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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
Report: Pirates sign Wilkin Castillo to minor-league contract
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:24 pm ET) The Pirates signed catcher Wilkin Castillo to a minor-league contract Wednesday, sources told Fox Sports. The deal includes an invite to spring training.

Castillo is a career .314 hitter in 35 at-bats.


White Sox sign second baseman Gordon Beckham
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:17 pm ET) The White Sox signed second baseman Gordon Beckham  to a one-year contract, the team announced.

Beckham spent more than five seasons with the White Sox. He is a career .245 hitter.


Masahiro Tanaka says his elbow feels good
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:17 pm ET) Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka told the Japan Times that his elbow feels fine as he prepares for spring training, per The Star-Ledger. Tanaka has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament that could eventually require Tommy John surgery.

Tanaka missed more than two months last season due to the injury. After the layoff, he was able to make two starts toward the end of the season and finished 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA.

"So far, so good -- including that [elbow]," Tanaka said.

The Yankees signed Tanaka last offseason to a seven-year, $155 million contract.


Mariners sign catcher John Baker to minor-league contract
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:51 am ET) The Mariners signed catcher John Baker to a minor-league contract Wednesday, reports CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

The deal includes an invite to spring training. Baker will be given an opportunity to compete for the backup catching position. In 2014, Baker hit .192 with no home runs and 15 RBI in 182 at-bats.


Indians 3B Giovanny Urshela expected to be ready for spring training
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:15 am ET) Indians third base prospect Giovanny Urshela, who sprained a knee ligament in a Venezuelan winter league game in November, should be ready for spring training, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Urshela, 23, is considered the most skilled defensive third baseman in the organization.

He likely will begin the season at Triple-A Columbus, but "could get a look" if Lonnie Chisenhall falters, the paper said.


Report: Nationals sign pitcher Casey Janssen to one-year contract
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) The Nationals agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract with pitcher Casey Janssen on Wednesday, sources told FOXSports.com.

The deal also includes a mutual option for the 2016 season and a buyout. In 2014, Janssen made 50 relief appearances and produced a 3.94 ERA.


Hector Neris considered a 'sleeper' to make Phils' bullpen
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:41 am ET) Coming off an outstanding performance in the Dominican Winter League, reliever Hector Neris is a "sleeper candidate" to earn a spot in the Phillies' bullpen, reports Philly.com. Neris, 25, did not give up a run in 18 innings during the league's regular season, then allowed two runs in 8 1/3 postseason innings.

“It will be interesting to see who kind of takes the bull by the horns,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the website. “We’re going to give some people opportunities to pitch, and typically what happens is the guy that’s performing the best and the guy that’s throwing the most consistently toward the end of spring, those are the guys that will make the club.”

Neris made his major-league debut last August, earning a win with one scoreless inning. That was his only appearance with the Phils.


Report: Mets not close to trading pitcher Dillon Gee
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:11 am ET) While various clubs have expressed interest in Mets pitcher Dillon Gee, the Mets are not in negotiations to trade him anytime soon, reports MLB.com.

In 2014, Gee went 7-8 with a 4.00 ERA. The Mets are less than a month away from spring training and are also believed to be hesitant to depart with any of their starting pitchers.


Report: Matt Albers to throw in Houston on Feb. 10
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:59 am ET) Wanting to prove his health, free-agent pitcher Matt Albers will hold a throwing session Feb. 10 in Houston, reports 1500ESPN.

Albers was shut down last season because of shoulder tendinitis after throwing 10 innings for the Astros. All teams were invited to the session.


Report: Angels talk extension with closer Huston Street
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:30 am ET) The Angels have broached the subject of a contract extension with closer Huston Street and plan to start negotiations during spring training, reports MLB.com. The team exercised its $7 million opion on Street early in the offseason and "would like to lock the 31-year-old right-hander up before he hits free agency next winter," the report said.

Street converted 41 of 44 save opportunities last year, going 2-2 with a 1.37 ERA.


 
 
 
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