Mets 2021 MLB season preview and prediction, including playoff fate

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Danny Abriano
·4 min read
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Michael Conforto, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Francisco Lindor TREATED ART
Michael Conforto, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Francisco Lindor TREATED ART

The retooled Mets enter the 2021 MLB season as the favorites of many to win the NL East.

Under new owner Steve Cohen, who assembled a front office led by former GM and current team president Sandy Alderson, the Mets have turned themselves into a legitimate contender and are set up to succeed in 2021 and beyond, with Cohen hoping to build a sustainable winner.

As was the case during last year's 60-game season, the Mets are arguably competing in the toughest division in baseball.

The Atlanta Braves are loaded, the Washington Nationals aren't the force they once were but still feature a top starting rotation and have Juan Soto in the middle of their lineup, the Philadelphia Phillies are lurking, and the Miami Marlins are not pushovers.

But on paper, the Mets are one of the two best teams in the division.

How will that translate on the field when things get going on April 1 in Washington, D.C. against the Nationals?

Here's our preview and prediction...

What the Mets have going for them

A lot.

With the additions of Francisco Lindor and James McCann, New York boasts one of the deepest and most dynamic offensive attacks in baseball.

And if the way Pete Alonso hit the ball in spring training is any indication, he might be back in top form after a relatively down 2020. Alonso looked incredibly comfortable during spring games, often using the right center field gap.

When it comes to the starting rotation, the Mets will be hurt early on by the absence of Carlos Carrasco, but he is expected back before the end of May.

In the meantime, Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman (and his new split changeup), and Taijuan Walker will serve as the top 3 in the rotation, with David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamamoto among the back end options until Carrasco (and eventually Noah Syndergaard) are back in the fold.

On the bench, the Mets are as deep as they've been in years, thanks to additions such as Kevin Pillar and Jonathan Villar.

In the bullpen, Edwin Diaz -- who was dominant in 2020 -- looks primed for a second consecutive overpowering season. And Trevor May should help keep things calm in the late inning while the Mets wait for Seth Lugo to return from minor elbow surgery. It's the rest of the bullpen that could help make or break the Mets' season.

It also shouldn't go unmentioned that Luis Rojas (who did a very good job in the clubhouse and in-game in 2020 after taking over from Carlos Beltran) appears to be even more at ease as he enters Year 2 as the manager.

The Mets will make the playoffs if...

They avoid the injury bug and play to their potential.

It's really that simple.

If Carrasco and Lugo come back in a timely fashion and the Mets avoid multiple long-term injuries to other key cogs, they'll be in great shape.

The Mets are also awaiting the return of Syndergaard from Tommy John surgery, which could come around June 1. Syndergaard appears primed to hit the ground running when he's back, and his addition could turn the Mets' rotation into the best in baseball.

With Diaz, May, and eventually Lugo, the Mets should have enough to get through the late innings. But it can turn into a real strength if Miguel Castro harnesses his elite stuff and Jeurys Familia -- who still has a lights-out arsenal -- is able to locate.

The Mets won't make the playoffs if...

The big injuries don't stop with Carrasco and Lugo.

Any season can be derailed by injuries (look at the 2009 Mets and 1987 Mets as examples), and the Mets are already without their second-most important starting pitcher (Carrasco) and second-most important reliever (Lugo).

The Mets' chances will also take a hit if Syndergaard's return is significantly delayed or he isn't effective upon his return.

But this team is well set up depth-wise and should be able to fill in as needed if minor issues crop up. They have big league caliber starting pitchers who will likely be at the alternate site and then in Triple-A, a solid crop of relievers to pull from, and bench players who don't profile as ideal starters but who can fill in if needed.

The Mets should also hope that the NL East isn't a true four-headed monster with them, the Braves, the Nats, and the Phillies beating up on one another all season. If that happens, it could allow teams from the weaker NL Central and NL West to nab both Wild Card spots.

Final record and playoff prediction

93-69, second place in NL East, second Wild Card in NL

The Mets absolutely have the firepower to win the NL East, but we'll predict that they grab the second Wild Card spot.

They will then beat the Padres in San Diego in the one-game play-in before taking down the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS in four games.

In the NLCS, the Mets will lose to the Braves in six games.