Key Additions—Chris Capuano, Chris Young
Key Losses—Pedro Feliciano, Rod Barajas
Lineup—By name recognition only, this lineup on paper would appear to be very strong. Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes and David Wright. Wow. But then you dig in. Outside of David Wright, I don’t believe any of them can be counted on for a full season. When healthy, Reyes is an absolute spark plug at the top of the lineup. Jason Bay couldn’t stay healthy last year, and even when he has been in a Mets uniform he hasn’t been all that good. And what can they expect out of Beltran is anyone’s guess, although I do expect him to have a bounce back year. Ike Davis looked pretty good as a rookie at 1B, but Luis Castillo is well below average at 2nd base. The defense Angel Pagan brings cannot be overlooked, but he isn’t much of a hitter. I do think this lineup has some pieces that could score some runs, but the lack of depth will mean staying healthy is an absolute must.
Rotation—Without Johan Santana, this rotation has taken a big hit. And the fact that they can’t count on him until at least the All Star break means this rotation will have to keep up in the division without him. Can they do that? Mike Pelfrey has a very good season last year, but he is at best a 2 or 3 starter. Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey are average pitchers, and needing them to step into the 2nd and 3rd slots spells disaster. I don’t think that Chris Capuano has much left in the tank, but I really like the signing of Chris Young. In that ballpark I think he has the chance to regain some of his old form, although even a CY Young year will not save this rotation within the division.
Bullpen—Off the field, Francisco Rodriguez was a mess. But he still has great stuff and the mental aspect of being a shut down closer. Outside of that though, this bullpen is lacking arms. I will say I am curious as to what to expect out of Jenrry Mejia. He could prosper into a late inning type of reliever, or they could put him in the rotation. Outside of the possibility of Mejia, they just don’t have any arms to shut down teams.
Impact Rookie—Fernando Martinez, OF. We in the prospecting community have created the hype monster that is F-Mart years ago, and now we are too quick to dismiss him. While I don’t think he’ll be a star in this league, he’s still too young to cast off. If he can shake off the injury bug he could still develop into an MLB regular.
Outlook—At least they rid themselves of Omar Minaya, who continued to dish out big contracts to players. Jason Bay and Oliver Perez to name a few. And the Bernie Madoff situation isn’t helping anything either. This team is still a few years from contending. They still need to rid themselves of a few contracts, and need Johan Santana to come back strong. But this team will not contend this year, despite having a large payroll. To me, they can only hope that Reyes and Beltran perform to their previous levels, and they are able to deal them to help with the rebuilding process. But be prepared to see this team at the bottom of the standings.
Brad Koesters, MLB Correspondent
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