2012 Preview: Meet the Mets

Preseason consensus has the 2012 Houston Astros basically even odds as far as out-losing the 1962 Mets (40-120). Two problems: beginning with the fact that the odds against any one team, even a major league team of AAAA talent, losing more than 120 games would have to be tremendous. Despite multiple expansions (e.g. 1977 Blue Jays, 1977 Mariners, 1969 Expos), fire sales (e.g. 1993 Padres, 1997 Marlins), and other random badness (e.g. 2003 Tigers, whose 43-119 was remarkably close), no one has bottomed out at 120+ since the expansion Mets. I doubt the Astros will in 2012. I mean, Brett Myers! J.A. Happ! Wandy!!!

The other problem is, why not the 2012 Mets? The 2011 Mets went 72-90 with a career half-season’s worth of Jose Reyes, a .904 OPS (150 OPS+) from Carlos Beltran, and a full year’s worth of Angel Pagan– all of whom are now gone, replaced with Andres Torres, Jon Rauch, and Frank Francisco, plus more ABs worth of Lucas Duda and Scott Hairston.

The Mets’ rotation is either terribly mediocre or just terrible, with the exception of Johan Santana, who missed all of 2011, and R.A. Dickey, a knuckleballer who turns 38 in October and was tearing up AAA Buffalo two years ago. Somehow, Dickey was one of two Mets pitchers who threw a minimum of 50 innings and had an ERA+ of more than 100 (at 113; sadder, Bobby Parnell at 102 was the other). The Astros even had more (Wandy, Bud Norris, Wilton Lopez, and the departed Mark Melancon). True, the Astros’ 2011 ERA+ of 84 was the worst in the NL. But the Mets (89) were the only other team below 90.

The Mets went an NL-worst 9-20 in spring training, which of course is meaningless (Texas went 12-17 and is my World Series pick from the AL, along with the 11-14 Marlins from the NL*), other than whatever hope it would suggest that hope is on the way as far as a youth movement (Baseball Prospectus has the Mets organization ranked 17th).** Not to mention being in the NL East means the Mets face the Phils, Braves, Marlins, and Nationals plus the AL East more than any other teams, whereas the Astros face the Cubs and Pirates and the AL Central.

* Since it probably won’t warrant an actual post, my playoff picks for 2012: Texas, LA Angels, Yankees, Rays, Tigers in the AL; Marlins, Braves, Brewers, Reds, Giants in the NL. ALCS: Texas over Yankees. NLCS: Marlins over Brewers. World Series: Marlins over Texas. The Phils end up third in the NL East at 85-77.

** Whatever it’s worth, the Astros are 26th, and the depleted Phillies are 29th out of 30, beating out only the White Sox.

I doubt that either the Mets will be worse than Houston, or that Houston won’t be awful, if not 100-plus-loss awful. But an ugly 66-96 summer in Flushing isn’t out of the question. And for a $120M payroll (Houston’s is under $70M), that’s more embarrassing than batting Carlos Lee cleanup.

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2 Responses to “2012 Preview: Meet the Mets”

  1. […] than 87 games this year, because I’m always wrong (my World Series picks since 2012: Brewers, Marlins, Blue Jays, Cardinals), and because the Phils will suck. More importantly, I haven’t had regular […]

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