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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
Jacoby Ellsbury heading for MRI
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:56 pm ET) Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will head for an MRI, according to the New York Daily News.

Ellsbury left Friday's game with a hamstring issue. He was removed in the fifth inning, and will be sent for an MRI in order to determine the severity of the injury. 


Kirk Nieuwenhuis takes a breather after passing kidney stone
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:13 pm ET) Mets outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis was held out of action Friday night against the Braves, one day removed from passing a kidney stone, MLB.com reports.

Nieuwenhuis told the manager he's available as a pinch hitter and could be back in action a early as Saturday. He is hitting .242 with three homers and 14 RBI over 99 at-bats.


Jacoby Ellsbury leaves game early Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:55 pm ET) Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury left Friday's game early.

Ellsbury appeared to injury his hamstring, though the team has not officially announced an injury. He left the game at the start of the fifth inning. He finished 2 for 3, with two runs scored and three RBI. Earlier in the contest, Ellsbury slugged his 16th home run. 


Domonic Brown scratched Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:15 pm ET) Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown has been scratched from his Friday start, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The team has yet to announce why Brown has been scratched from the start. He will be replaced by Grady Sizemore. 


Glen Perkins shut down with arm issue
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:05 pm ET) Twins reliever Glen Perkins has been shut down due to a forearm strain and nerve irritation, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The news is actually somewhat positive for Perkins. His throwing elbow and UCL have no damage at this time, and he's expected to be ready for Spring Training. Perkins finished the year with a 3.65 ERA over 61 2/3 innings. 


A.J. Ellis adds a pinch of power Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:42 pm ET) Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis added a pinch of power Friday afternoon against the Cubs, homering twice and plating four runs in a 14-5 victory.

Ellis launched a two-run home run in the opening frame off Eric Jokisch. With two outs in the third inning, Ellis took Jokisch deep again for a two-run shot. He finished 2 for 4 with a walk, three runs scored and four RBI. He is hitting .193 with three homers and 23 RBI over 264 at-bats.

Michael Morse still a no-go Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:32 pm ET) Giants outfielder Michael Morse was held out of the starting lineup Friday night in San Diego. Morse has been sidelined since Aug.31 because of a strained oblique, and remains without a timetable for return. Morse hit .280/.338/.477 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI in 436 at-bats.

Angel Pagan back at leadoff spot Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:30 pm ET) Giants outfielder Angel Pagan returned to the leadoff spot Friday night in San Diego. Pagan was sidelined since Sunday because of back injuries. He hit .302/.342/.391 with three home runs, 27 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 381 at-bats prior to the injury.

Edwin Jackson gets obliterated in first start back from DL
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:26 pm ET) Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson failed to make it out of the opening frame in his first start back from a strained lat muscle on Friday at home against the Dodgers.

Jackson, who was activated from the disabled list before the game, served up a three-run home run to Matt Kemp and a run scoring single to Juan Uribe before leaving the game. He was shelled for five runs on four hits and one walk over two-thirds of an inning, dropping to 6-15 on the year.

Jackson owns a 6.38 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP over 27 starts (139 2/3 innings). His finale start of the season will come Friday at Milwaukee.


Clayton Kershaw becomes league's first 20-game winner
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:20 pm ET) Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw became the league's first 20-game winner Friday afternoon in Chicago against the Cubs.

Kershaw (20-3) bounced back from a rough opening frame and received more than enough run support to get the job done. He permitted a run-scoring double to Anthony Rizzo, a run-scoring triple to Jorge Soler and a sacrifice fly in the first for his only damage of the afternoon. He permitted three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out nine over five innings of a 14-5 victory.

Over his last four starts covering 29 innings, Kershaw has allowed seven earned runs. He owns a 1.80 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP over 26 starts (190 1/3 innings). His next start will come Wednesday at home against San Francisco.

 
 
 
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