This team is a train wreck. Some of the best players in the game, and they can’t even finish with a winning record, or in the top three. Phillies supposed dominance aside; this is not a hard division. The Dodgers must be loving it, because it’s keeping them lower on the radar. If the don’t start winning soon, its’ going to get worse, because the players will revolt and leave like rats on the Titanic.
Josh Thole. A good young catcher who should hit well. He gets on base, but he has no power. This might not necessarily be a bad thing in Shea. He’ll hit well enough, and play good defense. That’s what I want from my catcher, unless he’s Josh Gibson. Trying to develop power in a park like this isn’t a good idea, and he has a long career ahead of him. Probably will be in a platoon with Ronny Paulino.
Upside: develops into a solid major leaguer
Downside: on the fast track to being a back up
Ike Davis. Another solid young player who should only get better. Good power numbers that will get better as he gets older, and the ability to draw a walk is there. A few too many strikeouts, but nothing to worry about at this stage. If the power comes, it’s okay. He’s good defensively and gives them the left handed power bat they need to compliment all of the right handed hitters. He can get lost in the order and just hit, as he doesn’t, and won’t, have to be the star.
Upside: becomes so good the Mets sign him to a long term contract soon
Downside: Ed Kranepool had a good rookie season also
Daniel Murphy. Their third left handed hitter in a row, he’s a converted outfielder/first baseman trying to become a second baseman. That doesn’t happen often. And probably shouldn’t here. He wasn’t particularly good in the field, and the Mets have enough offense they could use him in other places. Mostly left field, if Bay can’t go. He’ll hit okay, and is showing some decent power, but does need to walk more.
Upside: his hitting is so good that everyone forgets his defense
Downside: that doesn’t happen
Score: - 1
David Wright. One of the best in the game, and he has his power stroke back. Does everything well. Hits for power, hits for average, draws walks, steals bases, and plays every day. He’s not as good with the glove, but he’s not the weakest link. Still the leader of the team, as he goes, so does the team. Lead the team in everything last year, to include strikeouts, which he needs to cut down on.
Upside: already the best hitter in Mets history and keeps adding to the legacy
Downside: decides he doesn’t like playing in New York any longer
Score: - 2
Jose Reyes. A good comeback year after the injury, but not quite as good as what he has done in the past. But it was still good, particularly for a shortstop. Didn’t get on base quite as much as he has in the past, and the running game was off, but he did have to be careful. If he’s healthy all year and does his usual thing, he’ll be fine. Defense faded a little, but that could be range related and due to the injury. Still a good one, if not great.
Upside: really healthy all year
Downside: never really gets healthy again
Score: + 1
Jason Bay. If he’s healthy enough to play. He seems to be progressing okay, and if he’s okay, he’s still an elite player. Even before the injuries, his numbers were way off, so you have to wonder what that was about also. Not great defensively, so he has to hit. There are some good bats on the team, so he doesn’t have to be an MVP candidate, just contribute.
Upside: no long term side effects
Downside: the bad numbers had nothing to do with the injury
Angel Pagan. For some strange reason, the depth chart has Scott Hairston, which I don’t believe for a minute. It’s Pagan’s job until he loses it, and then it would be Beltran again. Pagan’s got the glove, and put a good year in his first full season. He used his speed well, and does a little of everything that needs to be done. Probably the lead off hitter, so he needs to get a few more walks, but he should be okay.
Upside: Carlos who?
Downside: can’t maintain what he did last year
Carlos Beltran. A new position, but this shouldn’t matter. The last two seasons have been lost to injury, but he should still be one of the best in the game. The speed is down, so he’ll do the other things better. He’s going to cross a lot of career milestones in the next two years, so he needs to be productive. Does much better when he’s lost in the mix.
Upside: doesn’t matter where he plays and he can hit like he used to
Downside: lots of grate players were finished at 34
Score: + 1
Pinch hitter/general utility:
Scott Hairston. He’s not going to start in center field. He will get a lot of games out there, and in the infield. He’ll also pinch hit. He’ll do a little of everything, and usually do it a good level. A little bit of pop, and he can run. Plays the outfield well, but not so good in the infield. Shouldn’t do too much there, but he is versatile. He’ll get into a lot of games, and how well he plays is important, depending on much the starters play.
Upside: doesn’t have to get too many starts because everyone is healthy
Downside: has to start
Ronny Paulino. Not really a back up, this will be more of a platoon. Paulino can start full time if needed. He hits better than back ups, if not great. Not as good as Thole, but he is better defensively. They could both see 100 games this year. As long as he can settle into the role, he’ll be a lot of help to the team. He should help the staff. If any catcher really does.
