30 Clubs in 30 Days: New York Mets

Posted: March 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

mets1The worst news the New York Mets experienced all year was learning that superstar RHP Matt Harvey would undergo Tommy John surgery and be lost for the entirety of the 2014 season. After all, GM Sandy Alderson believed this to be the year that New York returned to contention after years of rebuilding. Instead, New York has another campaign of questions ahead of them, albeit, with tremendous upside right beyond the horizon.

The Mets finished 74-88 in 2013, Terry Collins’ third year on the job. That record was identical to 2012, so anything above that would likely be considered a success in 2014.

New York had two goals this offseason; improve a beleaguered offense (especially in the outfield) and find a replacement for Harvey. Alderson believes he accomplished both of those aims after landing outfielders Chris Young and Curtis Granderson as well as signing former Oakland starter Bartolo Colon to headline the pitching staff.

Granderson, 33, was a terror hitting at lefty-friendly Yankee Stadium. The veteran slugged 84 homers between 2011-12, becoming one of the best sluggers in the process. But, how much of that was due to the short porch in right at his home confines? That remains to be seen. Granderson missed most of 2013 due to injury, and when he did play, his performance was noticeably meager (.229-7-15). Even when he was launching bombs, Granderson never hit for average. His career mark of .261 is worlds above his average the last two seasons (.230). We’ll see whether or not a fat paycheck leads to bigger and better things for the former All Star.

Young is another project at age 30. Once a feared power hitter for the Diamondbacks, Young slugged 32 homers in his rookie season of 2007. Since then, his production has teetered on-and-off. Last year, with Oakland, Young hit just .200-12-40 in 107 games. The potential is there for another 25+ homer campaign. But, time will tell whether he is another Marlon Byrd or a Mo Vaughn in New York.

Other than that, the Mets return most of their offense from last year. David Wright should once again prove to be a leader both on-and-off the field. Meanwhile, the team held on to 1B Ike Davis despite a brutal 2013 campaign. It’s a make-or-break year for the former top prospect, who needs a strong offensive season to avoid a non-tender from New York this winter.

Colon, who headlines the pitching staff, comes over from Oakland after experiencing a career renaissance with the A’s. The last two seasons in Oakland, the 41-year old went 28-15, 2.99. He earned a 2 year, $20 million contract from New York. They’ll now expect the 2005 AL Cy Young award winner to continue his solid performance in the Senior Circuit.

Behind Colon in the rotation are mainstays Dillon Gee and Jonathan Niese. Top prospect Zach Wheeler acclimated himself well to the bigs during his first stint last year, and he will be a force for years to come behind Harvey. Fellow youngsters Jenrry Mejia and Noah Syndergaard will compete with veterans John Lannan and Diasuke Matsuzaka for rotation spots.

Key Arrivals

OF Curtis Granderson (Yankees)
OF Chris B. Young (Athletics)
RHP Bartolo Colon (Athletics)
LHP John Lannan (Phillies)

Key Departures

RHP Shaun Marcum (Indians)
RHP LaTroy Hawkins (Rockies)

Projected Lineup and Rotation (with Stat Projections)

OF Chris B. Young – .232-13-33
2B Daniel Murphy – .285-9-57
3B David Wright – .286-21-83
OF Curtis Granderson – .249-24-83
1B Ike Davis – .243-19-60
OF Juan Lagares -.251-4-37
C Travis d’Arnaud – .242-4-35
SS Ruben Tejada – .252-0-35

RHP Bartolo Colon – 9-7, 3.66
RHP Dillon Gee – 9-9, 4.06
RHP Zack Wheeler – 8-8, 4.17
LHP Jonathon Niese – 8-7, 3.98
RHP Jenrry Mejia – 6-5, 4.02

RHP Bobby Parnell – 2-2, 2.85, 33 Sv

Outlook

The Mets made marked improvements to their offense this offseason by mets 2landing Granderson and Young. Granted, neither is a sure thing, and expecting much more than 20 homers and a mediocre average out of either is probably a reach at this point in their respective careers. But, the Mets relied far too often on the limp bats of Eric Young and Lucas Duda last year. Both of those role players will now be coming off the bench.

New York losing Matt Harvey was a real killer, because their rotation now looks rather uneasy without him. Colon was stellar the last few years. But, does anyone really expect him to be able to keep this up over the course of his two-year contract with New York? Even if he does, the health issues of he, Niese, and Lannan are enough to make Mets fans worry. Syndergaard will likely get an extended look this season, as his upside dwarfs that of Niese, Gee, or anyone else in the rotation now not named Zack Wheeler.

Overall, the Mets had a solid offseason and should expect to see improvements out of their offense. Unfortunately, Harvey’s injury probably curtails any postseason hopes until 2015. But, this is definitely a team on the rise in the NL East. I foresee the Metropolitans winning between 77-83 games in 2014.

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