Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mets Primary Player Projections

As most Mets fans should be accustomed to by now, the team will enter the 2012 season with far more questions than answers. Despite the organization's biggest concern, the Madoff lawsuit, being resolved, its impact on the team is evident. As a result, the team will lean on its core players more than ever. How well the team does this summer will likely be determined by how they respond. Here's how I see it playing out...

David Wright: After missing much of spring training, Wright appears healthy enough for opening day.  The Mets hope he can stay healthy having reconfigured Citi Field with what many have called dimensions specific to Wright's game.  I personally expect Wright to have a bounce back season that resembles those he had at Shea Stadium.  The new dimensions should eliminate his need to pull the ball, therefore allowing him to work the entire plate.  Translation... less strike outs and more hits.  Projected Stats:  .296 BA, 31 HR, 35 2B, 105 RBIs

Ike Davis: Returning from an ankle injury that cost him the final four months of the 2011 season, Davis enters 2012 seemingly healthy, despite an apparent case of Valley Fever.  Slotted as the team's cleanup hitter, Davis will look to expand on an impressive rookie campaign in 2010 and the torrid pace he was on in 2011 when he was injured.  Although Ike didn't need the reduced dimensions at Citi Field to be successful at the plate, its logical to assume they won't hurt him either.  Projected Stats: .278 BA, 36 HR, 36 2B, 110 RBIs

Lucas Duda: Its almost unfair to lump Duda into this group, as he has yet to complete a full season at the Major League level, but he appears up to the task.  After a slow start last season, Duda improved significantly as the season progressed.  He'll enter this year as a regular for the first time, slated with the task of learning to play right-field.  As a young player there is no telling how struggles in the field will effect his bat, but Duda appears to be a real-deal power hitter.  However, he won't have the luxury of surprise this season and won't have much protection in the lineup behind him.  Projected Stats: .270 BA, 28 HR, 36 2B, 92 RBIs

Jason Bay: If Bay is ever going to get it together this has got to be the year.  The changes at Citi Field suit his swing nicely, however he will have to place emphasis on not trying too hard once the season gets under way.  Ultimately, health should be the primary concern for Jason, as he has been unable to stay on the field as a Met.  If he can, he may finally get some rhythm at the plate and justify his place in the lineup.  Ultimately, I still don't believe Bay to be as bad as he'd played over the past two seasons.  Projected States: .261 BA, 22 HR, 30 2B, 73 RBIs

Daniel Murphy: Another major question mark in the field for the Mets, it'll be Murphy's bat that warrants his place on the roster this season.  However, if he can't stay out of his own way at second base, it will be interesting to see how he, like Duda, reacts at the plate.  That aside, the kid can flat out hit and has the best offensive approach of anyone on the Mets this season, going into the year.  That should lead to more of the same for Murph, as he will be relied upon to get on base early and often to make the Mets offense click.  Projected Stats:  .310 BA, 9 HR, 40 2B, 67 RBIs

Johan Santana: To give credit where its due, Santana has been much better than I anticipated this spring.  How that translates into the regular season remains to be seen.  Johan can be successful in the high-80s, but will have to rely on his off-speed assortment to get swings and misses.  Ultimately it becomes an issue of how many innings his reconstructed shoulder can bear, or more likely how far the Mets are prepared to push it.  How deep in games Santana can go may also impact his wins and losses should the bullpen struggle.  Projected Stats:  9-8, 3.70 ERA, 135 IP

RA Dickey: For the second season in a row, the Mets are prepared to lean on Dickey more than they should.  Fresh off a winter that saw him climb a mountain, RA will enter the season following the release of a tell-all memoir discussing the most intricate details of his life.  Will it have any impact on the down to earth knuckleballer?  I doubt it, but one never knows.  More importantly, Dickey pitched much better than his record last year and will benefit greatly from some actually run support this summer.  Projected Stats: 13-10, 3.43 ERA, 215 IP

Jon Niese: If he's going to take the next step, this is Niese's year to do so.  Flashes of brilliance in the past have been influential enough for prospect evaluators to deem him capable of being the staff's ace.  The raw stuff is there in my opinion, but does he have the wherewithal to put together a full season of elevated play?  This process may be aided with Santana back in the fold, but ultimately its on Jon to get it straight every time he takes the field.  Until then inconsistency will dominate his outings. Projected Stats: 15-9, 3.90 ERA, 187 IP

Frank Francisco: The Mets newest bargain closer is without question the biggest wild card in the bullpen.  After what can only be described as a disappointing spring, Francisco takes the reigns as a full blown closer for the first time in his career, in the largest market on the planet. His numbers are comparable to his predecessor, Francisco Rodriguez, but whether he thrives in this environment will be something to keep an eye one as the season gets underway.  Projected Stats:  2-5, 3.45 ERA, 31 Saves

And those are my projections, or best guesses if you will, for this upcoming season.  These are the nine most important players on the team's roster and they must perform if the Mets hope to find themselves in the mix come summer time.  Before you climb down my throat, understand that these projections assume each player remains healthy.  Yes, I realize someone is going to get hurt at some point.  Thats why these are my best guesses for healthy players.  Now..Lets Go Mets!