What position is more of a black hole, shortstop or first base? These are the kinds of debates New York Mets fans have about the 2014 season.
Opening Day is less than two weeks away and Ruben Tejada is still projected to be the starting shortstop. I wrote projections of 12 players on my blog metsonmymind.wordpress.com in January and readjusted it to reflect the current state of the Mets. I narrowed down the list to five players.
The battle for first base between Ike Davis and Lucas Duda was supposed to be contentious. Davis and Duda have only had a combined 13 spring training at-bats due to nagging injuries. From mishaps moving furniture to valley fever, the ailments continue for them. Their readiness for Opening Day is to be determined. (I did not include their projections because their roles are not certain, but I featured them in my original list).
The more compelling competition is between Juan Lagares or Eric Young Jr. for the third outfield spot. Lagares is hitting for higher average, getting on base more and playing better defense than Young Jr. Manager Terry Collins still has faith that Young can be a prototypical leadoff hitter.
Some believe Curtis Granderson will be another Jason Bay while others are optimistic about the three-time All-Star.
Many players on the roster have not played one full season in the majors going into 2014. David Wright has thrived throughout his career, but predicting performances based on a small sample size is difficult.
Minor league statistics must be taken with a grain of salt. Many fans argue that spring training has zero importance, yet players get scrutinized and praised for their play in March.
As if the uncertainty at shortstop and first base is not enough of a headache for the Mets, the projected Opening Day starter Jonathon Niese had two MRIs in the past month.
The following are predictions of Young, Lagares, Granderson, Niese and Tejada for the 2014 season. They are based on watching the 2013 season and past MLB performance.