Spring training 2013 is in full swing in Port St. Lucie, Fla., for Terry Collins' New York Mets. Coming off a disappointing 74-88 campaign in which New York completely collapsed in the second half, optimism reigns supreme at this time of year.
It always does, for every major league team, in mid-February.
In order for any team to try to compete for a playoff spot, pleasant surprises have to happen along the way. Just a few years ago, former Mets general manager Omar Minaya took a chance and signed a journeyman knuckleball pitcher. Not much was expected of him, considering that he was in his mid-30s at the time.
That pitcher was R.A. Dickey, and what a surprise he turned out to be for New York. In 2012, the bearded right-hander became the first Mets pitcher since Dwight Gooden in 1985 to win the Cy Young Award. Dickey's surprising rise to prominence was one of the main reasons the Mets were able to acquire top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud, who came to New York from the Blue Jays in a trade for Dickey this winter.
So you never know when a player will truly surprise his manager and put together a season that is better than expected. With that in mind, here are five Mets players that could surprise the veteran skipper in 2013.