The New York Mets will wrap up another disappointing season this week. There were, however, some things to be proud of in 2012.
The Mets will not lose 90 games. Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in the history of the franchise, and R.A. Dickey should be considered the favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award.
In the first half of 2012, this young team showed that it would fight for manager Terry Collins. After the All-Star break, the season spiraled downward, and the Mets ended up exactly where many of their fans expected them to finish.
Next season, unfortunately, is probably not going to look much different. The pitching will be solid again. The Mets just don't have the bats to get the job done, and the front office has given no indication that it intends to make any splashes this offseason.
That doesn't mean that Mets fans have nothing to look forward to next year. There are players on the roster who fans should be excited to see more of next year. Here is a list highlighting five of them.
Note: For the purposes of this article, I will assume that the Mets will re-sign R.A. Dickey and David Wright in the offseason. If they deal either one, the immediate future of this franchise will look very bleak.
Zack Wheeler will likely start 2013 playing Triple-A ball. There is a good chance, however, that fans will see Wheeler in a Mets uniform at some point during the season.
New York's front office has indicated that Wheeler may be ready to make the move to the majors in 2013. Mets vice president of player development and amateur scouting Paul DePodesta told MLB.com (via CBSSports.com), "I don't envision a whole lot of limitations on [Wheeler] next year."
That means we could see Wheeler come up in fashion similar to Matt Harvey this year.
Fans have been itching to get a glimpse of the young pitcher ever since the Mets traded Carlos Beltran for him last year. I suspect that next season, they'll get that chance.
David Wright has been the face of the New York Mets and a fan favorite for the past several years. He leads the Mets in just about every meaningful offensive category.
Fans will recall that he got off to an freakishly hot start this season. When the Mets headed into the All- Star break, Wright was hitting .351 with an out-of-this-world OPS of 1.004. He slowed down along with the rest of the team in July, but he still will likely end the season as the only Met with a batting average above .300.
The Mets need to sign Wright to a new deal in the offseason. He is under contract through 2013, but if he makes it to free agency, it would likely mean the end of his time with the team.
As much as Fred and Jeff Wilpon have disappointed the fans over the past few years, I have faith that they know how much Wright means to this franchise and its fans.
This is not Jose Reyes all over again. If they let Wright leave, it could be the last straw for many Mets fans.
I expect Wright to have a new contract when he reports for spring training, and he will continue to prove that he's worth every dime.
By the end of July, the Mets' improbable success seemed to be coming to an end, and fans began calling for some sort of spark. Matt Harvey provided that spark and proved that he's ready for a spot in the starting rotation in 2013.
Harvey started his fist major league game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 26. He went 5.1 innings, giving up only three hits and no runs while striking out 11.
He went on to prove over the rest of the season that that performance was no fluke.
He will finish 2012 with a 3-5 record, but some of those losses can be attributed to a lack of run support. He only gave up more than three earned runs once this season.
With an impressive 2.69 K/BB ratio and an opposing average of .200 in 10 starts in 2012, Mets fans should be excited to see what Harvey will bring to the table next season.
The R.A. Dickey saga seems to get better every day.
When he won his 20th game last week, he became the first Met to accomplish the feat since Frank Viola in 1990.
Dickey also leads the National League in innings pitched and strikeouts. He has the third-best WHIP in the league behind Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain and the second-best ERA behind Kershaw.
If Dickey doesn't win the NL Cy Young Award, something is wrong with the system.
Some may be worried about a letdown for the 37-year-old Dickey in 2013, but consider that he is a knuckleballer. Because of that, age should not be a factor for at least a few more years. Plus, as the only knuckleballer in the majors, Dickey's pitch figures to remain a novelty that is difficult to hit.
The speed and control that Dickey demonstrated all year long was astounding, and there is no reason to think that he can't do it again in 2013.
After an absolutely dreadful start, who would have guessed that Ike Davis would finish 2012 with the most home runs on the Mets?
Ike was hitting below the dreaded Mendoza Line through April and May, but he will only end up about 10 RBI shy of a 30-100 year. That kind of finish is a testament to Davis' toughness.
As any Mets fan can tell you, Davis still has pretty big holes in his game. He has trouble hitting in Citi Field and he is downright terrible against left-handed pitching. But those issues are correctable, and as Ike's career progresses, he will only get better.
I think he will use his struggles in 2012 as a learning experience, and in 2013, look for Davis to start taking the next step toward becoming a complete major-league hitter.
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