March 8, 2013; Lakeland, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Bobby Parnell (39) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2013 MLB Preview: New York Mets 25-Man Roster Predictions (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of our Mets 25-man roster predictions. Yesterday, four of our esteemed writers (Mike Lecolant, Sam Maxwell, Will DeBoer, and Danny Abriano) gave us their picks and thoughts behind their respective 25-man rosters. Today, the second half of our staff provides their selections as to who will be in the dugout when the Mets take the field against the San Diego Padres.

Matt Musico, Senior Editor:

Mar 18, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud

 

Starting Rotation (in order): LHP Jonathon Niese, RHP Shaun Marcum, RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Dillon Gee, RHP Jeremy Hefner

Bullpen: CP Bobby Parnell, RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Greg Burke, LHP Robert Carson, RHP LaTroy Hawkins

First Base: Ike Davis

Second Base: Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner

Shortstop: Ruben Tejada, Omar Quintanilla

Third Base: David Wright

Outfield: Lucas Duda, Collin Cowgill, Jordany Valdespin, Mike Baxter, Marlon Byrd

Why I made these picks:

It’s pretty self-explanatory with who will be occupying the five rotation spots, but there is plenty of debate amongst our staff as to how they should be ordered. I like having Marcum in the second spot, and I’m happy to see Hefner have a good spring so he can come north as the fifth starter; he’s the most consistent option while Johan Santana continues to get himself ready to face Big League hitters.

However the bullpen is constructed, it will be better than last year (at least, that’s what I keep telling myself). Parnell, Lyon, and Edgin are no-brainers, and I think Scott Atchison pretty much has his spot in the ‘pen. I’m a huge fan of Pedro Feliciano, but the lack of length in his spring outings don’t convince me he can hack it for a whole season, especially with the way Terry Collins will use his lefties. I’d rather see what Carson has to offer, and have Scott Rice in the minors as a back-up until Tim Byrdak is ready. I’d rather see Jeurys Familia instead of Hawkins, but I want to see Familia pitch exclusively as a reliever in Triple-A to start the season and see how he progresses first.

With regard to the position players, the infield has been set for a while, and I’m still holding faith both Wright and Murphy will be on the lineup card in a couple weeks. Justin Turner looks to be healthy, and Quintanilla has played way too well to not make the team. The outfield is a crapshoot, but I like what I’ve seen from Duda and Cowgill, while being pleasantly surprised by Valdespin. Byrd will be effective in short bursts, and while I didn’t want to give Baxter a spot because of his spring struggles, he’s the best of the rest at this point.

Kevin Baez, Staff Writer:

Starting Rotation (in order): LHP Jonathon Niese, RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Shaun Marcum, RHP Dillon Gee, RHP Jeremy Hefner

Bullpen: CP Bobby Parnell, RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP Josh Edgin, LHP Robert Carson, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Greg Burke, RHP LaTroy Hawkins

Catcher: John Buck, Landon Powell

First Base: Ike Davis

Second Base: Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner

Shortstop: Ruben Tejada, Omar Quintanilla

Third Base: David Wright

Outfield: Lucas Duda, Jordany Valdespin, Mike Baxter, Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd

Why he made these picks:

There is no buzz surrounding the Mets in terms of having high expectations for the 2013 season. After all, Cy Young winner and 20-game winner, R.A. Dickey is no longer in the fold. His leadership will be missed, but general manager Sandy Alderson received a pair of highly touted prospects in Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud that should hopefully be major pieces to the Mets’ long-term plan. With a sizable portion of payroll coming off the books at the end of the upcoming season, fans should expect the front office to be more proactive in making moves to improve this roster next winter. Now, that is not to say that you should expect the Mets’ brass to sign a group of high profile free agents, as it will most likely come from a combination of free-agent signings and trades. That being said, I am excited to see who the Mets would look to acquire in the near future. With the Nationals being a strong candidate to defend their National League East Division championship, I am not expecting the Mets to be a contender this year, but no one expected New York to contend for the first half of last season. Furthermore, no one expected the Oakland Athletics to contend, but yet they did. That shows that anything is possible and that is why you must play the games, regardless of what’s being said.

