It’s undeniable that the New York Mets were very pesky under manager Terry Collins last season. The Mets finished 74-88 and battled back after a very slow start to finish the season relatively strongly and show a lot of pride down the stretch. New York will look to build off of that finish last season and carry it over into this year, but with some key injuries and some new faces it appears to be very up in the air where this team will land in 2014.
There is plenty of talk in Queens this offseason about the arrival of the previous cross town rival Curtis Granderson to help bolster the Mets lineup that struggled mightily at times last season. Although his final season with the Yankees was largely considered a failure, Granderson was plagued by injuries and really was never into the swing of things for the Bronx Bombers. He hit just .229 and 7 homers last season, but was only able to step to the plate in 61 games. However, the overall track record for Curtis is pretty solid. The previous two seasons in New York, he hit 41 and 43 bombs respectively and the Mets will gladly welcome any form of that production to be regained in the 2014 season. With that being said, many critics believed the Mets highly overpaid for Granderson. New York gave up $15 million dollars per, for a 32 year old outfielder who was widely considered to be a beneficiary of the short porch and the jet stream at the new Yankee Stadium. Granderson will be one of the few new faces in the Mets order this season, but will be joined on the newcomer list by fellow outfielder and former Oakland Athletic, Chris Young who the Mets hope will regain the form he showed in Arizona earlier in his career. Last season Young only provided a even .200 batting average with 12 homers and 40 RBI’s in 107 games played in Oakland.
The familiar faces are some that the Braves know all too well, which of course are headlined by “Mr. Met” himself David Wright. Wright will welcome some help in the middle of the order and teams will now have to respect Wright just a bit more now that he will be protected by Granderson. Wright brings his familiar supporting cast along with him which include home run or strikeout man Ike Davis, the ever disappointing Ruben Tejada, the very solid Daniel Murphy, and utility man Lucas Duda.
Although improvements have been made to this lineup, unless Granderson can provide the pop that he did in Yankee Stadium it appears as if the Mets will still have a lineup that will struggle a bit from time to time. However, as they have been in previous years the cast of characters that the Mets throw out there on a given day will continue to be very pesky and this lineup could propel this team into a solid third place finish this season with the regression of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Mets Projected Lineup
- Eric Young Jr., CF
- Daniel Murphy, 2B
- David Wright, 3B
- Curtis Granderson, LF
- Lucas Duda, RF
- Ike Davis, 1B
- Ruben Tejada, SS
- Travis d’Arnaud, C
- Pitcher Spot
Advantage : Braves
The Pitching Staff
The headline that everyone is talking about heading into the season for the Mets pitching staff is the fact that Matt Harvey will miss the entire season due to Tommy John surgery. That is a crushing blow to the Mets staff, that with Harvey would look very promising heading into 2014. However, the Mets must face the music and go to work with the arms they have in place and there are some quite good ones out there for the Metropolitans. 23 year old Zach Wheeler will look to become the other half of the 1-2 punch that Mets fans expected him and Harvey to be moving forward. Wheeler is more than likely the guy everybody will have their eyes on this season in regards to the Mets staff, and in limited work last season Zach pitched quite well going 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA and 84 strikeouts. Wheeler will be followed by some new faces and some very familiar faces to Braves fans.
The Mets signed Bartolo Colon in the offseason, who is coming off a very solid year for the A’s last season but is also coming off of the 50 game Biogenesis suspension. Bartolo was 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA last season in the pitcher friendly Oakland Coliseum as he makes his way across the country to try his luck at another very pitcher friendly park in Citi Field. The Mets signed the 40 year old right hander to a 2 year deal and will hope to get the most out of him before father time catches up to the right hander.
Wheeler and Colon will be followed by familiar faces such as Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee with the 5th rotation spot, which would be Harvey’s appearing to be wide open. It’s easy to see that with Matt Harvey this starting rotation would be very deep and could really keep the Mets in a lot games. However, the bullpen always seems to be the achilles heel of the New York Mets and it appears they might be in for another year of that trend continuing.
The back end of the pen will once again be manned by Bobby Parnell, the hard throwing right hander that locked down 22 games and posted a 2.16 ERA for the Mets last season. Parnell is a solid arm at the back end, but the question will be how do the Mets get the ball to him in the ninth. Unless some signings are too occur before now and opening day the most recognizable name throughout the rest of the Mets bullpen would be veteran left hander Pedro Feliciano who has had an injury plagued run for the Mets and after that, the only other recognizable name to anybody who doesn’t follow the Mets organization would be Carlos Torres who did some work in the starting rotation last season for the Mets. The Braves lineup tends to struggle against the Mets starters, and it seems like the lineup makes plenty of late runs and wins a lot of games in the later inning versus the Mets. The way it looks this year, the Braves could do that yet again.
Stats of Note:
- Ike Davis, who posted an overall .205 batting average hit .321 versus Atlanta last season including some crucial hits in late inning situations
- Dillon Gee in 4 starts vs. Atlanta last year posted a 2.63 ERA but only had a 1-2 record to show for it. Who could forget the late night 2 run walk-off home run by Freddie Freeman to rob Gee of a complete game shutout
- Julio Teheran posted a 1.42 ERA against the Mets last season in 12.2 innings of work
- Freddie Freeman posted a .338 batting average with 6 homers and 17 RBI’s vs. the Mets last season
The Braves ended up finishing just 10-9 versus the Mets last season and will look to improve upon that record in the upcoming season. That was the Braves worst record versus any of their division opponents as they pretty much had their way with the rest of the division in 2013. Under Terry Collins you can expect much of the same from the Mets in 2014. They will once again be a pesky bunch and should improve due to the additions they made in the offseason, pending health of course. It should be interesting to see if the Mets can pull it all together and get production from their younger players. If they do get that production expect this team to possibly make a run at things in the Wild Card, but I don’t see them making a strong enough push to be there with Atlanta and Washington when its all said and done.