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The One Thing Each Mets Player Hopefully Improved This Offseason

Shale BriskinContributor IIIDecember 23, 2014

The One Thing Each Mets Player Hopefully Improved This Offseason

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    The 2013 Spring Training is about a month away, which means the Mets will soon journey to Florida to prepare for the upcoming regular season. For those that will play in the World Baseball Classic in March, getting in game shape early is even more important.

    Offseason workout programs usually consist of baseball fundamentals, weight lifting and running. Some players may also try to improve certain aspects of their game, such as hitting curveballs or hitting against left-handed pitching.

    Hopefully, each of the Mets' players have been active this offseason with their personal workouts and staying in shape for the 2013 regular season. Here is something that each player hopefully improved during the offseason.

Ike Davis

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Hitting vs Left-Handed Pitching

    After a terrible first half, Ike Davis bounced back in 2012 after the All-Star break. He finished with career highs in home runs (32) and RBI (90). However, Davis' splits in certain areas are rather concerning, and one of them is hitting against left-handed pitching.

    Davis batted just .174 all season against southpaws in 2012. It was a sharp decline compared to his .295 average against left-handed pitching in his first full season in 2010. He'll need to return to form against lefties to have the kind of season he is capable of.

Daniel Murphy

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Turning Double Plays

    Throughout his transformation into a second baseman, Daniel Murphy's biggest area of concern has been turning double plays. A natural corner infielder, Murphy is not the most agile and graceful second baseman, but he has worked hard to become a better second baseman.

    Murphy suffered two knee injuries while turning double plays. The first occurred in 2010 and the second was late in the 2011 season. Murphy managed to stay healthy for the entire 2012 season, which was great for him and the Mets. However, he will now need to show he can stay healthy and turn double plays consistently in order to become a more valuable player.

    In other words, Murphy simply needs to continue building on an area he has already improved on a lot. If he stays healthy and puts up similar or better offensive numbers in 2013, he will be considered a better player for sure.

Ruben Tejada

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Performing Well Throughout an Entire Season

    Despite being just 23 years old, Ruben Tejada was more or less fatigued near the end of the 2012 season. At his age and with his body type, he should be as energetic and fresh as anyone.

    Tejada batted .299 in April with eight doubles before playing in just 12 combined games in May and June due to injuries. In the second half, Tejada batted .315 in July, but just .261 in August and .266 in September, which showed that playing a full season certainly wore on him.

    Why Tejada may have gotten tired down the stretch last year is unknown, but it would be wise of him to do a better job with conditioning himself and staying healthy throughout the season. Hopefully, what happened in 2012 will motivate Tejada to have an even better season in 2013.

David Wright

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    Most Glaring Weakness: High Strikeout Totals

    In the past few seasons, David Wright has been trying to carry the Mets' offense on his back and do everything he can to provide runs for the pitching staff. However, at times, he has tried too hard, which has resulted in over 100 strikeouts in seven of the nine seasons in his career.

    In 2012, Wright had 112 strikeouts, which was certainly an improvement from his 161 strikeouts in 2010. However, if Wright had more support in the lineup, he would have likely been more patient at the plate and waited for a better pitch instead of being too aggressive in order to carry the lineup.

    Wright batted .351 throughout the first half and was arguably one of the best hitters in baseball during that stretch. Unfortunately, his average in the second half dropped all the way down to .258. Not surprisingly, the Mets' offense did not hit as much down the stretch, so Wright got more aggressive at the plate and that did not help his game too much.

    Sure, if Wright had more feared hitters around him in the lineup than just Ike Davis, he may not have been so aggressive at the plate, but Wright himself also needs to improve his pitch selection and be smarter at the plate. If he strikes out less in 2013, it would mean his season will be that much better.

Justin Turner

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Hitting Against Right-Handed Pitching

    Despite being more or a less a backup utility infielder, Justin Turner was most often called upon in 2012 to be a pinch-hitter. Turner batted .250 as a pinch-hitter, but only .241 overall against right-handed pitching.

    If Turner wants to see more playing time, he will need to hit better against right-handed pitching. His defense overall across the infield is good, but to help the bench improve, Turner will need to hit better against right-handed pitching.

Jordany Valdespin

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Plate Discipline

    Although he had eight home runs in 2012, including five as a pinch-hitter, Jordany Valdespin showed that he was overmatched by major league pitching and could use some more time in the minor leagues. However, if he is on the 2013 major league roster, he will need to improve his plate discipline significantly.

