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2011 Fantasy Outlooks: New York Mets

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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It's out with the old and in with the new. That's the Mets' mantra heading into 2011 as the team overhauled its coaching staff and front office in the offseason.

Gone are the brain trust of manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya, who led New York to a disappointing 79-83 record and fourth-place finish in the NL East last season. In is manager Terry Collins, who previously has skippered the Astros and Angels, and general manager Sandy Alderson, who has surrounded himself with former general managers Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi. They now make up the leadership that is expected to get the Mets out of the NL East cellar.

The Mets had a quiet offseason as far as signing big names, bringing in the likes of Chris Young, Scott Hairston, Willie Harris, Chris Capuano and Ronny Paulino to provide the team with veterans who came at a relatively cheap price. They are set to join a cast of underachieving players from 2010.

The Met with the most Fantasy upside heading into '11 remains third baseman David Wright, who had a bounce-back campaign of his own last year. Angel Pagan was the team's biggest surprise a year ago and now enters '11 with a starting job and Fantasy relevance.

It's clear, though, that the Mets need better production from Jose Reyes, Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez, who all missed significant time and failed to meet expectations last year. New York also has to wait on ace Johan Santana, who could miss up to half the season recovering from shoulder surgery.

It's not all doom-and-gloom for the Mets. They have some promising young players in Ike Davis, Jonathon Niese, Josh Thole and Daniel Murphy, who could supplant handle-with-care veteran Luis Castillo at second base.

Not many pundits are expecting the Mets to contend in '11 and the team could be big-time sellers at the trade deadline. All Fantasy owners can hope for is that they don't pack it in early.

Bounce-back player ... Jose Reyes, SS

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Everyone, including the Mets' front office, knows how valuable Reyes is to the team's offensive production. He is the catalyst atop the lineup and his speed is second-to-none on the base paths. Reyes did finish fifth among Fantasy shortstops last season (429 points), but the scary thing is that he could have had an even better year. Reyes missed much of spring training battling injuries and spent the first two-plus months in spring-training mode as he got acclimated to game action. But he hit his stride in early June and produced up to standards the rest of the way. Reyes hit .310 with six triples, 10 homers, 19 doubles, 33 RBI, 53 runs and 16 stolen bases in his final 80 games. Reyes is not only healthy heading into the spring, but he is in the final year of his contract and certainly has extra motivation to perform well in '11.

Sleeper ... Ike Davis, 1B

In Ike We Trust. And so should Fantasy owners. Davis effectively filled the void at first base for the Mets in '10 that was left by Carlos Delgado's departure. Although Davis doesn't possess Delgado's home-run prowess, he sure fooled us last year. Davis slugged 19 homers and posted a respectable .791 OPS. Delgado had an .843 OPS in his rookie season before finishing with a career .929 mark, so Davis has room to improve. Davis is more of a gap hitter that probably tops out at about 20-25 homers and 80-90 RBI. He does need to show a little more patience at the plate -- he struck out 138 times in 147 games as a rookie -- but this guy can certainly outproduce his draft position.

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Bust ... R.A. Dickey , SP

How does a journeyman knuckleballer go from spring training invitee to a top-of-the-rotation arm? Ask R.A. Dickey, who performed the magic act in '10. Dickey was one of the biggest Fantasy surprises last season, winning 10-plus games for the first time in his career while posting a 2.84 ERA. Still, the odds of him repeating that performance are against him. Dickey came into last year with a 22-28 record, a 5.43 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in first seven MLB seasons. The 36-year-old's season was pretty much an anomaly. While knuckleballers can throw way past their prime, Dickey is probably going to follow the path of fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. At 35, Wakefield also posted a sub-3.00 ERA in one of his best seasons. The year after (2003) he posted a 4.09 ERA and since that season has a 4.53 ERA.

