The calendar has turned to 2014, and pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Port St. Lucie in less than six weeks.
With a new year upon us and a new season close, the Rising Apple staff offers some bold Mets predictions for 2014:
Danny Abriano, Editor:
The Mets will sign Stephen Drew:
I don’t view this as a “bold” prediction, but mostly everyone else does, so it fits. The Mets have stated in public that they “think” they’re happy with Ruben Tejada, which isn’t really an endorsement. With Drew’s market pretty much non-existent, and the Mets still in dialogue with Scott Boras (who represents Drew), I think a union between Drew and the Mets is just a matter of time. I’ll predict a two year deal worth $24 million.
The bullpen will be very good:
There’s been some recent concern that the Mets’ bullpen is a bigger issue than shortstop. While the Mets will be relying on a host of younger, inexperienced bullpen arms in 2014, I prefer that over having veterans for the sake of it. I’ll predict that the Mets will head north with Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, Gonzalez Germen, Josh Edgin, Scott Rice, and Carlos Torres. The first four have live arms, the next two are capable lefties, and Torres will serve as a swingman in a bullpen that’s a strength.
Sam Maxwell, Staff Writer:
Everyone thinks the Mets might finally put up a fight this year, but still fall short of making the playoffs. Some say they could potentially battle for a 2nd Wild Card.
I say they will surprise everybody and take the first Wild Card, maybe even battle for the division.
I believe we have a team that will be coming together at just the right time. Though this team should get better over the next few years through free agency and prospects coming of age, the Mets could be in a position to break out a year early. Have an even better 2005. Maybe even a 1984. And in this day and age, a 1984 could win the division. If Washington bounces back, then maybe not, but if that happens, the Mets take the first Wild Card, surprising the league and the Braves, who take the second Wild Card.
And the one-game showdown of the decade ensues, and the Mets young arms strike out all 27 Atlanta Braves in the playoff, and….
Whoa, sorry. I got kinda carried away with my bold prediction. Let’s just stick to what will happen through game 162.
Will DeBoer, Staff Writer:
Daniel Murphy will hit 20 home runs:
During the first week of last season, Howie Rose and Josh Lewin on WFAN noted how surprised they were that Daniel Murphy had hit only 6 home runs in 2012 and predicted his power numbers would go up significantly in 2013. The prediction came true as Murph matched his previous total by July 3 and finished with 13 round-trippers. Three factors weigh into this prediction. First, Murphy turns 29 in April and is in the prime of his career. Second, he’s another year removed from the fielding woes of 2011, meaning as second base becomes second nature he can focus less on the glove and more on the bat. Third, assuming he bats second, Murphy will hit in front David Wright and Curtis Granderson, two proven power threats, meaning he will see more good pitches. Don’t be surprised to see Daniel Murphy’s power showcased in 2014. Even if he doesn’t hit the 20 home run mark, his total will be closer to 20 than to 10.
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice. They never saw the Mets’ farm system of the early 2010s. While Harvey will be fresh in everyone’s minds, Wheeler won’t have to work in his physical shadow until September at the earliest. Without the pressure of having to play an “anything you can do, I can do better” game every fifth day, Zack Wheeler will thrive in his first full big league season, reminding people why he was regarded as a better prospect than Harvey while the two were in the minors.
These may border on pipe dreams, but what’s there to do if you can’t dream? LGM!
Dan Haefeli, Staff Writer:
In his age 21 & 22 seasons, Tejada posted a slash of .287/.345/.345, which corresponds to a 95 wRC+ that sat 9 points over the league average at shortstop (85) for 2011-12. Though he was never heralded as a prospect, all the measurables spelled out to a very good hitter – he didn’t strike out, he walked fairly often, he hit more line drives than anyone else in the majors – and I suspect (reasonably) that these skills didn’t simply erode. I’ve written previously about Tejada’s poor luck (specifically, his BABIP on line drives ranked 396th among 400 players). Given the organization’s hard stance on Tejada this offseason, I believe the message has been received and that Tejada comes to camp in great shape and re-establishes himself as a quality shortstop for the Mets.
Maybe Zack Wheeler breaks out or Dillon Gee has a first half like his second half last year. There’s a potential litany of quality arms in the rotation, and some high-upside relievers in Bobby Parnell and Vic Black. Matt Harvey‘s gone, and no one can quite fill Matt Harvey’s shoes. But someone on this team (my money is on Jonathon Niese) will establish himself as an elite arm in the National League, and build the fear of the Mets’ rotation a bit further.
Curtis Granderson is tremendous in his first season with the Mets:
I would not be surprised to see him hit 35 home runs and drive in over 90 runs, while batting close to .250.
Bartolo Colon will have difficulties in 2014:
I expect that he will finish the season with a below .500 record, and an ERA around or over 4.00.
Andrew Battifarano, Staff Writer:
Travis d’Arnaud wins Rookie of the Year:
The catcher struggled a bit in his first go around with the Mets last year. I think with more seasoning and more time with the big club, he’s primed to have a breakout season. If he could put up solid offensive numbers, around 15/20 homers, he can win Rookie of the Year.
