Anyway...For the last time before the madness starts tonight…
Mets Predictions 2011
Final Record 80-82 4th NL East behind Braves, Phils, Marlins.
Free Agent to be Jose Reyes in his walk year will put up a solid if unspectacular season of .288, 16 HR, 97 runs scored 72 RBI 57 SBs he will falter somewhat defensively as his mind will be elsewhere far too often worrying about trade deadline deal possibility..But he’ll finish the season and sign a 6 year deal averaging 17.75 million per.
Center Fielder Angel Pagan will continue proving his value with an outstanding season of .304 18 HR, 93 RBI, 91 runs scored, 41 SBs and will be in the top 5 Gold Glove vote getters in CF.
Third baseman David Wright will flourish as the new management looks to him to assume a more visible leadership role. Ducky will put up a stellar season with a BA of .281, 33 HR, 107 RBI, 88 runs, 22 SBs and his defense will improve as he starts trusting his first baseman and just throws the ball naturally, he too will be among the top 5 Gold Glove vote getters at 3B.
The self described, self effacing right fielder Carlos Beltran in his walk year will put up decent 1st half numbers of .279, 12 HR, 43 RBI 13 SBs, and will be moved to the Angels or Mariners in exchange for pitching prospects after the All Star break.
Ike Davis at first base will continue his growth but not quite as fast as most fans expect. The youngster will be solid defensively saving numerous errant throws while struggling a bit at the plate during his second and 3rd time through the pitching staffs in the NL. I expect him to hit around .269 with 16 HRs and 72 RBI in 2011. A strong work ethic will help Davis during the next offseason make more dramatic stride in his offensive improvement for 2012.
Jason Bay will return from his latest injury only to find he has lost some of his timing yet again forcing him to struggle mightily at the plate in the spacious dimensions of Citi Field through much of the first half. I think he’ll rebound strongly in the second half following the trade of Beltran to finish with a solid .281 BA with 22 HRs to go with 77 RBI leading him to work especially hard during the offseason as he’ll return to be the everyday right fielder in 2012 after the Mets acquire a Grady Sizemore type player to play left next season.
The young catcher Josh Thole will gain plenty of confidence at the plate as he becomes more comfortable handling the pitching staff as varied as it will be this season and he’ll continue to receive accolades as a top notch receiver as his offense strengthens. I’d expect Josh. (Or is it Jose?) to hit around .266 with a dozen or so homers while driving in 55 to 60 runs. I see him being a catcher who’ll control the opponents’ baserunning by throwing out a solid 35-40 percent of runners attempting to steal.
Young Brad Emaus will struggle both defensively and offensively as the media and fan base continues to exert pressure on him to justify his “earning” the starting second base job. I’d expect to see him tutored by the likes of Tim Teufel and Wally Backman throughout the season while watching Daniel Murphy get some playing time at 2B. Emaus should be fine eventually; he seems like a hard working, smart kid who has the backing of the all important JP Ricciardi in the front office. The rule 5 draftee will finish with .253, 13 Hrs, 48 RBI and will struggle with about 25 errors at 2B in about 100 games.
The bench/role/fill in outfield players will have a great deal of influence on the performance of the club beginning with the need for Lucas Duda, Willie Harris and Scott Hairston to start quite a few games in the early absence of Bay along with the uncertainty of Beltran. All are adequate replacement players with Duda showing a good bit of upside as a potential power bat off the bench.
Our old pal Danny Murphy makes this club as the de facto back up second baseman/third baseman/first baseman and emergency, I stress emergency outfielder. Murph has decent pop in his bat and has become a more disciplined hitter who’ll get ample chances to play as the young Emaus endures his rookie struggles. Chin Lung Hu...Who will serve primarily as Reyes’ caddie will be a solid defensive replacement until mid season when the Mets may be forced to take a look at giving Ruben Tejada another chance if the club decodes to move Reyes to another team. With the problems Ronnie Paulino has experienced the club looks to young Mike Nickeas as the backup catcher at the big league level when the kid needs to be down catching everyday so I look for the Mets to seek out a “professional” MLB backup catcher in the near future.
The starting rotation as it’s constituted on Opening Day will provide;
Mike Pelfrey 15-13 235 IP, 167 K, 4.14 ERA
RA Dickey 16-8 257 IP 3.27 ERA
Jon Niese 10-12 197 IP, 149 K, 3.77 ERA
Chris Young 12-12 179 IP 122 K, 4.22 ERA
Chris Capuano 9-11 162 IP 90K, 4.41 ERA
Considering the devastating effect the loss of Johan Santana will have until his return on July 22 (my birthday) the starters will have performed admirably with the help of Pat Misch, Dillon Gee and yes Jenrry Mejia along the way. Santana by the way will be dominant for about 10 starts over the final month and a half of the season bringing renewed optimism for 2012.
The Bullpen will be largely effective but the lack of starting depth will create chances for Jason Isringhausen and the return of Manny Acosta (just kidding there ...sort of). Look for continued consistency from Bobby Parnell, Taylor Buchholz, DJ Carrasco (who’ll be forced to make some spot starts) and Tim Byrdak... Not sure what the bright lights and big city will do to young Pedro Beato or Blaine Boyer who was abandoned by pitching Guru Dave Duncan in St. Louis.
Francisco Rodriguez will once again be a formidable closer while converting 36 of 42 save opportunities.
Wow, that‘s toooo loooong..LOLAs Always