NY Sports Dog: Mets 2010 Season Prediction

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mets 2010 Season Prediction

The Mets will be better in 2010 than they were in 2009, the question is how much better?

While many pundits are predicting a long season, I believe there is reason for hope and that the Mets will compete well and challenge for the division.

Let's begin with a look at the positions:

Catcher. In the off-season I thought the Mets would fare best with a youth movement, both here and at first base.  Last year's catching duo of Brian Schneider and Ramon Castro are long gone, and I truly felt Josh Thole could handle the job provided the Mets added a veteran caddy.  Instead of going with this plan, the Mets added a bunch of veteran backstops, and two of them are poised to handle the catching duties in 2010.  Both Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco are pretty sound defensive catchers with power and a canny knack for not getting on base.  I do think these guys will help the staff and do what doctors promise to their patients--do no harm.

First base. First is the other "youth movement" position.  Ike Davis had an outstanding 2009 minor league campaign, followed by a brilliant fall, and an even better spring--he goes to the minors.  Daniel Murphy, a big-time punching bag in 2009, had a steady spring, especially defensively.  Unfortunately for Mr Murphy, he tweaked his knee and start the season on the DL. It looks like once promising slugger Mike Jacobs has won the role as the opening day first sacker.  Jacobs has a very long swing, strikes out a ton, and plays defense like my grandmother--but he is a super nice guy and he'll hit the occasional long ball when his bat somehow finds the ball.  Fernando Tatis, who had a horrible spring, figures to get some playing time here as well.  I really would have liked the Mets to go with Chris Carter here.
VerdictStatus Quo 

Second base. Let me start by saying I actually like Luis Castillo a lot.  That said, Jerry just uses him the wrong way.  He hit for average last year, and his OBP was terrific, but the man has no business in the 2 hole.  He bunts too often, has zero power, and his range at second is more limited by the day.  I am certainly OK with Castillo at second this year, but he should bat 8th--period.
VerdictStatus Quo

Third base. Mr Met David Wright needs a big season--and he is going to have one.  Last year he was a mental train wreck, and he suffered more than most from the AAA lineup the Mets put out in 2009.  His power is back this spring, and he looks like the David Wright of old.  I think he'll hit 30+ homeruns with a ton of doubles and RBIs while playing slightly above league average third base.

Shortstop. Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose!  He's back, and he could be back on opening day if the Mets weren't so gun shy right now with injuries.  Jose is going to bring the go-go Mets back and spark the entire lineup with his talents.  With Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Jason Bay behind him in the lineup, Reyes can easily score 120 runs in 2010.  He is going to miss the first 5 games of the season, but that's fine if he stays healthy the rest of the year.  I am expecting the best season of his career.

Outfield. Call me crazy, but I think the Mets 2010 outfield might be the best the team has ever had.  Jason Bay is a tremendous hitter and veteran presence who will provide the stability and power that the Mets never seem to find in their leftfielder.  Carlos Beltran, who should be back in a few weeks, is one of the premier centerfielders in the game.  He is a true five-tool player and a clutch performer.  Jeff Francoeur seems to have a new lease on life.  If he gets on base at anything above a .330 clip, the rest of his game will be there, including excellent defense, an agressive attitude, and a wonderful clubhouse presence.  This group will delight Mets fans all year--after Beltran gets back that is.  I am confident in Angel Pagan and Gary Mathews to fill in well--both guys are big time talents that add a great deal of depth to the team.
VerdictMajor Upgrade

Rotation. Oh boy--this is the tough one.  The Mets really failed to address rotation concerns this off-season.  Johan Santana was lit up regularly this spring, but you just know he's going to compete for the Cy Young this year.  After that, it's a game of who knows?  John Maine has one excuse after another.  I expect him to battle all year, and struggle a lot.  A 10-15 record would not surprise me with a 4.50 to 4.80 ERA.  Mike Pelfrey is the real wildcard--he looks great from a physical perspective, but his pitches were really flat this spring.  That could be a function of him working on stuff, or it could be that he's lost some of the sink on his fastball.  Regardless, I do think he is the most overcoached pitcher in the rotation.  Oliver Perez might be done.  With the spring he's had, the Mets might be wise to send him to AAA for a month--the issue is there aren't many other options other than to start him wit the big club--and hope for the best.  Jonathan Niese had a solid spring, and seems ready to resume what looks to be a promising big league career.  Expect at least 15% of the Mets starts to come from pitchers other than these five.
VerdictStatus Quo

Bullpen. The Mets bullpen looks pretty strong to me right now.  Francisco Rodriguez is a gamer--yes he had some health issues, but he's had a really solid spring, and there's no reason to think his 2010 won't be anything short of outstanding.  The setup man job was won by default by Pedro Feliciano.  This is not great in that Felciano excelled at his specialist role and has for quite some time--he is death to lefty's and can pitch almost daily.  Takahashi seems like a great fit, and he will definitely get some starts mixed in with his long relief role.  Kiko Calero should get the final spot--he will become a fan favorite.  The other members of the bullpen, which could feature Jennry Mejia (60% chance of him making it per Adam Rubin), are a decent mix of talents that should provide Jerry Manuel with a lot of options.

Prediction. While the Mets aren't on anyone's radar scope as anything near a favorite, they are also much better than many of the fourth and fifth place finishes that are being spouted by various pundits.  The team is solid offensively, has a true Ace, a great closer, and there is serious potential lurking in that starting rotation.  The bench is the best the Mets have had in a while, and the bullpen is really stocked with arms of different flavors that could be a real difference-maker in many a close game.

Survey Says.....

86-76, third in the NL East, miss the playoffs by 3.5 games.

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