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2013 Fantasy outlooks: New York Mets

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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It's been four years since the New York Mets have had a winning season.

It's been six years since the Mets have made the postseason.

2013 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

It's been 12 years since the Mets have been in the World Series.

And it's been 26 years since the Mets won their last World Series title.

With every season it seems the Mets are getting further and further away from their ultimate goal -- winning the World Series -- and it doesn't appear they made enough offseason moves to be considered legitimate contenders heading into 2013.

The Mets were one of the worst offensive teams in the majors in 2012. They scored 650 runs, which ranked 25th in the majors. Perhaps that isn't the strongest indicator of being a playoff contender since the Dodgers scored just 637 runs last season and won 86 games. However, unlike the Dodgers, who have overhauled their roster, the Mets didn't add any significant bats to their lineup this offseason.

The Mets managed to lock up third baseman David Wright with a long-term contract, but his supporting cast leaves a lot to be desired. The Mets were able to rid themselves of struggling slugger Jason Bay, but Wright's only real lineup protection remains Ike Davis and there appears to be no immediate help on the way from the minors. The Mets' farm system is pitcher-heavy, as Baseball America ranks pitchers as seven of the team's top 10 prospects.

The outfield is a work in progress. The opening day lineup could feature Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter, who have combined for 39 homers and 165 RBI in 430 MLB games. The newest name to the Mets' lineup is catcher John Buck, and while Buck has pop for a catcher, he brings a career .235 average and .303 on-base percentage to the Big Apple.

It wasn't all bad news for New York's other team in 2012. The Mets did lead the majors in quality starts with 101. Although, R.A. Dickey accounted for 26.7 percent of those quality starts (27) on his way to winning the NL Cy Young award, and he is now north of the border in Toronto. Although, the Mets landed some pretty good prospects by trading Dickey, with catcher Travis d'Arnaud being the centerpiece of the deal.

2013 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Ruben Tejada SS
2. Daniel Murphy 2B
3. David Wright 3B
4. Ike Davis 1B
5. Lucas Duda LF
6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF
7. Mike Baxter RF
8. John Buck C
Bench Jordany Valdespin INF/OF
Bench Justin Turner INF
Bench Collin Cowgill OF

Like many rebuilding teams, the outlook for the Mets is keeping an eye on the future. d'Arnaud is one of the best catcher prospects in the minors and might one day manage a rotation from behind the plate that features Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jonathon Niese and Noah Syndergaard.

Sadly, it looks like another trying year for New York, and we will probably be writing next season that it has been 27 years since the Mets were World Series champs.

Breakout ... Ike Davis, first base

Davis was the only Mets' player to hit 30-plus homers last season, finishing with a career-best 32. You're probably thinking it's tough to call a 30-homer player a breakout, but it's not like the rest of Davis' numbers were impressive. He hit .227 with a .308 on-base percentage and .771 OPS last season. Davis really struggled in the first half, hitting .201 with .271 OBP, .388 slugging percentage and .659 OPS. After the All-Star break he had 20 homers, .542 slugging percentage and .888 OPS. If Davis hits more like that for a full season and fixes his shortcomings against left-handed pitchers, then he surely is set to make a serious move up Fantasy first base rankings.

Sleeper ... Matt Harvey, starting pitcher

Harvey made his MLB debut in 2012 a little more than two years after the Mets took him with the seventh overall pick in the amateur draft. The scouts felt he could quickly move through the system because of his college pedigree, and Harvey didn't disappoint. After carving up minor-league hitters, Harvey debuted with an 11-strikeout performance July 26 at Arizona and kept his rotation spot through the end of the year. Harvey is going to be under a lot of pressure to be the arm to help replace R.A. Dickey's presence in the rotation, but he has a four-pitch arsenal that keeps hitters off balance and Fantasy owners will love his strikeout potential. He struck out 9.8 batters per nine innings in the minors and averaged 10.6 K/9 in 10 MLB starts last season.

