New York Mets: Potential 2012 Team MVPs
I firmly believe the 2012 New York Mets will be much better than most people are giving them credit for. They have a potent lineup and the potential to have a good pitching staff. Add a revamped bullpen to that and you have the recipe for a potential winning team.
I've read a lot of articles on this site talking about the Mets offense and they weren't talking about it in a good way. I've yet to understand the reasoning behind this. How many other major league lineups can say they have the potential for four 25+ HR guys? (Wright, Davis, Bay, Duda).
Now I know what a lot of people are going to think after that. How can you possibly say that Bay is still a 25+ HR guy? I know that Citi Field has drastically hurt Bay's numbers and the walls being moved in are not going to restore him to his 35 home run days of Boston and Pittsburgh, but can you honestly tell me that Bay does not have the ability to 25 home runs anymore? They moved the walls in Citi Field WAY in and even made them shorter. Home runs WILL be hit in this new Citi Field.
Anyway, this article is not talking about Mets that have a chance at league MVP, this is simply talking about who has the chance to be the MVP for the Mets in 2012.
#5: Johan Santana
Obviously, the biggest key to Santana being the Mets 2012 MVP is him staying healthy. A lot of people think that even if Santana is able to stay healthy, he will see a big drop off in production. While he will most likely experience a drop from recent years, I don't think it will be anywhere near as much as people are tending to believe.
There is one specific reason that I believe this. If you think back to 2008, to the second to last game of the year, the Mets were in the midst of another late season collapse to miss the playoffs. If they lost that game, they would have fallen a game back in the wild card race with only one game to play. Johan Santana pitched a three-hit shutout that day, on what we all later learned was effectively one knee.
My point to that story is that Johan Santana is a true fighter and as competitive as anyone in the major leagues. If he can keep his arm at even 90 percent this season, he will still be one of the better pitchers in baseball. He's had problems in the past and he's seen his velocity drop, but that hasn't yet stopped him from pitching well.
While Santana may not throw a full year, if he can stay healthy enough to pitch like he should, he will definitely be one of the best players on the Mets.
2012 projections: 25 GS, 12-5, 150 IP, 115 Ks, 3.23 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
MVP chances- 15:1
#4: Lucas Duda
Duda was one of the few bright spots of the Mets 2011 season. After starting slow, Duda finished the year very strong and in the end, had himself a very quality rookie year.
After the All-Star break, when he finally received everyday playing time, Duda batted .322 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI. Keep in mind, this was still his rookie year. Eight of Duda's 10 home runs also came on the road, which is really a good sign moving forward. This shows that the power was there for Duda, but Citi Field's cavernous dimensions were killing his power at home.
That should change this year, now that the walls are much closer to the plate. The "Mo Zone" where lefties home runs went to die is no longer an issue, so Duda should be able to add a few more home runs to his resume.
Duda won't be able to hold that .322 post All-Star break average, but don't look for it to dip too far. Duda has a good contact swing for a power hitter and a .300 average could very well be in his future.
2012 projections: .293 AVG, .357 OBP, 21 HRs, 81 RBI
MVP chances- 12:1
#3: Frank Francisco
The reason that I have a closer so high on this list is because it's something that the Mets desperately needed last season. The Mets were tied for fifth worst in the Majors with 24 blown saves. If they could have had a league average closer and only had about 13 or 14 blown saves, which was essentially the league average, the Mets would have been fighting for a playoff spot till the last day of the season.
People don't realize that the Mets actually had a good team last year that just got derailed by their bullpen. Now, the Mets have a chance to have a quality closer in Frank Francisco. Francisco is hard throwing and has a pretty good track record.
He got off to a slow start last season, but finished very strong, converting all six of his September save opportunities and finished the year saving seven in a row.
The Mets tend to play a lot of close ballgames, so there will most likely be a lot of use for Francisco. If he is able to pitch as well as he did at the end of last year, he will play a huge part in any Mets success this season.
2012 projections: 2-2, 36 saves, 3.60 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
MVP chances- 10:1
#2: Ike Davis
Ike Davis was well on his way to a breakout season last year, before a freak injury ended his season way too soon.
Before he got hurt in the beginning of May, Davis was hitting .302 with 7 HR and 25 RBI. Those numbers should only get better with the drawn in walls of new Citi Field.
Even if they didn't move the walls in, that probably still wouldn't have bothered Davis. He has the kind of power where he'll hit home runs no matter where you put him. All the closer walls will do is give him a few extra cheapies. Davis probably hit the furthest ball ever hit to right field in Citi Field, as he hit it about 10 rows up in the upper deck.
If Davis can continue to develop like he was appearing to last year, he has big things in his future. I'd bet just about anything that if Davis can stay healthy throughout his career, he will have a 40 home run season before it's over.
2012 projections: .291 AVG, .376 OBP, 32 HRs, 101 RBI
MVP chances- 5:1
#1: David Wright
I'm sure just about everyone saw this coming. Wright was once one of the most feared hitters in the National League, if not all of baseball. His power to the opposite field was something that reminded most Mets fans of a decent power hitter by the name of Mike Piazza.
Over the past couple years however, Wright's numbers have dropped and been a little inconsistent. I attribute this to a few different factors.
One is that Wright has been battling injuries. A couple of years ago, it was a concussion after being hit by a Matt Cain pitch that just seemed to linger. Last year, it was a few different nagging injuries that just never went away. Another is lineup protection. Because of the injuries the Mets as a whole have had, Wright hasn't really had consistent protection behind him in the lineup.
This has allowed pitchers to really pitch around Wright. However, being one of the only big threats in the Mets lineup over the past couple years, Wright has still tried to make things happen, causing him to swing at a lot of bad pitches. It's been obvious that he's been pressing lately.
This year, with the closer fences and good lineup around him, look for Wright to have a season that resembles the numbers of his glory days a few years back.
2012 projections: .298 AVG, .392 OBP, 28 HRs, 95 RBI, 17 SBs
MVP chances- 2:1