It was a rough weekend for the Mets, posting three wins when the team desperately needs losses to keep their record in the bottom ten records in baseball, and thus, a protected draft pick in case of some free agent signings.
That said: it was awfully satisfying to see the Mets sweep the Phillies. Jason Fry captured this dynamic so well.
There’s been some discussion about how the Mets own a 45-44 record since June 18, the day Zack Wheeler was promoted, thus showing themselves to be a .500 team over more than half a season. The thinking goes, just add several pieces to the lineup, and that .500 team becomes a playoff team, right?
Just a caveat here: not exactly.
That 45-44 record includes Wheeler, sure, who should be back next year at full strength (though the lack of follow-up testing on the shoulder stiffness that’s ending his season is both bizarre and so very Mets).
It also includes, however, 275 plate appearances of unlikely-to-return (let alone to hit this well again) Marlon Byrd at an .882 OPS clip, 81 1/3 innings of 2.55 ERA pitching from still-unlikely to pitch in 2014 Matt Harvey, and a 2.38 ERA from LaTroy Hawkins, who will be 41 next year. For those keeping score at home, that’s the second-best hitter, the best pitcher, and the best reliever on this 45-44 Mets team.
Now presumably, projecting for 2014, those Mets would receive more than 42 games (or, prorated, slightly less than a half-season) from David Wright, whose .975 OPS leads the 45-44 Mets. The hope is also that Dillon Gee’s stats for the 45-44 Mets won’t be leveled off, as his 2013 overall stats are, by his numbers for the 26-40 Mets who began play on June 18.
And the 45-44 Mets will also, hopefully, have a full season of Travis d’Arnaud with a better OPS+ than his 48 this season.
My point here is that the task going into 2014 is bigger than just adding some pieces to a .500 team, even if we accept only the data after June 18 as relevant, which, you know, we shouldn’t.
Still, it’s been encouraging to see. Too encouraging. Now the Mets could blow the reverse pennant race in the final week. It’ll be fun to watch them try, though.