With Mets pitchers and catchers reporting in just 20 + days it is time to look at what appears to be both the starting position players for 2015 and peg which positions have the biggest question marks. Barring any last minute moves the below is the expected line-up for the Mets. I have put a question mark next to the players/positions which will end up being the biggest question marks going into 2015. I have also added my predicted stats for 2015.
Catcher – No question mark here, although maybe a small one is needed. Travis has hit on every level he has played and that continued in the 2nd half of the 2014 season. The question if any is will Travis hit like first half Travis or 2nd half Travis. I think we can remove the question mark from him with the confidence that 2nd half Travis will be the one in 2015. Track records show he will hit. Projected 2015 Stats – .273/16/57
First Base – Another spot I don’t think a question mark is needed. Lucas has his breakout season in 2014 and was pretty consistent all year with normal ups and downs of any player. Is Lucas going to be a superstar, NO, is Lucas going to be a solid middle of the order hitter, YES. Lucas will have better protection in the line-up this season and when the opposing team tries to pitch around him he is disciplined enough to take a walk. If Lucas has to sit 15-20 games a year against left handed pitching, so be it. 140 games will still yield nice numbers from your first baseman. Projected 2015 Stats – .280/28/88
Second Base – Third straight position that I wouldn’t question. Daniel is a consistent player and will be again in 2015. In 2015 he is playing to prove not only to the Mets but to all other teams he is a viable long term contract player. The Mets will watch Murphy had another solid season then let him walk at the end. Enjoy Murphy’s last year in NY, he will be solid and missed. Projected 2015 Stats – .302/12/65
Short Stop (?) – Here is where the first question mark comes into play. I am not going to go on about the lack of moves to fill position, I am going to evaluate Wilmer. Wilmer will hit, will hit in the 8th spot in the order and if his defense doesn’t effect his hitting, should be an above average hitter for his position. Wilmer has worked the last two off seasons as hard as any Met to prove he can play on this level and at SS. It will not be pretty at times but at this point Wilmer is the best we got. He however, gets a question mark. Projected 2015 Stats – .271/15/52
Third Base (?) – Second question mark in a row. David is the leader of this team and the face of NYM baseball. His face is not what I worry about. Is David one hard swing, one hard slide or one dive for a ground ball away from that shoulder effecting 2015? This is a big question mark. His on field play/hitting really will set the tone for the Mets. He is the 3rd place hitter, their corner rock and the way the press will look at the Mets. If David can stay healthy for the year, give the Mets 150 solid games this team has a shot at the playoffs. If David continues to decline this team will continue on the .500 baseball trend of the past 4 years. Projected 2015 Stats – .284/17/82
Right Field – I did not put a check mark next to Michael as I feel we know what to expect. I think realistically at age 37 Michael is a 13 game a year player, will hit solid for the Mets and be a doubles machine. With that being said he will be injured at some point this year and don’t expect Coors Field numbers. Michael will be a solid 5 hole hitter behind Duda and benefit from Duda’s walk total and OBP. Michael will be able to spell Duda at first base when needed. A solid pick-up for both the team and clubhouse. Projected 2015 Stats: .278/20/80
Center Field (?) – Yes a question mark is added here for Juan. I have three questions that will be answered in 2015. Can Juan stay healthy? Can Juan leadoff? Is Juan on the verge of being a superstar. I did not include “Will Juan hit”. I believe Juan will hit enough to warrant his everyday position on the Mets or pretty much other teams. His defense is second to none, he hit enough last year to be considered a good hitter. If he can cut down on his k’s, walk a few more times he will take off. He proved at the end of last year he has very good base stealing ability if he can get on. I believe Juan is ready to be a superstar in the this league and City. Projected 2015 Stats: .281/10/50
Left Field – No question mark here. Curtis is Curtis and I think last year was an adjustment for him. Will he return to the past Curtis numbers, NO, but he will have a better year in 2015 then 2015. Curtis is slotted in the 6th hole that will fit him well. It will allow him to hit with men on base and not worry so much about hitting that game changing home run. He will continue to strike out but also walk. Curtis needs to work on his consistency for 2015. Projected 2015 Stats: .259/19/74
Offseason Quick Notes:
- Was the Ian Desmond trade more about finances or giving up young talent? Did the Mets know they could not afford to resign Desmond and worry about that backlash from fans and even MLB come 2016?
- Is the lack of a 2nd LH reliever going to bite the Mets this season? Yes, not investing in a strong BP will hurt. RH is solid, LH will come back to haunt the Mets.
- Is not trading Dillon Gee yet going to be a distraction going into the season? Yes, with Noah,Montero and Gee as 6/7/8 starters what is the end result?