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Yoenis Cespedes: ‘This team is way better than the team we had in 2015’

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Before the start of the regular season, we usually get a shocking proclamation or two from players across the sport. This year, it’s Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Per Tim Britton of The Athletic, Cespedes said, “This team is way better than the team we had in 2015.”

The 2015 Mets, of course, made it all the way to the World Series where they lost in five games to the Royals. Cespedes joined the club at the trade deadline when the Mets sent Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa to the Tigers. Cespedes hit 17 home runs and knocked in 44 runs in his two months with the Mets through the end of the regular season. But that club not only had Cespedes, but a healthy and elite Matt Harvey. Jacob deGrom followed up his Rookie of the Year Award-winning 2014 campaign with an even better 2015. Noah Syndergaard impressed as a rookie. Closer Jeurys Familia had the best season of his career. Lucas Duda had another terrific offensive season. Michael Conforto was highly productive as a rookie.

Overall, the 2015 squad scored 683 runs and allowed 613. Baseball Prospectus is projecting the 2018 Mets to score 722 runs and allow 727. While the 2015 squad had some weaknesses, they were few and far between. The Mets are notably weak at first base this year with Adrian Gonzalez, potentially in the final year of his career. Amed Rosario is still an unknown after a weak debut last season. The catching unit of Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki is below average. The starting rotation is among the most fragile in baseball.

I appreciate the motivation behind Cespedes saying what he said. He wants to energize his teammates, give them confidence going into a new season. But objectively, this team has far more negatives than the 2015 team did. That’s why in my 2018 preview I predicted them to go 79-83 and finish in third place. Baseball Prospectus is expecting an 80-82 finish while FanGraphs is putting them at 81-81.

Angels place Andrew Heaney on 10-day injured list

Andrew Heaney
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The Angels have placed Andrew Heaney on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation, the club announced Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 17, though it’s not yet certain that he’ll be cleared to pitch again by the end of the month.

It’s an unfortunate development for the 28-year-old southpaw, who has battled inflammation in his pitching elbow on and off since spring training. In fact, his arm issues date back several years, including the shoulder impingement that put him on the shelf in 2017 and the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2016. With such a complicated medical history, it makes sense that the Angels would want to proceed with caution as they facilitate the lefty’s eventual return to the mound.

Given his ongoing struggles, Heaney has seen mixed results with the club in 2019. Prior to his recent IL assignment, he pitched to a 1-3 record in nine starts with a 5.09 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, and 10.6 SO/9 through 46 innings. Since the end of June, however, his starts have gotten shorter and shorter; he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his final outing against the Astros, expending a tremendous 103 pitches and issuing two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts during the team’s eventual 7-2 win.

In a corresponding roster move, the Angels claimed lefty reliever Adalberto Mejía off of waivers from the Twins. Mejía, 26, is expected to be activated ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Mariners. Over 13 appearances with Minnesota, he turned in an 8.80 ERA, 7.0 BB/9, and 8.8 SO/9 in 15 1/3 innings.