Tagged: New York Mets

2010 New York Mets Preview

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Mets.gif2009 Record: 70-92, 4th NL East

2009 Prediction: 90-72, 1st NL East

2010 Prediction: 4th NL East

 

Impact Player: David Wright

Impact Pitcher: Johan Santana

Top Prospect Player:
SS Wilmer Flores

Top Prospect Pitcher:
RHP Jenrry Mejia

 

Manager: Jerry Manuel, 3rd Season
(125-130, .490)

 

Significant
Acquisitions
: OF Jason Bay, OF Gary Matthews Jr., C Henry Blanco, C Chris Coste, RHP Kelvim
Escobar
, RHP Ryota Igarashi

Significant Losses: OF Gary Sheffield, C Brian
Schneider
, OF Jeremy Reed, 1B Carlos Delgado, RHP Tim Redding, RHP Brian Stokes, RHP J.J. Putz

 

Poor New York Mets. 
After two consecutive years of choking down the stretch when the
division was all but theirs, the Mets weren’t even close in 2009.  Easily the most disappointing team in all of
baseball, the Mets finished with their worst record since 2003 in spite of
having a team that, on paper, was as talented as anyone’s in the NL.  So, what happened?  Well, first off, injuries happened.  No team had more man-game-lost to injury than
the Mets last season.  Almost every
regular player saw significant time on the DL. 
Star player David Wright was
one of the few who remained mostly healthy but had trouble adjusting to the new
pitcher-friendly Citi Field.  If the Mets
can stay healthy, they should be a better team this season, but a lack of
pitching depth and a lineup that isn’t really built to hit in their spacious
ballpark could keep them from contending this season.

 

Pitching

johan-santana.jpg

Ace Johan Santana
was not exempt from spending time on the DL in 2009 and finished with only
166.2 innings of work, his lowest total since his breakout 2003 campaign with
the Twins.  His win total of 13 was also
his lowest since that year.  All-in-all,
if your worst season is a 13-9, 3.13 ERA then you don’t have much to worry
about.  A fully healthy Santana should be
as dominant as ever and that will go a long way in getting the Mets back to the
top of this division. After a breakout 2008, Mike Pelfrey had a huge setback in 2009 and needs to prove that he
is a number 2 starter, while John Maine
battled through injuries and experts believe that the Mets are looking to deal
him, especially if they’re not in contention this season.  Oliver
Perez
should be the fourth starter, but is coming off an atrocious season
where he finished with a 6.82 ERA.  He
threw 58 walks in just 66 innings and if he can’t find some semblance of
control, he might be out of a job sooner than later.  The fifth spot could go to Fernando Nieve who was brilliant in his
first year with the Mets last season in very limited time.  Pat
Misch
(who’s also in the bullpen mix), Jon
Niese
, and Bobby Parnell will
also be given a chance to make the rotation.

 

Francisco Rodriguez
followed up his record-setting 2008 season with the Angels with a
disappointingly erratic 2009.  He
finished with 35 saves, but he also had 6 losses, a 3.71 ERA and 7 blown saves.  He’ll need to be better this year if the Mets
have any chance.  Kelvim Escobar, who hasn’t been healthy since 2007, will be given
every opportunity to win a spot in the Mets bullpen this year after signing a
one-year deal in the offseason.  The Mets
are hoping that moving him to the bullpen will keep him healthy, but they may
also try him in the rotation if he looks to be doing well.  Best-case scenario has Escobar pitching as
the setup man for the Mets in ’10.  Sean Green struggled in his first year
with the Mets, but should still be the main setup option, while Pedro Feliciano is one of the best
lefty-specialists in the league. 
Injuries forced Feliciano to pitch against right-handers more in 2009, which
caused his numbers to inflate, but a healthy bullpen should keep him in his
role this season.  Ryota Igarashi was signed after several dominant years in Japan as
a reliever.  If he can show that kind of
dominance in New York, he could end up being the setup man this bullpen
desperately needs.  Long options Nelson Figueroa and lefty Misch should
round out the ‘pen.

