2019 Mets Projections Review: TJ Rivera

Every spring at 213 we gather a whole bunch of projections for players and average them together to see what a conglomerate of baseball sources think a given player will perform over the year. It’s wholly unscientific – averaging averages and not weighting them for previous accuracy or amount of playing time they feel a player will see.

You know what feels like forever ago? T.J. Rivera on the Mets. But he was on the Mets last year! He became a fan favorite essentially instantly, had a great 2017 and then injuries kept him away from the field much of 2019, until the Mets cut him and then he started playing independent ball. Last year we wrote about how his health, J.D. Davis and Gavin Cecchini were all in his way from getting a roster spot. Despite all that, many outlets still wrote projections for him:

Ultimately, Rivera was released about a week after we wrote the preview article for him last year. After playing in independent ball he was picked up by the Nationals but never saw any major league playing time with them and was released in November. He’s still a free agent.

Rivera hit .304/.335/.445 in 344 PA’s for the Mets across 2016 and 2017. It’s a shame that so many things prevented him for getting on the field again. We appreciate the memories with him, and although it doesn’t feel like the Mets have any room for him, we wouldn’t be against the Mets signing him to a minor league contract.

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2019 Mets Projections Review: Amed Rosario

Every spring at 213 we gather a whole bunch of projections for players and average them together to see what a conglomerate of baseball sources think a given player will perform over the year. It’s wholly unscientific – averaging averages and not weighting them for previous accuracy or amount of playing time they feel a player will see.

Before the season last year, we wrote about how Amed Rosario ended 2018 strong, hitting .303/.335/.444 from August 10th on. Defensively in 2019, his season was similar – struggling so much at the start of the season that there was a rumor that the Mets were going to put him in Center by the end of the season, and then he turned things around. Projections before 2019 took his 2018 tale of two seasons and produced the following lines:

2019 Stats: 655 PA, 616 AB, 15 HR, .287/.323/.432, .755 OPS, 1.8 WAR, 96 DRC+

Amed Rosario outperformed what everyone was thinking with the bat. In every category except WAR. That’s fantastic for him and even more amazing for us! Interestingly, the projection programs were fairly grouped together on Rosario. All of them, except ESPN, had him getting on base at about a .300 clip (and ESPN, which usually over projects, under projected everyone).

What we’ll look for in 2020 is first, are the computers super aligned on a result again? Second, do they project Rosario at his 2019 numbers, above his 2019 numbers (breakout?) or below them, suggesting that there is some mean for Rosario to regress too. Only because I’ve done a bunch of these articles over the last couple of years, my gut tells me that projections will show a regression to some career line, despite Rosario only playing for parts of 3 seasons. Generally when the algorithms are this aligned, there’s something that they are seeing in the player. If that happens, I also feel that Rosario will out perform them again.

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2019 Mets Projections Review: Dominic Smith

Every spring at 213 we gather a whole bunch of projections for players and average them together to see what a conglomerate of baseball sources think a given player will perform over the year. It’s wholly unscientific – averaging averages and not weighting them for previous accuracy or amount of playing time they feel a player will see.

Dominic Smith had one of the best stories on the 2019 Mets. Had a great spring training, had a strong season when he had a chance to play, got hurt, got a scooter that he took on the field, worked back from his injury, hit a walk-off to end the season. He got squeezed out of first base last year, and that wasn’t a surprise, and played well enough to warrant his name in trade rumors. When we were looking at his projections last year, we were confused where he would fit with Frazier and Lowrie (lol) and Dom made it work taking on the outfielder. Here were his projections and his results:

2019 Stats: 197 PA, 177 AB, 11 HR, .282/.355/.525, .881 OPS, 0.7 WAR, 112 DRC+

Dom Smith crushing his projections is summed up int eh difference between his projected and actual DRC+. He was projected to be 13% worse than the average hitter. He finished 12% better than the average MLB hitter.

He smashed projections across the board. The only projection that was close was ZiPS with the highest projected OBP and correctly projected WAR (but in 350 more ABs).

Computers will probably struggle with Smith again next year. It makes the most sense to play him in the outfield, but he’s still the odd man out in that group. Right now he’s a depth piece but is being a depth piece hurting his development? If there’s a player who could still be moved this off season, unfortunately, we think it’s him.

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2019 Mets Projections Review: Keon Broxton

Every spring at 213 we gather a whole bunch of projections for players and average them together to see what a conglomerate of baseball sources think a given player will perform over the year. It’s wholly unscientific – averaging averages and not weighting them for previous accuracy or amount of playing time they feel a player will see.

