New York Mets: 2013 Season Outlook
The New York Mets will enter the 2013 season coming off a 4th place finish in the NL East. The Mets finished 24 games back of the division leading Nationals, and actually had 2 more wins on the road than at home. Suffice it to say, the Mets and their fans were not happy with the way 2012 ended.
The one bright spot for the Mets was 3B David Wright. Wright finished first on the team in runs, RBI, doubles, Stolen bases, and AVG. Wright was and is the franchise for the Mets. Wright played well throughout the entire season, something that the Mets can't say about any other players. 1B Ike Davis showed sparks of greatness, finishing with 31 Home Runs. Davis' AVG, .227, was nowhere near what the Mets expected, and the strikeouts piled up. Some of New York's younger players, namely Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda, played well enough to warrant higher expectations for this season. The Mets' lineup is still not feared by competitors, and they will likely be in line for more offensive struggles this season.
Pitching seemed to be the only thing keeping the Mets in most games last year. R.A. Dickey, 2012 NL CY Young award winner, had an incredible 2.73 ERA, 230 strikeouts, and 20 wins. The Mets may have anticipated that Dickey and his knuckleball would not be the future of the Mets organization, and they traded Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for star catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud. Johan Santana had an up-and-down season for New York, throwing the first ever no-hitter in franchise history, but missing the end of last season with lower back inflammation. Santana is expected to return early in 2013, but it is difficult to create any realistic expectations for him.
The Mets also possess some of the best young arms in the game. Pitching prospects Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Harvey pitched last season in the majors, posting very respectable numbers with 70 strikeouts in just about 60 innings. Harvey will likely start the season in the majors. Wheeler still needs more development and polishing as he'll be eligible for a call-up later in the season.
The Mets' closing situation is up for grabs at this point in spring training. Frank Francisco is expected to begin the season on the DL, so Bobby Parnell may get some save opportunities. Unfortunately for the Mets, Parnell and Francisco may not see many save chances all season.
The New York fans need to be patient with the Mets. They are not making the playoffs this season, and maybe not the year after that. But the Mets are stockpiling young talent, and could be legitimate contenders within 3 or 4 years.