The Mets open second half play tonight in Philadelphia, and they sit six games out of first place behind the Washington Nationals. I provided a few reasonable predictions on what to expect in the second half of the season…
- Yoenis Cespedes will end the season with over 40 home runs. As a matter of fact I would not be surprised if he ends the season with a number of homers between 42 and 45 with the way he is swinging the bat this season. The ball also has been flying out of ballparks all across Major League Baseball at a historic rate, and now with the weather warm and Yo hitting at an MVP rate, I expect a big second half of the season from our slugger. Cespedes would be the first Met to hit over 40 home runs in a season since Carlos Beltran accomplished the feat back in 2006 when he hit 41. Cespedes is currently hitting .302 with with 21 home runs and 52 RBI’s and currently is a prime NL MVP candidate.
- The Mets will add at the Trade Deadline. I’m not saying that GM Sandy Alderson is going to go out and make a splash as he did at the deadline last year, but it is reasonable to expect the Mets to add another pitcher to their staff. That pitcher will most likely fill a need in the bullpen, but if Alderson sees a starting pitcher that could be had without giving up much I can see him making that move as well. A couple of names that could intrigue Alderson include, Brewers relievers Will Smith and Tyler Thornburg.
- The Mets rotation will somehow stay healthy through the remainder of the season. I know I may be biting off more than I can chew here, but I think the All Star Break came at the right time to allow Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz enough time to rest up. Zack Wheeler is due back sometime in August and whenever he does come up he will provide a huge lift to this Mets rotation. I believe Terry Collins will be smart with his pitchers as well, knowing how valuable these young arms are to the team. The health of this pitching staff is going to remain a huge question mark heading into the second half, but I am believing the Baseball Gods will allow the Mets a chance to defend their National League Championship. And it also doesn’t hurt that Bartolo Colon is having a fantastic season, while providing consistent results and reliability every fifth day.
- Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores will play a huge part to this team’s second half success. Both Reyes and Flores seem to have been playing their best baseball prior to the All-Star Break, and both are expected to see time at third base. Flores will also be relied upon all over the infield, while Reyes will be limited to the left side of the infield. Flores has had a tremendous last 15 games hitting .314 with five home runs and 13 RBI’s, and proving that he deservers a regular spot in the lineup. Reyes on the other hand has hit well since coming over to the Mets, as he sports a .250 average with three home runs and three RBI’s in the six games he’s played thus far. Surprisingly he’s posted a surprising .708 slugging percentage despite being brought over to the team for speed. I’d imagine that number will even out to his career slugging percentage around .432 as the season goes on and he’ll be more of a threat on the base paths, although I don’t mind the power threat he is bringing.
- The Mets will make the playoffs. You heard that correctly. The Mets will make the playoffs whether it is winning the division or making the playoffs as a wild card. ESPN’S Buster Olney has stated the Mets have the fourth easiest schedule remaining in the second half and it is evident as of their remaining 74 games, 42 are against 11 teams with the worst records in baseball. The Mets still have six games left to play against the Washington Nationals in September, and they will certainly need to reverse their fortunes against them if they want to win the division. But with 74 games left to play and a six-game deficit that is reversible, I believe the Mets will find their way back into the postseason with a favorable schedule and a strong finish to the season.