2012 Outlook: New York Mets

The 2012 New York Mets are coming off a year where they struggled quite a bit, particularily in the pitching department. Offensively they had a pretty good year, but their top offensive player Jose Reyes signed a  contract with division rival Miami Marlins. They also traded outfielder Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants for pitching prospect Zach Wheeler. If they hope to produce offensively this year, they will need third baseman David Wright to step up.

Last season Jose Reyes had his best offense season of his career, his .337/.384/.493 and a 149 wRC+ were all career highs. While some of that success can be attributed to his high BABIP, speed is a big contributor and Reyes is extremely fast. All of that will be missed though because Reyes is a Miami Marlin now. Replacing him will be 23 year old Ruben Tejdada. In 376 plate appearances last season, Tejada posted a .284/.360/.335 like with a 100 wRC+. Tejada won’t replace Reyes’ production but he has the potential to be a serviceable ballplayer. Daniel Murphy is penciled in as the starting second baseman, and he had productive 3 WAR season. He doesn’t have a lot of power but he can supply league average to above league average offense. He doesn’t bring a lot of defense to the table though.

Ike Davis was looking like he was going to be a good first baseman, he had a really good 2010 season and the Mets had big hopes going into 2011. Unfortunately he was hurt most of the season and only played 36 games. If he can stay healthy this season he can be a 3-4 WAR player with plus power. David Wright is coming off a terrible year where he only produced 1.9 WAR. The Mets need him to stay healthy and for his power return. Before last season and not counting his rookie year, he constantly put up WARs between 3.5 and 9. That’s the production the Mets need. Josh Thole will be the opening day catcher. He doesn’t offer much offensively, he’s probably better as a back-up, but the Mets don’t have much.

Since Jason Bay signed with the Mets it’s been no secret that he’s been a complete bust. His power has completely disappeared and he’s on the cusp of being a replacement level player. That’s not exactly what the Mets had in mind when they signed him. If he can get some of his power back and manage 2.5 WAR the Mets would have to be happy with that. New comer Andrews Torres is expected to take over center field, Torres, the former Giant had a career year in 2010, but in 2011 he fell back to earth. He’s an above average defender, with the potential to be above average. He isn’t known for his bat, so any offensive production that the Mets will get out of him will be a bonus. Lucas Duda is expected to play right, and is coming off of a productive offensive season. In 100 games he displayed above average power, and a good eye at the plate. He wasn’t much of a defender, but we can’t take his defensive numbers seriously.

Since Johan Santana came over from the Twins he hasn’t been the greatest pitcher. He’s had some solid seasons but unless he has a big turnaround, his days as an ace are probably gone. If he can come back from his injury and produce 2.5-3 WAR the Mets would have to be satisfied. Jonathan Niese may be the only other bright spot in the rotation. His 3.27 xFIP says that he may have gotten unlucky last season and that his 4.30 ERA wasn’t deserved. If he can bring his ERA down he can be a successful #2 or #3 for the Mets. Mike Pelfrey is a pitcher who can be a workhorse for your rotation but it will come at a cost of a 3.5-4 ERA. R.A. Dickey is interesting, last season was one of his best seasons as a pro. If he can keep his ERA down he should hold down the #4 spot in the rotation. Dillion Gee struggled last season but he’s a fine option for the #5 spot.

The bullpen has some pitchers who can be pretty good. Jon Rauch came over as a free agent and can be a solid set-up man. Former Met Francisco Rodriguez re-signed with the club to take over the closer role. The rest of the guys aren’t expected to do much.

Overall this probably  won’t be a great year for the Mets. The loss of Reyes will really hurt, Wright will have to step it up. The pitching has the potential to be decent, but not much else. If the Mets struggle during the first half, look for them to deal David Wright for some prospects.

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