Bartolo Colon won 18 games for Oakland in 2013
Colon cannot replace Matt Harvey.
No one can.
However, the portly right-hander should provide New York with many quality starts during the 2014 campaign. Lets's take a look at three predictions for Colon in his first season as a New York Met.
All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
The 16-year veteran won 18 games for the Oakland A's last season, the second most victories in the junior circuit.
Now, he moves to the National League where there is no designated hitter.
That's a huge plus.
Colon will also be pitching in Citi Field which is known for being a fine pitcher's park—much like the O.co Coliseum. Of course, the Mets have to score enough runs for Colon to win, and their offensive attack should be better this season with the addition of outfielder Curtis Granderson.
The 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner should get plenty of competition from teammates Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese for the most victories on the staff, but Colon gets the edge due to his experience and outstanding command of the strike zone.
"This guy is an old pro," manager Terry Collins told Mike Vorkunov of The Star-Ledger. "He knows how to take care of himself, he knows what to do, he knows how to prepare."
Colon has been doing just that since his first major league game with the Cleveland Indians in 1997.
Despite his hefty girth, Colon seems to be blessed with a rubber arm.
That arm should provide 14-15 wins for New York in 2014.
A three-time All-Star, Colon enjoyed a magical 2013 campaign for the A's by posting a stellar 2.65 ERA which ranked second in the American League.
He also fired a league-high three shutouts, and that sparkling ERA was the second best mark of his career (2.55 ERA with the 2002 Cleveland Indians).
Not bad for a 40-year-old hurler.
Can he rise to that level again? Unlikely, but Colon should still be able to lead the New York Mets' starting staff in ERA this coming season.
He's still that good.
With Harvey out for the upcoming season, Colon is the man to beat as far as the team's ERA crown is concerned. Wheeler had the best ERA among other Mets starters with a 3.42 mark last season.
Colon's ERA should be right around the 3.00 range.
Any team would sign up for that in a second.
Early indications are that southpaw Niese will be New York's No. 1 starter when the season begins Mar. 31 against the Washington Nationals.
That will change by the All-Star break.
Niese is a No. 3 or No. 4 starter on a very good team which the Mets are not. Wheeler has ace potential but must work on his command issues during his second MLB season.
Dillon Gee and Jenrry Mejia are back end of the rotation starters so that leaves Colon. It's actually surprising that Colon has not been named the No. 1 starter yet, based on his impressive resume and veteran leadership.
The All-Star break is a time for managers to reshuffle their respective pitching rotations if need be.
Expect to see Colon capturing the No. 1 slot by mid-July, if not a lot sooner.