    In 206 plate appearance, Valdespin drew just 10 walks and struck out 44 times. One walk for every four strikeouts is a terrible rate. Valdespin will need to not only draw more walks and strike out less, but also improve his very low .286 OBP. If he fails to do so, he will most likely find himself back in the minor leagues.

    Valdespin's defense in the outfield is another aspect of his game that he will need to work on, but he will not last an entire season on a major league roster until he gets on base a lot more consistently.

Lucas Duda

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    Most Glaring Weakness: High Strikeout Totals

    Lucas Duda certainly underachieved in 2012 with just 15 home runs and 57 RBI. However, it's his 120 strikeouts in just 401 at-bats that is his most glaring weakness.

    Duda's first half was good, but a big slump in July led to him getting demoted to the minor leagues for nearly a month. Duda's big hacks led to some home runs, but it usually ended up with a strikeout and that is something he will need to improve.

    Hopefully, Duda has been working on being more consistent with his timing at the plate. Hitting in a cage or off a tee could really help his swing improve. The Mets will definitely need a more productive 2013 season from Duda in order to possibly win more games.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Lack of Plate Discipline

    Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a great start to his rookie season last year, but by July, he was slumping bad enough to get demoted to the minor leagues. Overall, Nieuwenhuis batted .252 with seven home runs and 28 RBI.

    Nieuwenhuis though was overmatched at the plate once pitchers were able to figure him out. By July, quite a few of his at-bats ended up as strikeouts.

    Speaking of strikeouts, Nieuwenhuis' alarming strikeout rate became a very big concern for the Mets. Nieuwenhuis had 98 strikeouts in only 282 at-bats, which comes out to be nearly one strikeout in every three at-bats. Furthermore, he drew just 25 walks as well, which means that significant improvements to his plate discipline will be necessary for him to be the Mets' everyday center fielder in 2013.

Mike Baxter

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Staying Healthy

    On June 1, Mike Baxter made an amazing catch in left field in order to preserve Johan Santana's no-hitter, but while doing so, he injured his shoulder and missed nearly two months of the season.

    With 2012 being just his first full season, Baxter will need to show the Mets that he can stay consistently healthy for a full season. If he does in 2013, the Mets may be able to really see the kind of production he can put together over an entire season.

    Baxter was quite a successful pinch-hitter last year, but will need to prove himself all over again to get the Mets to really believe in him. If the Mets sign a new outfielder before Spring Training, it's very likely that Baxter will be back on the bench in 2013.

Travis D'Arnaud

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Staying Healthy

    In 2012, Travis D'Arnaud was limited to just 67 games in the minor leagues due to injuries. This past December, he was the centerpiece of a trade that brought him to the Mets. He is now the Mets' catcher of the future.

    D'Arnaud could be on the Opening Day roster for the Mets, but could also spend the first month of the regular season in the minor leagues as well. Nonetheless, regardless of whether he is in the minor leagues or the Mets, he will need to stay healthy in order to give the Mets everything he has to offer. If he is on the disabled list, he will not be able to contribute at all. Thus, staying healthy is the most important improvement D'Arnaud will have to make.

John Buck

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Low Batting Average

    A career .235 hitter, John Buck had the worst season of his career in 2012. Despite 12 home runs and 41 RBI, he batted just .192 all season. His .297 OBP and .644 OPS were career lows as well.

    If Travis D'Arnaud is not the Mets' Opening Day catcher, Buck will be the starting catcher for the Mets until D'Arnaud is called up to the major leagues. Regardless of whether he is a starter or backup, Buck will have to improve his hitting in order to revive his career.

Jon Niese

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Limiting Home Runs Against Right-Handed Hitters

    Jon Niese had his best season so far in 2012 with a 13-9 record and a 3.40 ERA. He will almost certainly be the Mets' Opening Day starter in the 2013 season now that R.A. Dickey is a member of the Blue Jays.

    As an ace, Niese will have to take his pitching to an even higher level in 2013. Besides pitching better generally speaking, the one improvement Niese could really make would have to do with limiting home runs. Right-handed hitters in particular gave Niese trouble and hit 18 home runs last season off the southpaw.

    If Niese allows less home runs to right-handed hitters, he will very likely have a better season than he did in 2012.

Matt Harvey

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Not Pitching Particularly Deep Into Starts

    Matt Harvey's debut season in 2012 was rather successful and provided the Mets and their fans a glimpse of what they can look forward to seeing for years to come.

    Harvey was 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts and 59.1 innings pitched. He also had 70 strikeouts as he used his power pitches to his advantage. However, Harvey averaged 5.9 innings per start, which is not a particularly large number for innings pitched.

