Ranking Which Players Mets Fans Have to Look Forward to Most in Spring Training
The completion of the Super Bowl each year results in the end of the NFL season. By then, it's February, which means that MLB spring training is right around the corner. With baseball season will come warmer weather and another great year in MLB history.
New York Mets' fans may not think that 2013 will be a big year for the Mets, but that does not mean that there is nothing to look forward to. Quite a few young talents will continue their development, and some should be ready for the major leagues this year. There will also be veterans who are trying to revive their careers and give the Mets a boost.
This spring training will be more unique than most because of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which takes place in March. Some regular Mets' players may not be available for part of the Mets' spring training because of their team's World Baseball Classic schedules. As a result, some backups and minor league players will get more exposure during spring training games in March.
Here are five specific players Mets fans can look forward to seeing the most in spring training.
5. Johan Santana
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Not everyone will be excited to see Johan Santana pitch for the New York Mets again, but the fact of the matter is that 2013 will almost certainly be his last season with the Mets. Thus, Mets fans might as well try to make the most of Santana's victory lap in New York.
Santana, overall, has been a very solid pitcher and was the Mets' ace from 2008 to 2010. The former two-time AL Cy Young Award winner finished in third place in the 2008 NL Cy Young Award voting with a 16-7 record and a league leading and career best 2.53 ERA. His 2009 and 2010 seasons were similarly good, but both included injuries during the last month of the season.
The injury trend only got worse as Santana missed the entire 2011 season and then suffered more injuries in the second half of the 2012 season after having a good first half.
What kind of potential injuries 2013 could bring Santana remains to be seen. He could have a great bounce-back season and put up numbers close to those from 2008. On the other hand, Santana could once again go through an injury plagued season and end his time with the Mets on a sour note.
Again, Santana will not be one of the most exciting players on the Mets anymore, but it would be nice for fans to make the most of Santana's time with the Mets and appreciate it as much as possible.
4. Matt Harvey
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New York Mets fans saw Matt Harvey pitch in the major leagues in 2012, so there won't be the same kind of excitement surrounding him this spring raining as compared to spring training 2012. Nevertheless, Harvey is still one of the most exciting young players on the Mets and will be fun to watch throughout the season.
Harvey went 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts last season after being called up in late July. The record may not look particularly good, but the Mets' offense did not give Harvey much support in many of his starts.
Going into the 2013 season, Harvey should keep developing into a better pitcher and could definitely have a big breakout season this year. Look for Harvey to be one of, if not the best pitcher on the Mets this season.
3. Noah Syndergaard
One of the main pieces the New York Mets acquired in the blockbuster R.A. Dickey trade was pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard.
Syndergaard has had a very stellar minor league career so far. In his first full professional season in 2011, he went 5-2 with a 1.83 ERA across three lower levels of the Toronto Blue Jays' organization. Syndergaard continued his success in 2012 with an 8-5 record and a 2.60 ERA in Class A Lansing. He also had 122 strikeouts in 103.2 innings pitched.
Syndergaard will most likely begin the 2013 season in Class A St. Lucie, which is the Mets' "high-level" Class A team, due to its longer season. It's also possible that if Syndergaard pitches particularly well, he could eventually move up to Class AA Binghamton later in the season. As for the major leagues, Syndergaard is at least two or three years away from that occurring.
Noah Syndergaard could eventually become a great pitcher for the Mets, but for now, fans can get a taste of what Syndergaard is like during Spring Training.
2. Travis d'Arnaud
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The other main piece of the New York Mets' big trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in December 2012 was catcher Travis d'Arnaud.
D'Arnaud is one of the top catching prospects in baseball and will be ready for the major leagues sometime this season. It's unknown whether D'Arnaud will start the season on the Opening Day roster or in the minor leagues for the first month or so. Regardless, fans will be excited to see him play when the time comes.
D'Arnaud should bring more offense to the Mets than his catching predecessor Josh Thole ever did. Travis' defense is also above average and there's a good chance a young catcher like him could work well with the Mets' young pitchers.
The Mets may not have gotten another Mike Piazza this offseason, but d'Arnaud will bring quite a presence behind the plate once his major league career begins. And that is something Mets fans should be very excited about.
1. Zack Wheeler
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Despite getting Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard this offseason, Zack Wheeler will still be front and center for the New York Mets during spring training this year.
Wheeler is the Mets' top prospect and will very likely play in the major leagues this year. He could possibly make the Mets' Opening Day roster in the back end of the starting rotation, which would really excite Mets fans. However, Wheeler will probably pitch in the minor leagues for the first month or two in order to fine tune his mechanics and prepare even further for his major league debut.
On the other hand, Wheeler would likely be the Mets' top choice to bring up in case one of their starters gets hurt and cannot play. With veteran pitchers like Johan Santana and Shaun Marcum in the rotation, injuries should not be too unpredictable and could definitely have an impact on when Wheeler ultimately makes his major league debut.
Mets fans will more than likely want to see Wheeler pitch in the major leagues and some may even view him as the future savior of the Mets that could lead the team to a championship. But for now, Wheeler will be watched very closely by nearly everyone in spring training as the hype continues.