The team has so many questions to sort out it might perversely make the spring games more interesting...how will the pen shape up after K-Rod and Feliciano? What happens at first base between Murphy, Jacobs and Ike Davis? How will the AB's at CF and C be divvied up? And will we be able to get bounceback years from the #2-4 starters?
My guesses on these things..
* = Escobar might not be ready by Opening Day, so the Mets could carry an extra reliever in his place until hes ready to go. I'm going to guess Fernando Nieve makes the roster by default considering hes out of options and I'm pretty sure the Mets would like to keep him and not run the risk of trying to pass him through waivers. The Mets could opt to carry a 2nd lefty in the absence of Escobar (not Takahashi), and I would keep my eye on Eric Niesen this spring - he might have a legit shot at making the bullpen as the 2nd lefty. He worked as a starter last year in high-A and AA and he was pretty impressive vs lefties: 3.17 FIP, 34 IP, 26 hits, 1.11 WHIP, 43 K, 50% GB rate.
1B: Murphy will be the Opening Day starter with either Catalanotto, Carter, or Jacobs as the final guy on the bench. As for Ike Davis, he'll likely start out in AAA, but I wouldn't bet against him coming up by mid-season and taking over the job, especially if Murphy is doing pretty mediocre and the Mets are looking for some pop. But giving him the job right from the get-go would be a mistake, he needs to improve vs breaking pitches and left handed pitching, no need to rush him.
CF: I'm hoping Jerry and Co. use some brains here. Angel Pagan is by far the superior player. Gary Matthews Jr. should be on the bench serving as the team cheerleader, occasionally getting some pinch hit chances, and then hopefully he'll be released when Beltran returns (though this probably won't happen). So lets hope Jerry pulls a Nick Evans with Matthews Jr!
Rotation: Its definitely an iffy one. I'm going to assume the rotation will look like this: Santana, Pelfrey, Maine, Perez, Niese, so yeah, the onus is going to be on the Pelf-Maine-Ollie trio. I think Pelfrey will rebound actually, and hopefully he'll get some better defense in front of him too. John Maine, when healthy (key phrase), is a pretty solid starter. In 2007 he pitched 191 innings and was worth +2.7 wins. Injuries really derailed his last 2 seasons (despite pitching for a good portion of the season, he was pitching hurt in 2008, and 2009 was a lost season due to injury as well). But again, if healthy, I'm fairly confident in John Maine's abilities; his peripherals have always been pretty solid (career .235 average against, 7.47 K/9). As for Ollie, jeez who knows. All reports have been hes looking good in spring, though I wouldn't take that as gospel. I'd be satisfied with a year somewhere between what he did in 2007 and 2008, so something like a 4.40 tERA over 170+ innings, anything else is gravy. I might be the only one who feels this way, but I really think Jon Niese is going to have a surprisingly good year for us. Ever since he incorporated the cutter more into his repertoire (around late-May of last year) he put up dominant numbers in AAA and looked very good in his 2nd stint last year with the Mets (albeit only 3 starts). But I think he'll have a really strong rookie year, and won't be just a run of the mill #5 starter.
I should also mention its going to be a fun here to follow some of our upper-echelon prospects. Jenrry Mejia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Brad Holt, and Reese Havens will all likely be in AA from the get-go, with F-Mart, Ike Davis, Josh Thole, and maybe even Ruben Tejada in AAA from the start.
I'm glad its baseball season again, and I'm glad we can put 2009 behind us. Lets Go Mets
Edited by nmigliore, 26 February 2010 - 12:01 PM.