Friday, April 1, 2016

The Magic 8-Ball Predicts The 2016 Mets Season

Last year, for the first time in seven seasons, the Mets produced a winning record.  They also won their first division title since James Blunt told us that we were beautiful and Shakira claimed her hips didn't lie.  And of course, New York appeared in a World Series for the first time since a month before hanging chads opened our eyes and entered the lexicon.

But like Mark McGwire standing before Congress and unlike Yankees fans standing before Mets fans, we're not here to talk about the past.  Rather, we're here to discuss what we expect from the Mets during the upcoming 2016 campaign.  And who better to talk about future events than our old pal, the Magic 8-Ball?

Of course, our sarcastic sphere has been a persnickety prognosticator since we first used its services in 2010, quicker with an insult than with a prediction.  However, our round plastic friend has also been correct on several topics, meaning we can depend on it just as much as we can count on Jonathan Papelbon being a douche.

So let's stop yapping and let's bring in the ball that knows it all.  Straight outta the box, it's the Magic 8-Ball!  Welcome back, M8B!

Um ... yeah.  That's not quite the response I expected from you.  Is everything okay, my friend?

That's a very good reason for you to be happy.  Although "happy" and "Magic 8-Ball" don't usually go hand-in-hand.  Are you absolutely sure you're well enough to answer my questions today?  After all, Mets fans have been anxiously waiting all winter for what you have to say.  To them, you're like the Punxsutawney Phil of predictors.

That's absolutely right.  Although it sounds strange hearing that from you.  Anyway, let's just start with the questions.  I'll wonder whether you have a concussion or not after we're done.  Do you think the Mets' starting pitching will be as good on the field as it is on paper?

That's great to hear.  Who do you think will emerge as the top pitcher in the rotation?

And what has Syndergaard shown you to make you feel this way?

That's true.  Anyone who appreciates Bartolo Colon's veteran presence as much as Thor does should definitely pick up a thing or two on how to be a successful pitcher in the major leagues.  And speaking of successful pitchers, what are your thoughts on Jacob deGrom losing some of the velocity on his fastball?

Really?  Wouldn't that make it easier for opposing hitters to catch up to his heater?

Ergonomically correct?  I don't understand what you mean by that.

Ah, I gotcha now.  He'll be able to pinpoint his pitches better if his luscious locks don't flow freely across his face as he releases the ball.  That's some good outside the box thinking by you.

Good point.  Now, we've discussed Syndergaard and deGrom.  We also know from past experience that Matt Harvey will give you the finger if you believe he's not going to have a successful season.  But what about Steven Matz?  He only made six regular season starts last year and suffered his first loss at the big league level in the postseason.  Opposing hitters batted .283 against him in the playoffs, which was not very impressive.  Are you concerned about him as he enters his first full season in the majors?

That's incredibly optimistic of you.  I mean, he got hurt last year.  He was pitching in and out of jams in the postseason.  And he was inconsistent in Grapefruit League action this year.  What makes you so sure he'll able to pitch effectively for the Mets this season?

Don't mess with the family or you're gonna get whacked.  Got it.  (Even though I thought Grandpa Bert was a good fella.)

Let's move on to the offense now.  Sandy Alderson did what no sane person thought he could do; he re-signed Yoenis Cespedes to a team-friendly contract.  In addition to adding switch hitters Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera to the team, plus the first full season of Michael Conforto in a Mets uniform, does this make the Mets one of the top offensive teams in the National League?

Why does it have to?  No one can know for certain how Cespedes, Walker, Cabrera and Conforto will handle their first full seasons in Mets uniforms.

That's true.  The Mets should have a better lineup by default when they're competing against the likes of the Braves, Phillies, Brewers, Reds, Padres, etc.

Speaking of bats that aren't healthy, what are your feelings on David Wright?  His lifetime supply of spinal stenosis will surely cause him to miss at least a month's worth of games.  Do you think the Mets will be able to withstand long stretches without their captain in the lineup?

You're very confident with your answer.  Do you really think players such as Wilmer Flores will be able to fill Wright's shoes both offensively and defensively?  What will the Mets do if Flores doesn't perform well when he eventually has to fill in for Wright?

It worked before.  Can't see why it wouldn't work again.  So let's get to the good part.  What's your final prediction for the Mets' record this year?

Wow!  After so many years of you predicting doom and gloom for the Mets, I certainly wasn't expecting that.  Do you truly think they're going to win it all this year?  What will propel them to October (and perhaps November) glory?

Wait, don't you mean Zack Wheeler?  He's the one returning from Tommy John surgery on or around the first of July.  And isn't Sidd Finch a fictional character?  If I recall, he was just part of an elaborate April Fool's joke.  What are you trying to say?

Wait, so you weren't being sincere with your answers?  Even after I voiced my pleasure at receiving honest responses from you?

I guess I'm the fool on this early April day.

And on that note, I think it's best if we bid adieu to the Magic 8-Ball for another season, as we wonder if the Mets are really going to win 98 regular season games and 11 more in the postseason to win their third World Series championship.  It's certainly possible that the team with the best starting rotation in baseball and an offense that's among the best and deepest in the National League can take the crown after coming within three wins of a title last year.  We'll just have to wait until the fall to see which of the Magic 8-Ball's predictions were a hoax and which, if any, were legitimate.  Because just like someone who claims to be a lifelong Marlins fan, it's tough to believe anything the Magic 8-Ball says.

That's all for this year's predictions.  Hopefully, you're all as ready for the upcoming regular season as I am, especially since the 2016 season is sure to be one of the most highly anticipated campaigns in the history of the franchise.  And before I forget, please help control the skullduggerous sphere population.  Have your Magic 8-Ball spayed or neutered.


Hey, kids!  The Magic 8-Ball has been making predictions since 2010, the year Jason Bay first soiled us with his presence.  To see what the Magic 8-Ball said prior to each of the previous six seasons, please click on the links below:

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