Keon Broxton was acquired in a trade for Bobby Wahl (who immediately tore his ACL). Bobby Wahl was acquired in the Jeurys Familia trade. Jeurys Familia signed a deal with the Mets last year. Keon Broxton was later released by the Mets due to poor performance. All of this is to say, his departure ended a series of interesting Mets trivia questions. The Mets were hoping he would be their new Juan Lagares. When we joined the Mets, he had a 77 DRC+ the previous season, these are his projections from last year:

2019 Mets: 53 PA, 49 AB, 0 HR, .143/.208/.163, .371 OPS. -0.6 WAR, 48 DRC+
2019 Total: 175 PA, 155 AB, 6 HR, .174/.253/.310, .563 OPS, -0.8 WAR

So Broxton had moderate success as an Oriole last year (I actually saw him play against Kevin Plawecki in a weird, former MetsWatch type game), but even that wasn’t enough for himto come close to his projections, he really failed to meet them across the board. He missed OBP by 50 points, OPS by 100 points, and just failed to get any consistent playing time.

We liked him as a person, and we wish him and his adorable puppy instagram account well. We just wish things were different.

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2019 Mets Projections Review: Yoenis Cespedes

Every spring at 213 we gather a whole bunch of projections for players and average them together to see what a conglomerate of baseball sources think a given player will perform over the year. It’s wholly unscientific – averaging averages and not weighting them for previous accuracy or amount of playing time they feel a player will see.

Look, part of the reason we are doing this for Yoenis Cespedes is I’m a completionist and since I wrote a projection article for him at the start of the year, I just can’t leave it out.

Last year we wrote about how the Mets really messed up his injury situation, making it much worse. We were hoping for a July/August return and the computers spat out the following projections for him:

Obviously none of this would actually happen.

We found out last week that Cespedes broke his ankle at his ranch in May due to an incident with a wild Boar because this is the New York Mets and nothing can be normal, especially when it is injury related.

So what about 2020? Who knows. Projections are going to have a hell of a time trying to figure out his health and his playing time situation with the Mets.

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2019 Mets Projections Review: Michael Conforto

Every spring at 213 we gather a whole bunch of projections for players and average them together to see what a conglomerate of baseball sources think a given player will perform over the year. It’s wholly unscientific – averaging averages and not weighting them for previous accuracy or amount of playing time they feel a player will see.

Last year we wrote about how Michael Conforto had two seasons in 2018. He started off struggling but then turned a corner about a week after the All-Star break where he hit .273/.356/.539 for the rest of the year (.243/.350/.448 overall in 2018). Computers took his season, and his .251/.349/.476 batting line to that point and spit out the following projections:

2019 Stats: 648 PA, 549 AB, 33 HR, .257/.363/.494, .865 OPS, 3.5 WAR, 122 DRC+

Before we get into it, that’s a pretty line, right? Sometimes I feel like I take Conforto for granted.

On the whole, models undercut with Conforto. He way outperformed in OBP, which makes us happy thinking about his future. He also out slugged all of his projections as well. Baseball Prospectus and ZiPS were the closest in projecting his success. They split the difference on his WAR, and Baseball Prospectus exactly nailed his DRC+. I’m not surprised that the models under-projected Conforto once I saw his 2019 stats in comparison with his other seasons. He had his second best season, just behind his All-Star season.

This puts Conforto in an interesting position when it comes to projections for next year. All the major sources under-projected him, how do they correct and do they end up over correcting in 2020?

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2019 Mets Projections Review: Juan Lagares

Every spring at 213 we gather a whole bunch of projections for players and average them together to see what a conglomerate of baseball sources think a given player will perform over the year. It’s wholly unscientific – averaging averages and not weighting them for previous accuracy or amount of playing time they feel a player will see.

Juan Lagares was the longest tenured player on the Mets. The Mets were the first team to sign him and he stayed with the Mets until he was granted free agency last November. His career as a defensive superstar never saw him develop the hitting tools to be a starting centerfielder with the Mets and his injuries overtime started to eat into his ability to be the defensive stud the Mets need. The last two years the Mets have looked for Lagares-esque players for the roster (Keon Broxton, Jake Marisnick, etc). Last year when we went through Lagares’ projections we were wondering how he would split time with Broxton. Now we just look back at his time as a Met, thankful for the memories. His projections are below followed by his actual numbers:

2019 Stats: 285 PA, 258 AB, 5 HR, .213/.279/.326, .605 OPS, -0.7 WAR, 62 DRC+

Projections were surprising hyped on Lagares last season, having him near his career slash line (.254/.297/.361), positing a positive WAR and having him hit only 19% worse than the average major league hitter. When healthy, Juan didn’t impress. He made his homer total surprisingly, but saw his slugging dip (juiced ball?) and he posted his first negative WAR of the season. His DRC+ essentially has him 38% worse than the average player. Not one projection saw him slide this much.

