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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
Reds sign Brennan Boesch to minor league deal
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Reds have signed outfielder Brennan Boesch to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Boesch, 29, is a career .256/.309/.412 hitter over five seasons for the Tigers, Yankees and Angels.

He was in the minors for most of last season, hitting .332 with 25 homers for the Angels Triple-A affiliate. 


Royals acquire infielder Ryan Jackson from Dodgers
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Royals have acquired infielder Ryan Jackson from the Dodgers for cash considerations. Jackson was out for most of last season with a wrist injury. 

Jackson hit .278 with 34 RBI at Triple-A Memphis, playing 122 games at shortstop and third base in 2013.


Report: Talks break down between Yanks, Phils about Rollins deal
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Yankees and Phillies reportedly discussed a deal for 35-year-old shortstop Jimmy Rollins before talks broke down, according to ESPN reporter Jayson Stark.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Rollins is "one of the best shortstops in baseball still" but wouldn't confirm Yankees interest in the veteran. Amaro also said Rollins is "somebody we want on our club and would be very hard to replace."

Rollins is due $11 million this season and his contract is up at the end of 2015. Rollins hit .243 with 55 RBI and stole 28 bases in 2014. 


Padres' Blaine Boyer clears waivers, heads for free agency
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) Padres right-handed pitcher Blaine Boyer cleared waivers Wednesday and will enter free agency, according to U-T San Diego. Boyer was designated for assignment last week.

Boyer appeared in 32 games last season for the Padres and posted a 3.57 ERA. 


Rays designate Sean Rodriguez for assignment
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Rays have designated 29-year-old Sean Rodriguez for assignment. 

Rodriguez hit .211 with 12 home runs last season. 


Jose Molina, Cole Figueroa clear waivers, released by Rays
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) Catcher Jose Molina and infielder Cole Figueroa cleared waivers and were released by the Rays Wednesday. 

Both Molina and Figueroa were designated for assignment Thursday. Molina, 39, hit .178 over 225 at-bats last year, while Figueroa hit .233 in 43 at-bats. 


Rays sign right-hander Ernesto Frieri to major-league contract
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Rays have announced signing of right-hand pitcher Ernesto Frieri to a one-year contract. Frieri will make a base salary of $800,000, going up to $3.15 million with incentives, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Frieri, who had a career-high 37 saves in 2013, had 11 last season with a 7.34 ERA.


Yankees' Sabathia confident he can return to being 200-inning pitcher
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia continues to deliver positive updates coming off July knee surgery.

"The knee, I have no complaints," Sabathia told YES Network. "I’m able to do all of my workouts. … I’m changing a few things. Not as much pounding and running. I’m in the pool a lot, on different machines to get cardio, (on the) bike. Just adding a few different things to get some cardio in."

Despite coming off surgery and being limited to eight starts (46 innings) in 2014, Sabathia feels he can get back to being a 30-start, 200-inning pitcher in 2015.

"Yeah, for sure," he said. "I feel like I can. If you asked me that a couple of months ago, I would have said, ‘I don’t know,’ but the way I’m feeling now and being able to work out, definitely."


Report: Indians expressing interest in Kendrys Morales
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Indians have expressed inerest in DH/first baseman Kendrys Morales

Morales, who split time between the Twins and Mariners last season, hit .218 with 42 RBI.


Brewers' Ryan Braun 'cautiously optimistic' coming off thumb surgery
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is optimistic coming off October thumb surgery. Braun underwent a cryotherapy procedure in Los Angeles on Oct. 2, in which a needle was inserted at the base of his right thumb to essentially freeze a nerve.

"It definitely worked," Braun said Wednesday, per MLB.com. "It makes a huge difference."

Braun swung a bat 10 days after the procedure and was happy the pain in his thumb was gone.

"Right now, I don’t feel any [discomfort], and I haven’t been able to say that for two years," he said. "I think I’ve told you guys, it [bothered him] shaking hands, writing -- you know, just everyday activities. Now I don’t feel it at all, so I’m excited."

While Braun is definitely optimistic, he is also a bit cautious because he isn't in the grind of playing baseball every day. He has received full clearance, however, for all offseason activities.

"I’m encouraged by how it feels, but at the same time, I think I have to be cautiously optimistic [until] I get into spring training and see how it responds," Braun said. "But it hasn’t felt this good in a really long time."


 
 
 
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