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2006 New York Mets Baseball Preview

New York Mets Predictions – NL EAST

OVERVIEW:

In the off-season, the Mets manufactured deal after deal and made some major pick-ups. Over the past two seasons, this “other team from New York” has raised their payroll to over $110 million. The club is serious about winning it all.


PITCHING:

Pedro Martinez (15-8, 2.82 ERA) is still one of the best in the majors. Last year, he started 31 games and pitched 217 innings while striking out 208 batters. Lefty Tom Glavine (13-13, 3.53) is the number two man and Kris Benson (10-8, 4.13 ERA) is a trusty third starter. It’s an excellent one through three.

The last two slots of the rotation, filled by Steve Traschel (1-4, 4.14 ERA) and Victor Zambrano (7-12, 4.17 ERA), are unstable and in need of improvement.

Closer and former Philly, Billy Wagner brings power—96-100 mph fastball—and consistency—38 saves and a 1.51 ERA-- to the team. Last season he had 87 K’s in 77.2 innings-- dominant and unbeatable in the ninth.

HITTING:

This is an All-Star lineup. Paul Lo Duca, David Wright, and Carlos Delgado are all .300 hitters, while Cliff Floyd offers power at the plate (34 HR). Carlos Beltran (.266 BA, 16 HR, 78 RBI) had an off-season in 2005, perhaps because he was pushing too much. He should feel less pressure with the addition of Lo Duca and Delgado.

Kazuo Matsui (.255 BA, 24 RBI) has been a big disappointment and may not have much more to offer this team.

Leadoff man Jose Reyes is excellent on the bases (60 SB) and is a good switch hitter. He needs to be more patient and reverse his strikeouts (78) and walks (27).

DEFENSE:

The Mets made 106 errors in 2005 and earned a fielding percentage of .983, making them one of the worst defensive teams in the league. The infield features some exceptional players and some very weak ones.

Behind the plate Lo Duca is a master; he should help upgrade pitching and keep the backstop area in order. At first base, Delgado has never been great and in recent years he’s actually gotten worse. Last year he led all first basemen in errors with 14.

The inside positions saw Matsui struggle at second and Reyes excel at short. Third baseman Wright continues to improve.

In center field, Beltran is one of the best, able to track down balls, make quick decisions, and throw with power and accuracy.

MANAGER AND FRONT OFFICE:

• If GM Omar Minaya hosted a TV show, it would be Let’s Make a Deal. In the past two years, he’s made some major ones, which have greatly improved the Mets.
• First year manager Willie Randolph silenced critics by taking the team to its best record in 5 years—83 and 79. He’s a master motivator.
• Like the Yanks, the Mets look like they want the best team money can buy.

INTANGIBLES AND/OR OTHER STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES:

• Martinez and Glavine wore well last year, but they’re aging and health may be an issue. Glavine needs to be better than .500.
• Inconsistent infield could lose some games.
• The fourth and fifth starters must be upgraded. What’s Omar doing right now?

CONCLUSION:

Omar Minaya is one of the most aggressive dealmakers in the majors, which means manager Willie Randolph has even more talent with which to work in 2006. But the team is far from perfect and with so many new faces and egos, Randolph will have his work cut out for him. The Mets have the best chance they’ve had in years of making it to the post-season.

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For more information on the 2006 New York Mets visit their official MLB website by clicking here.

 

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