Upside: gets enough at bats to keep hitting the ball like he did before
Downside: not ready to be a back up
Score: + 1
Backup first baseman:
Nick Evans. Again, the depth chart, but this doesn’t make any sense. No reason for Evans to be on the roster. He doesn’t really hit, and Davis should play quite a bit. If he needs a day off, Murphy can fill in, as can Hairston. Unless Davis can’t hit lefties at all, and it becomes a platoon situation, Evans probably won’t be on the roster and they’ll be able to carry another pitcher.
Upside: Davis plays 150 games
Downside: becomes a platoon
Score: - 1
Has a different player listed for each position, but they can’t really carry all three. Probably two. Luis Castillo and Luis Hernandez. Ruben Tejada did okay filling in last year, but he’s only 20 and should be in the minors if he’s not starting. If Murphy can’t make it at second, then Castillo or Tejada will get the call, with Hernandez as the back up. Hernandez is better with the glove, and Castillo is better with the bat.
Upside: Murphy can play second
Downside: if Murphy can’t, Tejeda doesn’t get a chance
Score: - 1
Fernando Martinez. Again, the depth chart for the Mets is a mess. You would think they would have someone else to do this, but no one I see. Hairston will get some time out here, but someone has to pinch hit also. That would come down to Castillo right now, which isn’t a great option. He hasn’t hit, and isn’t anything special with the glove. The bench could be an issue for the team.
Upside: everyone is healthy and plays 150 games
Downside: he gets into 150 games
Score: - 2
Rotation (front 3):
Mike Pelfrey, Jonathon Niese, and R.A. Dickey. Waiting on Santana to return, but it will be awhile. None of them are great, and none of them are bad. They don’t strike out a lot, but they don’t walk a lot or give up homeruns. They also don’t pitch a lot of innings, which will make it hard on the bullpen. If they can’t go deeper into the games, it will be a long summer.
Upside: even with Santana, they weren’t that good
Downside: he doesn’t come back at all
Rotation (back end):
Chris Young and Dillon Gee. Both did well in brief appearances last year. Gee has to prove he can do it consistently and Young has to prove he can do it injury free. It will be hard for both of them, but they are sorely needed in this line up. Either one could move up to the front three if they are doing as well as last season. Or they could be off the team by May. It remains to be seen.
Upside: no expects too much of them
Downside: that’s what they give everyone
Bobby Parnell, D.J. Carrasco, Manny Acosta, Taylor Bucholz, and Oliver Perez. A mostly new collection of guys, who can strike out a bunch of hitters, walk a bunch and be pretty average. Perez might get a few starts, but I wouldn’t. They don’t pitch too many innings either, which will be a problem, because the starters don’t pitch a bunch either. Could be a mess in the latter innings.
Upside: the offense is really good and will score a lot of runs
Downside: the offense doesn’t score a lot of runs
Francisco Rodriguez. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? An elite one, if he can get it done. Personal problems might be an issue this year. He’s going to hear from every crowd in every stadium, to include his own. Put up some good numbers last year in the time he pitched. If he can get past the issues, and if the fans will let him, he’ll get the job done. But he’s facing a hate-in of epic proportions.
Upside: stuffs cotton in his ears and gets it done
Downside: people start to think John Rocker wasn’t such a bad guy
Score: + 1
Team speed (which includes base running):
Good. Really good when everyone is healthy. Led the league in stolen bases and triples, and should be even better this year. If Beltran and Reyes can run, it’s going to be a track meet. This will help the outfield defense a lot, as they pitchers will need it. Reyes will have a lot to do to help out Murphy, so he has to stay healthy all year. The lack of other offense makes the speed even more important to the game.
Upside: 2011 version of Billy Ball and Whitey Ball
Downside: think they are playing dead ball
Score: + 2
Good, depending on the health of the team. The left side of the infield and right side of the outfield is going to be good. Pagan can get it done, and Davis is okay. Murphy and Bay are not great defenders and Thole is a hitter first, but Paulino can get it done behind the plate. The pitchers are going to need a lot of help and can’t afford a lot of free runners. This will make a big difference to the success of the team.
Upside: the young guys continue to get better
Downside: makes close games distant memories
Score: - 1
Anybody’s guess. They were in the middle of the pack last year with everything but strikeouts (bad) and walks (bad). They are riding them middle rail, and it will be interesting to see. If the young players all have the years they are capable of, and the veterans do what they have in the past, it will be good. Too many down years or slump years will not look good for the team. It’s hard to say where they will be.
Upside: the rookies become veterans
Downside: the veterans become useless
Backwards. The bullpen and closer are good, and should get the job done. The rotation isn’t, and probably won’t. Not a lot of walks or homeruns, which is good. Too many other guys on base, which is bad. Not nearly enough innings out of the starters, and the bullpen isn’t designed to go the number they will have to. If they can, it will be okay. If not, it will be long, wet shower for the Marlins.
Upside: the rotation is good enough to give the bullpen a lead in the fifth
Downside: the rotation can’t make it to the fifth
Total score: - 2