I was reading the CAIRO projections yesterday on Replacement Level Yankee Weblog and it got me thinking about the Mets. CAIRO is one of many performance prediction models (MARCEL, PECOTA etc.) that try to use data to predict how players will perform and further how teams will perform. They all have their strengths and flaws and are very often right (and occasionally outrageously wrong). The current CAIRO projection for the Mets is 5th place with 75 wins. While that may or may not come true, it is a perfectly reasonable prediction.
What got me thinking was, how does this not happen? What needs to happen for the Mets to win more than 75 games? A lot of this comes down to pitching, which is our biggest wild card, but also to some key offensive players. Daniel Murphy is one of the guys I think the fate of next season rests on. Dan can either be a huge offensive tool that hits for average and power or a slow, injury prone .260 hitter. Since we are on the topic of projections, let's look at Murph's. Fangraphs lists as many as three predictive models: Bill James, Rotochamps and the in house, crowd sourced FANS projection. All three had positive notes for Murph. He hits roughly 10 homeruns in each, his average slash line of the three is: .301/.353/.441. Great numbers all around. In addition Murph is often mocked for his poor defensive skills. He actually has decent infield numbers, he posted a positive UZR (as high as 8.9 for 1B) in all infield positions but negative for all outfield positions.
The moral of the story? A healthy Dan Murphy, playing 2nd base and meeting his projections, is a piece of the puzzle that is an above .500 season.