Here is the New York Mets projected 2013 lineup:
Catcher - Josh Thole
First Base - Ike Davis
Second Base - Reese Havens
Third Base - David Wright
Shortstop - Jose Reyes
Left Field - Jason Bay
Center Field - Angel Pagan
Right Field - Wilmer Flores
No. 1 Starter - Johan Santana
No. 2 Starter - Mike Pelfrey
No. 3 Starter - Jenrry Mejia
No. 4 Starter - Jon Niese
No. 5 Starter Matt Harvey
Closer - Bobby Parnell
First you have Josh Thole, who has 150 career ML at bats and has 45 hits for a .300 career average. He was voted the Mets' best hitter for average in their system after batting .328 in AAA Buffalo before getting the call-up in 2009, and exactly .300 in a full season at AA Binghamton in 2008. He looks like a catcher who will keep improving, hit for a high average with few home runs.
Next you have Ike Davis, who is second among rookies this season with 56 RBI. He also has 15 home runs, including a couple mammoth blasts. Davis has also been a pretty tremendous fielder and looks like a future gold glove winner.
Ike batted .309 with 13 homers at AA in 2009, and was batting .364 with a .500 OBP in 42 plate appearances prior to getting the call this year. He's gone into a rookie slump as of late as his average has plumetted to .247, but he has a very bright future.
Reese Havens and Ruben Tejada could both possibly be the second basemen of the future for New York, but we'll go with Havens here. He's batted .338 with 6 home runs and a .400 OBP at AA Binghamton in 2009. If he continues his tear, it's possible we could see him starting at second as early as next year for the Mets, although its unlikely with Castillio still under contract.
Shortstop and third base are obvious with Reyes and Wright, respectively, two of the best hitters in the majors. The heart and soul of the Mets.
In left field it's unlikely we will see Fernando Martinez if he continues to struggle, as Jason Bay technically will still be on the team. Martinez was obviously one of the top prospects in the game for a while, but he's just struggled to put together a good season in the minors.
As for Bay, he had a disappointing first season in New York, but we can turn the clock back to '05 and see that Carlos Beltran struggled heavily in his first season for the Mets. He batted .265 with 16 home runs, and has obviously been much better since. Hopefully, the same will happen for Bay.
Center field is Pagan, not Beltran. Angel has been amazing this season, a breakout year as he's been one of the top fielders in the outfield and hit .295. He's especially good in RISP, and don't be surprised if this guy turns into one of the best. At 29, he's too old to call a prospect, though.
Right field is Wilmer Flores, who has batted .294 with 11 home runs and 77 RBI at St. Lucie this year. He has a promising career ahead of him at just 19 years old (and he just turned 19 earlier this month!). At 18 he was already the No. 46 rated prospect, and should see his way into the top 45 next year.
Santana and Pelfrey still No. 1 and 2, although the Mets expect Mejia to be ace-like in 2013. Santana may be in the decline by then, and hopefully Pelfrey will be able to put together a full season of consistent baseball like we saw from him in the first half of 2010. If he can, he's a more than capable No. 2 starter down the road.
Jennry Mejia is the Mets' top prospect, and the No. 5 starting pitching prospect in baseball right now. He started the year in a relief role with New York, boasting a 3.25 ERA and 17 Ks in 27.2 innings. In 27.1 innings in the minors, Jennry has a 1.65 ERA and 32 Ks. He finished with a 3.14 ERA in 2009 and struck out 91 in 94.2 innings.
Remember this name, he's only 21 and he's a future ace. He's coming off a seven-inning, one- hitter with eight Ks, and with the Mets out of it we may see him get a couple of starts in September. He consistently throws 95-plus and has done and excellent job of developing his secondary pitches this year. His change-up and slider are much improved.
The No. 4 starter is Jon Niese, who looks like a future ace himself. He has a 3.33 ERA and 110 Ks in 23 starts this season in the majors. He's allowed one earned run or less in 13 of his 23 starts, simply amazing. He's allowed a combined four earned runs in his last four starts. He has a great curve and nice cutting fastball.
By 2013, he will absolutely be better than a No. 4. You want to hear a prediction? Jon Niese will go down as one of the best pitchers in Mets history when its all said and done!
No. 5 starter Matt Harvery was the Mets' first round pick this year. I don't expect to see him in the rotation in 2013, as Brad Holt, Dillon Gee, or others could step into the role. It's also unlikely that we won't see the Mets go after a free agent pitcher on the market. They will most definitely sign someone in the next couple years.
Closer Bobby Parnell is a fireballer. He has a 3.24 ERA in 24 innings this year, but some of that is inflated by two bad outings (vs. D Backs and at Phillies). He's 26 right now.
Recently, Parnell embarrassed the Astros in two innings of relief as he buzzed the radar gun. He hit 103, while also throwing six different pitches over 100. He also threw a 91 MPH slider that made Chris Johnson look silly. He throws some serious heat, he's got the credentials to be a dominant closer.
Now, this is the Mets projected lineup without any free-agent signings or trades, which we'll likely see. Pelfrey needs to step up into that No. 2 spot, but it's possible Mejia or Niese can grab that spot by 2013. Santana could be in the decline so NY might have to go after a proven ace down the road.
As for the lineup, it all hinges on the development of Ike Davis and production of Bay. We know the top three are really good (Reyes, Pagan, Wright), but the Mets will need production out of the middle of the order, which will be Davis, Bay, Thole. If they cannot produce, New York will have to go after a top-notch first baseman or outfielder to bat cleanup or fifth.
Overall, the Mets have a bright future and if some of these prospects pan out, they will most certainly be in the playoffs in a couple of years. Thanks for reading and leave any comments you may have.