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2012 Fantasy outlooks: New York Mets

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The Sandy Alderson regime officially closed the book on the Omar Minaya era with the deal that sent Carlos Beltran to the Giants for prospect Zack Wheeler last July, opting to cut bait rather than fish with the roster it had inherited.

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When homegrown mainstay Jose Reyes then departed via free agency this offseason, the team's next step became all too clear: Let the long and painful rebuilding process begin.

Fortunately for Fantasy owners, a bare cupboard means new opportunity for previous unknowns -- in other words, sleepers galore. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, the Mets are still wading through so many bad contracts that the new blood might have to wait.

And so, we face another year of wondering whether 33-year-old Jason Bay will ever regain his All-Star form (fat chance) and hoping that 33-year-old Johan Santana can recapture his ace stuff in his return from 2010 shoulder surgery (don't hold your breath).

But if nothing else, Fantasy owners can count on continued steps forward for the up-and-comers already in place. Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy have each toyed with Fantasy greatness and should benefit from the team's decision to move in and lower the fences at the previously oversized Citi Field. So should David Wright -- the team's lone holdover from its former days of glory. In theory, everyone should, though Ruben Tejada and Josh Thole probably lack the wallop to take advantage.

The pitching staff obviously doesn't benefit, but it's not such a highlight anyway. A return to form for Santana would obviously change that, but with shoulder injuries, you have to assume the worst. For what they lack in upside, R.A. Dickey and Jonathon Niese are at least competent, but otherwise, Fantasy owners have little choice but to count down the days until prospects Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia arrive.

Breakout ... Ike Davis, 1B

Everything was going as planned for Davis in 2011. He followed up an encouraging rookie season with a killer April, hitting .337 with five homers and a 1.014 OPS to close in on elite status at the deepest position in Fantasy. But the breakout was never complete because his season lasted only two more weeks. On May 10, he suffered the slowest-healing ankle sprain in the history of modern medicine, missing the rest of the season because of it. That's both good news and bad news in Fantasy. On the one hand, it gives you another opportunity to draft the 24-year-old at a discounted rate, but on the other hand, it makes you leery of drafting him at all. But remember: His performance isn't in question, just his availability. He already delivered on his promise and now, a year closer to his prime and with a reduced right-field fence, he could do even more. If Davis is as healthy as he claims he is, you won't regret drafting him.

Bust ... David Wright, 3B

Wright still has the reputation of a five-category stud even though he has fallen short of those numbers twice in the last three seasons. Last year, his issue was a stress fracture in his lower back, but even when he returned, he hit only .272 with a .789 OPS in 243 at-bats. Over the last three seasons, he has a .284 batting average and .828 OPS, which are solid numbers but less than elite even for a third baseman. True, his struggles began the same year the Mets moved to spacious Citi Field, but that doesn't explain why his numbers have lagged on the road during that time. Thus, you can't assume the team's decision to move in the fences this year will be Wright's miracle cure. It'll help, but it won't eliminate the injuries, the perpetually rising strikeout rate and the curious home-road splits. With high-upside third basemen like Brett Lawrie and Emilio Bonifacio available later in the draft, you're better off passing on Wright in the second round.

Sleeper ... Lucas Duda, OF

Though the Mets' decision to move in the fences at Citi Field this season helps, Duda's success in the majors late last year should have made him a Fantasy sleeper already. But for some reason, a certain percentage of the Fantasy-playing population tunes out around the All-Star break, making any breakouts that happen beyond that point somehow less valid. Fortunately for us more attentive types, that means players like Duda get overlooked. From July 15 (about the time he took over for a departed Carlos Beltran) to the end of the season, Duda hit .322 with 10 homers and a .957 OPS -- numbers that jive with his minor-league track record. And that was at old Citi Field, complete with its big gaps, tall fences and ability to crush David Wright's spirit. Granted, Duda is no guarantee to continue those numbers over a full season, but if you don't see the potential for him to outperform the late-round pick you'd use to get him, don't ever get into real estate.

