New York Mets: Predicting the Mets' 2012 All-Star Selections
With a 32-29 record and currently in third place in the NL East, the New York Mets have surprised everyone—except themselves—by playing a lot better than most fans would have expected in a rebuilding season.
The Mets lineup is filled with many young and relatively unknown hitters. Manager Terry Collins has brought the best out of this team.
That is why they are contending for a division title instead of being in the cellar, like many fans projected.
This Mets team has worked very well together and the team chemistry has been great. However, a few individuals have really stood out.
Those players are the ones who will be going to Kansas City in July for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game. A few others have exceeded expectations so far, but will probably still fall short of an All-Star nomination.
Here are some Mets All-Star predictions for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game.
Don't forget to keep putting in All-Star ballots online— there are only a few weeks left in fan voting.
1. David Wright
Batting Average: .354
Runs Scored: 40
Home Runs: 8
Slugging Percentage: .583
2012 NL All-Star: Yes
This is clearly a no-brainer.
David Wright has been carrying the Mets offense all season long and should easily get more than enough votes to start at third base for the National League.
In addition, he has been the NL MVP favorite so far and has been the best third baseman in all of baseball this year.
There is no debate, especially when considering the fact that he was flirting with a batting average over .400 for over two months—quite rare these days.
Although the Mets hold an option for him in 2013, Wright is playing as if this is his contract season. At the rate he's going, the Mets are likely to dish out a contract over $110 million for the next six or seven years, which will hopefully keep Wright as a Met for the rest of his career.
Wright may not be putting up the power numbers that many fans may have predicted by now, but he is bound to go on a big power streak at some point.
In the end, he will almost surely finish the year with over 30 home runs and 120 RBIs. If the Mets keep contending, and even make the postseason, Wright will be almost guaranteed the 2012 NL MVP award.
He has been due to win one for years.
2. R.A. Dickey
Innings Pitched: 81.0
2012 NL All-Star: Yes
If David Wright is the heart of the Mets' offense, then R.A. Dickey has been the heart of the Mets' pitching this year.
The knuckleballer has elevated his pitching to a whole new level as he has become arguably the best pitcher in the National League thus far into the season. This means that he is, without question, a favorite in the running for the 2012 NL Cy Young Award.
No one would expect an aging knuckleballer to have 78 strikeouts and just 19 walks, but Dickey has done just that. He has been clutch when needed and has been quite a warrior on the mound.
He will easily be an All-Star selection, and there's a good chance that he will be the National League's starting pitcher with the numbers he has put up so far.
Dickey already has more wins than he did in all of 2011. The fact that he has received more run support has helped him, but his pitching has also improved. He is now the Mets' ace.
As long as Dickey isn't pitching in any rainy weather, there's every reason to believe he will continue his success all season—and possibly get close to 20 wins.
3. Johan Santana
Innings Pitched: 73.0
2012 NL All-Star: Yes
The veteran Mets co-ace Johan Santana is another pitcher worthy of an All-Star nomination, despite his mediocre 3-3 record.
This is largely due to the fact that the Mets have rarely provided good run support for Santana during his starts.
Two of Santana's three wins came during his back-to-back shutouts, which included his no-hitter against the Cardinals that gave the Mets their first no-hitter in franchise history.
Santana has had a few other starts this year that denied him wins, due to either a lack of run support or the Mets bullpen blowing the lead in the late innings.
The Mets, statistically, have the worst bullpen in the league, which does not help Santana's case for an All-Star nomination. Hopefully, the players and managers will look beyond Santana's record to see that he is definitely worthy of an All-Star nomination.
4. Daniel Murphy
Batting Average: .284
Runs Scored: 21
Home Runs: 0
Slugging Percentage: .358
2012 NL All-Star: No
Daniel Murphy has picked up where he left off in 2011.
He has been hitting singles and doubles, getting on base and hustling hard at every given moment. His defense has improved a bit, despite the fact that he already has nine errors at second base.
It will take some time though before he really feels comfortable at second base, but Murphy has been working hard and will keep improving with time.
