MLB: Why New York Mets Should Already Be Focused on 2014
It's a saying that has been preprogrammed into the minds of every Mets fan: Wait 'til next year.
It holds true this season, as the Amazin's have looked anemic at the plate most days and struggle to put together wins. Mind you, it is only June, but I think its safe to say that fans are already looking forward to the 2014 campaign, and there are a few reasons why it will be more promising.
The 2014 season has the potential to be an exciting year for the Flushing faithful. Matt Harvey's performance thus far has inspired a lot of hope for the future. The rotation becomes more formidable if Zack Wheeler can live up to expectations. If Noah Syndergaard can fly through the minor league ranks and make it to the big league club sometime next season, that could instantly provide an extra boost to the pitching staff.
Once Jeurys Familia recovers from bone spur removal surgery, he could be the bridge to the closer, whoever that will be next season. I wouldn't mind seeing Bobby Parnell at closer again next season, but only on one condition: a return to his 100 mph velocity, which we know he is capable of reaching. His velocity is down somewhat this season due to Parnell wanting to have better control, but if he could somehow manage to dial it back up and still throw strikes, that would be ideal.
The shortstop situation is in flux, so a guy like Wilmer Flores can make the transition from second base to shortstop. Offense is something the Mets need desperately, and Flores is batting .293 for the Las Vegas 51s. A .293 average looks legendary compared to Ruben Tejada's .209. We all know that Omar Quintanilla is not the permanent solution at short, although he has been hitting very well lately. Flores should take that spot.
Travis d'Arnaud will also be a key part of the Mets' 2014 season, but I don't think it should be because he is catching. It would be more beneficial for himself and the team if d'Arnaud makes the transition to playing outfield. A bat like his would be wasted if he could only play 120-130 games a year at catcher. Plus, he has been known to be injury prone, and moving him to the outfield could combat that issue.
A wild-card name that could be important to next season is Matt den Dekker. His amazing defense in spring training clogged the highlight reels. He could be important in defensive replacement situations late in key games. Considering the outfield defense has been mediocre, at best, it would be nice to see someone covering some ground out there.
How many games will the Mets win in 2014?
As the rest of the National League East is finding its young stars (Jose Fernandez, Bryce Harper, Domonic Brown and Craig Kimbrel, just to name a few of the many), the Mets need to have their key young talent established at the major league level so a cohesive team can be put together and start winning. The likely top 60 percent of the rotation (Harvey, Wheeler, Syndergaard) will be the catalyst to that because good pitching is what led to the success of the recent World Series champions.
It'll take longer than the 2014 season to put it all together for the New York Metropolitans, but the pieces that I mentioned will be important in making the Mets serious contenders in the years to come.
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