Opponent Preview | New York Mets

The Reds (4-2) will return to Great American Ball Park after Thursday’s off-day to face the 1-5 New York Mets. The Mets are fourth in the NL East, ahead of only the 0-7 Miami Marlins. They will be coming off a doubleheader against the Tigers on Thursday, making up the postponed games from Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The Mets took the second game, earning their first win of the season while handing the Tigers their first loss.

  • Friday (6:40 PM – City Connect Friday)
  • Saturday (4:10 PM)
  • Sunday (1:10 PM)

The Mets boasted over $353 million payroll on opening day in 2023, which included significant offseason signings of Justin Verlander, Edwin Diaz, and Brandon Nimmo. They eventually had to sell around the deadline and finished twelve games under five hundred at 75-87 (including a 2-4 record against the Reds), good for fourth in the NL East.

Offseason Changes

By the standards set in the past few years, the Mets hardly spent this offseason. They were tenth in free-agent spending at just over $81 million.

  • Sean Manaea (SP) 2 year, $28 million
  • Luis Severino (SP) 1 year, $13 million
  • Shintaro Fujinami (RP/SP) 1 year, $3.35 million
  • Jorge Lopez (RP) 1 year, $2 million
  • Adam Ottavino (RP) 1 year, $4.5 million
  • Jake Diekman (RP) 1 year, $4 million
  • Joey Wendle (INF) 1 year, $2 million
  • Harrison Bader (OF) 1 year, $10 million
  • J.D. Martinez (DH) 1 year, $12 million
  • Traded Coleman Crow for Tyrone Taylor (OF) and Adrian Houser (SP)

Even after moving Max Scherzer and Verlander’s big contracts at the deadline and the “light” spending this offseason, they remain the highest total payroll entering the 2024 season at just over $308 million (only $207 million more than your Cincinnati Reds). The Mets also hired Carlos Mendoza to manage the turnaround this past November.

Position Players

The Mets will return largely the same lineup sans Tommy Pham from 2023, which finished just above the league average with a wRC+ of 101. While the Mets made a big late signing of DH J.D. Martinez, he is not projected to be with the big club by Sunday, avoiding Cincinnati.

The top three in the lineup, Brandon NimmoFrancisco Lindor, and Pete Alonso, will supply a lot of offense for the Mets. ZiPS projects all three to post a wRC+ well above the league average and combine for 79 home runs. With 192 home runs in his first five seasons, the projected 37 home runs would tie Alonso’s lowest total outside the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Not to be forgotten is the 2022 batting title winner Jeff McNeil. Although he posted a league average wRC+ last season, his career wRC+ still sits at 122, with a projected 107 from ZiPS for 2024.

Starting Pitcher Matchups

Probable Starters

  • Friday: Hunter Greene v. Jose Quintana
  • Saturday: Nick Martinez v. Luis Severino
  • Sunday: Andrew Abbott v. Sean Manaea

Jose Quintana (35, LHP) is in the final year of a two-year deal with the New York Mets and should be very familiar to Reds fans, having pitched with the Cubs from 2017-2020. Last year was an injury-shortened season for Quintana, only making his debut in late July. He opened this year with a loss to the Brewers, giving up two earned runs and striking out four over 4.2 innings. His ZiPS projected ERA of 4.75 would be the second-highest of his career (6.43 in 2021), but it is only slightly above the xERA of 4.55 he sustained in 2023. 

Quintana utilizes a sinker, four-seam fastball combination for over half his pitches (56.4% in 2023), mixing in a curveball and changeup for off-speed. Quintana offset the low whiff (21.6%) and strikeout rates (18.8%) in the 15th and 18th percentiles with barrel rates (5.1%) and hard-hit rates (32.5%) in the league’s 87th and 88th percentile. The soft contact produced a .275 xBA and an xERA of 4.55. The smaller sample size of 13 starts in 2023, compared to his average total, around 30, explains some of the gap between that xERA and his actual ERA of 3.86.

Luis Severino (30, RHP) appeared in back-to-back All-Star games in 2017 and 2018 before a string of injuries derailed his career’s optimistic momentum. A lat strain in 2019 and Tommy John surgery in 2020 combined only allowed Severino to start seven games from 2019-2021. Lat and oblique injuries in 2022 and 2023 also caused several missed starts.

When healthy, Severino relies heavily on his four-seam fastball, which sits 96-97 mph. Last season was the first time his fastball saw a negative run value (-14) since tracking began in 2017. In the same light, the slider that has been his primary putout pitch also saw its first negative run value in 2023 (-12). These combined to see an xERA and xBA in the bottom 5th and 7th percentiles across the leagues. His one-year, $12 million deal is very much a “prove it” deal to see what Severino has left in the tank. He had a rough opening start, allowing twelve hits and six earned runs over five innings. ZiPS only projects 87 innings of work with a bounce back ERA of 4.84.

Sean Manaea (32, LHP) received the Mets’ largest contract of the offseason at two years, $28 million. He opened his season on Monday with eight strikeouts and one hit over six shutout innings, good for a no-decision. Manaea struggled to open the 2023 season and lost his spot in the Giants’ rotation after his May 10th start with an xFIP of 5.03. After moving to the pen, his xFIP over 67.2 innings improved to 3.68. He then slid back into the rotation, delivering an xFIP of 3.85 over four starts. 

Manaea attributes a lot of this turnaround to Driveline. Through that work, Manaea has reworked a few pitches and his arsenal. He introduced a cutter to his pitch mix, mainly for right-handed batters, throwing it 13 times in his previous start. Along with the cutter, Manaea has altered the grip on his changeup and (in the smallest of sample sizes) produced a whiff rate of 50% on Monday. A more established pitch in 2023, the sweeper that he threw almost 10% of the time accounted for a 36.6% whiff rate.


As referenced above, the Mets bolstered their relief pitching through free agency and trades this offseason. However, the headline will be Edwin Diaz’s return after missing the 2023 season. Everyone in the bullpen had at least two days off entering Thursday due to the rainouts; however, all but Yohan Ramirez threw in relief in the doubleheader. Below is the current bullpen and the Fangraphs projections for 2024.


The Mets gained their first win of the season Thursday evening and will look to build off of it. Their offseason transactions signaled more of bridge year, especially with the veteran starting pitching on one and two year deals.

Chris Duzyk

Chris began his Reds fandom with family trips from central Kentucky to Riverfront Stadium. At a young age, he had to learn to swing a wiffle ball bat left handed to properly imitate Ken Griffey Jr. and Sean Casey in backyard games against his brother. A graduate from Centre College, he was able to combine his love of baseball statistics and analytics often into his statistics and econometrics courses. He currently is living in Northern Kentucky where all it takes is a simple walk across the bridge to enjoy the games. Find him on Twitter @cduzyk.