The New York Mets finished 3rd in the NL East last season with a final record of 74-88. The Mets finished above the Phillies and Marlins, and below the Braves and Nationals in the standings. The big stories from the Mets in 2013 were hosting the All-Star game and the emergence of starting pitcher Matt Harvey. Unfortunately Harvey had to opt for Tommy John surgery last October and he is expected to miss the entire 2014 season. This offseason the Mets brought in free agents Bartolo Colon and Curtis Granderson, and New York is hoping to get solid production out of both these veterans in 2014.
1B: Ike Davis, Lucas Duda
2B: Daniel Murphy
3B: David Wright
SS: Ruben Tejada
Ike Davis appears to be the tentative starter at first base to open the season, but Duda is also an option. Ike Davis had a miserable 2013 as he batted .205 with 9 HR, 33 RBI, and .326 OBP in 103 games played. Davis will likely split time with Duda at first base and the Skipper might have to just ride whoever has the hot bat.
In 2013 Daniel Murphy was a bright spot in the Mets infield yet again. Murphy has played nearly every game for the Mets in 3 of the last 4 seasons and he had a solid 2013 averaging .286 with 13 HR, 78 RBI, and .319 OBP. Murphy is nearly a .300 career hitter and his production out of the top of the order will be counted on in 2014.
The most recognizable name on the roster has to be David Wright and he is coming off a shortened 112 game 2013 season. Wright was productive in limited action batting .307 with 18 HR, 58 RBI, and .390 OBP. Wright is an All-Star caliber player in the prime of his career at age 31. David will bat third in the order and will get some protection from free agent Curtis Granderson batting behind him.
SS is certainly a weak spot in this infield unit and unless the Mets sign or trade for someone else, it appears Ruben Tejada will be the starter. In 2013 Tejada had a significant drop off in production as he went from batting .289 in 2012 to .202 in 2013. Ruben played in just 57 games and with 208 AB he accumulated 0 HR, 10 RBI, and a .259 OBP.
Starting C: Travis d'Arnaud
Backup C: Anthony Recker
Travis is one of the top catching prospects in the Majors, but injuries have derailed his career up to this point. d'Arnaud will be the starting catcher and if he can stay healthy there is plenty of room for growth for this 25 year old. In just 31 games in the Majors he is averaging .202, with 1 HR, 5 RBI, and .286 OBP. I'm looking forward to seeing what this kid can bring now that he is healthy.
Anthony Recker has bounced around the Majors and he played 50 games at the Major League level with the Mets in 2013. Recker doesn't have much upside at 30 years old, but he is just an injury to d'Arnaud away from being the starting man behind the plate.
LF: Eric Young Jr.
CF: Chris Young, Juan Lagares
RF: Curtis Granderson
EY Jr. might get some time at 2nd base during the regular season to open up opportunities for Juan Lagares in the outfield. Eric Young Jr. has spent the majority of his career developing in the Colorado organization and he is coming off 91 games in his first season with the Mets in 2013. In 2013 EY Jr. batted .249 with 2 HR, 32 RBI, .310 OBP, and an impressive 46 stolen bases. Eric is a big threat on the base paths and that is why he should get the nod as the lead off hitter.
Chris Young is a batter that you pretty much know what your going to get with. In his 8 year career Young has pretty much been a low .200 hitter with potential 20+ HR power and around 150 SO. Young reminds me a lot of Dan Uggla, but with more potential to steal bases. If Young has a slow start he could very well lose out to Juan Lagares in the lineup.
The Mets brought in Curtis Granderson in free agency and they are slotting him in as the clean up hitter in this lineup. Granderson has had a very successful 10 year career, but he had to deal with an injury for most of the 2013 season. In the 2 seasons prior to 2013 Granderson averaged 42 HR per season and that is the kind of power the Mets would like to get in 2014 out of Curtis.
1SP: Bartolo Colon
2SP: Jonathon Niese
3SP: Dillon Gee
4SP: Zack Wheeler
5SP: Jenry Mejia
Bartolo Colon has had a magnificent 16 year career and he had a revitalization with the Oakland franchise. In 2013 Colon went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA, 117 SO, and a 1.17 WHIP. Colon makes the move back to the NL as he pencilled a 2 year contract with the Mets during the offseason. Colon will be the short term number one guy for this rotation until Matt Harvey comes back from his elbow surgery, hopefully by 2015.
Jonathon Niese is well known for getting a free nose job from a bet and he has actually been a better pitcher since the surgery. Niese is still around a league average pitcher with not much upside, but he will man the middle of this Met rotation. In 2013 Jonathon went 8-8 with a 3.71 ERA, 105 SO, and 1.44 WHIP in 24 starts. Niese needs to reduce his WHIP considerably if he is going to regain his 2012 form.
Another around league average starter in the middle of this rotation is Dillon Gee. In 2013 Gee went 12-11, with a 3.62 ERA, 142 SO, and a 1.28 WHIP. I believe Gee has a higher ceiling than Niese, but neither guy will be competing for a spot on the All-Star team this season. I'm sure the Mets would be happy to just get similar production to what they got out of Gee in 2013.
Zack Wheeler is a high caliber prospect and he looks to be the potential future second starter behind Matt Harvey. Wheeler made his Major League debut in 2013 and in just 17 starts he went 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA, 84 SO, and 1.36 WHIP. Wheeler will be a fun prospect to watch and I hope the Mets will limit his innings as they mold him into a 30 start guy.
The fifth starting spot is up for grabs with guys like Daisuke Matsuzaka, Carlos Torres, John Lannan, and the leader for the sport Jenrry Mejia all competing. In just 5 starts in 2013 Mejia impressed with a 2.30 ERA, 27 SO to 4 BB, and a 1.17 WHIP. Even though it is a very small sample size the 2013 numbers are intriguing and make Mejia the top guy competing for this roation spot.
1RP: Scott Rice
2RP: Kyle Farnsworth
3RP: Vic Black
4RP: Josh Edgin
5RP: Gonzalez Germen
6RP: Carlos Torres
The setup guys will likely be Farnsworth and Rice, and both of these guys are far from lock down pitchers to bring in towards the end of games. The middle men should be Black, Germen, and Edgin, with Torres being a long innings guy.
CP: Bobby Parnell
Parnell will certainly get his opportunity to keep the closer job after his solid 2013 numbers. Last season Parnell saved 22 of 26 opportunities with a 2.16 ERA, 44 SO, and a 1.00 WHIP. Parnell won't blow his fastball past you at 91 mph, but he has a nice curveball.
The Mets will try to finish at least third in the NL East again this season, because it seems unlikely they will be able to crack the top 2 spots with the Braves and Nats in the division. I like the veterans the Mets have on their roster that will bridge the gap for some of the younger players. There are glaring weakness at SS and 1B which will hurt the Mets in 2014. There are some reasons to be hopeful, but I'm not sure the 2014 Mets can be all that much better without Harvey in the rotation.