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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
Mariners 2B Robinson Cano gets four hits, home run in win
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7:16 pm ET) Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano enforced his will at the plate during Wednesday's win over the Padres.

Cano went 4 for 5 with a home run, a double and three RBI. Cano broke a 0-0 tie in the sixth inning with a solo home run off Padres starter James Shields. He singled home a run in the seventh and doubled one home in the ninth innning.

Cano entered Wednesday's game hitting just .185 over his last seven games. The 4 for 5 performance boosted his batting average to .247 on the season.


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(7:02 pm ET) Padres starting pitcher James Shields  picked up his third loss of the season on Wednesday, despite a solid outing against the Mariners.

Shields threw 6 2/3 innings, allowed four hits and two earned runs before being pulled from the game. He held the Mariners scoreless through five innings, but a Robinson Cano home run in the sixth inning was his first mistake.

Shields (7-3) has a 4.14 ERA with 123 strikeouts and 35 walks in 104 1/3 innings of work this year.


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(6:57 pm ET) Mariners starting pitcher Taijuan Walker was simply dominant on Wednesday against the Padres.

Walker allowed just one hit over six innings of work, while striking out seven batters and picking up his seventh win of the season. Walker didn't allow any runs and needed just 76 pitches to get through six innings.

Walker (7-6) has a 4.34 ERA with 90 strikeouts and just 26 walks in 91 1/3 innings this season.


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(6:57 pm ET) Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said pitcher Patrick Corbin could make his season debut this Saturday against the Rockies, according to the Arizona Republic

Corbin has been sidelined for over a year after enduring Tommy John surgery in 2013. 


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(6:47 pm ET) The Orioles announced that outfielder Delmon Young was designated for assignment on Wednesday.

Young was struggling at the plate recently, registering just two hits over his last 19 at-bats.


Mariners to make rotation decision with Hisashi Iwakuma return
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(6:26 pm ET) Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma seems primed to return to the rotation after making his third minor league rehab start on Tuesday. Seattle will now have to make a decision on how Iwakuma's return will alter its rotation, per MLB.com.

Iwakuma has gone 1-0 with an 0.93 ERA in two Tacoma starts and also gave up just one run in 3 2/3 innings in an initial start with Class A Everett.

"He did OK. It was better than the last outing," manager Lloyd McClendon said of Iwakuma's start on Tuesday, when he allowed just one run with six strikeouts. "The velocity got better each outing. I know he touched 91 last night, and that's a good sign. He's moving in the right direction."

Iwakuma did suffer a blister on his throwing hand on Tuesday, but that's a common issue he regularly deals with because of the pressure he puts when he throws split-finger fastball. McClendon, though, will take that minor setback into account.

"That certainly will be part of the evaluation, and then we'll go from there," McClendon said. "I don't want anybody pitching around anything. We need him 100 percent, and hopefully he will be 100 percent."

The Mariners could potentially experiment with a six-man rotation if they can't identify an odd-man out before Iwakuma's return.


Yankees' Jacoby Ellsbury returns to lineup for second rehab game
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(6:11 pm ET) Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will be in the lineup for his second rehab game with Class-A Tampa on Wednesday, per MLB.com.

Ellsbury was held out of Tuesday's game because he was suffering from "general fatigue" in both of his legs. He is on the 15-day disabled list with a knee injury.


Marlins SP Jarred Cosart to return to rotation Saturday
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(6:06 pm ET) Marlins starting pitcher Jarred Cosart will return to the rotation on Saturday against the Cubs, the Miami Herald is reporting.

Cosart (1-3) has a 4.12 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 17 walks in 43 2/3 innings this season.


Padres' Brandon Morrow (shoulder) to throw from mound Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:02 pm ET) Padres right-hander Brandon Morrow will likely throw a bullpen session on Thursday, the first time he'll take to a mound since having his rehab assignment shut down in early June. Morrow has been on the disabled list since May 3 with a shoulder injury.

"That was frustrating," Morrow said, per MLB.com." I am pretty confident in this time that you know it's not just not sore but actually stronger. Like I said, I am feeling great, and that's all I can say. I am getting off the mound in the next couple of days, so we'll know more then. I am fully confident everything will go well with that."

Despite Morrow heading to the mound on Thursday, it is still unknown when his rehab will resume, and his return to the Padres' rotation remains unclear.

"You got to stay the course, that's the whole thing. He is a worker," interim manager Pat Murphy said. "When you are dealing with a shoulder or an elbow, all the little things that go into that, all the muscles that go into that and how it affects the rest of your body, it's the little adjustments ... it's those little things that make all the difference in the world, which is why it takes a little bit longer to get yourself right. We would love to have him back."


Giants RF Hunter Pence (wrist) will not return before All-Star Game
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
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Pence will likely need to make a minor-league rehab appearance before being able to return.

Expected to be a big part of the reigning World Series team, Pence has been limited to just 18 games this year due to injuries. 


 
 
 
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