Greetings! Name that outfield...
Projected Starters - John Buck (C), Ike Davis (1B), Daniel Murphy (2B), Ruben Tejada (SS), David Wright (3B), Lucas Duda (LF), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (CF), Mike Baxter/Colin Cowgill (RF)
Just look at that outfield. Lucas Duda could hit 30 HR's and I won't dispute that, but they're starting Kirk Nieuwenhuis and either Mike Baxter or Colin Cowgill. In the same lineup! Yikes. At least they have David Wright, who was absolutely outstanding last season, and is one of the best 10-15 players in the league. Wright had a top-5 WAR (7.8) in baseball last season, when he went for a .391 OBP, .492 slugging, 21 homers, 15 steals, and plus-defense at the demanding position of 3rd base. He's a monster, and that's all there is to it. After that, the questions obviously begin. Ike Davis should be their 2nd-best hitter this season, as the highly-pedigreed 1st baseman broke out of a 1st-half disaster by finishing with 32 homers and a .462 slugging. He needs to fix his on-base woes, but they need him to repeat the power as well. Daniel Murphy is an all-batting-average guy with zero pop, John Buck is a pop-guy with zero batting average, and they can't expect much from Tejada. This is a bad offense, no matter how you slice it.
Projected - Johan Santana, Jonathon Niese, Shaun Marcum, Dillon Gee, Matt Harvey
R.A. Dickey isn't walking through that door. The knuckler was tremendous over the last two seasons, and they'll feel his absence in a big way. The key to this season for the pitching staff (and the entire team IMO) is Johan Santana. He showed flashes of fantastic performance (including the no-no last year) before submarining down the stretch, and if he's healthy, he's the #1 they need. The question is: how many good innings can they get out of him? After that, Niese actually made a big step last season, posting a 3.40 ERA in 190 innings, and he's a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm for the Mets. Marcum has always been a favorite of mine, as a guy with a sub-4.00 career ERA. He had some injury issues last year with Milwaukee (under 130 IP), but if he's healthy, he's good. Harvey is another X-factor, as the young arm had a sky-rocketing K-rate of over 10 K/9 last year, which is insane for a starting pitcher. He had a 2.73 ERA in about 60 innings, and if he can even throw 150 innings at that rate, he's very valuable.
Projected - Frank Francisco/Bobby Parnell (closer-by-committee), Brandon Lyon, Pedro Feliciano, Latroy Hawkins, Elvin Ramirez
Eesh. Frank Francisco is... bad. He had a 5.53 ERA last year, and while his peripherals say he wasn't as bad as that (3.90 FIP), he's already injured, and he probably will battle that all year. Parnell is a 100-MPH fastball guy, and he's certainly the better pitcher... if someone could just tell that to management. Oh look, it's Brandon Lyon and Latroy Hawkins! Yikes...
The lineup is bad, and it greatly limits the upside of the club. If Santana and Marcum were healthy and Harvey duplicated last year's performance, this would be a really, really good rotation, but that's a lot of "ifs". Frankly, it's one of the least exciting teams in all of baseball.
79-83, 4th in NL East