    In order to have the great season that will be expected of him in 2013, Harvey will have to pitch at least six or seven innings in most starts. By doing so, he will be more effective and will have shown that the conditioning program he did in the offseason was a success. Hopefully, Harvey will pitch deeper into games so that he can get more wins for the Mets in 2013.

Johan Santana

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Fatigue

    Johan Santana is only getting older and will be 34 by Opening Day. He has struggled to stay healthy for the past few seasons and did not pitch particularly well in the second half of the 2012 season.

    By then, Santana was clearly fatigued and got shut down by August for the season. 2013 will almost certainly be Santana's final season as a Met. He will pitch for the Mets as long as he is healthy, but at this point, it is certainly not guaranteed that he will be healthy for an entire season.

    If the Mets get 10-15 starts from Santana in the upcoming season, that would be an accomplishment in itself. In order to get back to the ace he was signed to be for the Mets, Santana will have to both stay healthy and pitch well for a full season.

    Throughout much of his career, Santana has been a great second-half pitcher and will need have to get back to the same pitcher that won two Cy Young Awards in order to help the Mets win more games.

Dillon Gee

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Staying Healthy

    Dillon Gee's 2012 season ended rather early due to a shoulder injury and he was done for the season by July. Up until then, Gee was 6-7 with a 4.10 ERA.

    In order to be a more productive pitcher in 2013, Gee will have to stay healthy for the entire season and pitch better in his starts. Gee won 13 games in his rookie season in 2011, which shows that he certainly has the potential to pitch well. As long as he is healthy though, the Mets can expect a solid season from Gee, who will likely be the Mets' No. 4 starter.

Frank Francisco

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Very High ERA

    Frank Francisco's 2012 season included a career high 5.53 ERA, which was a big reason as to why the Mets had one of the worst bullpens last season.

    Francisco will need to work on his control in 2013 in order to be more effective. As of right now, he will be the Mets' closer unless they sign or trade for another closer prior to Spring Training. Regardless of his role though, Francisco will need to be more effective in the bullpen.

Bobby Parnell

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Effectiveness of Secondary Pitches

    Despite having a 5-4 record and a 2.49 ERA, Bobby Parnell was still a very similar pitcher to what he has been throughout his career.

    Parnell has relied on his fastball more than any of his other pitches. He has improved his secondary pitches overall, but still has more improvements to make before he ultimately becomes a full-time closer.

    Parnell was briefly the Mets' closer while Frank Francisco was on the disabled list. He did not pitch as well in this role though. Once Francisco returned, Parnell went back to being a set-up man. In the 2013 season, Parnell will return to the same role he has had through the vast majority of his career. However, if he really wants to possibly be the Mets' closer of the future, he will have to continue improving his secondary pitches.

Josh Edgin

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Lack of Major League Experience

    In 2012, Josh Edgin got called up to the Mets in the second half of the season and finished with a 1-2 record and a 4.56 ERA. Edgin pitched very well overall as he took over the role Tim Byrdak had before injuries ended his season.

    Edgin will now be the Mets' left-handed specialist out of the bullpen for the foreseeable future. He has what it takes to thrive in this role, but he has yet to pitch in a full major league season. Thus, the 2013 season will be a good indicator of what Edgin can do for the Mets.

Robert Carson

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Lack of Major League Experience

    Like Edgin, Robert Carson is also a left-handed reliever, but he has had even less major league experience. He had a 4.73 ERA in just 17 appearances, but showed that he could provide the Mets with a second left-handed reliever out of the bullpen.

    It would be tough to really judge Carson from his limited appearances, so a full major league season from him would show what he can really do for the Mets.

Jeurys Familia

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    Most Glaring Weakness: Lack of Command

    Jeurys Familia is one of the more raw pitchers that the Mets currently have. He had been a starter throughout the minor leagues, but could definitely be in line to start the 2013 season with the Mets in the bullpen.

    Familia made just eight appearances with the Mets in 2012 during his September call-up. He was not particularly consistent and struggled with his command, which led to quite a few walks.

    In the minor leagues last season, Familia allowed 73 walks in 137 innings pitched. This shows that his command needs a lot of improvement. Furthermore, his secondary pitches are certainly not as effective as his fastball, so he will need to work on that as well.

    Familia though could be a successful middle reliever as long as his fastball command is working well. If he can dramatically improve his secondary pitches and establish much better overall command, the Mets could have a future closer in the making.

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