2012 New York Mets Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Andres Torres CF 1 Johan Santana LH
2 Daniel Murphy 2B 2 R.A. Dickey RH
3 David Wright 3B 3 Jonathon Niese LH
4 Ike Davis 1B 4 Mike Pelfrey RH
5 Lucas Duda RF 5 Dillon Gee RH
6 Jason Bay LF Alt Chris Schwinden RH
7 Josh Thole C
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Ruben Tejada SS CL Frank Francisco RH
Top bench options SU Jon Rauch RH
R Scott Hairston OF RP Ramon Ramirez RH
R Justin Turner IF RP Bobby Parnell RH
R Adam Loewen OF RP Tim Byrdak LH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2011 high Destination
1 Zack Wheeler 21 SP Class A Double-A
The system's top prospect after coming over from the Giants in the Carlos Beltran deal, Wheeler is likely still a year away, but he's the Mets' best hope at a true ace.
2 Matt Harvey 23 SP Double-A Triple-A
Harvey still needs to work on his secondary pitches, but his upside is similar to Wheeler's. The problem is, at age 23, he doesn't have as much time to meet it.
3 Jeurys Familia 22 SP Double-A Triple-A
Familia is further along than Wheeler and Harvey, but his control problems make him less of a sure thing. The hard-thrower could make an impact this year, though.
4 Kirk Nieuwenhuis 24 OF Triple-A Triple-A
Some would prefer to see Nieuwenhuis starting over Torres, so perhaps a midseason switch is inevitable. The David Murphy clone could factor in deeper leagues.
5 Wilmer Flores 20 SS Class A Class A
The former elite prospect's star is fading after another down year. He's still a good contact hitter, but he needs to show power soon to justify his keeper slot.
Best of the rest: Chris Schwinden, SP; Reese Havens, 2B; Brandon Nimmo, OF; Cesar Puello, OF; Josh Satin, 1B; Josh Stinson, RP; Jordany Valdespin, 2B; Cory Vaughn, OF; Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B; Zach Lutz, 3B; Armando Rodriguez, SP; Sean Ratliff, OF; Matt den Dekker, OF; Darrell Ceciliani, OF; and Mike Nickeas, C.

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Player News
Rays OF's Kevin Kiermaier, David DeJesus sit against lefty Friday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(2:09 pm ET) With the Rays facing a left-hander on Friday, manager Kevin Cash has loaded his lineup with right-handed swingers.

Outfielders Kevin Kiermaier and David DeJesus are being held out of the lineup against the A's. Kiermaier had started nine straight games for the Rays, but will take a seat on Friday, despite the fact he actually has a higher batting average against lefties (.267) than righties (.232).

DeJesus meanwhile has been on a tear lately. He's batting an even .400 (10 for 25) over his current seven-game hitting streak. But he's been heavily shielded against southpaws this season, having just three at-bats against left-handed pitching. 

Joey Butler will enter the lineup and bat fifth while playing left field. Brandon Guyer moves up to the leadoff spot and will play center field on Friday. 


Brewers RP Will Smith suspended eight games, will appeal
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:35 pm ET) Brewers left-hander Will Smith has been suspended eight games by Major League Baseball. Smith is being disciplined for having a foreign substance on his arm during Thursday's game against the Braves.

Smith will appeal the suspension, MLB announced, meaning he should be available for Friday's game. He was ejected from the game on Thursday in the seventh inning when Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez noticed the substance and asked the officials for Smith's removal.


Manager: Rest, rehab possible for Rays SP Drew Smyly
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:53 pm ET) Rays manager Kevin Cash has echoed the optimism expressed by Rays starter Drew Smyly in regard to the torn labrum that has the left-hander on the 60-day disabled list.

"There are so many different degrees to a shoulder issue," Cash told MLB Network Radio. "He met with doctors and rest and rehab is now a possibility."

Smyly is hopeful he can return to the mound at some point this season. He performed well in three starts before going down despite an 0-1 record, yielding just five runs on 10 hits in 16 2/3 innings while striking out 21.