 

ROTATION

Age

B/T

Johan Santana

31

L/L

Mike Pelfrey

26

R/R

John Maine

28/9

R/R

Oliver Perez

28/9

L/L

Fernando Nieve

27/8

R/R

 

 

 

BULLPEN

 

 

Francisco Rodriguez

28

R/R

Kelvim Escobar*

34

S/R

Sean Green

31

R/R

Pedro Feliciano

33/4

L/L

Ryota Igarashi*

30/1

R/R

Nelson Figueroa

35/6

S/R

Pat Misch

28/9

R/L

 

 

 

POSSIBILITIES

 

 

Jon Niese

23

L/L

Eddie Kunz

24

R/R

Tobi Stoner

25

S/R

Bobby Parnell

25

R/R

Elmer Dessens

39

R/R

R.A. Dickey*

35

R/R

Josh Fogg*

33

R/R

*=newly acquired

 

 

Lineup

david-wright.jpg

The Mets were a statistical anomaly last year, finishing
first in the NL in batting average, but 12th in runs scored.  Experts suggest that that’s because the team
isn’t built for their new home, Citi Field. 
Much of the team experienced injuries in 2009, so health is also to
blame for poor run production.

 

Canadian Jason Bay
was signed to a 4-year, $66-million deal in the offseason to help remedy the
situation.  Bay was terrific in a Red Sox
uniform, but some scouts worry that he’ll struggle to hit homeruns to leftfield
in cavernous Citi.  He’ll also struggle
defensively with a bigger field to contend with than the monster-shortened
leftfield at Fenway.  Carlos Beltran had controversial knee
surgery in the offseason and will be out until at least mid-May.  Given how important Beltran is to this
offense, that may not help the Mets get off to a good start.  Jeff
Francoeur
looked much more comfortable away from his hometown of Atlanta
and should be the everyday rightfielder. 
Gary Matthews, Jr. or Angel Pagan will get most of the
playing time in centerfield until Beltran returns.  Pagan hit .306 with an .837 OPS and terrific
defense filling in for injured players last season.

 

Wright returns as third baseman after a weird season.  He hit with his usual .300+ average and great
on-base percentage, but had a disturbing lack of power hitting only 10 homeruns
and driving in only 72 (down from 33 and 124 in 2008).  Wright appeared to be trying too hard to hit
homeruns out to leftfield (which is tough to do).  The Mets need him to hit for power in the
middle of their lineup.  Shortstop Jose Reyes missed most of last season
with hamstring problems and the Mets felt it at the top of their order.  He plays an up-tempo style of game which
leads many to believe the hamstring issue might be a recurring one.  The Mets tried hard to deal second baseman Luis Castillo in the offseason, but
there were no takers.  They could do
worse, however, as the aging Castillo put up his best numbers in years in 2009.  He won’t hit for power and his defense isn’t
what it used to be, but the Mets should be happy with a .302 average and .387
on-base percentage at the top of the order. 
First base could be given to any one of three players with Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis likely being a lefty/righty platoon.  Murphy can’t seem to find a home defensively
but looked okay at first last season. 
Converted outfielder Nick Evans
could also have a shot with a standout Spring.

 

The Mets have four catchers vying for two spots this spring
with journeymen Omir Santos, Henry Blanco and Chris Coste joining 23-year-old Josh Thole in the competition. 
Thole hit .321 in a September callup.

 

Pagan and Matthews will be the extra outfielders once
Beltran return, but either could start the year playing every day.  Veteran Alex
Cora
returns and hopefully will not have to start as much as he did in
2009.  He’s a very good reserve player,
but should not be counted on when given too much playing time.  Infielder Anderson Hernandez will also have a shot at making the team and
could start at second if Castillo is dealt. 

 

Pos.

