2012 Mets Season Preview
NEW YORK– By Mo Miller
Two Keys To Success For The Mets
Coming into the 2012 season, the NL East is the second best division in the Majors, behind only the AL East. The NL East has four teams with a legit chance of making the playoffs this season, especially with the new playoff rules allowing for two wild cards. Those teams are the Braves, Phillies, Marlins, and Nationals.
The fifth team in the division is the Mets, who have have to play a combined 72 games against those four teams, or 44 percent of their 162 game schedule. Expectations are low this season for the Mets. Sports Illustrated projects the Mets to go 72-90 (that’s not to say they will win all the games against their division rivals and lose the rest). So what needs to go right for the Mets to exceed expectations and flirt with .500? I would split it up into two factors: the bounce back, and the continuation.
The Bounce Back- In 2011 the Mets had more than a few players with disappointing seasons. Jason Bay continued his woes since signing with the Mets. David Wright played only 102 games due to injury, and had only 14 HRs and 61 RBIs while batting .254. Johan Santana missed all of the 2011 season following surgery for shoulder tear in 2010. For the Mets to successful, they need these three players to bounce back and play like they have in the past.
Entering Sunday, Bay is 8-38 with no RBIs in spring training. The Mets need Bay to turn that around, and not be an automatic out. Wright has been hurt much of the spring, out with an abdominal tear. Wright played in his first spring game last week and has looked good. Wright needs to return to his 2010 form, when he hit .283 with 29 HRs and 103 RBIs. Santana, has started five games this spring and, while not being dominant, has looked good, and is ready to return to form. The Mets need Santana to do exactly that, to be an ace, to be the starting pitcher who can stop a bad losing streak, and give the Mets a chance to win the game every time he goes out there. That begins today against the Braves.
The Continuation- The Mets had a few bright spots in 2011. Ike Davis was hitting well in 2011, but played only 36 games before going down to an ankle injury. Lucas Duda showed impressive power, but played in only 100 games. Daniel Murphy continued to hit in 2011 but played only 109 games before going down with an MCL injury. The Mets these need three young players to continue their offensive prowess.
In those 36 games, Davis hit .302 with seven HRs and 25 RBIs. In 2010, his rookie season, Davis hit .264 with 19 HRs and 71 RBis in 147 games. Expect Davis to have a year with 20+ HRs and 100+ RBIs, if he keeps his Valley Fever under control.
Duda did not start 2011 with the Mets, but was called up during the early part of the season. It took a while for Duda to start hitting, but once he did he was rather impressive. Overall, Duda hit .292 with 10 HRs and 50 RBIs with 21 doubles. A full season with Duda on his game could be scary. Murphy was hitting well, and hitting for average before going down to an injury. Murphy was hitting .320 with only 6 HRs and 49 RBIs. If Murphy can stay healthy(which he was had trouble with the past two years), he will a force to reckoned with in 2012.
If these six players can play like they used to play, the Mets should be fun to watch.
Mets Record: 78-84
Prediction that will probably happen (hitter): Ike Davis hits 25 home runs.
Crazy predictions (hitter): Jason Bay remembers how to hit. Hits .272 with 18 home runs and 77 RBIs.
Prediction that will probably happen (pitcher): Jon Niese, with his new contract, shines and wins 15 games.
Crazy prediction (pitcher): Mike Pelfrey shows some of what we saw in the first half of 2010, winning 12 games.