It's tough sharing New York City with the most iconic and winningest franchise in sports history. But somebody's gotta do it. While the Yankees are a worldwide brand and have won 27 championships, the Mets have only won two World Series in their 59-year history. The Mets are currently in the midst of a 34-year title drought, with their last championship coming against the Red Sox in 1986 (thanks, Buckner). The Mets have only made the playoffs four times this century, reaching the World Series twice but losing both times, first to the Yankees in 2000 and then to the Royals in 2015.
The Mets went 86-76 (.531) in 2019, finishing 11-games back of the Braves in the NL East and 3-games back in the Wild Card.
It has been a relatively quiet offseason for New York. They only spent $25 million in free agency, tied with the penny pinching Marlins for the lowest of any NL East team. New York devoted all of their free agency spending on pitching, inking Dellin Betances, Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha and Brad Brach. The Mets also acquired outfielder Jake Marisnick from the Astros for a pair of low-level prospects.
However, the Mets lost two of their best pitchers from last year, leaving a big hole in their rotation. Zack Wheeler (11-8, 3.96 ERA in 2019) signed a megadeal with the Phillies and Noah Syndergaard (10-8, 4.28 ERA) will miss the 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The Mets lineup looks impressive on paper, led by 2nd-year phenom Pete Alonso (.260, 53 homers, 120 RBIs) and 6th-year outfielder Michael Conforto (.257, 33 homers, 92 RBIs). New York is hoping to get production out of injury-prone former superstars Robinson Cano and Yoenis Cespedes. The DH spot is perfectly suited for Cespedes, who hasn't played since 2018 with ankle and heel injuries but claims to finally be healthy again.
Here is the Mets projected starting lineup:
1. Brandon Nimmo OF
2. Jeff McNeil 3B
3. Pete Alonso 1B
4. Michael Conforto OF
5. Robinson Cano 2B
6. Yoenis Cespedes DH
7. J.D. Davis OF
8. Wilson Ramos C
9. Amed Rosario SS
In terms of starting pitching, New York has the luxury of leaning on ace Jacob deGrom (11-8, 2.43 ERA), who has won two consecutive Cy Young awards. Marcus Stroman (10-13, 3.22 ERA) may be the key to the rotation. If he can pitch like a true No. 2 starter, the Mets may be in business. The three through five spots are more of a Wild Card; high upside but also high likelihood of getting shelled.
Here is the projected starting staff:
1. Jacob deGrom
2. Marcus Stroman
3. Steven Matz
4. Rick Porcello
5. Michael Wacha
The Mets' bullpen will hope for a bounce-back season for closer Edwin Diaz (5.59 ERA, 26 saves). New York has a deep stable of setup men, including Betances, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson.
So what do the oddsmakers think of the 2020 Mets?
At BetMGM, New York's win total is 32.5 games. This translates to 87.75 wins based on a 162-game schedule. The juice on the win total is an even -110 on both sides. This signals relatively equal action on both the over and under without a clear wiseguy preference or obvious house liability.
FanGraphs, one of the most respected sites for advanced baseball analytics, projects the Mets to go 33-27, which represents a half-game edge to the over win total.
The Mets aren't expected to make the playoffs, though. New York is a -150 favorite to miss the postseason and a + 125 dog to make the postseason. This translates to a 60% implied probability that New York misses the playoffs.
New York is + 325 to win the NL East, tied with the Phillies for the 3rd-best odds. The Braves are the favorite at + 180 followed by the Nats at + 240. The Marlins are a distant + 15000 afterthought.
The Mets are + 1200 to win the National League, tied with the Phillies, Cardinals, Reds and Cubs for the 4th-best odds. The Dodgers are the favorite at + 145, followed by the Braves + 700 and Nats + 1000.
New York is + 2000 to win the World Series, tied with the Rays and Nats for the 6th best odds. Only the Dodgers (+ 350), Yankees (+ 400), Astros (+ 800), Braves (+ 1400) and Twins (+ 1600) are higher.
In terms of player props and futures, both Alonso and deGrom are + 4000 to win NL MVP.
deGrom is the favorite to win the NL Cy Young at + 280. He is + 500 to lead the NL in strikeouts, 2nd-best odds behind Max Scherzer + 280. He is + 1400 to lead the NL in wins, 5th-best odds behind Clayton Kershaw (+ 800), Scherzer (+ 800), Walker Buehler (+ 900) and Jack Flaherty (+ 1000).
Alonso's over/under home runs is 17.5 (over -105, under -125), RBIs 27.5 (over -120, under -110) and batting average .255 (-115 both sides). Alonso is + 1600 to hit 30 or more homers. Alonso is + 1000 to lead MLB in homers.
McNeil is + 1100 to lead the NL in batting average and + 1000 to lead the NL in hits. McNeil's over/under batting average is .290 (-115 both sides). He hit .318 in 2019.
Rosario's over/under steals is 6.5 (over -120, under -110). He is + 1400 to lead the NL in steals. In 2019 he stole 19 bases.
deGrom's over/under wins is 6.5 (over + 105, under -136) and strikeouts 92.5 (over -125, under -105). Stroman's over/under wins is 4.5 (over -105, under -125) and strikeouts 53.5 (over -120, under -110).
Diaz is + 900 to lead the NL in saves.