The Mets organization and fans' patience may be rewarded in 2013 when youngsters bring excitement back to Citi Field.
GM Sandy Alderson may not agree after admitting he's "not happy" with the current Mets roster during an interview with Mike Francesa on WFAN, but trading for highly valued prospects such as Travis d'Arnaud and Zack Wheeler while drafting and developing players like Matt Harvey, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda has put the Mets in a favorable position to start the new season.
At the halfway point of the 2012 season, the Mets were 46-40, only four games behind the Nationals in the NL East. Lack of offense and inconsistent pitching, not including Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey, derailed their playoff hopes in the second half of the season.
These five younger players give the Mets a better chance at making the playoffs.
With one full season under his belt after a season-ending ankle injury, Ike Davis may get his footing back and produce power hitting numbers.
Davis had a poor start to the 2012 batting .201 with a .271 OBP for the first half of the season, but turned it around for the second half of the season as he hit .255 with .346 OBP. Davis also led the team with 32 home runs.
According to Andy McCullough from The Star-Ledger, the Mets and Davis agreed on a one-year deal worth $3.12 million to avoid arbitration and keep Davis under team control until 2016.
Along with David Wright, Davis will be one of the few sources of power hitting for the Mets and can’t afford another slow start.
Mets fans are hopeful Duda can join Wright and Davis in the heart of the lineup if he can remain in one piece.
Duda broke his right wrist lifting a TV stand while moving to his new California pad during the offseason, according to Mike Puma from the New York Post. He underwent surgery to insert a pin and is expected to be ready for the start of the 2013 season.
Manager Terry Collins plans to play Duda at left field full-time, his more natural position, hoping to make a difference in the player’s mental approach. Last season, he mostly played right field after never having played before. Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens will work with Duda making his swing more consistent. Hudgens believes Duda's swing in the batting cage and in-game are not the same, per the NY Post piece linked above.
When healthy, Duda can be the offensive power source the Mets desperately need.
Top pitching prospect Matt Harvey’s 2013 season should build upon what he started last season.
Harvey made Mets history by striking out 11 hitters during his major league debut. He ended the season with a 3-5 record pitching 59.1 innings while striking out 70. His 2.71 ERA and 1.18 WHIP were good enough for first and second within the team.
His opponents’ .200 batting average coupled with some runs support can translate to wins for the Mets.
Harvey can also help on the offensive side of the ball. He had six hits in 18 at-bats while driving in three runs in the ninth spot.
Considered the Mets' best prospect by Baseball America, Zack Wheeler can bolster the Mets bullpen or starting rotation.
For now, Wheeler will continue to develop command of his pitches as GM Sandy Alderson said the intention is for Wheeler to open next season in Triple-A, with a major league debut at some point in 2013, as reported by Adam Rubin from ESPN.
Wheeler concluded the 2012 season in the minors with a 12-8 record, 148 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched and 3.26 ERA.
Minor league coach Wally Bachman praised Wheeler, saying, “his fastball is very explosive. He keeps it down in the zone. His breaking ball is a plus breaking ball. I mean, if you graded this kid out, his fastball is a 70 (on the scout’s scale of 80 being the near-perfect). His breaking ball is probably a 60 or 65. And his stuff is for real. I think he’s a kid that needs a little bit more seasoning.”
Travis d’Arnaud may be difference maker Alderson was looking for.
The catching prospect arrived to New York via the Dickey trade, sending the Cy Young Award winner to Toronto. During his six seasons in the minor leagues, d’Arnaud amassed .286 batting average, .343 on-base percentage with 275 runs, 66 HR and 289 RBI.
According to Anthony Mccarron from the the Daily News, d'Arnaud can possibly the start the season behind the plate for the Mets but will have to compete for the spot against veteran John Buck.
He has been compared to a Mets great Mike Piazza for his hitting ability as a catcher. The Mets can use his offensive power since they were in the bottom half of most team batting statistics categories.