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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
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman walks three in non-save appearance
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(10:28 pm ET) Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was brought on in a non-save situation Tuesday, leading 7-1 in the ninth inning, and struggled with his control, walking three batters before fanning the next two to close out the game. 

Chapman had not pitched in six days prior to Tuesday. 

Chapman, who had three strike outs overall on Tuesday, has not allowed a run and has K'd 22 batters in 11 2/3 innings this season. 

The right hander had only three walks on the season before issuing three more on Tuesday.


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(10:21 pm ET) Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin went 3 for 4 at the plate in Toronto's 6-3 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday.

Martin got his offense going early when he cracked a double to left field off of Michael Pineda in the third. He was left stranded at second on an Edwin Encarnacion line out. Then in the ninth, Martin ripped a 1-1 pitch from David Carpenter over the left center field wall for a solo shot, his sixth of the season.

Martin moved his average to .263 with 17 RBI in 80 at-bats this season.


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by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(10:20 pm ET) Left fielder Starling Marte connected for his seventh home run of the season Tuesday in the Pirates' loss to the Reds. 

Marte's homer was a second-inning solo shot of Reds starter Michael Lorenzen. 

The seven homers for Marte is currently the most for the Pirates.


Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada tagged for five runs in losing effort
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Estrada was knocked around early, allowing three straight hits in the first inning, including a two-run double by Alex Rodriguez. After giving up another run in the second, Estrada surrendered a two-run shot to Mark Teixeira in the fifth, ending his night.

Estrada, now 1-1, moved his ERA to 2.93 in 15 1/3 innings of work this season. His next scheduled start is set for Monday against the Orioles. 


Reds 3B Todd Frazier hitting only homers lately, adds another Tuesday
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(10:15 pm ET) Reds third baseman Todd Frazier homered in his first at-bat Tuesday and, at that point, had hit a round tripper for each of his previous five hits. 

Frazier singled in the sixth inning to snap his homer streak. 

He now has nine homers on the season to lead the Reds.


Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira cracks 10th home run of 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:12 pm ET) Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira went 1 for 4 at the plate in New York's 6-3 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Teixeira, who is dealing with a small lat issue, did his damage in the fifth inning when he ripped a two-run shot over the right field wall off of Marco Estrada, his 10th of the year. Teixeira moved his average to .205 with 22 RBI in 88 at-bats this season.


Pirates starter Jeff Locke hammered by homers, suffers defeat
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(10:11 pm ET) Pirates starter Jeff Locke (2-2) gave up four runs on seven hits, two via the home run, in seven innings to take the loss against the Reds on Tuesday. 

Todd Frazier connected for a solo homer off Locke while Marlon Byrd added a two-run shot. 

After winning his first two starts of the season, Locke has now dropped two in a row.

Locke will look to return to form in his next start set for Sunday against the Cardinals.


Yankees closer Andrew Miller picks up 11th save of the year
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:10 pm ET) Yankees closer Andrew Miller wasn't expected to be needed in New York's 6-3 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday. New York took the field in the ninth with a 6-0 lead, but after David Carpenter allowed a solo home run to Russell Martin and two more runs to score, Miller was called on to pick up the last out of the game.

Miller walked Jose Bautista but then got Devon Travis to fly out to right to end the game, earning his 11th save of the year. Miller is still yet to allow a run in 13 2/3 innings of work.


Grant Balfour eager to work his way back into Rays' bullpen
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:09 pm ET) Veteran reliever Grant Balfour has joined Triple-A Durham in hopes of climbing his way back to the Rays, according to MLB.com.

"He was eager to join Durham to get back into shape," general manager Matt Silverman said. "For Grant, this is an opportunity for him to have a true Spring Training. He'll be able to build up his arm properly. He'll be able to pitch on a schedule. We hope he'll regain the form that he's had in the past and he'll be back to helping us win ballgames at the Major League level."

Balfour was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay on April 18 and released by the club last week before signing a minor-league deal with the Rays. The 37-year-old registered a 4.91 ERA over 62 1/3 innings in 2014.

"I think he had something to prove," Silverman said. "And he wants to help this organization win. He's loyal to the Rays and knows that we'll give him every opportunity to get back. I think he also knows that he needs some time to build himself back up.

"He could go back into the Majors right now. But he wouldn't be pitching on the same schedule and he wouldn't have the opportunity to build himself back up. There's a lot of season left. And if he can get himself back into shape, he can help this club for many months."


Reds starter Michael Lorenzen earns first career victory Tuesday
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(10:08 pm ET) Reds starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen (1-1) allowed one run on three hits in six innings Tuesday to defeat the Pirates and earn his first career victory.

The one run Lorenzen gave up came via a solo home run from Starling Marte.

Lorenzen made his major-league debut April 29 against the Brewers, allowing three runs on eight hits over five innings for a loss.

Lorenzen's next start has not been announced as of Tuesday night.

 
 
 
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