2013 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Johan Santana LHP
2. Jonathon Niese LHP
3. Shaun Marcum RHP
4. Dillon Gee RHP
5. Matt Harvey RHP
ALT Jenrry Mejia RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Frank Francisco RHP
2. Bobby Parnell RHP
3. Josh Edgin LHP
4. Robert Carson LHP
5. Jeremy Hefner RHP

Sleeper Redux ... Lucas Duda, outfield

Duda was one of ours and many pundits' favorite sleepers last season. After slugging .482 in 100 games in 2011, Duda came into 2012 with raised expectations, and the new dimensions at Citi Field were expected to benefit Duda's left-handed power bat. Well, a .241 average by late July bought Duda a ticket back to the minors and only returned late in the season as a platoon player. It seems the Mets' lack of offseason moves means Duda will get another chance to emerge as a power bat in the middle of the lineup, but he needs to improve against left-handed pitching. In six minor-league seasons, Duda has a .284/.380/.469/.849 line. He has the offensive talent. He just needs to show he isn't a platoon player.

Prospects Report

Zack Wheeler, who was obtained in the 2011 trade that sent Carlos Beltran to San Francisco, has the makeup to be an ace and could be ready for his MLB debut in 2013. Wheeler made it to Triple-A late last season (six starts), but he is expected to open the year at Buffalo again. His performance will dictate his major-league arrival, but Wheeler could be considered a draft-and-stash player in deeper formats ... Travis d'Arnaud could arrive the same time as Wheeler, if not before. He might have made it to the majors last season with Toronto, but he suffered a knee injury at Triple-A that cut his season short. The Mets probably want d'Arnaud to work with Wheeler and prove he is healthy before his promotion. It's not like John Buck is a major force standing in d'Arnaud's way, so once he is ready for major-league action he will probably get the call. d'Arnaud has the potential to be an impact Fantasy bat ... The Mets' farm system is loaded with pitching prospects, but most of them only have low minors experience and could be a few years away from a Fantasy impact. Names to keep tabs on are Noah Syndergaard, Luis Mateo, Rafael Montero, Domingo Tapia and Michael Fulmer. Jeurys Familia would have made this list last year, but he struggled with his command in 2012 and now is projected to be a major league reliever, which drastically cuts into his long-term Fantasy value ... One bat to keep an eye on in the Mets' system is Wilmer Flores. After a slower than expected progression, Flores finally flourished in 2012, batting .300 with a career-high 18 homers in 130 games between Class A and Triple-A. It came after Flores was moved to third base, which is now blocked by David Wright's long-term contract. Flores has played shortstop, second base and first base in the minors, so his defensive versatility could put him on track to debut this season if he thrives at Triple-A.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Michael Hurcomb at @cbshurc . You can also send us an e- mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Pirates sign Wilkin Castillo, Josh Wall to minor-league deals
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:18 pm ET) The Pirates have signed catcher Wilkin Castillo and pitcher Josh Wall to minor-league contracts, which include invites to spring training.

Rockies sign Betancourt, Quintanilla to minor-league deals
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:11 pm ET) The Rockies signed former closer Rafael Betancourt and infielder Omar Quintanilla to minor-league contracts Friday, per MLB.com. 

Quintanilla spent the last two seasons with the Mets, while Betancourt did not pitch in the majors in 2014 as he was working his way back from Tommy John surgery. He did pitch in the minors, going 2-0 with a 4.66 ERA.

"I have another chance," Betancourt said by phone from his offseason home in Orlando, Fla. "Compared to how it was last year or even when I was pitching in games, I feel a lot more normal now.

"When I threw for the Rockies last week, I threw all my pitches -- fastball, changeup and breaking ball. Last year, I didn't throw any breaking balls, because my arm felt weird. It's 16 months after surgery and everything is going well. I'm also happy the Rockies stuck with me; they have a new GM [Jeff Bridich] but still were there for me, and I appreciate that."


Ronald Belisario not likely to sign with Blue Jays
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:02 pm ET) Reliever Ronald Belisario is no longer likely to sign a contract with the Blue Jays, and it appears he will sign with another team, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Blue Jays sign veteran Ramon Santiago to minor-league deal
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:01 pm ET) The Blue Jays announced Friday they signed infielder Ramon Santiago to a minor-league contract, which includes an invite to spring training.

The 35-year-old Santiago has spent most of his 13-year MLB career in the AL. He spent his first season in the NL in 2014 with the Reds. He hit .246 with two home runs and 17 RBI in 75 games for Cincinnati last season.


Brewers designate Elian Herrera for assignment Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:59 pm ET) Brewers infielder/outfielder Elian Herrera was designated for assignment Friday to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for pitcher Neal Cotts.

Herrera hit .274 with no home runs, one triple, seven doubles and five RBI in 69 games for Milwaukee in 2014.