Rich Sparago, Staff Writer:

Starting Rotation (in order): LHP Jonathon Niese, RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Shaun Marcum, RHP Dillon Gee, RHP Jeremy Hefner

Bullpen: CP Bobby Parnell, RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Greg Burke, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, LHP Pedro Feliciano

Catcher: John Buck, Landon Powell

First Base: Ike Davis

Second Base: Daniel Murphy

Shortstop: Ruben Tejada

Third Base: David Wright

Outfield: Lucas Duda, Jordany Valdespin, Mike Baxter, Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd

Why he made these picks:

I think the Mets will take Turner (if healthy) instead of Bixler, and Recker over Powell. I also think they’ll start Marcum second, though I think that would be disrespect to Harvey and what he means to the franchise.

I would like to see Bixler get a shot off the bench, as I’m not a Turner fan. Bixler, though he has not hit for a high average, could steal a late-inning base, which Turner cannot do. Also, I think Turner’s time has come and gone in NY. It’s time for some new blood coming off the bench. Powell is a switch-hitting catcher, and that could give Collins more options off the bench. Recker has not distinguished himself this spring, to a point where he should be a lock to go north.

I like the 2013 bullpen quite a bit. While there are no stand-out performers, Collins should have a mix of youth and veterans, as well as left-handers and right-handers to work with. I’d bring Hawkins north out of camp, since he has extensive experience and can still top out in the low 90s. I’d like to see Familia, whom I like a lot, continue to hone his skills in Las Vegas, and be ready to assume a bullpen spot, either later this year or early next year.

As for the starters, I’d go with a starting outfield of Valdy in left (assuming Murphy can play 2B), Cowgill in center, and Baxter in right. Valdy and Cowgill up top of the lineup can actually bring the little speed the team has to the right place in the order. The lineup would be a bit barren of power, but I’ll take that trade to try to manufacture some runs. Duda would be on the team, and get some starts against right-handed pitching, however I’d prefer to go with a more speedy outfield on a regular basis.

If Wright starts the season on the DL, I’d give his spot to Lutz on a temporary basis.

Dan Haefeli, Staff Writer:

Starting Rotation (in order): LHP Jonathon Niese, RHP Shaun Marcum, RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Dillon Gee, RHP Jeremy Hefner

Bullpen: CP Bobby Parnell, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Greg Burke, RHP Jeurys Familia

Catcher: John Buck, Anthony Recker

First Base: Ike Davis

Second Base: Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner

Shortstop: Ruben Tejada, Omar Quintanilla

Third Base: David Wright

Outfield: Lucas Duda, Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd, Jordany Valdespin, Mike Baxter

Why he made these picks:

