Heading in to the 2013 season, the New York Mets 25-man roster was thin on established talent to say the least. Outside of David Wright, the club was relying on unproven players at almost every position on the team.
First baseman Ike Davis had a subpar 2012 campaign. Despite putting up good overall power numbers, his low batting average and lack of clutch hitting were on display for all to see.
Shortstop Ruben Tejada had been touted to the Mets faithful as the heir apparent to Jose Reyes. Unfortunately, fans are still waiting to see what they had been promised and most wish Reyes was still at the top of the Mets lineup.
Meanwhile, the team's projected Opening Day outfield consisted of Collin Cowgill, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter, Lucas Duda and spring training invitee Marlon Byrd. This group certainly had many question marks.
The Mets' opening day lineup looked like this:
Duda, Tejada and Niese are currently on the disabled list, Cowgill was traded to the Angels and Davis was demoted for a month to AAA Las Vegas.
As it turns out, something changed for the Mets once the struggling Duda, Davis and Tejada were out of the lineup. With minor leaguers and journeyman pickups, the New York Mets suddenly became a decent baseball team. While they are a far cry from playoff caliber, these new faces have injected some life and excitement in to the Mets lineup. Coincidence or not, since Duda joined Davis and Tejada on the sidelines the team has put up a respectable 14-10 record.
What makes this even more impressive is eight of these players were not on the Mets opening day roster. The ninth won his spot as a Spring invitee. Here's a look at nine unexpected contributors for the 2013 Mets.