Feb. 15.10: Who’s primed for a breakout year?

When you look at all the Mets’ issues, it must be remembered the flip side is also true and that the positive could happen. No, today I’m not looking at who I consider the most important Met to be – for me it is Jose Reyes in the field and Mike Pelfrey on the mound – but the guy poised for a breakout season. By that, I mean his best year and finally showing signs of potential.

MAINE: Could this be a breakout year?

MAINE: Could this be a breakout year?


What’s your gut telling you?

Will one of the catchers step up and shed the platoon label?
Will Daniel Murphy show some power?
Will Pelfrey, John Maine or Oliver Perez shake the inconsistency label and win north of 15 games?
Will Jeff Francoeur become the power the Braves once projected of him?

Scanning the Mets’ roster, two names immediately grab my attention as possibilities for breakout seasons: Murphy and Maine.

I like Murphy to have a big year because of last year was a learn-on-the-job experience which he picked up fairly well. I also believe with a full year of learning the pitchers and getting stronger, that his power numbers should increase. He won’t hit 40, but 20 would be a significant improvement.

I’m also liking Maine because all indications are he’s healthy. Sometimes, it is the second year after the surgery when a pitcher feels comfortable again. I believe Pelfrey will improve; have no clue about Perez, but I’m trying to think positive; but I think Maine is poised to have a year better than 2007 when he won 15 games.

43 thoughts on “Feb. 15.10: Who’s primed for a breakout year?

  1. The Vegas Over/Under line for Met wins is 89.5 this year. Guess Vegas also agrees with me that the Mets won’t be as bad as everyone thinks they will.

  2. If you could get 20 homers from Murphy along with a .340 OBP or better, I will sign for that. I would be absolutely shocked if that happened though.

  3. 1. I think its more likely that Vegas understands the nature of Met fans and their inability to look at any player wearing a M e t s on his jersey objectively!

  4. By the way Harry you’ll be happy to know that Omar has declared 1b and Open competition between Murphy and Jacobs. Nothing like having that great speed and defense!!!!!

  5. (3) Harry: Why would Vegas want to tilt the odds like that? If bettors bet heavily on the under, and the Mets do finish under, doesn’t Vegas have a chance to lose substantial cash?

  6. Steve O (1): I don’t think 89 wins would mean the wild card, but it is possible. Considering last year, I’d sign on for 89 wins now. That’s a 19-game jump.-JD

  7. (8) JD: He hit 11 homers in 502 AB’s in St. Lucie and 13 homers in 357 AB’s in Bingo, and 12 in 508 in the majors. For him to hit 20 would be a minor miracle. Even so, it still puts him in the bottom rung of major league firstbasemen. Which shouldn’t be surprising since he has no business being a major league first baseman.

  8. Of the players mentioned. It would be Maine. if he is healthy – a big if – and if he can not get into those mental funks beating himself up, having him win 15 games would be huge.

    I think he can be a good pitcher, but he is always hurt.

    I think Murphy will not be that player because I see Jerry nailing him to the bench in favor of anyone else on the team. Remember last year when he was declared the starting LF and then promptly sabotaged by the coach? I expect that to happen again. Esp with the signing of Jacobs and the million other players we have in the system.

    The same cannot happen to Maine, because there just is not the talent and you cannot just plug a pitcher in one day and pull him the next. They only play those games with parnell.

  9. Omir Santos will put his short stroke to good effect and make us forget about Gary Carter and Mike Piazza.

  10. we are what a week away from pitchers/catchers.

    at the end of the season there were promises of changes and omar has a free hand, blah blah blah.

    so the new season is to start. we have a new power hitting lf. and a bunch of scrub pickups.

    omar has gone on the interviews defending the team and saying what we have is better than what was available.

    my question is does he really believe it?

    why is the team constructed like this?

    Is it:
    1) they tried but did not have the chips or money to improve the team more than they did in the FA market or trade.
    2) does omar really believe his statements
    3) did omar come up with moves that junior vetoed?

  11. 6. Vegas puts the odds where the betting falls. Met fans, delusional Minaya/Wilpon kool aide drinkers that so many are, keep forcing the number up. That is equalled out by thoughtful objective bettors, and the few Met haters who get their kicks out of betting under, thereby giving you the number of whatever it is today.

  12. Harry: Do you really think after listening to the radio, watching the negative newsreports, and reading different websites that Met fans are so optimistic with this team that they are driving the over/under up? That makes no logical sense.

  13. Getting back to the topic, one of the guys IMO that “needs” to have a breakout year is Francouer. Is he closer to the player we saw last year, or the one that floundered with the Braves the past few. I think 2010 is a make or break year for him.

