Follow Up: 2012 New Yrok Mets Outlook - Post Sprint Training
New York Mets - Post Spring Training Outlook
OK. My previous hub went through the Mets pretty solidly where I could. Several things were still up in the air at the time. Now that we have made it through Spring Training, fairly healthy at least, we can start to see where this team really is.
Just as in my first hub, I’ll go through a position analysis and offer my opinion.
First Base: Well Ike Davis looked to be healed and despite Valley Fever, he looks strong. He’s had a good spring and if he continues to produce as he was in 2010 and 2011, this will be one of the better spots of production on the team.
Second Base: In my first hub, I thought Daniel Murphy was trade fodder. Turns out he’s the starting second baseman. We all know he can hit, the question is whether he can stay on the field. He’s had some devastating knee injuries at second base. If he can avoid the injuries, he’s a solid bat at second though his defense is suspect at best.
Shortstop: Luckily Rueben Tejada can pick it at shortstop. This should help Mr. Murphy at second. The big question is whether he can hit enough to stay in the majors. He isn’t Jose Reyes, but I do think he can get on base and not be an automatic out. Whether he can produce doubles and move on the base paths is also still in question. He played well last year but that was in limited time – let’s see how he reacts to a full year.
Third Base: David Wright was hurt most of the spring but looks to be healthy to start the season. I’d like to see David’s throwing become less error-prone. The big question is whether he can rebuild his value in what amounts to a walk year. Make no mistake, the Mets, in my opinion are taking a huge gamble here. As much as I love him and respect his love for the team, his production needs to get back to pre-Citi Field days. I’ve said before that they should trade him. I still think that way, UNLESS they sign him now to a long-term deal. Allowing him to twist in the wind seems very short-sighted. I guess they will wait to see what the new fences will do for him. If we get the David Wright we expect, that would mark another strength on this team.
Left Field: I like Jason Bay, I really do. I hope his supposed change to going back to his roots as a hitter actually works. We haven’t seen it this spring though. If we could get HALF of a normal Bay year – 15 homers, 70 RBIs, I think we would all be happy. It wouldn't justify his contract obviously. My big question is at what point do you stop waiting for him to show up? Vlad Guerrero is still available and couldn’t be worse than Bay has been. All kidding aside, at some point you need to move on. When do you finally say enough is enough and put Bay on the bench in order to get someone else into the lineup? It’s one of the questions Terry Collins will have to really answer for at some point.
Center Field: Andres Torres represents no real difference to me over the departed Angel Pagan. He’s a little better defensively and a little worse at the plate. It’s a net wash except for the money they saved which was important at the time. In my thinking, I have the same question about Torres as I do with Bay. We have some good options in the minors. I’d like to see them sooner rather than later.
Right Field: Lucas Duda is gaining converts every day. He looks like he could have a monster season. If he does, he completely makes up for losing Beltran. I’ve been very happy with what I’ve seen in spring from Duda who seems very comfortable.
Catcher: Josh Thole is very likable but he needs to hit better and he also needs to catch better. He works hard at it and that’s whats keeping him in the majors at this point. All that aside, I like him and I think if they use Nickeas to catch R.A. Dickey, Thole’s defensive numbers would look much better.
Starting Pitchers: With Santana sort of healthy, this group looks to be the same as last year. R.A looks fine so far, Pelfrey doesn’t – one good start does not invalidate the entire spring, Gee looks awfully hittable all of a sudden. Jon Niese has looked good at times and awful at others. The five runs dropped on him by the B-Yankees was a weird inning. A few hits were hit well but a lot of it was seeing eye hits that you just can’t use to judge how he was pitching. Santana looks good but I’m not sure he can start 30 games after being sidelined all of last year. Signing Chris Young was a solid idea. The young guns in the minors also looked good so if Pelfrey and Gee are getting lit up, bring up Harvey and Familia. This could go either way.
Bullpen: I have to say I am extremely unimpressed here. The only action the Mets took this past offseason was to upgrade the pen but it looks just as suspect as last year. More so, because we knew the pieces better last year. We don’t know Francisco, Rauch and Ramirez yet but as a group, they’ve not pitched well. Parnell looks to be the pitcher we all thought he could be – all he needed was another pitch and a talk with Sandy Koufax. Maybe ALL of our pitchers should talk to Mr. Koufax.
Bench: What a disaster. I like Justin Turner. I like Scott Hairston and Mike Nickeas. They scare NOBODY. There is nothing on the bench to make opposing managers blink even once.
What’s the outlook?
To be honest, this team could be good and still be in last place being in such a strong division. I think this team will be a .500 team, maybe a little less.
What Could Help?
With the financial issues squared away, a little investment MIGHT help. Roy Oswalt for the rotation, Vlad Guerrero for the bench/outfield. I’d even see about trading for Bobby Abreu if the Angels were willing to pick up most of his salary. He’d be a good outfield option as well as a good bat off the bench. There isn’t much left on the free agent market so trades will have to wait until mid-season. We can’t really spend anything else on the bullpen. Hopefully Sandy guessed right and got the guys we needed.
What to Remember?
With Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, the Mets have two guys who can really hit for tremendous power. With David Wright and Jason Bay the Mets have two guys who COULD really hit for tremendous power. If they all hit moderately well, the Mets would actually have a very scary middle of the order. The question is whether there will be anyone on base to knock in. With strong pitching prospects on the way, the Mets outlook for the future looks bright.
Let's hope they make some good decisions along the way.....