New York Mets Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Jose Reyes SS 1 Mike Pelfrey RH
2 Angel Pagan RF 2 Jonathon Niese LH
3 David Wright 3B 3 R.A. Dickey RH
4 Carlos Beltran CF 4 Chris Young RH
5 Jason Bay LF 5 Chris Capuano LH
6 Ike Davis 1B Inj Johan Santana LH
7 Luis Castillo 2B
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Josh Thole C CL Francisco Rodriguez RH
Top bench options SU Bobby Parnell RH
R Daniel Murphy INF RP Manny Acosta RH
R Chin-lung Hu MI RP D.J. Carrasco RH
R Scott Hairston OF RP Oliver Perez LH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2010 high Destination
1 Jenrry Mejia 21 SP Majors Triple-A
Front-line starter who has a mid-90s fastball. Needs to stay healthy and stretch out his arm in minors.
2 Wilmer Flores 19 SS Class A Double-A
Could be heir apparent to Reyes at short. Gap hitter with burgeoning home-run power.
3 Lucas Duda 25 OF Majors Triple-A
Possesses ability to hit .300 with 20-homer power. Hot start in minors could force Mets' hand.
4 Matt Harvey 21 SP N/A Class A
Power college arm that has command issues. '10 first-round pick that won't debut in '11.
5 Fernando Martinez 22 OF Majors Triple-A
Former top prospect that is injury-prone. Could become bench option this season.
Best of the rest: Dillon Gee, SP; Cesar Puello, OF; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF; Reese Havens, 2B; Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B; Bradley Holt, SP; Justin Turner, 2B; Brad Emaus, 2B; Ruben Tejada, 2B/SS; Cory Vaughn, OF; Juan Urbina, SP; Zach Lutz, 3B; Jeurys Familia, SP; Armando Rodriguez, SP; Sean Ratliff, OF; Albert Cordero, C; Matt Den Dekker, OF; Darrell Ceciliani, OF; Jefry Marte, 3B; Mark Cohoon, SP

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Team outlooks in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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Player News
Red Sox acquire Kelly Johnson from Yankees
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:52 pm ET) The Yankees traded Kelly Johnson to the Red Sox Thursday in exchange for shortstop Stephen Drew. Johnson is currently on the 15-day disabled list due to a groin injury.

Zach Putnam likel needs brief rehab assignment
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:50 pm ET) White Sox pitcher Zach Putnam is likely to go on a short rehab assignment next week, before he can return from inflammation in his right shoulder.

Putnam has been playing catch and working out with the team's trainers since going on the disabled list a week ago. 


Yankees trade for Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:49 pm ET) The Red Sox traded shortstop Stephen Drew to the Yankees Thursday, according to ESPN. Drew didn't make his season debut until early June and is batting just .165 in 38 games.

Preston Guilmet back to minors again
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:41 pm ET) The Orioles have demoted right-hander Preston Guilmet to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for T.J. McFarland, who has returned from the bereavement list.

Guilmet, whose latest stint with Baltimore began Monday, did not get into a game after his promotion.


Matt Lindstrom eyeing Aug. 7 return
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:40 pm ET) White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom isn't exactly sure how long he will stay on his minor-league rehab assignment, but has Aug. 7 penciled in as his possible return date from an ankle injury.

"We'll see how it goes down there, though. That's what we're shooting for and hoping for," Lindstrom told MLB.com Thursday. "A lot of it has to do just with how my stuff is, too. I'm going to have to keep a close eye on that and monitor it. We'll just go ahead and see and just take it from there."

Lindstrom has not pitched since May 19 due to this injury, but had a 3.32 ERA and six saves in 19 innings prior.  


Chris Davis a no-go again Thursday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:35 pm ET) An illness that has prevented disappointing Orioles first baseman Chris Davis from playing since Sunday has him out again Thursday against the Angels.

Davis owns a stat line of .199/.309/.391 after a career 2013 season.


Yankees release Scott Sizemore
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:32 pm ET) The Yankees announced Thursday they released infielder Scott Sizemore. Sizemore was on the roster at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Tyler Matzek's next start unknown after relief appearance
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Rockies pitcher Tyler Matzek had no problem throwing in relief Tuesday, but that emergency appearance has forced the team to shuffle its rotation.

"I think I'm fine; it was just a normal short bullpen for me -- an extra bullpen between starts for me," Matzek, who also threw a bullpen session Monday, told MLB.com Thursday. "I've always been really durable. It felt fine that night and it feels fine now."

Matzel was scheduled to pitch in Thursday's afternoon game against the Cubs, but has been pulled out of the rotation for the time being. His next start has yet to be scheduled, but manager Walt Weiss will put Matzek back in the rotation soon. 


Ryan Howard benched Thursday against lefty
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) A matchup against Washington southpaw Gio Gonzalez and a mini-slump have Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard out of the lineup Thursday.

Howard, who has just one hit in his last 12 at-bats, is batting .229 agaisnt left-handers and is 0 for 11 lifetime against Gonzalez.


Neil Ramirez expects minimal DL stay
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:27 pm ET) Cubs reliever Neil Ramirez is on the disabled list with soreness in his right triceps, but he shouldn't be gone long.

Ramirez told MLB.com Thursday he expects to return to the majors as soon as his DL stint is up, and has been doing extra conditioning and training work since hitting the shelf to get back to form.

"It's something that started creeping in the last couple outings," Ramirez said.

He is eligible to return to the majors Aug. 10, and will work on rehabilitation at the team's spring training facility in Arizona. 


 
 
 
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