, Santana, Maine, and Putz all come back 100% healthy, it's hard to believe that anyone is going to make the mistake of predicting the Mets to have a winning record again anytime soon.  

Bad Predictions: Mets | Indians | Giants




Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith resides in Chicago, Illinois and can be reached at keith@baseballevolution.com.

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