  14. Steve (16): Agree with you on that one. This guy was supposed to be a star but fizzled with the Braves. He played with heart and grit with the Mets and showed glimpses of power. I think we should be expecting at least 25 homers.-JD

  15. (17) I think 25/85/.280/.330 to .340 OBP is a reasonable expectation. Any worse than that he becomes someones fourth outfielder.

  16. 15. Gee Steve O, I thouhgt they were all like you, excpet for me and Delcos of course.
    18. That’s why the line is 89.5 Idiot projections after drinking koolaide!

  17. 5. Why do you seem surprised about competition between Murphy and Jacobs. Murphy was a Jerry the jerk fave and he let Jerry down and Jerry turned on him and Jerry never lets a guy out of the jerk house once he’s in it.

  18. For me, it’s Gary Matthews, Jr., as he is the right player at the right time.

    Actually, my dark horse candidate is Mike Jacobs, whom I’m predicting will win the starting job in Spring Training and will carry the team for the first 30-45 games before reverting back to baseline and his usual lackluster performance. But that month and a half will mean everything to the fortunes of the 2010 Mets.

    (9) Power is typically the last thing that comes to a hitter; as such, it’s not a stretch at all to think Murphy will hit 20 hr sometime in the near future. I just don’t think he’s worth it unless his OBP is considerably higher than his .313 mark of 2009.

    (18) I think it’s improbable that Frenchy could hit .280 and have an OBP of .340. Based on his walk rates, he’s going to need to hit about .310 to reach an OBP of .340. Could he hit .310? Possibly. But it’s a real burden to have that much of an OBP based on BA alone. Anyway you slice it, he’s a flawed player.

  19. (21) Regarding Murphy, he’ll be 25 come April 1st. I think he might be a bit too late in age to develop the power post steroid era.

  20. jd(13)

    i agree. it is just here we are. we have the team we have. the team made the usual promises and delivered pretty much what i expected them to. which is to say not enough.

    i am actually surprised that the sny reporters are as independent as they are. they ask the questions that need to be asked. they get the party line answers, but at least they ask the questions.

    ron and keith are also free to criticize the team in game.

    unfortunately for whatever reason the team either does not listen or they figure this is all they need to deliver to have a competitive product.

    i think that is what i will be using this year.

    here are your 2010 new york mets.

    The Competitive Mets(tm)

    Not enough to win. Just enough to be competitive.

  21. That should be the slogan this year.

    Come out and support the competitive mets.

    john.

    if you do a poll as to what our slogan for the year is please make this one of the choices.

    i guarantee at least one vote for that one.

  22. (25) Again if it makes you any happier, the starting rotation is the same one that helped win 89 ballgames in 2008. Drink the kool aid along with Harry and me!!!!

  23. 26. Why O are you happy that you have the same staff that couldn’t make the playoffs? The same staff that couldn’t beat the Phillies who didn’t have a Halladay type guy on their team like they have now? So the guys that wren’t good enough then will suddenly be good enough now? Yup, O, Omar and Jeffy, ah, I’m thirsty but not for this brand of koolaide. Wait…. I do get it Steve O. We have taken Chris Coste away from them and they have the Schneid as their backup at C. that’s why we will beat them this year!

  24. (28) Because 89 wins is nothing to sneeze at and both you and I know that if Omar had improved the pen, the Mets would have made the playoffs that year. Which reminds me, I have more worries about the pen than I do about the starting rotation this year. Depending upon a guy who hasn’t pitched in 2 yrs is a problem, and K-Rod’s poor 2nd half makes me nervous.

  25. 29. When you have a staff of mediocre pitchers who require the manager to start warming up the relievers before sundown the starters suck. Maine was crap in ’08 even before he went down Perez was crap most of the time in ’08 and Pelfrey was bad for the first two months. Pedro sucked, Feel good story Figgy sucked, Vargas sucked, Knight sucked. Maybe Omar should have found a starter instead, since the best releiver he found was a National reject. Defending this crappy rotation is fine and is your choice but don’t put me in your club about defending them. If, if if,,, its really sad…. I’d rather have do, do ,do… Wish the Mets hired Pat Gillick who did did did rather than Omar who gives you all your if if ifs….
    And why have doubls about the pen. If you use the same flawed logic about the pen as you do for your starters you should be very pleased with the entire pitching staff. Afterall they all pitched good sometime in the past somewhere on the planet.

  26. Since this as Harry says all about if if and more ifs.

    My choice for the Met who will have a breakout year is Pelfrey. His overall numbers will not be much better but he will get run support the way Trachsel did in 2006.
    This will help him have 10 wins by mid June.
    Which in turn will have us spending way too many posts on whether or not Pelfrey should make the All Star team and have a chance at winning 20 games.

  27. Bring back Dennis Ribant. He had a great season as recently as 1966, is well rested and ready for another breakout year. And he’ll pitch for much less than John Maine and OP.

