Mets spring training: Five story lines to watch
Always-cautious prognostications for the Mets dropped off a cliff last fall when Matt Harvey went under the knife for Tommy John surgery.
But the Mets didn’t retreat into a shell with their best player on the shelf for all of 2014. They went out and signed a legitimate outfielder in Curtis Granderson and added a top-of-the-rotation pitcher, if aging, in Bartolo Colon.
Now they’ll just have to convince fans to come to the ballpark and see them. The task begins in spring training where plenty of youth should be on display from a ripe farm system.
1. Will the real Ike Davis please stand up?
Ike Davis’ make or break season comes in 2014. So he better start proving he can be an everyday player in March.
The good news is he started the spring with a home run in his first game. The bad news is he’s already dealing with some calf tightness, and was scratched Monday.
The Mets seem preoccupied with playing Lucas Duda at first so Davis better impress this spring or it may be his last in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
2. Wheel’s up
Zack Wheeler said on the first day of spring training he wanted to start on Opening Day.
And while Jon Niese is probably the favorite, Wheeler has a chance this spring to prove his rookie season in 2013 was just a forebearer of something truly special. He will get his start Tuesday.
3. Pen-t up
Neither guy would win any nice-guy awards, but both Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde are in camp and have a legitimate shot at making the club out of the bullpen. The volatile former closers could be nice additions if they recapture former glory.
4. Coming up short
Few people, manager Terry Collins included, were thrilled with Ruben Tejada last season.
But he starts this spring as the man at shortstop largely because they have no other options.
Stephen Drew is out there to be signed, but the Mets are likely waiting for his price to drop.
5. Waiting on Syndergaard
Like Harvey and Wheeler before him, the wait for top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard will be a painful one for Mets fans.
The 6-foot-6 righty blew away the Braves — including stars Jason Heyward and Justin Upton — with high-90s heat on Monday and carries a plus curveball. Enjoy him in March, because he starts 2014 in Triple-A.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.