What Stood Out:

- David Wright’s career. Shocker I know, however according to FanGraphs version of WAR, Wright’s 49.9 WAR is the fourth highest among hitters in Major League Baseball since 2004.

 

What I Liked:

- Mets second half starting pitching. Even with all of the recent turnover in the rotation, Mets starting pitchers have been in the top ten of MLB in K%, BB%, HR/9, WHIP, ERA, FIP, xFIP and SIERA in the second half of the season.

- Juan Lagares has saved 27 runs on defense. To put that into perspective, Carlos Gomez has saved 29 runs in 350 innings more than Lagares. Oh yeah he also had a 12-game hitting streak which ended Sunday.

- Lucas Duda playing well? Since returning from the minor leagues, Duda has nine hits in 30 at-bats, and seven walks compared to nine strikeouts.

- Vic Black debut. Through only a few outings, Black has lived up to his scouting report. He has thrown hard, his fastball has averaged 95.7 mph, only lower than Matt Harvey (95.8). He has also been a little wild, hitting a hitter with the bases loaded on Sunday. He has also thrown his fastball 77.8% of the time.

- The 2013 Mets pitching staff has the highest staff fastball velocity (91.6 mph) of any Mets team since 2002 when FanGraphs first started keeping the statistic.

- Eric Young Jr. has 27 stolen bases since joining the Mets. This ties him for tenth among Mets single-season stolen base leaders since 2000. He has done this in under 330 plate appearances, nearly half as many as the players ahead of him on the list.

 

What I Didn’t Like:

- The Mets are 6-11 over their last 17 games. After what looked to be a second half surge towards respectability, trades and injuries have derailed Mets winning ways.

- The return of Scott Kazmir. Not only did the former Mets prospect beat his former team and strikeout 12 he brought back the thoughts of one of the worst trades in recent memory. Isn’t that right Victor Zambrano?

- Matt den Dekker’s strikeouts. Den Dekker has struggled with strikeouts throughout his minor league career, striking out at a rate of 27.6% and so far in his major league, career striking out 33.3%.

- Indecision over the Matt Harvey decision. I don’t mind the team and Harvey taking a little time to make the right decision, but the Mets’ future is up in the air as long as Harvey’s future is in flux.

- Daniel Murphy walked three times on Sunday and had only three walks over his previous 138 at-bats.

 

What to Look For in the Off-Season Ahead:

 

Here is a possible roster that I think would compete with or without Matt Harvey. This roster would mean a $40 million payroll increase for next season. This doesn’t take into account any trades, only players currently in the organization, and free agents are included. What do you think?

 

Starting lineup:        2014 Salary

Shin-Soo Choo, RF     $13 Million

Daniel Murphy, 2B    $4 Million

David Wright, 3B       $20 Million

Hunter Pence, LF       $11 Million

Travis d’Arnaud, C    > $1 Million

Ike Davis, 1B              $4 Million

Juan Lagares, CF        > $1 Million

Ruben Tejada, SS      $1 Million

 

Offense Analysis: The lineup stays intact for the most part and the Mets must hope for improvements from d’Arnaud and Lagares. However, the additions of Choo and Pence, coupled with Wright, would give the Mets three All-Star level hitters. I’m not convinced Murphy will be on the roster next season, and it wouldn’t take much to convince me that Ike should be replaced, but the free agent pool is weak at those positions. One name at second base is Howie Kendrick who MLBTR says the Angels may try to trade.

 

Defense Analysis: The defense would be very solid everywhere except second base. Pence and Choo don’t have great dWAR numbers this season, but Choo would play in his more comfortable right field while Pence would shift over to the easier left field.

 

Bench:

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C $5 Million

Wilmer Flores, IF       > $1 Million

Matt den Dekker, OF > $1 Million / Andrew Brown > $1 Million

Eric Young, OF/2B    > $1 Million

Rafael Furcal, SS        $3 Million

 

Analysis: The bench is clearly improved. Salty provides power and the ability to play both catcher and first base, while Young provides speed and versatility, and Flores is a pure hitter. Furcal coming off of elbow surgery may not be the player he once was, but he can be a serviceable fill-in at shortstop.

 

Rotation:

Zack Wheeler             > $1 Million

Jon Niese                    $5 Million

Dillon Gee                   $2 Million

Rafael Montero > $1 Million / Jenry Mejia > $1 Million

Matt Harvey > $1 Million /Josh Johnson $10 Million/Dan Haren $8 Million

 

Analysis: If the team signs Johnson, Haren or another pitcher at their level, the Mets will have at least six quality starters regardless of Harvey’s injury.

 

Bullpen:

Bobby Parnell, RHP

Vic Black, RHP            > $1 Million

Carlos Torres, RHP    $1 Million

Scott Rice, LHP           > $1 Million

Jeurys Familia, RHP   > $1 Million

Jason Frasor, RHP $4 Million/ Matt Gurrier, RHP $3 Million

 

Analysis: This hard throwing, veteran group has succeeded in the second half of 2013, and the additions of Black, Familia and a solid veteran or two can solidify this group.

 

Final roster spot:

Lucas Duda, 1B > $1 Million /Josh Satin, 1B > $1 Million

or

Pedro Feliciano, LHP $1 Million/Jacob deGrom, RHP > $1 Million

 

Analysis: I would keep Duda or Satin, but the team would likely keep seven relievers over six bench players. Either Feliciano, a solid second lefty or deGrom a hard thrower would likely be the choice.

 

2014 Payroll would be approximately $87 Million + $8.5 Million (Johan Santana and Jason Bay)= $95.5 Million

 

*Salaries are based on Cot’s baseball contracts, projected salaries for arbitration eligible payers and projections for free agents.

 

 

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