New York Mets: 5 Predictions You Can Take To the Bank in 2011
There’s no question about it; given the team’s underwhelming performance in 2010, coupled with the shake up in the front office and their on-field staff, the New York Mets are in a period of transition.
With transition comes change, and change brings uncertainty.
However, here are five predictions that you can be sure will come to fruition for the Mets in 2011.
Jason Bay Will Have a Bounce-Back Year
If for no other reason than because there's truly no where else to go but up following Bay's dismal 2010 campaign.
Sure, it was marred by injury and unfamiliarity alike, but from the get-go you could tell something just wasn't right with the former slugger.
Look for that to change in 2011. He now has a full season under his belt in New York, and he's more adapted to the pressures of the media and fans alike in the Big Apple.
He's been too good of a hitter over the course of his career to repeat the embarrassing numbers he produced in '10 (6 HR, 47 RBI, .259 BA), and if he stays healthy, expect a marquee year for Jason Bay.
Look no further than the contrast in David Wright's numbers from 2009 to 2010...this can be the case for Bay, too.
Expect Bay to be driving the ball from gap to gap at Citi Field this season, while in turn making everyone in the lineup around him better.
Make no mistake about it; if the Mets want to contend in 2011, a productive Jason Bay is a necessity for the club.
This Team Will Respond To Terry Collins
It's been well documented that fans and front office personnel alike were in favor of a more fiery, brash type of manager in the form of Wally Backman. But make no mistake about it, Terry Collins is hardly a slouch.
The former Houston and Anaheim manager has a reputation as a hard-working disciplinarian, something the Mets were sorely lacking during the three previous administrations of Art Howe, Willie Randolph, and Jerry Manuel.
Collins has stated time and time again since being named to the position that he holds preparation and hard work over all other traits.
Look for the players to recognize that this is the proper way to run a team, in turn responding to their leader.
Sandy Alderson Will Not Make a Trade For The Sake of Making a Trade
This isn't to say that Omar Minaya made moves for the heck of it, (his short-comings were more in terms of handing out awful contracts) but don't expect Sandy Alderson to make a patchwork sort of trade.
If the Mets are out of contention come mid season, Alderson will most definitely stand pat with the roster he has, while not mortgaging the future for a simple spark plug in an otherwise lost season.
He has a long-term plan, something the Mets have not had in quite some time, maybe even since the Frank Cashen administration of the 80's. No matter what the pressures are from fans and media alike, Alderson will not give into those demands.
He has a plan for the future, and you can bet he'll be sticking to it, while urging fans to have patience...how that plays out in New York is yet to be seen.
R.A. Dickey Will Repeat His Stellar 2010 Campaign
Dickey appears to finally have found a recipe for success in the big leagues, using his knuckleball to befuddle opponents all season long, while successfully working his fastball into his repertoire as well, something that only a handful of knuckleballers can boast.
He went at least six innings in all but three starts in 2010, and he finished the season with a sound 2.84 ERA, good for seventh among National League starting pitchers.
He showed no signs of slowing down in September, highlighted by his complete-game, five-hit effort against the Pirates in his fourth-to-last start of the season.
He also has the personality to sustain long-term success in the big leagues, exhibiting an even-keeled, studious approach to the game.
His personality is consistent, never getting too high after a big win, nor too low after a rough outing, which is an integral part of becoming a sound big league pitcher.
Jose Reyes Will Have a Career Year
Jose is a prideful guy. Make no mistake about it; he hears the trade rumors.
For the once up-and-coming prince of New York, that has to be tough, and you can bet your bottom dollar he's working his tail off this winter to prove the naysayers wrong.
He's stated time and time again that he wants to finish his career in New York, and he'll be playing for a contract all season long in his first career walk year.
He has a lot to prove after missing 126 games to injury in 2009, but if last season was any indication, Reyes is still capable of recovering his pre-2009 form when he's healthy.
Jose played in 133 games last season, posting modest numbers of 11 HR, 54 RBI, .282 BA, and 30 stolen bases.
Compare that to his finest season of 2008 in which he performed to the tune of 19 HR, 81 RBI, .300 BA, and 64 stolen bases, and you'd say that Jose has much room for improvement.
However, to merely see Jose out on the field for the majority of last season, smiling and getting dirty like it was 2006, was a heartwarming sight if you're a Mets fan.
He's got a ways to go to revert to his old self, but 2010 was a step in the right direction. Expect him to take one giant leap in 2011, proving that he deserves the contract extension that at one time seemed inevitable.