 

Age

B/T

SS

Jose Reyes

26/7

S/R

2B

Luis Castillo

34

S/R

3B

David Wright

27

R/R

CF

Carlos BeltranInjured until June

33

S/R

LF

Jason Bay*

31

R/R

RF

Jeff Francoeur

26

R/R

1B

Daniel Murphy (LF)

25

L/R

C

Omir Santos

29

R/R

 

 

 

 

 

BENCH

 

 

INF

Alex Cora (SS, 2B)

34

L/R

OF

Gary Matthews Jr.* (CF, RF, LF)

35/6

S/R

OF

Angel Pagan (CF, LF)

28/9

S/R

C

Josh Thole

23

L/R

INF

Anderson Hernandez (2B, SS)

27

S/R

UTIL

Fernando Tatis

35

R/R

 

 

 

 

 

POSSIBILITIES

 

 

OF

Nick Evans (1B)

24

R/R

C

Henry Blanco*

38/9

R/R

C

Chris Coste*

37

R/R

1B

Chris Carter*

37

L/L

INF

Andy Green (3B, 2B, SS)

32/3

R/R

3B

Shawn Bowman

25

R/R

OF

Fernando Martinez

21

L/R

3B

Mike Hessman* (1B)

32

R/R

INF

Russ Adams*

29/0

L/R

OF

Frank Catalanotto*

36

L/R

*=newly acquired

 

If the Mets stay healthy, they should be much better than
they were in 2009.  Having said that,
their pitching lacks depth beyond Santana and Rodriguez, the David Wright-effect
could hit Jason Bay, and the loss of Beltran for the beginning of the season
pretty much ensures that the Mets will have a tough time contending in a fairly
deep division.  But who knows, I was
wrong about them last year too.

Final Prediction: 81-81,
4th NL East

’09 Preview — New York Mets

NYM_1235.gif2008 Record: 89-73, 2nd NL East
2009 Prediction: 1st NL East

Impact Player: David Wright
Impact Pitcher: Johan Santana
Top Prospect: Fernando Martinez, OF

Significant Acquisitions:  P Francisco Rodriguez, P J.J. Putz, P Sean Green, P Freddy Garcia, P Tim Redding, P Livan Hernandez, OF Jeremy Reed, INF Alex Cora
Significant Losses:  OF Endy Chavez, INF Damion Easley, OF Moises Alou, OF Trot Nixon, P Pedro Martinez, P Joe Smith, P Aaron Heilman, P Scott Schoeneweis, P Claudio Vargas, P Jorge Sosa, P Luis Ayala

The New York Mets should be entering the ’09 season on a high; they should be the three-time defending NL East champs and they should be entering camp with (at the very least) one NL Pennant.  The Mets have been one of the most talented teams on paper in the NL for the past few years but near-unexplainable late-season collapses have led to no playoff appearances since 2006.  The single biggest reason for those late-season collapses has been their bullpen and that’s where GM Omar Minaya spent most of his time and resources this off-season.  Gone are Joe Smith, Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, Claudio Vargas, Jorge Sosa, Luis Ayala, and the injured Billy Wagner; in are the single-season saves leader Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz, and Sean Green.  If these transactions sure-up the Mets’ bullpen, there’s nothing stopping them from winning the NL East.

Pitching
The Mets look to have moved on from Pedro Martinez who is still a free agent but doesn’t look to be signing with the Mets, but don’t worry Mets fans, there are plenty of arms to fill the void left by the future-HOFer.  Johan Santana could be the best lefthanded pitcher of this generation when he’s done.  He had another fantastic year (ho-hum) in ’08 going 16-7, leading the league in both ERA (2.53) and innings pitched (234.1) while finishing 3rd in NL Cy Young voting behind Tim Lincecum and Brandon Webb.  Mike Pelfrey emerged as a solid #2 guy last year winning 13 games and posting a 3.72 ERA and Oliver Perez was re-signed after an inconsistent ’08; if he can ever put it all together he could win 15-18 games yearly.  John Maine made strides last year and should be the team’s #4 option and the fifth spot will go to one of four pitchers: veteran free-agent signings Freddy Garcia, Tim Redding, and Livan Hernandez or highly-touted prospect Jonathon Niese who is also said to be in the mix but would have to blow Mets management’s collective socks off to unseat one of the other three.  2010 should be his year.

