>Projecting the 2010 Mets runs scored

>Baseball Prospectus’ fairly preliminary PECOTA projections came out this week, as noted by Amazin’ Avenue and Metsblog. First, remember that there are exceedingly preliminary and iffy projections, especially considering that:

A.)There were way, way, way too many runs in those initial projections: in 2009, just 7 teams scored more than 800 runs, while these first projections had four of the five NL East teams scoring over 800 runs. That’s just not going to happen. The Mets and Phillies might do it, but I don’t think anyone one else will.

B.) Someone noticed, and all runs have already been corrected and lowered. The standings remain the same, but it’s good to just keep in mind how ridiculous these early predictions, even the stats-based ones, can be. 

While predicting the Mets runs allowed is dubious at this point, the Mets lineup seems to be relatively set and projection their runs scored is not so difficult. I took the Mets CHONE projected wOBA, adjusted them roughly based on my blogger “amateur sports-writer”* projected playing time for various players and batting order positions, and came up with a projected Runs Above Average for the Mets lineup. I also threw on the total wOBA and sOPS+ of each position from 2009 for comparison – “split OPS+” measures the Mets OPS relative to the same position in that league – e.g. 100 would be an average hitting group, below 100 would be worse, and above better. You can see that even though the Mets catchers were a poorer hitting group than the first basemen, the Mets first basemen were much worse hitters than the rest of the leagues first basemen.  The Mets outfield wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, but their shortstops were somehow even worse.

*I hate the term blogger. Absolutely hate it. The word blogger makes people think of this. Maybe amateur sports writer is a better way to go with the term? Or, even better, “struggling writer”, which sounds significantly cooler. Like a poet or something. People make movies, or at least pop musicals, about struggling writers. Not so much about bloggers.

A couple of brief explanations about how I guesstimated this stuff. I have the Mets CF performing about the same, under the assumption that Carlos Beltran/Angel Pagan/random scrapeheap-level guys gets a playing time split similar to 2009. As for the rest, I mostly took the regulars wOBA and then lowered the better hitters a few points here and there, assuming that they’ll get an off day now and then in favor of lesser hitters. 

Chart away! (click to see bigger)

The biggest difference maker is, surprise, Jose Reyes. The Mets had an miserable hitting group of SS in 2009, even with Reyes playing 2 months. Reyes alone makes the Mets about +50 weighted runs above average better. A bounce back year from David Wright should help, and Jason Bay upgrades LF offensively. The Mets lineup, even with Omir Santos still in there, is much improved from 2009.

Anyway, with my rough predictions, I have the Mets at around +40 weighted runs above average in 2010. They were a -40 team in 2009, so it’s an 80 fictional runs swing.

But weighted runs aren’t quite the same as real runs. So for an idea about how many real runs the Mets could score, we can compare them to a 2009 teams that was just about 40 wRAA – the Blue Jays – who scored just below 800 runs. Using them as an example I would conservatively guess that the 2010 Mets will score 780+ or so runs – but that’s just based on my guesstimating.

Since I’m not going to try to predict the Mets pitching/defense, if we instead just take last years Mets pitching/defense, which allowed 757 runs, the project-a-Mets would have a winning percentage of .518 – an 84 win team. Again, that’s with the same slightly below average pitching staff and defense the Mets used last year.

But a lot of that relies on Murphy and Francoeur to be average offensive players – which they are projected to be – Wright to bounce back, and Reyes to stay healthy. If all that happens, the Mets lineup might not be as awful as some people think or project it to be.

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