Something To Look Forward To From The Mets

As I watch the snow pile up outside my window, I am thinking of three of the best words in sports, “pitchers and catchers.’’

NIESE: Needs to take the next step.

                       NIESE: Needs to take the next step.

The official deadline for the Mets is Monday, but the lockers are already being filled in Port St. Lucie. I am hoping to get down there this spring and have already started looking at flights.

Most of the prognosticators have the Mets fighting the Marlins to stay out of the NL East. Many of them have them losing close to 100 games. I think they’ll finish ahead of Miami and I don’t see them losing that many games. I’d like to see .500, but I’m not ready to go there, yet.

For those thinking the worst, and as Mets fans I know you’ve all done it one time or another, I’d like to give you several things to watch for that could make this an interesting, if not exciting summer.

If you’re already writing off this season, here’s a few things to talk you down off the ledge.

The soundest road to contention is with young pitching. For those lamenting the lack of power and a weak outfield, just remember what the San Francisco Giants did in two of the past three years. Speaking of sparse outfields, was the Mets’ 2000 outfield all that good?

Hardly. It’s all starts with pitching and the Mets have three bright spots they are developing.

Jon Niese won a career-high 13 games last season and has the potential, if he stays healthy, to possibly win 17 or more. To reach that level he needs to win four more games in six months. That’s roughly one more every five weeks. That’s not that big a stretch with his stuff.

Niese had a nearly 3-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio and 1.17 WHIP in 2012 while working 190 innings in 30 starts. If he makes four more starts over 200 innings and maybe 17 wins are possible.

The Mets jumped from habit and signed Niese to a long-term contract way before they needed to because he throws hard, is lefthanded, pitches with guile and has experienced major league success. For those reasons, any team would want him but the Mets continually say no.

Two other rising pitching stars are Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. The Mets have brought along Harvey at a good pace and he started ten games last year, showing overpowering stuff and more importantly, composure beyond his years. His is the type of arm franchises are built around.

While Harvey is in the Opening Day rotation, the timetable for Wheeler is later in the summer after more time in Triple A. There’s no rush to promote Wheeler early, but we’ll see him soon enough.

We should also see catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud before the year is out, and I like the idea he’ll get a lot of time with Wheeler. The key to the R.A. Dickey trade from the Mets’ perspective, d’Arnaud has power potential, but he’s also coming off knee and back injuries.

Should he pan out then the Mets can argue success in the trade of their Cy Young Award winner.

Also something to look forward to is Ike Davis’ power. Davis, skillful around the first base bag, clubbed 32 homers last year after a bad start. He’s healthy now and two good halves could make 40 homers a realistic possibility. That’s a little over one a month. He could get that, along with more walks and fewer strikeouts, with an improved plate presence.

Then there is David Wright, who played at a MVP clip in the first half before the pressures of carrying the Mets on his back became too great a burden.

I’m looking at .300, 30 and 100 from Wright, nothing less. He rarely talks about numbers, but he’d probably say the same if pressed.

No, I don’t know how the Mets will do this year. However, if these six players can play to what is expected of them, this has a chance to be an interesting summer.

12 thoughts on “Something To Look Forward To From The Mets

  1. You bring up 2000 so I looked it up. Yes. Their OF was way superior to the janitors we have.

    The other points here, you keep saying hope is not a plan. Everything you say is hope. I will hope to win the lottery and become independently wealthy. Then the Mets team will be perfect as you say.

    Nice try John :)

    • dave: Sure, it is all hope. But, is that something you can rely on? By the way, I’ll make a pact with you. If either of us win the lottery, we’ll cut the other in. Thanks.-JD

  2. I agree with John. There is a lot to look forward to. A healthy Ike Davis hitting and Harvey pitching. At some point wheeler and D’Arnaud will be up and they will be fun to watch. Also, remember the name Colin Cowgill. I watched him play here in Reno for a year and he was an exciting player and plays hard and hustles all the time. Mets fans will love the way he plays. It was an underrated player move. I’m happy that the mets finally have affront office that knows what they are doing. It’s funny, when Minaya was the GM everyone thought Jeff Wilpon was making the decisions behind the scenes and they were mad. You have not heard anything like that since Alderson took over and fans are still unhappy. As one website said, ” the grown ups are in charge.” Alderson is not signing 47 year old bench players to two year contracts. He is being careful in everything he does and I don’t have one problem with that. I don’t have hope I have confidence that the mets are moving in the right direction and that is a team built to contend year after year instead of just one year. Pitchers and catchers. Lets say that again. Pitchers and catchers. It’s baseball season. Everyone should be happy.

    • Glen

      I too like much of what John says. However as I write above it is all hope. Hope that Ike has a full season like the second half. Hope that Harvey does not catch the sophomore jinx. Hope that David has a full season like his first half. Hope that Santana can put in at least another good first half. Hope that Niese can win more than 13 games and does not get injured. Hope that Gee is healthy and can continue to stay ahead of the hitters. Hope that Marcum can be effective and give at least 150 innings. Hope that the new bull pen can be effective and not where out by June. Hope that the OF we have can actually play the game. That means not be a complete butcher ( like Duda ) and make the routine play. Hope that Capt Kirk has adjusted to the breaking pitch. hope that the collection of AAAA 210 hitters can contribute in some way.