Offensively, Murphy got off to a fast start, but has recently been in a slump. It has lowered his average to just .284.
Furthermore, Murphy has not showed any power and has the most at-bats of any position player this season to not have gotten at least one home run.
Hopefully Murphy shows some more power later in the season as the weather heats up.
The fact of the matter is that, while Murphy has hit well for most of the season and has been on-base a lot, his lack of power and defense will be the difference between him making the All-Star team and not making it.
Those are the reasons why they will be on the NL All-Star team and Murphy will be left off. The only way Murphy would have had a shot is if his batting average was over .340 right now.
However, Uggla and Phillips will be the only second basemen getting significant fan votes.
5. Lucas Duda
Batting Average: .262
Runs Scored: 24
Home Runs: 10
Slugging Percentage: .450
2012 NL All-Star: No
Mets right fielder Lucas Duda has had a solid season so far but, despite his power numbers, he will have a very tough time getting an All-Star nomination.
Especially when other outfielders like Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun and Carlos Gonzalez are all having much better seasons than him.
Duda was not exactly expected to be an All-Star in his first season as a full-time starting outfielder, but this doesn't mean that it will never happen.
In another year or two, Duda's numbers are very likely to keep getting better—he will get his All-Star nominations soon enough.
Duda can still get to over 30 home runs and over 100 RBIs this season, as he starts to become one of the more feared hitters in the National League.
2012 won't be his All-Star season yet, as he keeps developing both at the plate and in the outfield.
6. Frank Francisco
Blown Saves: 3
2012 NL All-Star: No
Frank Francisco's first 2.5 months in a Mets uniform has been a roller coaster type of experience.
At times, Francisco has been dominant in save opportunities. In other moments, he has suffered meltdowns—both on the field and with his emotions, as shown in a game in Miami against the Marlins.
Despite his three blown save meltdowns, plus a few other poor outings, Francisco has been a relatively good closer. His 15 saves so far are tied for fifth in the National League, even though his ERA is much higher than all the other top NL closers.
All in all, some people may have looked at Francisco as a possible All-Star candidate with his 15 saves in just 18 chances, but his ERA and the presence of better closers in the National League are the reasons why he will not be an All-Star this year.
Craig Kimbrel of the Braves, Joel Hanrahan of the Pirates and Jonathan Papelbon of the Phillies are closers that will definitely be All-Stars this year. Brett Myers of the Astros and Santiago Casilla of the Giants also have good chances of getting a nomination.
As a result, even if Francisco's ERA was under 3.50, he still would not have a shot at being an All-Star with all these great closers being in the National League.
7. Terry Collins
Obviously, whoever the managers are that assist the American League and National League managers during the All-Star Game each year is not a particularly big deal. The other managers are usually selected each year based on whether their team has been playing well and has brought the most out of his players.
Mets manager Terry Collins fits that description perfectly, and it would be a shame if National League manager Tony La Russa did not select Collins as one of his National League coaches.
Going into the 2012 season, the Mets were widely projected to finish last in the NL East because it was going to be a rebuilding season for the Mets.
Collins would not have any of that.
He has brought the most out of his young team and has them at a very respectable 32-29 record now in the middle of June. He has brought discipline and demeanor to the Mets, and his players know that, no matter what the expectations are, they still need to play the game the right way at all times.
Not everything has gone well for the Mets. Their bullpen has been very inconsistent, and Collins will have to find a way to get that group to pitch better and not blow so many leads.
But, the Mets rotation has been pitching very well so far. The offense has exceeded its expectations, with David Wright as a leading MVP candidate.
If Collins continues doing the great job he's been doing and the Mets end up making the postseason, the possibility of David Wright winning the NL MVP, R.A. Dickey winning the NL Cy Young Award and Collins winning the NL Manager of the Year Award will increase tremendously.
Collins will be very deserving of the NL Manager of the Year Award if the Mets do make it to the postseason.
For now, though, he should get properly recognized for what he has done by being selected onto the National League's coaching staff for the All-Star Game.