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New York Mets: What the Experts Are Saying About the 2012 Mets

Christopher HowlandCorrespondent IIIJanuary 21, 2012

New York Mets: What the Experts Are Saying About the 2012 Mets

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    With less than a month until New York Mets pitcher and catchers report to spring training in Port St. Lucie, Florida, many predictions about this 2012 squad have already been published. 

    Whether these estimations have the Mets written off in a deep National League East, or as a sleeper candidate to finish above .500, you never know until game 162 is in the books.

    It’s easy to be optimistic about this team as a life-long fan, but lets see what Mets "experts" have to say about this team as the 2012 preseason is only weeks away.

Sunday Night Baseball Snub

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    In more recent news, ESPN didn’t bother to pencil the Mets in their Sunday Night Baseball lineup. Take this revelation as you must, but Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog.com said:

    The larger point still stands, though, which is that ESPN essentially sees the Mets as irrelevant entering 2012. This is significant, considering ESPN often sets the sports discourse in this country. This doesn’t mean the Mets can or can’t win this year; it doesn’t mean they won’t eventually be worthy of attention. However, it is another example of the amount of work this organization has ahead of itself as it continues to rebuild its roster and image…not just locally, but also nationally.

    This should be just another minor news note, but, as Cerrone states, ESPN dictates the general public opinion and exposure of fans to different teams.

    This snub seems like it means that ESPN has not taking the Mets’ sluggish offseason very seriously and deems the team unsuitable for a prime time Sunday night game.

Ike Davis Returns

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    Since that night at Coors Field when Ike Davis seemingly bumped into David Wright in front of the pitchers mound, Davis’ ankle has never been the same. 

    "I don't know what's going to happen if I roll it again. I hope that never happens. It's eventually going to happen. I hope it doesn't do the exact same thing," Davis told Anthony Rieber of Newsday

    Rieber went on to say, “He's a healed player who had an ankle sprain. He may need a tape job on the ankle. He hasn't played baseball since May. He's ready to go. He's ready to go."

    It sounds promising that Davis will be able to continue where he left off from his injury-shortened sophomore campaign. All eyes will be on him as he enters spring training next month.

The Rotation

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    The return of Johan Santana will be sure to dominate the New York headlines, but that shouldn’t take away from our true ace of the past two years: R.A. Dickey.

    Patrick Flood offers an intriguing comparison that is sure to open the eyes of Mets fans:

    R.A. Dickey, 2010-11: 383 innings, 58 starts, 3.08 ERA, .304 OBP against, .372 slugging against, 124 ERA+

    Tim Lincecum, 2010-11: 429.1 innings, 66 starts, 3.08 ERA, .306 OBP against, .354 slugging against, 124 ERA+.

    And he also adds:

    If the Mets can squeeze 550 mediocre innings and 150 not-awful innings out of Jon Niese, Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee, they’ll be okay…The Mets’ rotation was actually just 10th in ERA (out of 16 teams) in the National League last season. If the starters can repeat that performance and the bullpen improves, the Mets could make a run at having an average pitching staff.

    Average is not something a professional team in New York should be striving for, but the pitching staff, with a revamped bullpen, may just surprise fans in 2012.

Who Is Batting Leadoff?

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    Jose Reyes is gone. We won't go into it here because I’m still bitter about it.

    But now that No. 7 took his talents to South Beach, the Mets have a hole at the top of their lineup.

    We go back to Patrick Flood to bring some clearness to this question:

    That leaves Ruben Tejada, Andres Torres, and Daniel Murphy. Assuming Collins wants to avoid putting pressure on Tejada to replace Jose Reyes both in the lineup and on the field, we can cross Tejada off for leadoff. That leaves Torres and Murphy. Torres has the traditional leadoff hitter speed (60 career steals), while Murphy has the better career OBP (.343 to .318). I would lean towards Murphy and his OBP.

    His points seem fairly logical. Murphy does have the higher on-base percentage, and no one can predict if Torres will revert back to a 2010 or 2011 state.

    Flood continues and says it best:

    But I think it’s more likely the Mets will rely on a rotating cast of leadoff hitters throughout the season.

The Bench

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    The Mets role players coming off the bench look to have taken a downgrade since 2011.

    From Ted Berg on SNY.tv:

    Ronny Cedeno sees some time as a defensive replacement and makes a bunch of fancy plays. Justin Turner forever wins the hearts of Mets fans everywhere with clutchness and grit in a right-handed pinch-hitting role. Neither needs to start that often, obviously, because all of the regular infielders are staying healthy and having career years.

    And if that doesn’t get you excited for 2012, check out Patrick Flood again:

    That’s a pretty brutal bench, though. Mike Nickeas and Ronny Cedeno only have value as defensive replacements, while Turner and Baxter are pretty much replacement-level players.

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