September 18, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda (21) circles the bases after hitting a home run against Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) (not shown) during the ninth inning at Turner Field. The Mets defeated the Braves 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Rising Apple Interviews Writer Matt Kaufman


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).

RA: Of the Mets younger players (Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Jonathon Niese, Mike Pelfrey), who do you see stepping up and becoming an actual reason to go to the park?

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.


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