3 Predictions for the New York Mets' Offense in 2014
The New York Mets certainly struggled offensively during the 2013 Major League Baseball season.
Not only did they finish next to last in the National League in batting with a feeble .237 average, but the Mets also placed 12th in the senior circuit with 130 home runs, which was 14 below the league average.
What are New York's prospects for 2014? If the team is to seriously compete for a playoff berth, the offensive attack has to improve.
Now that spring training is in full stride, let's take a look at three predictions for New York's offense when the regular season gets underway on Mar. 31 against the Washington Nationals.
All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
Curtis Granderson Will Supply Much-Needed Power
It's unlikely that Curtis Granderson will hammer 43 home runs like he did in his last full season (with the New York Yankees in 2012), but he will provide some much-needed pop to the team's power-starved lineup.
The "Grandy Man" has belted 217 career home runs and owns a .488 slugging percentage through his 10 major league seasons. The three-time All-Star will turn 33 on March 16, so he is still in the tail end of his prime production years.
More importantly, 33 of Granderson's 43 round-trippers in 2012 would have been home runs at Citi Field, according to MetsBlog. That should allay any concerns Mets fans may have about whether his long drives will die frequently on the warning track.
Most should not.
Granderson has that kind of power. Not only that, but he is slated to hit behind David Wright in the cleanup slot. That should give the Mets captain better pitches to hit.
Expect the charismatic Granderson to crack about 30 home runs in his first campaign as a Met.
If not more.
Travis d'Arnaud Will Be the National League Rookie of the Year
It's no secret that Travis d'Arnaud was a disappointment when he made his major league debut last August 17 against the San Diego Padres.
The 25-year-old catcher was barely over the Mendoza Line last season, hitting just .202 with one HR and five RBI in 99 at-bats for the Mets.
However, there is hope.
He is still rated as the organization's No. 2 prospect, according to Baseball America, and he appears to be healthy—staying on the field has been a major issue with him so far during his young career.
Now that he feels more comfortable handling New York's pitching staff, d'Arnaud can concentrate on improving his offensive production.
He already started during the offseason, as he explained to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post:
I worked on just shortening my swing. Last year, I feel like every pitch, I was thinking something about my swing compared to focusing on the ball and focusing on seeing the ball and hitting the ball. I just have to slow the game down, and toward the end I started feeling a little more comfortable and a lot of weight came off my shoulders.
A better approach at the plate and better health will result in d'Arnaud being named the National League Rookie of the Year in 2014.
David Wright Will Have His Best Season as a New York Met
He is a seven-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner.
He owns a career .307 batting average with 222 home runs in his 10-year career.
He is also the New York Mets captain and the face of their franchise.
David Wright has played in 112 games or less in two of his last three seasons, including just 112 in 2013. However, he's healthy now and primed to produce his best overall season in a Mets uniform.
Wright is 31 years old and still in the prime seasons of his career. He'll have Curtis Granderson hitting behind him in the cleanup slot, which should provide him with many good pitches to hit.
That protection will be a huge plus for him.
All in all, Wright should be primed and ready to enjoy the best season of his major league career.
Hopefully he'll be leading New York to a playoff berth as well.