  28. See I am still pretty happy about this offseason, sure I would of liked to have picked up more depth from the end of the crop like a Dotel and Marquis, but overall my biggest concern this offseason is that we would either make a dumb trade for an aging veteran looking to rebound and lose players like Ike and Mejia, or we would sign someone like Damon to a 2-3 year deal or sign someone like Lackey for 90 mil.

    We didn’t make the big mistake and since this year no matter WHO they got was going to be a year about figuring out what Reyes, Wright, Beltran, Santana, KRod, Maine, Perez, Pelfrey are going to be able to do for this team, that makes me content.

    No that doesn’t mean I think we will go win 95 wins this season, I do think we will be much better than last year, but for me this year was about finding out which parts of our core we can continue to build around and which ones we can’t. I wasn’t really looking for a “playoff run” for next season because I didn’t see a way to build a solid playoff contender without still hoping that all the ??? that fell apart last year would all turn up roses this year. This year was always a transitional year to me, and I think we will get exactly that. Something like 85 wins and with answers to the questions we have now so we can go into next offseason much like we went into the 2005/06 offseason and build a team ready to take it to the next level.

  29. (30) I can tell Harry that you are not a results oriented kinda guy. I will repeat again that the same staff you are dogging helped the 2008 Mets win 89 games, without their closer too and with a shoddy bullpen. You want Omar to keep making the same mistakes year in year out by throwing alot of money at mediocrity. By the way in 2008 a youngster by the name of Jonathan Niese bailed them out in the back end of a DH against the Braves in case you forgot.

  30. Steve, who really cares if the “same” rotation got us to a whopping 89 wins the year before last. That team had Beltran all year, and a blistering hot Delgado for the latter 2/3rds of that year which this team will not have. That rotation also had a healthy Santana who was not coming off surgery, a Perez that was not coming off the worst year of his career, and Maine was reasonably healthy to start the season. Not to mention the fact that everyone in that rotation was 2 years younger than this rotation.

  31. (35) I hear you about the health issues, but the idea that this staff is two years older isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In 2010, Santana will be 31, Maine 29, Perez 28 and Pelfrey 26 — that’s a relatively young rotation.

    If you contrast that to the quartet Omar assembled for 2006 (Pedro, Glavine, Trachsel, El Duque), you’ll see a.) there should be more upside (rather than decline) to this group and b.) that Omar has pulled off quite a feat in turning that rotation over, while still remaining competitive.

  32. (35) James: I CARE. Beltran is already ahead of schedule, Bay will hopefully replace Delgado’s power. Pelfrey/Maine/Perez are two years older, and hopefully two years wiser, but still young. Santana is pain free. I’m just tired of all the pessimisn especially with the rotation.

  33. 34. Read James’ words. The key point is who really cares (other than you and Omar of course… The facts that matter concerning pitching staffs is this, one of course that you ignore and deny. The Met pitching staff if all the if if if ifs come thru in the way that is most unlikely, they will equal their mediocrity of ’08. The Phillies who beat the Mets in ’08 have a lot stronger pitching staff in ’10 than they had in ’08. I’m sure you’ll tell me that Hamels had a down year, while ignoring Pelfrey’s, that Halladay may go down hill, while ignoring that Santana had surgery, that Happ might be a rookie flopping as a soph, while ignoring his year was better than any Maine has ever produced and better than all that OP produced for the mets.
    And as far as citing the example of a guy having a good game, Heilman pitched a one hitter, Mike Vail had a long winnning streak, Roy Staiger had a couple 3 hit games, Duffy Dyer was player of the week, Alay Soler threw a complete game shutout, Anthony Young had 15 saves, Alex Ochoa had a 5 hit game…. So your point is what?? That one game makes a career? Ok… By the way what was the bottom line for Niese in ’08 Hmm, 7.07 ERA. Wow. What a convincing argument.

  34. PS to O: Dennis Ribant says he is 44 years older and 44 years wiser, so he is planning on winning 33 games this year. 33-0. And he CARES more than you!

  35. (39) Harry..now you’ve gone way over the line. NO ONE cares more than I do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

  36. 42. I think the Met most ready for a breakout year is Evans. afterall, he is very well rested from all the time he spent rotting on the Met bench while kids like Tatis and Sullivan got to show their skyrocketing talents. He spent the Winter getting the splinters out of his %#$ and he’s ready to roll.

  37. Let me see if I have this.

    We hope that all of our hitters come back healthy. We hope that Castillo can play another year where he is not a defensive liability and that he can hit 300 and maybe hit the ball past the pitcher.

    We hope that our 3 young pitchers after Johan can fulfill any sort of potential. We hope that Johan has a clean recovery from surgery. We hope that we can find an effective #5 pitcher in camp.

    We hope that we have an effective bench.

    This list gives me the warm fuzzies about the upcoming season.