Meet the Mets. No seriously, I need to meet them because I know very little about these guys. Okay, to be fair I am a fan of a team in the AL West, so there is really nothing further from me in baseball than the NL East. Yet I'm still a fan of the Washington Nationals from a distance. I know a thing or two about the Phillies. And who could forget the Braves or those lovable losing Marlins? But the Mets?
After years of trying to compete with their city-mates, the New York not-Yankees are finally starting to shed contracts and start from scratch. The Mets will pay Johan Santana $25.5 million this year (spit-take) before paying him $5 million next year to leave. That will mean that their only non-arbitration dollars committed in 2014 are David Wright ($20 million) and Jonathan Neise ($5 mill.) So is the youth movement going to work out better than the poor-spending-for-years movement?
And will it produce any fantasy stars?
Mets Projected Lineup (ZIPS projections):
1. Jordany Valdespin, OF - .248/.286/.388, 7 HR, 12 SB
2. Daniel Murphy, 2B - .287/.335/.413, 9 HR, 68 RBI, 8 SB
3. David Wright, 3B - .277/.364/.457, 21 HR, 86 RBI, 16 SB
4. Ike Davis, 1B - .255/.341/.473, 28 HR, 87 RBI
5. Lucas Duda, OF - .249/.337/.416, 17 HR, 66 RBI
6. Marlon Byrd, OF - 267/.313/.360
7. John Buck, C - .228/.308/.388, 10 HR, 35 RBI
8. Ruben Tejada, SS - .271/.332/.342, 3 HR, 6 SB
Kirk Nieuwenhuis - .236/.303/.379
Travis D'Arnaud, C - .248/.298/.407
So there's Wright and Davis. Is there anyone else worth a roster spot in a standard league? Hard to see someone projected at the top of the order with a .286 on-base percentage and that's the same OBP that Valdespin put up in 94 games last season. Not good. Neither is Nieuwenhuis (pronounced: I'm not going to keep trying to spell this) this spring, hitting .056 in seven games.
Murphy is interesting in that he has a career OPS+ of 108 and that he's not David Murphy, but he has no real power and no real speed. Too good not to play in the majors, not good enough to expect such trivial things as "home runs" or "stolen bases" from.
Lucas "Hey" Duda was a popular sleeper last year, but his .239/.329/.389 with 15 HR. At 27, there's probably not much room to grow.
D'Arnaud will probably be the other guy to get drafted as teams pray for a young rookie catcher to step up and have a big year, but these gambles almost never pay off. However, D'Arnaud is already 24 and he's not blocked by John Buck. He should be up for a considerable amount of time this year and he could be in the top 20% of hitting catchers this year. It wouldn't seem right to expect a lot, but it wouldn't be terrible to expect something.
As for everyone else besides Davis, Wright, and D'Arnaud? I wouldn't expect a lot.