For the first time in a long time, there are lofty expectations for the Mets. Their rotation is among the best in baseball, and their lineup looks potent should everyone stay healthy. And the Mets’ bullpen, once a league-wide laughingstock, is now a source of pride with several legit arms to turn to.
The Mets’ lineup features mostly the same cast from last year, but left fielder Michael Cuddyer is an important new face. Cuddyer was acquired via free agency to give the Mets a strong bat in the outfield. He played just 49 games for the Rockies last year due to injury but hit .331 in 2014, just short of his career high (.332) set in 2013. Cuddyer hit 10 homers last year, 20 in 2013, and his career high is 32.
The outfield also includes right fielder Curtis Granderson, who got off to a rocky start last year, batting just .145 in April with only one home run. He finished the season at .227 with 20 blasts, a little disappointing for a player the Mets paid $13 million for.
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Juan Lagares will patrol center field, and while he is more valued for his stellar defense, he can hit fairly well too (.281 last season).
The infielders include third baseman David Wright, who will be trying to rebound from a disastrous 2014 campaign in which he hit only eight home runs.
Shortstop Wilmer Flores showed signs of promise late last year, enough to convince Mets brass to give him a shot at short to open the season. Second baseman Daniel Murphy was fantastic last year (.298, 9 HR, 57 RBIs) despite persistent trade rumors, and earned his first trip to the All-Star game. First baseman Lucas Duda was a revelation last year, hitting .253 and popping 30 homers. His Achilles heel last year was left-handed pitching, but he seemed to hit lefties well in Spring Training.
Catcher Travis d’Arnaud struggled at the plate early in 2014 and was demoted in June. D’Arnaud was quickly recalled, however, and went on a tear, showing the promise the Mets banked on when they dealt R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays before the 2013 season.
The bench players for the Mets include Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, John Mayberry Jr, and Anthony Recker.
The Mets’ bullpen got a makeover recently, as they acquired not one but two stellar lefties to fill the void left by Josh Edgin. Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres (acquired from the Nationals and Padres, respectively) will give left-handed batters fits. Torres also succeeded against righties on a regular basis last season.
However, the bullpen leaders are set-up man Jeurys Familia and closer Jenrry Mejia. Mejia was dominant once moved from the rotation to the bullpen last season. He eventually landed the closer role, which he handled extremely well (28 saves in 32 opportunities). Familia also showed that he is capable of handling high-pressure situations as an eighth-inning guy.
Sean Gilmartin, acquired in the Rule 5 draft from the Twins, had a good Spring Training and is likely to get some game action before Vic Black and Bobby Parnell return from injury. Once those guys are ready, Gilmartin is likely the odd man out.
Carlos Torres and Rafael Montero are both multiple inning/spot start guys; they were decent in the role last season.
The Mets’ rotation is built around homegrown talent like Cy Young candidate Matt Harvey, reigning rookie of the year Jacob deGrom, and southpaw Jon Niese. Veteran hurler Bartolo Colon will have the start on Opening Day in order to have deGrom and Harvey pitch the first two home games on April 13 and 14. Dillon Gee became the fifth starter out of necessity as Zack Wheeler went down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Should any of these five struggle the Mets have top prospect Noah Syndergaard to turn to, or they could move Montero out of the pen and into the rotation.
1. LF Curtis Granderson
2. 2B Daniel Murphy
3. 3B David Wright
4. 1B Lucas Duda
5. RF Michael Cuddyer
6. C Travis d'Arnaud
7. SS Wilmer Flores
8. CF Juan Lagares
Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, John Mayberry Jr, Anthony Recker
RHP Bartolo Colon
RHP Jacob deGrom
RHP Matt Harvey
LHP Jon Niese
RHP Dillon Gee
RHP Carlos Torres
RHP Rafael Montero
LHP Sean Gilmartin
LHP Jerry Blevins
LHP Alex Torres
RHP Jeurys Familia
RHP Jenrry Mejia