New York Mets Last Year: 89-73 2nd in NL East This Year: 2nd in NL East, NL Wild Card
The Mets are moving into their new digs this season and they are still being overshadowed by the Yankees who are also moving into new digs. The Mets collapsed after starting strong for the second straight time. By the end of the season, Johan Santana seemed to be the only player capable of contributing. GM Omar Minaya promised to make drastic changes but all he did was add two closers to the team. Many blamed the bullpen for the collapse but this team still has issues which could lead to finishing behind the Phillies for the third straight year.
Opening Day Lineup w/Projections SS Jose Reyes .303 17 HR 69 RBI 67 SB LF Daniel Murphy .289 10 HR 73 RBI 3B David Wright .314 32 HR 121 RBI 17 SB 1B Carlos Delgado .261 30 HR 104 RBI CF Carlos Beltran .281 29 HR 117 RBI 20 SB RF Ryan Church .270 15 HR 74 RBI 2B Luis Castillo .251 2 HR 31 RBI 13 SB C Brian Schneider .247 8 HR 47 RBI P Johan Santana
Rotation LHP Johan Santana 17-8 2.87 ERA 194 K RHP Mike Pelfrey 15-10 3.67 ERA 116 K LHP Oliver Perez 14-11 4.45 ERA 173 K RHP John Maine 15-10 3.91 ERA 167 K RHP Livan Hernandez 6-12 5.76 ERA 78 K
CP RHP Francisco Rodriguez 2.56 ERA 41 SV 73 K
Best Case Scenario: Rodriguez and Putz close up the bullpen and make Mets games 7 inning games. Delgado still produces at age 36. Starters 2-4 stay healthy all year and give quality starts to backup ace Santana. Mets find a way to get production from hitters 6-8. Leaving Shea Stadium rids the team of the August and September demons and they finish strong down the stretch. They win the NL East and head to the World Series.
Worst Case Scenario: K-Rod is worn down from last years work load and is ineffective. Injuries riddle the rotation and the Mets need 200 innings from Livan Hernandez. Delgado's bat is too slow to keep the clean-up spot. Hitters 6-8 do nothing putting a tremendous amount of pressure on Reyes, Wright and Beltran. The team gets off to a slow start leading to mass changes with the firing of the manager and GM and this team falls apart finishing 3rd in the NL East.
Player Most Important to Success: John Maine. If the Mets are going to win the NL East they need to get quality starting pitching behind Johan Santana. Pelfrey can be relyed on for the most part and Oliver Perez will win enough games for them but John Maine is the pitcher who if he produces moves this team ahead of the Phillies with 4 quality starters. He missed last September with a bone spur in his shoulder. It should not affect him but he has been underwhelming in spring with an ERA of 10.38. If he can give them 180-190 innings with an ERA under 4.00 like he did in 2007 this team will be fine, if he can't this team might be golfing in October.
Outlook: It seemed that people thought the bullpen was the only issue facing the Mets last year. While it definitely hurt the team last year they have other issues that have not been addressed. Their lineup has serious holes with Luis Castillo at 2B and Brian Schneider at C. Livan Hernandez won the 5th spot in the rotation. This team still has weapons to compete for the division but the main question is whether the ghosts of the past two years will haunt this team and stop this team again this year. If this team does make the playoffs, the lack of All-Star pitching behind Santana won't let them advance very far if they get there.