Red Sox's Workman preparing to compete for a spot in rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:52 pm ET) With the offseason acquisitions of Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson, Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman chances of making the opening-day rotation have significantly decreased. Workman knows his best chance of making the roster will be as a reliever, but he still expects to show up to spring training competing for a spot in the rotation, per ESPN.

“I’m going in there looking forward to competing, hopefully winning a spot,” Workman said. “I’d like to be in the rotation. I’m hoping I can win a job in the starting rotation but we’ll see how that goes. I’m doing everything I can right now to prepare for it and get ready to put myself in a good spot to compete for that job.” 

Workman struggled last season, going 1-10 with a 5.17 ERA in 19 appearances at the major-league level. Although, most of his struggles came as a starter. He went 1-9 with a 5.36 ERA in 15 starts, while going 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four relief appearances.

“My stuff kind of fell off at the end of last year,” Workman said. “I wasn’t bringing the same stuff to the table that I was at the beginning of the year and that made it tougher on me. But even with that, I feel like if I would have executed better I still would have been able to get the job done."


Brewers still interested in adding closer-type reliever
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:48 pm ET) Brewers assistant general Gord Ash said Friday the team is still in the market for a closer-type reliever, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He said the team would like to make a move before spring training opens.

Ash said Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon and free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez are in play for the Brewers.

However, there is no apparent interest in signing former Nationals closer Rafael Soriano, and Ash said former Tigers reliever Joba Chamberlain doesn't fit their plans either.


Snider trade should free up at-bats for Pirates' Andrew Lambo
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:31 pm ET) Saving money wasn't the only motivation for the Pirates to trade outfielder Travis Snider to the Orioles earlier this week, according to Pittsburgh columnist Dejan Kovacevic. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington is eager to see what Andrew Lambo can do with 200-300 plate appearances at the MLB level, so trading Snider helped free up at-bats.

“I’m excited. I’m beyond excited for the opportunity,” Lambo said. “At the same time, I liked Travis. Everyone liked Travis. I know he was a big part of the team, a big part of the clubhouse and … well, I just have to be myself. I have to be the player, the person I am and show up every day to help the Pirates win. I’m grateful to be getting that chance.”

Lambo was sent to the minors last season after a rough spring training. He battled through a thumb injury, but once he returned to 100 percent, Lambo got on track offensively. He hit .328 with a .563 slugging percentage and .952 OPS in 61 games for Triple-A Indianapolis before he was back in the majors in late August.

“The way I look at it, I battled back, I came back,” he said. “I was there in Pittsburgh playing in games that mattered in front of full houses and against the Cardinals or Johnny Cueto, and I feel like I grew up there, like I matured.”

Lambo will now go to spring training looking to grab a bench spot as a fourth outfielder/backup first baseman.

“Honestly, this is the first time in my career I just relaxed, checked out a little bit," he said. "I was always running around the Arizona Fall League or winter ball and now … I don’t know, I feel like this has been good. I feel hungry. I want to get out there and prove … not to everybody but to my team that I can do the job. I can’t wait for that.”


Braves SP Mike Foltynewicz set to compete for spot in rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:58 am ET) Newly acquired starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, who was acquired in the Evan Gattis trade with Houston, will compete for the final spot in the Braves' rotation this spring. Bo Porter, who is now Atlanta's third-base coach after serving as the Astros manager, gave his scouting report of the 6-4, 220-pound right-hander to MLB.com.

"He definitely has the skill set," Porter said. "You look at the overall package -- he has an overpowering fastball, his breaking ball is something he started to use more once he arrived at the major-league level and his changeup is a work in progress. But when you look at his size and his competitiveness, he has that bulldog mentality."

Foltynewicz is considered the Braves' second-best prospect by MLB.com. He went 7-7 with a 5.08 ERA in 21 outings (18 starts) at Triple-A in 2014. He also made 16 relief appearances at the major-league level last season, going 0-1 with a 5.30 ERA.


Orioles considering spring training invite for Mark Hendrickson
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) The Orioles are considering a spring training invite for pitcher Mark Hendrickson , according to MASN.

Hendrickson has been linked to the Orioles for some time now. He threw for the club back in June, and recently had a workout at the team's recent minicamp. The 40-year-old Hendrickson has completely remade his windup. He now throws from a submarine style angle. Hendrickson hasn't pitched in the majors since 2011. 


 
 
 
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