What to Expect from Every Mets Starting Position Player in 2014
Now that the new year has arrived, it means that spring training for the Mets is only weeks away from getting underway.
The Mets' 2014 lineup seems to have already been put together for the most part. Final decisions on both first base and shortstop could still be made in the next two months, but the other positions on the field seem all but set.
Here are some reasonable numbers that Mets fans should be able to expect from the team's likely starting lineup this season.
Statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.
C Travis D'Arnaud
2014 Predicted Statistics: .260-.280 batting average, 20-25 doubles, 15-20 home runs, 80-90 RBI, 50-60 walks
The Mets should give young rookie catcher Travis d'Arnaud every opportunity to succeed, despite the fact that he batted just .202 with one home run, five RBI, a .286 OBP and a .263 slugging percentage in 2013. d'Arnaud accumulated only 99 at-bats though, which will make him eligible to be a rookie in 2014.
d'Arnaud should be able to provide reasonably good consistency at the plate, a decent or even good amount of power and a lot of run production for the Mets' offense this season. If he can do all that, he could certainly find himself in the running for National League Rookie of the Year.
1B Ike Davis/Lucas Duda
It is yet to be determined whether Ike Davis or Lucas Duda will end up being the Mets' regular first baseman this season. One of the two may get traded over the next two months or both may remain Mets by spring training. If that is the case, they will probably compete in for the starting job this spring. As a result, this position is split in half for each player.
2014 Predicted Statistics: .250-.260 batting average, 25-30 doubles, 20-25 home runs, 80-100 RBI, 40-50 walks
Davis batted just .205 last season, with nine home runs and 33 RBI in 317 at-bats. Davis raised his 2012 .308 OBP to .326, thanks to a higher walk rate, but his slugging percentage fell from .462 to .334.
Davis got off to a very slow start and eventually was demoted in June for nearly a month. He hit slightly better after coming back, but late in August, he suffered a season-ending oblique injury. Davis hit 32 home runs and drove in 90 RBI in 2012—both career highs.
If Davis can find a way to get back to hitting the way he did in the second half of 2012, the Mets' offense will improve dramatically.
2014 Predicted Statistics: .250-.260 batting average, 25-30 doubles, 15-25 home runs, 70-80 RBI, 50-60 walks
Duda batted .223 with 15 home runs and 33 RBI in 318 at-bats in 2013. He was the starting left fielder until he was injured in June and replaced by Eric Young Jr. in left field for the rest of the season.
When Duda eventually returned in late August, it was as a first baseman. Originally, he was on the bench, but after Davis got hurt, Duda took over at first base for the rest of the season.
Duda is not as proven a hitter as Davis and has yet to really show his full potential for an extended period of time. On the flip side, Duda has already shown more patience at the plate than Davis and has proven that he at least has a decent eye at the plate.
That could definitely help him in having a higher OBP and OPS this season than Davis.
2B Daniel Murphy
2014 Predicted Statistics: .280-.310 batting average, 40-45 doubles, 10-15 home runs, 70-80 RBI, 30-40 walks, 15-20 stolen bases
Through the course of his career, Daniel Murphy has shown that he can put the ball in play and hit well. He has also displayed decent power but a lack of plate discipline, which has led to both a low amount of walks and a relatively low OBP.
Murphy is just an aggressive hitter who wants to hit the ball and be productive in that sense. That's how he has always hit.
Murphy hit .286 with 13 home runs and 78 RBI last season, the latter two being career highs. He also led the Mets with 188 hits, 92 runs scored and 38 doubles.
He should be able to provide similar or better numbers for the Mets going forward.
SS Ruben Tejada
2014 Predicted Statistics: .250-.260 batting average, 15-20 doubles, 1-5 home runs, 40-50 RBI, 30-40 walks
Ruben Tejada's starting job at shortstop is not certain just yet. The Mets may still try to sign or trade for an upgrade before spring training, but if that does not happen, Tejada will almost certainly be the starting shortstop.
Tejada batted .202 with 10 RBI in 208 at-bats in 2013. He missed a good chunk of the season with a quadriceps injury. All in all, it was a completely lost season for Tejada who will have to earn his starting job back throughout the course of this season.
3B David Wright
2014 Predicted Statistics: .300-.320 batting average, 40-45 doubles, 20-30 home runs, 90-110 RBI, 60-70 walks, 15-20 stolen bases
As the face of the franchise, David Wright will once again be expected to put up big numbers and lead the Mets offense.
At 31 years old, Wright's production should not start to decline any time soon. That means another season of hitting over .300 with more than 20 home runs and 100 RBI should be more than reasonable, as long as he stays healthy the entire season.
Wright had an injury-plagued season in 2013, finishing with a .307 average, 18 home runs and 58 RBI in 112 games.
LF Curtis Granderson
2014 Predicted Statistics: .240-.260 batting average, 20-25 doubles, 25-30 home runs, 90-110 RBI, 60-70 walks, 10-15 stolen bases
The Mets' biggest signing so far this offseason has been Curtis Granderson, who received a four-year, $60 million contract to become the Mets' new left fielder.
Over the past few seasons, Granderson has provided explosive power, run production, a good eye at the plate and some speed on the bases. He could help revitalize the Mets offense if he continues to hit like he did for the Yankees the past three years.
CF Juan Lagares
2014 Predicted Statistics: .250-.260 batting average, 20-25 doubles, 5-10 home runs, 40-50 RBI, 30-40 walks, 5-10 stolen bases
With his rookie season now under his belt, Juan Lagares should turn into a better hitter with time. It would be reasonable to expect an overall increase from Lagares in many of the significant categories, as he is still maturing as a hitter.
In 2013, Lagares batted .242, with just a .281 OBP, but hit better as the season went on. Look for his improvement to continue at the plate throughout 2014.
RF Chris Young
2014 Predicted Statistics: .230-.250 batting average, 25-30 doubles, 15-20 home runs, 60-70 RBI, 30-40 walks, 10-15 stolen bases
The Mets' other notable offensive move of the offseason was signing outfielder Chris Young to a one-year, $7.25 million contract.
Young hit just .200 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI last season in 335 at-bats. It's not known yet if Young will be the everyday starting right fielder or just a platoon hitter this season, but it's possible that he could be part of a platoon in right field with younger, left-handed Matt den Dekker.
More than likely, Young will probably get the majority of the playing time in right field, especially if den Dekker fails to prove that he is capable of hitting well at the major league level.