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Joseph Falchetti is a professional sports bettor, avid poker player and self-confessed baseball addict. Aside from handicapping US sports, he’s also a full time correspondent for http://www.sportsbettingonline.net/ where he has a bi-weekly column focusing on all things football, baseball and basketball.
With Opening Day less than a month away, the Mets have a number of make or break players on their roster that will shape their 2013 season. We’ll analyze Ike Davis’ projections for the season and take a look at how the starting rotation will stack up without R.A Dickey.
Can Ike Davis become a consistent source of left hander power for the Mets?
Ike Davis could be in for the best season of his career in 2013. Though, his numbers last year were nothing earth shattering, he proved he can hit with power, even in the spacious Citi Field.
His .227 average last season was in part due to bad luck (he suffered from his worst BABIP in his career last season), but also due to his inability to hit left-handed pitching. He will need to improve against southpaws to become one of the NL’s top first baseman. Even if he does not make significant strides this year against lefties there are a lot reasons to envision a breakout season from the 25-year-old entering the prime of his career.
He was notoriously unluckily last year, but as we saw towards the end of the season, his luck started to turn around. Davis had the fifth most home runs in the 2nd half of the season with 20. Even in the first half, despite his poor average, Davis had 12 home runs before the All-Star Break. Davis might have 40 home run power and this could be the season he shows the baseball world what he can really do. If he can improve dramatically against lefties – there is still time in his young career – who knows what he could accomplish.
We see Davis smacking 30 home runs easily this year and think he will see a substantial jump in average to around .260 while he knocks in 100+ RBIs for the Mets.
Can the starting rotation overcome the loss of R.A. Dickey?
Losing Cy Young Winner R.A. Dickey would be an enormous loss for any team, but the Mets look to have a starting rotation poised to make some noise this season. Barring injury, the Mets will go with Johan Santana, Jonathan Niese, Matt Harvey, Shaun Marcum and Dillion Gee.
We’ll break down each pitcher and throw out some projections for 2013.
Johan Santana: Santana has been above average when he has been healthy the past few seasons, but injuries are always a serious worry for him. Seemingly always dealing with some sort of ailment, he missed all of the 2011 season and finished last year on the disabled list.
His loss in velocity has been noticeable over recent years. His fastball stands in the high 80s, at best. Still, his health issues and age are his true weaknesses. He is a smart pitcher when he’s on the mound, but getting a full season from Santana seems extremely unlikely. We see a 14-9/ 3.50/ 1.25/160 line in 2013 from Johan.
Jonathon Niese: If anyone emerges from the rotation as a legitimate ace, it will likely be Jonathon Niese. Some might look at his 3.40 ERA last season and consider it a fluke, but Niese is smart pitcher who can rely on his formidable control to get ahead in the count.
He is not going strike out a lot of batters, but he will not be walking many either. We like Niese as a 15-game winner with solid peripherals. We see a 2013 line of 15-7/3.00/1.10/165 for Niese this year.
Dillion Gee: Besides Niese, we think Dillion Gee has the best chance to surprise Met fans this year. Gee’s season ended prematurely in July of last year with a blood clot in the shoulder. While shoulder injuries can be problematic with pitchers, Gee’s was an exceptional case because surgery was performed to prevent future clotting. Gee looks to be fully healthy coming into the 2013 season.
In just over 109 innings last year, Gee had a K-rate of 7.98 and a 21% K percentage. He suffered a lot of bad luck early in the season (his BABIP in April/May was .350) and never truly got a chance to pitch his way out of his poor start.
Gee could easily take a giant step forward with a full season under his belt. We like Gee to exceed expectations and have a 2013 line of 11-9/3.90/1.19/150.
Matt Harvey: The young rookie has all the potential in the world. Regularly hitting 97 mph with his fastball and having an enviable set of strikeout pitches, Harvey has limitless potential. Still, there may be some growing pains for the young rookie in his first full season in the Show. We’re predicting a 2013 line of 9-8/4.10/1.33/200.
Shawn Marcum: Marcum is a bit of a wildcard as his career has been mired with injuries. He missed a large part of last season due to elbow tightness and looks to be suffering from similar symptoms this spring. We doubt fans will see more than 150 innings from Marcum, but if he stays healthy he could be a large part of this pitching staff. Our 2013 projections for Marcum are 10-6/3.70/1.31/135.
Overall, the Mets rotation looks to bounce back from the R.A. Dickey trade well. They will certainly need plenty of spot starts with many injury prone starters, but the upside in this rotation might be the best in the National League.