      I am most worried about the defense. Last year the OF defense was mostly good ( with the exception of Duda). So the pitchers can pitch and win games.

      I fear the lack of any talent in the OF will cause the pitchers to be scared and so they won’t be able to pitch. The offense also will not be able to keep pace with the opponents and the pen will get killed.

      The infield is mostly fine. And the starting pitching might be ok for a half. Perhaps all the relievers that are signed might be stronger than last year. But the OF defense will kill you and the 3 spots in the lineup ( 1/3 of it ) will kill any offense.

      Prediction: lose 100 games

      • dave: Sure, most of it is hope. I don’t deny that. There are few provens with the Mets, few things you can bank on. You can’t project a player doing more than his career best. Now that Davis has hit 30 homers, it is reasonable to think he can do it again. I can’t say he’s a 40-homer guy until he does it. …. I agree the potentially porous outfield could be a problem with the pitchers. … I don’t think they’ll lose 100, then again, I wouldn’t be shocked. I’d like to see .500, but that is only hoping everything breaks to the positive. Again, that’s hope, nothing substantial to base that on.-JD

    • Hmm, I think everyone thought Jeffy pooh made the decision to give Wright a contracw about his big free agent sign, that great closer, Francisco out of shape loser, two years much larger than Franco’s deal. that this fraud of a GM screamed was a terrible thing to do, give a contract that long. The man who you claim is the big boy in charge oppesed long term deals publicly from day one and then all of a sudden bingo and 8 year deal is good!!!! Yeah, more likely Jeffy and Daddy told the fraud I mean the GM that hey, we lose him we’ll challenge 1962 attendance. Sign him. And if the worst thing you can find about Minaya was a deal of very small proportions to Julio Franco then he must have been a pretty dammed good GM because Alderson hasn’t made one move proven to be any good. And how about that big signing of his. That great closer, contract much biggerthan Julio’s. How’s he doing. Eating all that money because he sure has been the worst closer in modern history. Hmm, Alderson’s careful. Careful and still makes horrid decisions . All he ‘s given is worsening records and falling attendance. But I hope you go alot since you are so excited about this grown up team Alderson has given you.

      • If the two trades lead to players who will start for 10 years that will be an improvement.

        I am not saying I like what he has done, but he cut costs and changed the tone. We see reporting that others respect our minor league now. This team will suck, but in a few years if things go right we can have a nice little team

      • Let’s go over some of Omar’s greatest misses shall we?
        Moises Alou (a couple of contracts)
        Julio Franco (a couple of contracts)
        Jose Valentin (loved the ‘stache, but lightning in a bottle)
        Jason Bay (ugh)
        Oliver Perez (bidding against himself)
        Luis Castillo (see Ollie)
        Damion Easley (see Valentin)
        Trading Heath Bell, Matt Lidstrom, Henry Owens way too early, for little return
        Francisco Rodriguez
        JJ Putz (traded for him without a physical, Putz then pitches in the WBC and his elbow winds up shredded)

        Oh, and the year the entire draft was comprised of relief pitchers, none of whom panned out.

        His pissing contest with Adam Rubin, then of the Daily News. Allowing Tony Bernazard to continue to have a job.

        Now, what has Alderson done in terms of signing or trades that comes even close to being that bad?

        You complain he hasn’t signed anyone. Of course, you ignore the fact that there really isn’t anyone out there that was worth the investment that was needed. And you ignore the fact that the idiot owners have nowhere near the funds they once did.

        • Ed: I think you got most of them. There was also his 3 am firing of Willie Randolph and hiring of Jerry Manuel. That set the team back several years. You also forgot Guillermo Mota – two years after failing a drug test – and Scott Schoeneweis. There were others, I am sure of, but your point is well taken.-JD

          • Ooooh, Schoenweis, I forgot him. A guy with extreme splits who the GM and manager insisted could face batters from both sides of the plate. Didn’t work out to well did it? Mota was a mistake, and then resigning him AFTER he failed the test was absurd.
            It is laughable how people try to say Omar was a good GM. I am still waiting for one of his international signings to work out. Fernando Martinez – rushed and failed. Wilmer Flores – still waiting. Francisco Pena – waiting. All that money spent on those guys, and very little return to date.
            People can of course disagree with Alderson’s moves, or lack thereof, but to ignore what he has done to put the team in a better position is foolish. Cutting payroll allows the team to save money, and will hopefully allow them to be able to spend when the right player(s) become available.

    • glen: Thanks so much for your comments. They are greatly appreciated. There are enough hopeful things to look forward to on this roster that could make the summer enjoyable. That’s all I’m after for now. It is better they have some young players to build around for a change.-JD