Chris Young has a rebound season and hits 20 homers:
Chris Young has never really been a big name, but he has been an All-Star. Last year in Oakland he was pretty bad, and clearly even Billy Beane did not want him back. However, Sandy Alderson has seemed to push the right buttons and pick guys off the scrap heap and turn them into successes. On a one year deal and trying to fight for his career, I could see Young showing strong power and giving fans a little bit of what Marlon Byrd did last year, although Young did cost a bit more.
The signing of Chris Young will be one of the biggest off-season bargains:
When news broke out of the Mets agreeing to a one-year deal with Young, I wasn’t impressed with the signing – especially after hearing it was worth $7.25 million. It’s no secret that Young is coming off a down year, but let’s not forget that just three seasons ago Young had an All-Star campaign, hitting 27 homers while compiling 91 RBIs. Furthermore, after battling injuries in 2012, Young saw himself in a platoon situation last year. In a free-agent market that was saturated with free-agents signing expensive multi-year deals, Young’s deal with the Mets has the potential to be a huge bargain.
Ike Davis will not get traded:
It’s no secret that Sandy Alderson would like to trade Ike Davis after his poor 2013 season. However, Alderson understands the value of Davis’ potential as a middle of the order bat. Davis clubbed 32 homers along with 90 RBIs in 2012, and it is for that reason that Alderson’s price tag on Davis has been relatively high. Now, whether you believe Alderson is fair to be asking for highly touted pitching prospects in return is debatable. I was almost certain Davis was going to be moved around the Winter Meetings, but clearly other GM’s balked at meeting Alderson’s asking price. I find it hard to believe Davis will just be given away in a deal before the 2014 season starts. Personally, I would much rather see Ike Davis try and battle out Lucas Duda for the starting job at first base than to give the job to Duda by default.
Side note: Like Danny, I also believe the Mets will sign Stephen Drew.
Shannon Finkel, Staff Writer:
Matt Harvey will return to the rotation in late September:
One of Matt Harvey’s biggest strengths is his competitive nature. His determination and self-motivation remind me a lot of David Wright‘s. Similar to Wright, I think Harvey will test his limits in recovery and seek to return to baseball as soon as possible. Before electing to have Tommy John Surgery, he alluded to this possibility in September, telling reporters, “If we do go the surgery route, having it sooner so maybe I can get back in September next year if that’s an 11-month process, that’s a possibility.” If Harvey believes he can make it back this season, I certainly wouldn’t put it past him.
Travis d’Arnaud will live up to the hype:
D’Arnaud underperformed during his debut season, hitting .202/.286/.263 with just one home run and five RBIs in 99 at-bats. That being said, I do not believe those numbers are indicative of the type of player d’Arnaud will become. Remember, the righty hitting catcher was called up less than four months after sustaining a fractured bone in his left foot — and he wasn’t listed as one of the top prospects in the game for no reason. He can hit for average and power, all while providing excellent defense behind the plate. While he may start off slow, I predict by the season’s end, d’Arnaud will hit .290 with around 15 home runs and 75 runs driven in.
Chris Schubert, Staff Writer:
The Mets will lead the NL East at the All Star Break:
The Mets, with their newly constructed roster, will draw the attention of everyone in the first half. The pitching of Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon will keep the Mets competitive. The offense will also surprise some people, as #1-8 will pose a real challenge for opposing pitchers. As seen before, the Mets will come out hot to start the season. I see them leading the division by 4 to 6 games at the break. The real question is whether they’ll be able to keep it up over the course of a 162 game season.
David Wright wins the NL MVP:
I’m dreaming big here. But I think the Mets make the playoffs in 2014 as a wild card team. And if that happens, David Wright is going to lead the way offensively. The Captain is in the first year of his new extension and will be looking to produce. Add to that the fact that he has some protection in the lineup that should allow him to see more pitches. Wright, while missing time due to injury, had a .307/390/.514 line with 18 home runs and 58 RBI’s in 2013. It seems that in this new lineup, those home run and RBI numbers can go up. If that’s the case, Wright will be one of the best offensive players in the National League, and will be in the conversation and win the NL MVP.
A guy can dream, can’t he?
Cassie Negley, Staff Writer:
Ike Davis will have a re-breakout year:
It’s been a down few years for Ike, but after being demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas last season, Davis started on the track back to promise. He saw the ball better and made better decisions, with half the strikeouts and double the walks he had before his demotion. With his name on the trading block all offseason, expect Davis to come out swinging and prove why he deserves to remain a Met.
The Mets will make a move before the trading deadline:
The Mets front office showed this offseason they are working to build a playoff caliber team. If the Mets can hold it together, expect the front office to make a move for a player a lesser team is ready to get rid of in return for minor league talent. It may not help them in the immediate run for the playoffs, but 2015 could be promising.