As I said in the intro, the bullpen received a major makeover from the one that got pounded down the stretch in each of the last two years.  K-Rod is the new closer but will likely see a drop-off in numbers from last year (only because he can’t possibly put up more saves than his record 62 from ’08); he should still put up solid numbers and be reliable.  Former Mariners closer J.J. Putz was the main piece of that 3-team, 12-player deal at the Winter Meetings and figures to be the setup man to Rodriguez.  Sean Green was also acquired in that deal and should receive a hefty workload after proving to be durable with 79 innings pitched in ’08.  Returnees Duaner Sanchez and lefty Pedro Feliciano are both back and look to find their 2006 form when they were two of the top relievers in the majors.  One of the possible starters and veteran Brian Stokes will likely round out the ‘pen.

Rotation (Handedness/Age on June 30, 2009)

  • Johan Santana (L/30)
  • Mike Pelfrey (R/25)
  • Oliver Perez (L/27)
  • John Maine (R/28)
  • Livan Hernandez (R/34)

Bullpen

  • Francisco Rodriguez (R/27)
  • J.J. Putz (R/32)
  • Duaner Sanchez (R/29)
  • Pedro Feliciano (L/32)
  • Sean Green (R/30)
  • Brian Stokes (R/29)
  • Tim Redding (R/31)

Lineup
The Mets return pretty much the same lineup that was 2nd in the NL in runs scored last year.  They have many players who are perennial All-Stars and their core is still young.  They should have no problem in this department.  The outfield is anchored by Center-fielder Carlos Beltran who continues to be one of the game’s true 5-tool threats; he was a 20-20 man for the 7th time in his career last year.  The corner spots will be occupied by Ryan Church in Right (who was having a great year before succumbing to injury) and young Daniel Murphy in Left.  Murphy hit .317 in a short audition last year and will be given every opportunity to start in ’09.  If he struggles, Fernando Tatis had a great comeback year and could play Left.  In the infield, the Mets trot out 3 possible MVP winners in David Wright (3B), Jose Reyes (SS), and Carlos Delgado (1B).  Wright and Reyes are 5-tool players who are both only 26 and Delgado rebounded last year to finish 9th in MVP voting and had his 11th 30 home run campaign in the last 12 years; also, he’s only 31 home runs away from 500.  Second Base will likely be played by veteran Luis Castillo who struggled in his first tour in Flushing.  The Catcher will be reliable Brian Schneider who seems to do everything well defensively and is an adept game-caller.

On the bench will be Tatis, backup Catcher Ramon Castro, First Baseman/Outfielder Marlon Anderson and two new acquisitions: Outfielder Jeremy Reed who was another player in the Putz deal and veteran infielder Alex Cora who might even start at second if Castillo struggles again.  Cora’s worth more on the bench, however, as he can play more positions.

Lineup (Handedness/Age on June 30, 2009)

  • SS  Jose Reyes (S/26)
  • 2B  Luis Castillo (S/33)
  • 3B  David Wright (R/26)
  • 1B  Carlos Delgado (L/37)
  • CF  Carlos Beltran (S/32)
  • RF  Ryan Church (L/30)
  • LF  Daniel Murphy (L/24)
  • C    Brian Schneider (L/32)

Bench

  • C    Ramon Castro (R/33)
  • OF Jeremy Reed (L/28)
  • 3B/LF Fernando Tatis (R/34)
  • INF Alex Cora (L/33)
  • 1B/OF Marlon Anderson (L/35)


Outlook
Hopefully Minaya did enough to make sure that the Mets’ ‘pen won’t collapse again this year and hopefully that will get this team into the playoffs.  However, as anyone on this team will tell you, the bullpen was not the only problem in finishing the job these past two years; these players need to stick together and not let clubhouse squabbles get the best of them.  Having said all that, I believe they have built themselves some character having gone through the terrible collapses and will be triumphant this year.  Final Prediction: 90-72, 1st NL East (Lose to Arizona in NLDS)