Matt Kaufman has been a contributing writer for Rising Apple since January 6, 2011. He also works at MLB.com in the overnight hours. But more importantly, he is a die-hard New York Mets fan, and an unrelenting optimist. Luckily, he had a moment to answer some questions for us today.
Rising Apple: Thanks for joining us for this interview, Matt.
Matt Kaufman: My pleasure, I love Rising Apple.
RA: You better. Ahem, anyway. Which off-season acquisition do you think will be the most fruitful?
M: Well, the Mets haven’t done a whole lot this off-season, but I think Frank Francisco–only because it solidifies the back of the bullpen, and he had a strong second half in 2011 (3.79 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 4.00 K/BB, and a .188/.220/.323 line against).
M: I’m a big Ike supporter, but I’d have to say Lucas Duda. He possesses incredible raw power and now has some confidence at the plate. I think Citi Field could become his launching pad.
RA: What kind of season are you expecting from Johan Santana?
M: It’s so hard to predict, but I’m expecting around 20 starts where he performs at a solid, but not Johan-esque level. The Mets still have a lot invested in him for 2013 and possibly 2014, so I wouldn’t push him. In terms of numbers: 7-5, 4.20 ERA, 2.78 K/BB.
RA: Which one of the Mets prospects do you see getting the call and actually contributing?
M: Kirk Nieuwenhuis. I don’t see Andres Torres making it past the All-Star break, and assuming Captain Kirk has recovered from last season’s injury, he will be patrolling center field at some point for the Mets this season.
RA: How many games do you think the Mets will win this season?
M: I’m a little bit of an optimist, so I will say 80. Obviously I hope for more.
RA: On an important topic, is there a particular bobble head day are you most excited for?
M: Tough question because there are so many good ones this year. I have to go with Edgardo Alfonzo. He was a great all-around player who had plenty of seasons in New York.
RA: Matt, thank you for your time. You’ve been a gentleman and a scholar.
M: I could never resist your charm.