I went with the most likely 25-man roster I could assemble. As much as I like Justin Turner’s versatility, I feel that the Mets could be better served carrying Zack Lutz, who provides more right-handed power than Turner and can capably back up both Ike Davis and David Wright while Omar Quintanilla mans the middle infield positions. Turner’s versatility, however, will probably earn him the nod.
I like the starting players this year better than last; particularly in the outfield. As much as the prognosticators have lambasted the outfield, it’s hard to see platoons of Collin Cowgill and Jordany Valdespin in center and Marlon Byrd and Mike Baxter in right being worse at the plate than Jason Bay and Andres Torres. Moving Lucas Duda to left should help mitigate his defense, and his solid hitting this spring (.300/.353/.667 since starting 0-7) will hopefully get the ball rolling on a strong offensive campaign. Duda has the ability to be one of the majors’ better offensive outfielders (his 116 WRC+ over the past two seasons ranks 29th among major league outfielders with at least 800 plate appearances).
The infield returns all four starters (David Wright, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis), all four of whom have the ability to finish in the top 10 in OPS (for their positions). Intercostal strains plague both David Wright and Daniel Murphy, though both have at least a reasonable chance at being in the Opening Day lineup. Davis looks primed for a career season; his play over the last four months of 2012 represented a .900+ OPS and a rate of 40+ home runs over a full season. The additions of John Buck and Anthony Recker at catcher should provide a significant improvement over last year’s tandem of Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, and top prospect Travis d’Arnaud is primed to make an impact soemtime this summer.
The rotation appears to be a strength again this year. Though it lacks Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, the rotation as a collective unit could be better. Likely Opening Day starter Jonathon Niese had a career year in 2012, and looks primed to continue the upward trend in 2013. Matt Harvey has been fantastic since his debut against the Diamondbacks last summer, and this spring has solidified the confidence of Mets fans as he shows improved control and command of his dominant stuff. Dillon Gee could enjoy a season similar to Niese’s 2012; his peripherals last season were on par with some of the league’s elite, even if his ERA didn’t follow (Gee was one of 14 pitchers in the majors with a >20%K, <7%BB, and >6.1IP/start). Newcomer Shaun Marcum won’t light up the radar gun, but his remarkable consistency provide excellent stability in the rotation. Swingman Jeremy Hefner should start the season in place of Johan Santana, and should at least hold his own as a #5.
Bullpens are fickle, and there’s no guarantee that this year’s model will be an improvement. The new additions – Brandon Lyon, Scott Atchison, LaTroy Hawkins, and submariner Greg Burke – are all coming off successful 2012 seasons. Longtime Met and new closer Bobby Parnell has quietly put up three consecutive good seasons, and seems primed to take over the ninth inning. Josh Edgin had a largely successful showing in the majors last season and could develop into one of the better lefty relievers and a vital back-end piece. Though Terry Collins would likely rather have a second lefty in the pen (i.e. Pedro Feliciano), I opted for Jeurys Familia in the final spot, as his upside and talent could make him an excellent bullpen arm in short order, and he’s had a much better spring than lefties like Scott Rice and Robert Carson.

Ellie Silfin, Staff Writer:

Starting Rotation (in order): LHP Jonathon Niese, RHP Shaun Marcum, RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Dillon Gee, RHP Jeremy Hefner

Bullpen: CP Bobby Parnell, RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP Josh Edgin, LHP Pedro Feliciano, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Greg Burke

Catcher: John Buck, Anthony Recker

First Base: Ike Davis

Second Base: Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner

Shortstop: Ruben Tejada, Omar Quintanilla

Third Base: David Wright

Outfield: Mike Baxter, Lucas Duda, Marlon Byrd, Collin Cowgill, Jordany Valdespin

Why she made these picks:

One difference between my predicted roster and what I would prefer to see is the inclusion of Robert Carson in the bullpen. Terry Collins said the Mets are giving priority to veterans in the bullpen, which means Pedro Feliciano would make it instead of Carson. Another difference is that I would also like to see Zach Lutz on the roster, which may happen if David Wright is not ready for Opening Day. However, even with Wright on the roster I believe Lutz could bring more power off the bench than Justin Turner.

Even though Johan Santana is not in the shape anyone hoped he’d be in, the starting rotation is in pretty good shape. Jonathon Niese is ready to lead the rotation and I think the veteran presence of Marcum starting second will help him grow into a stronger leader. In the bullpen, Bobby Parnell has shown he did seem to turn a corner last season and should finally hold onto the closer’s role this year. Feliciano and Burke will provide a cool lefty-righty sidearm duo. Edgin gives the Mets two lefties and Lyon, Atchison, and Hawkins are the veterans Collins is set on keeping.

I believe David Wright and Daniel Murphy will both be ready for Opening Day. If they are unavailable the next in line should be Zach Lutz and Brandon Hicks with Lutz starting at 3rd base and Justin Turner starting at 2nd base. Terry Collins mentioned that Jordany Valdespin is his contingency plan for 2nd base without Murphy but I worry about his defense anywhere he plays and especially in the infield. Anthony Recker makes the team over Landon Powell because he is on the 40-man roster. As shown last year when Mike Nickeas made the team over Rob Johnson, the Mets seem to default to roster status when neither player is overwhelmingly productive.

Spring training got off to rough start, especially in the outfield. However, if Cowgill, Byrd, and even Duda, continue their production during the season the panic will become a distant memory. Jordany Valdespin could really help but he has to prove his immature antics are a thing of the past. This team is ultimately building for next year and beyond but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun to watch some guys grow right in front of our eyes.

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Tags: 2013 MLB Preview David Wright Jonathon Niese New York Mets

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