After the sting of five-straight losing seasons and losing their franchise pitcher, Matt Harvey, last season to Tommy John surgery, the New York Mets never seem to catch a break.
However, there are some pieces here to work with as the Mets look to get back into contention. They have built up a great farm system loaded with great pitching (remember the name Noah Syndergaard!). If they can get some timely hitting and not have to rely on David Wright so much, the Mets can make a push back to respectability.
Here we’ll break down the five most pressing concerns facing the Mets from a fantasy perspective.
1. Who will be the Mets first baseman? Ike Davis or Lucas Duda?
It seems like this question has been tossed around for eons and each year we never get a clear answer. If either one can stay healthy and man the position for the bulk of the year, there is some slight upside with whoever wins out. Granted, were not talking about your starting first baseman on your fantasy squad, but either Davis or Duda could be good depth at the corner infield slots.
Davis has the more reputed promise, as he has shown he can mash, hitting as many as 32 home runs back in 2012 (and 19 in his rookie season). The Mets look like they will give him every bit of rope he needs to pull through and win the job. If not, Duda may get the call and, while he is nothing special, Duda does have decent power himself, slugging 30 home runs in the last two seasons combined (in 719 at-bats).
If Davis wins out—and he probably will—he may be worth a late-round flier, but if Duda wins out, no one would blame you if you ignored him on draft day.
2. Can rookie catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud make the impact we all think he can? After being traded for two former Cy Young winners (R.A. Dickey and Roy Halladay) there is a lot of hope attached to d’Arnaud’s name. For years he has been touted as the minor’s best catching prospect and now that he is ready to enter the year as the unquestioned starter at catcher for the Mets, the sky is the proverbial limit.
While d’Arnaud did not set the world on fire (.202 batting average with one home run and five RBI’s in 99 at-bats) in his time up with the Mets last summer, he was rushed while coming back from an early foot injury he suffered in April. It was a lot for d’Arnaud to consume and the speed of the game was a little too much to handle at the time.
However, d’Arnaud looks good thus far in the spring and is getting tutelage from Met legend Mike Piazza. d’Arnaud has shown he can hit for both power and average in the minors. While he won’t likely be one of the top-12 catchers drafted (and thus not a starter in most standard-mixed leagues), he offers the requisite upside that you want in a catcher when drafting towards the end of the draft. You should take a gamble on d’Arnaud late and hope he flourishes in his first full season.
3. Will Bartolo Colon be able to keep it going in New York? For starters, Colon has yet to pitch in any Mets’ preseason game (he’s set to debut on Monday) and that’s a bit disconcerting-yet not alarming. The Mets paid big bucks (two-year, $20 million deal) to make Colon the stabilizer in their rotation in lieu of Harvey going down. Colon will certainly have a tough time duplicating the success he had in 2013 with the A’s.
You have to credit Colon for reinventing himself and mastering the art of control. In 190 1/3 innings last season, Colon only walked 29 batters, which is a staggering stat for a guy of his age. While the chances for wins may be scarcer with the Mets, Colon should still put up solid peripheral stats to make him a quality fantasy asset. Just don’t expect him to help out in the K department.
He may regress a tad, but not enough that you should have him off your radar
4. What kind of value will newcomers Curtis Granderson and Chris Young bring to the table?
First of all, you do have to realize that Granderson is moving from a favorable park to more of a pitcher-friendly ballpark and that could sap some of his power potential and age 33, it’s not like he’s a spring chicken anymore. When you consider his poor batting average, Granderson’s power will have to carry him and seeing as though that may decline this year, it makes Granderson ultimate bust candidate for fantasy purposes. If he can get away from his tendencies as a Yankee when he triedto park everything out of their short right field porch, and try to spray the ball to all parts of the fields, Granderson would be better served for success as a Met. His all-or-nothing approach won’t work at Citi Field.
As for Young, well, we know he can hit lefties, but his splits against righties (.614 OPS last season, for example) are gross and he has never hit higher than .256 in his eight-year career. He still possesses some decent pop and speed and the Mets do intend to make him an everyday part of their lineup. Still, Young will likely go undrafted in most leagues; he is not even listed on FantasyPros.com’s ADP rankings. There is a chance he puts it all together and becomes a 20-20 type player again. But for now, leave Young on the wire until he shows that promise.
5. Can we expect Zack Wheeler to break out? After some initial up and down outings early on, Wheeler started to hit his groove down the stretch. In 17 starts, he amassed seven wins with a respectable 3.42 ERA.
The only thing for Wheeler to overcome is command issues and consistency. After all, Wheeler did walk 4.1 batters per nine innings last season. A lot of pitchers struggle with command early on and seeing as though he had command issues in the minors and still excelled, the thinking here is Wheeler will learn on the fly.
So, while there may be some bumps along the road, Wheeler should be able to grow and mature into the pitcher many think he will be. The upside is enormous and you should definitely make a play for him in the later rounds of drafts.
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