Blue Jays want consistency from SP Daniel Norris at Triple-A
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:22 pm ET) Blue Jays left-hander Daniel Norris could be close to returning to the Major Leagues. Norris was optioned to Triple-A on May 1 after allowing 10 earned runs in 23 1/3 innings over his first five starts with the Blue Jays this year. His 18:12 K:BB ratio didn't do him any favors either.

But in three starts at Buffalo, the rookie has a 2.50 ERA in three starts since his demotion. In his most recent start, Norris went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out nine. He will make his next start on Friday, according to SportsNet. The Blue Jays are looking for some consistency out of the young hurler before they decide to bring him back up.

“His last outing was pretty good, we just want to see that a couple of times, a few times maybe, for his own benefit. He needs that,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “We’re looking to get him back. He got here so quick, he started to struggle, you want to make sure what you did by sending him down was worthwhile, that he’s regrouped enough, instead of rushing him back. If he’s not quite ready yet, then you’re back to square one again.”


A's place Edward Mujica on DL, promote infielder Andy Parrino
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:20 pm ET) As expected, the Athletics placed reliever Edward Mujica on the 15-day disabled list on Friday with a fractured thumb. Mujica suffered the injury during Thursday's 3-0 loss to the Rays. He held a 3.32 ERA at the time of the injury.

In a corresponding move, Oakland selected the contract of infielder Andy Parrino from Triple-A Nashville. Parrino hit .273 (38 for 139) with six doubles, two triples, four homers, 12 RBI, 20 walks and 43 strikeouts in 38 games at Triple-A this season.

The A's also added Tyler Ladendorf (ankle) to the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.


Blue Jays manager says Jose Reyes' injury is 'all behind him'
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:13 pm ET) Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has confirmed that shortstop Jose Reyes will travel back to the team on Sunday and return from the disabled list and play Monday against the White Sox. Gibbons told MLB Network Radio "It looks like the injury is all behind him".

Reyes is currently on a rehab assignment has he is recovering from a fractured rib. He played on Thursday, and is expected to play Friday and Saturday before rejoining the club in Toronto. 


Dodgers C Yasmani Grandal still reaching base consistently
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:03 pm ET) Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal is on an interesting run. He has gotten at least one hit in every other game since May 8 and is hitless in the others.

The bottom line is a 7-for-28 stretch that has lowered his batting average from .307 to a still-strong .287. Grandal has been among the pleasant surprises for the Dodgers with a fine .402 on-base percentage. He has 20 walks in 101 at-bats.


A's OF Coco Crisp (neck) may need season-ending surgery
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:02 pm ET) The neck injury to Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp could be potentially very serious. CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports Crisp may require season-ending neck surgery, though Crisp is getting other opinions before making a decision.

Crisp had an MRI on Thursday and hasn't played since suffering the injury on Tuesday. The team has not provided any further updates on his status, but he is unlikely to play this weekend in Tampa. 


Diamondbacks SS Chris Owings still up-and-down at the plate
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:55 am ET) Hot-and-cold Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings was hot early this week. Now he's cold.

Owings has remained inconsistent all season. The latest example was a 12-for-22 outburst followed by his current 2-for-17 slide. It all adds up to a mediocre .252/.273/.367 slash line with just 10 RBI in 139 at-bats.

He is also striking out at a much higher rate in 2015 than he did a year ago. Owings has fanned 35 times.


Mets are in no hurry to trade young pitching for a shortstop
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:53 am ET) The Mets are seeming less and less likely to deal from their surplus of young pitching, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. There have been numerous on-going talks about the team possibly looking to deal one of their young arms for a shortstop. 

But as Heyman reports, the Mets are not necessarily rushing to go out and get a shortstop. The club is apparently willing to give Wilmer Flores more time to prove himself. They also have a stock of young shortstops in the minor leagues, including Matt Reynolds, Gavin Cecchini and 19-year-old Amed Rosario.


 
 
 
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