Last season the New York Mets were the favorite of many to take the National League. This year, not so much.
The Mets are definitely capable of having a huge season, but why should we believe that this is the year that they live up to the potential that has surrounded them so long?
A lot has changed for the boys from Flushing, New York in the space of a year.
While the Mets could surprise a lot of people this season, a whole lot would have to go their way.
Here are five questions surrounding the Mets for the upcoming season.
1. Do the Mets have a legitimate big league starter not named Johan Santana?
This just in: Johan Santana is really good.
However, after Johan in the Mets rotation it gets ugly, quick.
John Maine, Oliver Perez, and Mike Pelfrey are not exactly guys you would want competing for the title of second best starter in your rotation, are they?
I didn't think so.
However what most people fail to realize is that all three of these guys were at least decent at one point in their Met careers. Which is all the Mets really need, because if these three guys can get it going, the Mets could win.
Back in 2007, Oliver Perez won 15 games with an ERA in the 3.50 range for the Mets. If he can get his stuff under control he could be nasty.
In 2008, 24-year-old Mike Pelfrey won 13 games with an ERA below 4.00. There is no reason to believe he can't do that again.
Back in '07 John Maine won 15 games with an ERA south of 4.00. Once again there is no reason why he can't do that again.
If the Mets can get all three of those guys back anywhere near that form their pitching will go from question mark to advantage.
2. Who is Daniel Murphy?
The same Met fans who screamed with joy in 2008 when they thought they had the next great thing in Daniel Murphy, screamed with anger when he proved he played the outfield like a little leaguer, and hit like one in '09.
It looks like Murphy will likely start for the Mets at 1B this season, so now Met fans must ask themselves, how good is Daniel Murphy?
Last season Murphy proved that he wasn't an outfielder, however, after a late season move to first base he wasn't bad defensively. So the real question lies on his ability with the wood.
In a 50 game stint with the Mets in 2008, Murphy was impressive hitting over .300, and showing patience with an OBP hardly short of .400. He also showed that power could be on the way with nine doubles.
Last season was quite the opposite for Murphy. He hit just .266, with an OBP that wouldn't have been that impressive as a batting average. His stats across the board weren't all that impressive, but there is one that jumps out at you. In a dreadful season where he had just 135 hits, he still managed 38 doubles.
Those 38 doubles could be an indicator that power is on the way, or could be a mirrage. We'll have to wait, and see.
3. How will Jason Bay fair in New York?
Many Mets fans were excited when they found out Jason Bay was coming to New York.
Can you blame them?
Since his rookie season Bay has been one of the leagues most consistent run producers. However one must wonder how those numbers will translate to Citi Field. Citi Field has already established itself as one of the leagues top pitchers parks.
Don't want to take my word for it?
Just take a look at this example: Daniel Murphy led the Mets in home runs last season, with 12 Home Runs. Need I say more?
Jason Bay played half his games last season at a park where every fly ball is a guaranteed extra-base hit.
Don't be surprised if Jason Bay doesn't meet your expectations next season.
4. What's the deal with Jose Reyes?
Sorry to say this Mets fans, but Jose Reyes is a crybaby.
Reyes might be the fastest player in baseball, and he can hold his own with the stick as well.
At his best Reyes is more then capable of 15 Home Runs, 15 triples, 120 runs scored and a .300 average. He is also the table setter for the Mets, and his success is vital to the team. However, he is also fragile as glass. At times it seems like Reyes would miss 80 games with a bad haircut.
Don't get me wrong he's a great player, and I would certainly take him on my team, but there comes a time where you either put up or shut up, and that time is now for Jose Reyes.
Reyes needs to get on the field, because if he doesn't the Mets have no chance in the stacked NL East. I live in New York, and finding somebody is confident that Jose Reyes will play more then 100 games this season is not easy. That should tell you enough right there.
5. Will the real Mets setup man please stand up?
The Mets have had a bad bullpen for a long time now. When they brought in both Francisco Rodriguez and J.J Putz last season, things were looking good. However after just one unsuccessful season in Flushing, Putz now calls Chicago home, leaving the Mets with big time questions in the bullpen.
Francisco Rodriguez is going to be good, and nobody doubts that. However, the real question is, will the Mets ever get a game to Francisco Rodriguez with a lead?
Somebody is going to have to step up in the Mets bullpen unless Met fans would rather see John Maine and Oliver Perez throwing eight innings every fifth night.
Bobby Parnell, Nelson Figueroa, Ryota Igarashi, and Pedro Feliciano all have one thing in common. Any of these names could become the next big name in New York. Because if any of them can pitch lights-out down the stretch, they would be able to eat free in New York for the rest of their lives.
Will any of them step up?
We'll have to wait and see, but if they do they may be earning quite a nice paycheck in endorsment dollars.
So there you have it, five huge questions that surround the Mets 2010 season. If these five things go right this season for New York, then they could finally meet the potential they have been dubbed with for so long.