He has given so much to the Mets. We wish him well here at 213 on whatever comes next!

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2019 Mets Projections Review: Brandon Nimmo

Every spring at 213 we gather a whole bunch of projections for players and average them together to see what a conglomerate of baseball sources think a given player will perform over the year. It’s wholly unscientific – averaging averages and not weighting them for previous accuracy or amount of playing time they feel a player will see.

Before the 2018 season, the Mets weren’t sure that Nimmo was a starter, and messed with his playing time early. He ended 2018 with a 123 DRC+, which was highest by a Mets batter that year. 2019 started off a bit the same for Nimmo, the consensus was that he was a starter but there was a debate about his defensive ability. He also got started off to a rough start to which we later found out that he was playing with a bad back. So he missed quite a bit of playing time but performed well once he returned. The projections below were originally posted/discussed here and they are followed by his 2019 stats:

2019 Stats: 254 PA< 199 AB, 8 HR, .221/.375/.407, 0.9 WAR, 100 DRC+

Again, lets remember that Nimmo started the season horribly, so coming back to still post almost a full point of WAR, to still beat his projections for OBP (which is what made his 2018 season so special) is a massive accomplishment.

Baseball Reference and ESPN were the most bullish on Nimmo’s OBP (and ESPN tends to be bullish about everything), so feels like a win for Baseball Reference (assuming that Nimmo’s drop in power was injury related). ZiPS was the closest for OPS, but they accomplished that by over-projecting power and batting average and under-projecting Nimmo’s walk rate.

We love Brandon Nimmo. We cannot wait to see what he does in another full season if he is completely healthy. We are also curious as to how computer projections going into 2020 handle Nimmo with his injuries in 2019 and projected health.

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2019 Mets Projections Review: Devin Mesoraco

Every spring at 213 we gather a whole bunch of projections for players and average them together to see what a conglomerate of baseball sources think a given player will perform over the year. It’s wholly unscientific – averaging averages and not weighting them for previous accuracy or amount of playing time they feel a player will see.

I thought about not writing this article, but I think it’s important to remember how poorly the Mets treated Devin Mesoraco last year, and how it speaks to the organization as a whole. When we wrote about Mesoraco last year, the Mets catcher situation was a mess between Wilson Ramos, Travis d’Arnaud and Mesoraco. The Mets just bet on d’Arnaud over Kevin Plawecki, who they traded to the Indians. Travis was still trying to come back from injury. For what it’s worth, Mesoraco was projected to put up the following numbers:

Instead, the Mets forced him, essentially, into early retirement.

Instead of doing the right thing of releasing Mesoraco when he wouldn’t accept an assignment to Syracuse, the Mets put him on the restricted list which triggered Devin wanting to retire. There was some gentleman’s agreement that Mesoraco would be on the team if d’Arnaud was not ready for opening day and by the end of March it was becoming clear that he was not ready. So the Mets went from being stacked with the catchers to trading away Plawecki, angering Mesoraco (and potentially damaging their reputation to sign other veteran players), and an injured d’Arnaud.

The kicker is the Mets got rid of d’Arnaud anyway later in the season and went on to have a great year in Tampa Bay.

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2019 Mets Projections Review: Pete Alonso

Every spring at 213 we gather a whole bunch of projections for players and average them together to see what a conglomerate of baseball sources think a given player will perform over the year. It’s wholly unscientific – averaging averages and not weighting them for previous accuracy or amount of playing time they feel a player will see.

We have a really fun one of these today, the 2019 Rookie of the Year – Pete Alonso!

It feels like a such a long time ago (last decade – hahahaha) that there was still a debate among the Mets brass at the start of 2019 what level Alonso would start his season. At the time we wrote the projection article last year (March 12th), Frazier hadn’t played in a spring training game and we were just starting to see what the Jed Lowrie Mets tenure would look like. On top of that, Alonso was having a spring training that could not be ignored, he needed to be called up.

The computers spat out the following projections for Pete, his actual numbers follow:

2019 Stats: 693 PA, 597 AB, 53 HR, .260/.358/.583, .941 OPS, 5.0 WAR, 141 DRC+

Alonso did so much better than everyone projected it’s difficult to describe in words. He got on base nearly 40 points more than the average projected number. He hit around 180 points better on OPS than projections thought. He was worth about 3.5 more wins than the average projection thought. According to DRC+ he was 41% than the average hitter, a great place to be at.

Pete Alonso had a historic season. We are curious to see how projection models adjust for his sophomore season.

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