The New York Mets will win more games than the Washington Nationals this season. That is not a hot take but rather a prediction from Baseball Prospectus.

The website’s Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm (PECOTA) projects the Mets to finish with 87 wins. Meanwhile, PECOTA projects the rival Washington Nationals to finish one game behind with 86 wins. Baseball Prospectus defines PECOTA as the “proprietary system that projects player performance based on comparison with historical player-seasons.” 

The Mets hold 15-2 odds to win the NL Pennant, whereas the Nationals fall at 5-1 odds. So, hold off on the World Series plans, as the NL East is still up for grabs. 

Baseball Prospectus also predicts the Mets to score 716 runs, the second-most in the division behind Washington’s projected 744. Of course, the Nationals boast a power-heavy lineup featuring the likes of Bryce Harper and former Met Daniel Murphy.

The Mets scored 671 runs last season, tied for 25th in the league with the Milwaukee Brewers. Granted, they were without slugger Lucas Duda and captain David Wright for much of the season. Jay Bruce also failed to carry his home run prowess to New York after a mid-season trade from the Cincinnati Reds.

Fortunately, all three are fully healthy for 2017, so that should provide a nice offensive boost. Also, the pitching rotation is finally healthy for the first time in what feels like an eternity. They are projected to surrender a division-low 659 runs this season. With a starting five featuring Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler, that is not out of the question.

At the same time, it depends on whether that formidable rotation avoids the disabled list. Matz and Harvey missed significant time last season. Zack Wheeler did not even pitch in 2016. If each pitcher can make roughly 25 starts, that adds up to at least 100 for the year.

The higher that number is, the greater the Mets’ chances of winning the division. After all, the Mets can score all the runs they want, but coaches and fans know that without that All-Star rotation going full throttle, the Mets engine won’t lead them anywhere near a division title.

 

Jesse Andreozzi is a staff writer at Outside Pitch Sports Network covering the New York Mets. Follow him on Twitter @Jesse_Andreozzi.

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