2010 New York Mets Baseball Preview
There’s always one club that dramatically underachieves and in 2009 it was the Mets (70- 92). The team looked like it was loaded for bear, but instead of eating the bear that bear ate them. There were numerous injuries to key players, an owner who was suffering from economic distress and a front office run by GM Omar Minaya that was bombarded by second-guessing.
The pitching staff was riddled with injuries last season. If healthy, these guys can get the job done. The ace is Johan Santana (13-9, 3.13 ERA, 148 SO). He’s a premium strike thrower. Season-ending surgery on bone chips should help him get back to form. Second man Mike Pelfrey (10-12, 5.03 ERA, 107 SO) is a groundball pitcher who changes speeds well but suffers from inconsistency. Last season, both righty John Maine (7-6, 4.43 ERA, 55 SO) and lefty Oliver Perez (3-4, 6.82 ERA, 62 SO) struggled with various maladies. Maine, who often falls behind hitters, missed much of the 2009 season. Perez, who underwent season-ending surgery, has a tough time with control.
Francisco Rodriguez (3-6, 3.71 ERA, 35 SV, 73 SO) is a premier closer. He’s a power pitcher with a high-kick delivery who can dominate hitters. Rodriguez features three pitches, fastball, curve and change, with a lot of movement. The new guy in the stable is old guy Kelvim Escobar (0-1, 3.60, 0 SV, 5 SO). Escobar, who was most recently in Los Angeles with the Angels, has had major injury issues and has not pitched much for the past two seasons. If he can come back, he could be a good setup man.
Shortstop Jose Reyes, right fielder Jeff Francoeur and center fielder Carlos Beltran all dealt with injuries that took them out of the 2009 season at some time or another. If they can get back to form and stay in the game, the Mets will certainly generate runs. Reyes (.279 BA, 2 HR, 15 RBI) stole just 11 bases and hit just two homers last season. A 50-plus base stealer and 15-plus-homerun hitter, if he can come back from hamstring surgery, the lineup will have a dynamic leadoff hitter.
Second baseman Luis Castillo (.302 BA, 1 HR, 40 RBI) is a fine switch-hitter who still offers good speed on the base paths, averaging 19 steals each of the last three seasons. At second, he provides smart, skilled defense. David Wright (.307 BA, 10 HR, 72 RBI) is a solid hitter who struggled in smacking round trippers last season. Renewed power and a typical 30-homerun season will be a boost to the offense.
The streaky Beltran (.325 BA, 10 HR, 48 RBI) saw his production drop too. The biggest concern for him is reoccurring injuries. Francouer (.280 BA, 15 HR, 76 RBI), who came over from Atlanta midseason, looks to be a solid hitter and fielder. Jason Bay (.267 BA, 36 HR, 119 RBI) has been added. Bay, who played well in another big, high-pressure market, Boston, is a RBI and homerun machine.
Minaya is certainly a mover and a shaker and bringing in Jason Bay is another big move. The GM is in the biggest MLB market in the nation where there’s very little patience on-hand. One change that may help this club function on a more even keel is the move to collaborative decision making in the front office. Manager Jerry Manuel has seen his ups and downs, but there’s very little patience left for many more downs.
The Mets first season at Citi Field was one to forget. Now they’re hoping that season two can erase all of those bad memories. If they can’t get it together quickly look for Minaya to invoke the standard move that all GMs make—firing the manager. Who would replace Jerry Manuel? Scout Bob Melvin or minor league skipper Wally Backman could be brought in. For this team, the minimum expectation is that they will make the post-season. In what way, it doesn’t really matter.
For more info on the Mets check out the MLB official page for New York.