End-of-year reflections and 2024 predictions for the Mets

December 29th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Anthony DiComo’s Mets Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The first half of Major League Baseball’s offseason didn’t provide all the answers for a Mets team with much to prove in 2024. Consistently, team officials have called '24 a “bridge” year, which will allow New York to focus on the maturation of its farm system while simultaneously -- they hope -- competing for a playoff spot. The efficacy of that plan remains to be seen. So far, only some of it has clicked into place.

That leaves a host of things to look forward to over the course of the season, as well as several lingering questions that will be answered in time. This holiday week, typically quiet, offers an opportunity for reflection on where the Mets stand heading into 2024.

Biggest question to answer before Spring Training
How will the Mets create enough rotation depth?

The team made an early acquisition by agreeing to terms with Luis Severino in November, then another when it traded for Adrian Houser just before Christmas. Both those pitchers have recently battled significant injuries, as has incumbent starter José Quintana. David Peterson -- a consistent source of innings over the past two years -- will likely miss several months while recovering from a torn hip labrum.

The extent to which the Mets supplement that group will go a long way toward determining both their ceiling and their floor.

One player poised to have a breakout season
At age 21,  was still exceedingly raw when the Mets brought him back to the Majors in April. The Venezuelan rookie showed flashes of brilliance regardless, showcasing a defensive acumen that was better than advertised.

But Alvarez finished with a .209/.284/.437 slash line, leaving plenty of room for improvement. Now, with more than a full year of service time and some additional physical maturity, Alvarez is the exact kind of player who could develop into a star in 2024. The Mets will give him every opportunity to do so.

Prospect to watch in 2024
For a team in need of all the pitching help it can get, Mike Vasil is of particular interest. The organization’s eighth-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, Vasil thrived in his first taste of the upper Minors last season, producing a 3.71 ERA over 10 starts at Double-A Binghamton.

Although Vasil -- the Mets' No. 9 prospect per MLB Pipeline -- struggled a bit following a midseason promotion to Triple-A Syracuse, he still profiles as the pitching prospect most likely to make a significant impact in 2024. With a strong spring, he could position himself to debut during the first half of the season.

One prediction for the new year
The Mets will be better in 2024 than they were in '23.

Frankly, this shouldn’t be that much of a leap. Based on run differential, the Mets’ expected (Pythagorean) record this year was 80-82 -- five games better than their actual mark of 75-87. They’ll have All-Star closer Edwin Díaz back, and they should continue to amass pitching depth in January. Younger players such as Alvarez, Brett Baty and Mark Vientos have a chance to break out.

Although the Mets' ultimate ceiling may still be in question, they’re going to be an improved club, full stop, with a chance to challenge for a National League Wild Card berth.