New Blood: Mets Need a Shot in the Arm
There's hardly any doubt that the Mets franchise is in trouble. Poor play, poor management, injuries, and bad press have made this team more ridiculed that respected over the last several seasons.
It really began in the 2006 NLCS. In what was a thrilling seven-game series, the Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, despite outfielder Endy Chavez make one of the most spectacular catches in postseason history. But Carlos Beltran just couldn't get the bat off of his shoulder against Adam Wainwright, and that was that.
The next two seasons featured two of the worst September collapses in history. And 2009 was all about the injuries. They only got 123 games played combined between Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran—three components to the core of the roster.
This season hasn't gotten off to the best of starts either. Carlos Beltran had controversial knee surgery in Colorado and will be out until at least May. Jose Reyes, who was expected to replace Beltran in the No. 3 hole in the lineup, has an overactive thyroid and will be out anywhere between 2-8 weeks. And the Mets never got a No. 2 starter to go behind ace Johan Santana.
What this team needs is a real shot in the arm. Something along the lines of what Reyes and David Wright provided the team in 2003 and 2004—their respective call up seasons. Two guys that could provide this needed jolt are Ike Davis and Jenrry Mejia.
Ike Davis will turn 23 in a week, and has all the potential in the world. The Mets drafted him in the first round of the First Player draft in 2008, and he slammed 20 home runs last season in A+ and Double-A ball. He's a left-handed first baseman, which the Mets have plenty of (Daniel Murphy and Mike Jacobs to name names).
But many fans are getting impatient with Murphy, and Jacobs is becoming more of a "home run or strikeout" kind of hitter. Davis struck out 112 times in 2009, but he managed to hit at a .298 clip. If July comes around and Murphy is stuck on 40-45 RBI, and the Mets are floundering in third place (or worse), the Mets may not have a choice but to call on the young slugger.
The Mets' fanbase is waiting with its "We Like Ike" signs, and if ownership wants to keep those butts in the seats, look for them to dip into that farm system.
Mejia has electric stuff. He's a 20-year-old flame thrower from Santa Domingo. Mets manager Jerry Manuel has already compared his cut-fastball to that of some guy named Mo—some high praise for someone so young. It's still a little unclear whether Mejia fits in the Mets' rotation or bullpen, but he's been a starter for the majority of his professional career, which began in 2007.
The right hander could find himself in the Mets' rotation by mid-season if the combination of Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Fernando Nieve, Jon Niese or any other body the Mets throw out there struggle. Or, at the very least, the Mets are still looking for an 8th-inning setup man for Francisco Rodriguez.
However, the Mets decide to handle these two young kids, they need to do it intelligently but soon. This franchise needs a lift, a boost, and what better way than bringing up two home-grown prospects from a farm system that has been labeled as one of the worst in baseball.
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