The Mets did have some chances to celebrate in 2012
The Mets ended the 2011 season with a 77-85 record and a fourth-place finish in the NL East. They trailed the division-winning Philadelphia Phillies by 25 games.
The mood heading into 2012 was not good as the full effects of the Wilpons' involvement with Bernie Madoff were taking hold on the club. The departure of Jose Reyes and the lack of big-name signings gave Mets fans little hope. The media predicted that the Mets would be one of the worst teams in baseball, and the expectations for the team were zilch.
Then the Mets went out and surprised many. The club's first-half play made even us cynical Mets fans believe that perhaps miracles can happen.
Then the All-Star break came, and the Mets that we were expecting early on came out. They played poorly, and the losses kept mounting.
Now that the season has wrapped up, it’s time to take a look back and see how the Mets performed in relation to my predictions.
Put it in the books.
Despite the dire predictions and the team's second-half swoon, the 2012 Mets again finished in fourth. Their 74-88 record trailed the new NL East champs, the Washington Nationals, by 24 games.
I correctly predicted that the Mets’ win total would be under last season’s 77. To be fair, I stated that the Mets would be lucky to win 70 games in 2012 and they exceeded that total.
David Wright led the Mets in hitting batting with .306.
The 2011 Mets actually hit for a pretty good average. The team's .264 mark was sixth best of all 30 teams in baseball.
With the loss of Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan in the lineup, I correctly predicted the 2012 Mets would be under last year's number. The team's rank went from sixth to 19th as their combined average dropped 15 points to a team total of .249.
R.A. Dickey had a career season with a 2.73 ERA.
The Mets' pitching staff combined for a 4.19 ERA in 2011. This ranked them 21st out of the 30 teams in baseball.
The team lost starters Mike Pelfrey, Dillon Gee and Johan Santana as this season progressed. Despite these setbacks, the 2012 Mets' pitchers ended the campaign with a 4.09 ERA. Their league rank dropped one position to 20.
I correctly predicted that this year's rotation would do better and finish under last season's number. While not an overwhelming improvement, the fact that a number of young prospects got the chance to pitch at the major league level bodes well for the future.
Ike Davis led the Mets with 32 homers.
The Mets have lacked long ball power for a while. The club's output of 108 home runs in 2011 ranked them 26th out of all 30 MLB teams.
Despite reconfiguring the outfield walls to make Citi Field more hitter friendly, the 2012 Mets continued to have trouble hitting for power on a consistent basis.
My prediction that the Mets would go over their 2011 total was right. With 139 combined homers, the club did improve. The Mets moved up four places to 22nd out of 30, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
David Wright steals second.
It was obvious that the Mets' stolen base total was going to decrease significantly with the departure of Reyes. The numbers pretty much tell the story.
With the speedy Reyes in the lineup, the 2011 Mets had 130 steals and ranked ninth in this category.
As expected, the club's running game suffered a major setback. With just 79 total team steals, the 2012 Mets went from a top 10 ranking to 28th overall.
Santana's no-hitter was one of the Mets' seven complete games.
In 2011, the Phillies led all of baseball with 18 complete games followed by the Rays with 15. The Mets' staff were in the middle of the pack with six complete outings.
In 2012, complete games were down significantly throughout baseball. With seven, the Mets accumulated the third-highest total while the Rays and Reds were tied for the No. 1 spot with just nine each.
I correctly predicted that the Mets' number of complete games would go up. Santana's no-hitter and R.A. Dickey's five complete-game victories ensured that the pitching staff did improve on their 2011 totals.
Frank Francisco didn't close too many games.
It seems as if the Mets' bullpen has been awful for a long time. Heading into 2012, the expectations were that the team's revised bullpen would be one of its strong points. That turned out not to be the case.
The 2011 relievers combined for 43 saves, which was the 11th-best total in all of baseball.
When I predicted the 2012 staff would save fewer games, I didn't realize how right I would be. Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Manny Acosta and Bobby Parnell struggled often, and the staff were credited with a total of 36 saves. This amount gave the Mets a rank of 24th of the 30 major league clubs.
Ramon Ramirez and the bullpen issued many free passes.
It's hard to believe, but the 2012 Mets' pitching staff gave up fewer walks than they did last season.
In 2011 the staff ranked 14th with 514 bases on balls.
My prediction of fewer walks in 2012 was correct. However, the staff's rank actually fell to 16th as the staff allowed 488 free passes.
Daniel Murphy led the team with 15 errors.
This one was a pleasant surprise.
The 2011 Mets committed 116 errors for the fifth-worst defensive record in the majors.
With Daniel Murphy being given the second-base job and Lucas Duda given playing time in the outfield, I thought for sure the team's defense would get worse. I therefore predicted over.
I am happy to say that I was wrong. Murphy did lead the team with 15 errors, but collectively the Mets made 101 errors, and they were middle of the pack in terms of team defense.
Jason Bay was even worse in 2012
This one is a mixed bag.
I had predicted improved seasons for David Wright and Jason Bay. Here I was one for two. Wright had a tremendous first half and finished the season with a .306 average, 21 home runs and 93 RBI. His .254 average in 2011 proved to be just an off season.
Bay's .245 average and 12 homers in 2011 were unimpressive. I fully expected the Jason Bay of old to return. Instead, Bay performed even worse. He was out injured for a bulk of the season, but his .165 average was outright embarrassing.
I thought that Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis would have a hard time putting up good numbers with increased expectations on each of them this season. I was correct on Duda, half right on Davis and wrong on Murphy.
Murphy proved that he is a solid hitter with a healthy .291 average.
Davis struggled mightily in the first half of the season, but he finished well and put up great power numbers. He ended the year with 32 homers and 90 RBI.
As for Duda, I am still not convinced. He provided some power with 15 home runs, but his.239 average and defensive shortcomings often made him a liability in the middle of the Mets' lineup.
R.A. Dickey was the Mets' best pitcher all season long.
My expectations were mixed for the Mets' pitching staff heading in to the season.
R.A. Dickey got a bit more run support this season, but he also upped his performances. Dickey finished 2011 with an 8-13 record despite a solid 3.28 ERA. In 2012, he was 20-6 with an even better 2.73 ERA. His outstanding season will hopefully be rewarded with a deserved Cy Young Award.
I expected Pelfrey to be better, but we'll never know as he spent the season on the disabled list.
Jonathon Niese showed improvement with 13 wins and a respectable 3.40 ERA.
Dillon Gee looked to be solidifying his place in the rotation until he also ended up the on disabled list.
There was a lot of hope that Johan Santana would return to his previous greatness. He looked strong in the first half of the season and will always be remembered for throwing the Mets' first-ever franchise no-hitter. Unfortunately, Santana experienced arm trouble and was shut down early.
The only area where I was totally off was with the bullpen. I thought that Francisco, Rauch, Parnell and the rest of the relievers would certainly improve on the 2011 staff. While there were some very good outings, the overall performance was shaky and unreliable.
Loyal Mets fans came out to Citi Field, but there were plenty of empty seats.
This one was easy to predict.
In 2011, the Mets averaged a daily attendance of 30,108. That was the 14th-highest number in baseball.
With the departure of Reyes and the lack of investment in the team, it was clear that the Mets would have a hard time getting fans to the ballpark. Luckily for the Wilpons, the team's early success helped sell tickets.
Regardless, the team average went down to 28,035 and their ranking dropped to the 17th-highest total of the 30 major league teams.
Did the 2012 Mets live up to your expectations? Do you have any early predictions for the 2013 team?
Only time will tell, but it's been 26 years and counting without a championship, so let's hope they exceed expectations soon.