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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
Cardinals LF Matt Holliday weighing ASG participation
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) That invitation Cardinals veteran left fielder Matt Holliday received from the fans to start the All-Star Game? He might just have to reply, "thanks, but no thanks."

Holliday was voted in, but he's still dealing with a quad injury that has kept him sidelined for nearly a month. The news, however, is not all bad.

"It's getting better," he told MLB Network Radio.

Holliday added that he will take the next couple days to decide if he can participate.


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by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:14 pm ET) Diamondbacks rookie shortstop Nick Ahmed tied a career best with three hits Sunday against the Rockies. He has accomplished the feat twice this season.

Ahmed had two singles and his eighth double this season in the 6-4 loss. He also scored a run.

The rookie middle infielder has been on a nice run offensively since early June. He is batting .313 with a .360 on-base percentage, .475 slugging percentage and .835 OPS in his last 23 games. He has three home runs, four doubles, nine RBI, 11 runs, six walks, eight strikeouts and two stolen bases in that span.


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by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:10 pm ET) Hisashi Iwakuma will not be treated with kid gloves when he returns to the mound for the Mariners on Monday night for his first start since April 20.

"That's why we brought him back," Lloyd McLendon told the Tacoma News-Tribune. "I said he's not coming back until he's able to get up and down seven times. He's ready to go."

Whether he will perform significantly better than he did before going down with a strained back muscle is another matter. But McLendon is optimistic based on his velocity.

"He's back up to 91 (mph), which is a good thing," he added. "That makes his split better. He can't pitch at 86 and expect to have some deception on his split."

Iwakuma returns with an 0-1 record and 6.61 ERA, a far cry from his performance over the past three seasons, when he posted a combined 3.07 ERA.


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(12:05 pm ET) Tigers catcher James McCann drew back-to-back starts Saturday and Sunday against the Blue Jays after Alex Avila started in his first game off the disabled list Friday. Avila started at first base the last two games after Miguel Cabrera went on the disabled list.

McCann went 1 for 4 with a triple, one RBI and one strikeout Saturday before going 2 for 3 with one run, one RBI and one walk Sunday. 

He has now hit safely in five straight games, batting .476 (10 for 21) with one double, one triple, two home runs, five RBI, five runs, one walk and three strikeouts.


Nationals C Wilson Ramos dedicates homer to daughter
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:02 pm ET) Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos didn't just blast off for his team Sunday night. His solo home run was a sort-of birthday present for his daughter.

"Soon as I hit the ball, I felt in my bat that ball is gone," he told masnsports.com. "...It made me feel good for this day I hit well. Especially this day, because my daughter have 11 months today. I did today for her. It made me really happy today."

It didn't exactly make Matt Williams sad. He was impressed not just by the home run, but by Ramos' RBI single in the eighth.

"That's vintage Wilson," Williams said. "Man on third, line drive back through the middle. He's got the ability to do that. That's why he hits in the middle of the order, because he's an RBI guy. He's a run producer. He stayed on a first-pitch slider and delivered."

Ramos is on a bit of a roll with five hits in his last 12 at-bats to sweeten his slash line to .266/.294/.411.


Mets SS Ruben Tejada ties season high with three hits
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:58 am ET) Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada tied a season high with three hits during an 8-0 win Sunday against the Dodgers. He has totaled three hits three times this season.

Tejada had singles in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings. He drove in a run with his single in the seventh.

Tejada, who had two runs and one strikeout Sunday, has multiple hits in two of his last three games. 

Since May 29, he is batting .252 with 10 doubles, nine RBI, 10 runs, eight walks, 24 strikeouts and one stolen base in 31 games.


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(11:52 am ET) A knee injury and the struggle to find his stroke has pretty much cost Indians catcher Yan Gomes half a season. But he's finally showing signs of life.

Gomes is batting .333 (7-for-21) in his last five games to end a 4-for-37 slide. PITCHf/x reports that he has slammed seven balls with exit velocities of at least 100 mph since June 16 after managing zero before the injury that knocked him out for six weeks. He is simply trying to grind his way through it.

"This game is so frustrating and so hard," Gomes told MLB.com. "And the more and more I think about looking at the board and seeing if I'm getting there, or if I'm going to get talks from you guys where I'm struggling or something, it's just some stuff that I can't even worry about.

"It comes down to good at-bats or hard outs or bloopers - whatever. It's going to work out the way it's supposed to work out. From my career, I know I'm a good hitter. I know things are going to turn out."

Gomes added that he's feeling better at the plate.

"You've just got to take it and know it's a good sign," he said. "I'm seeing the ball well."


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(11:39 am ET) Athletics outfielder Sam Fuld started for the first time in five games and just the second time in the last seven games Sunday against the Mariners. He did his best not to let his rare start go to waste.

Fuld provided Oakland's only run during a 2-1 loss with his first home run of the season -- a solo homer off Mike Montgomery in the third inning. 

Fuld has gone 20 appearances (11 starts) without a multihit game. He is batting .250 (9 for 36) with a .372 on-base percentage, one home run, three doubles, six RBI, five runs, six walks, six strikeouts and one stolen base in that span.


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(11:31 am ET) Things are looking up for Diamondbacks catcher Welington Castillo. Not that his season could have reached much greater depths.

Castillo is finally receiving significant playing time with Arizona and has responded. He has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 starts and walked twice in one of the others. The result is an average that has soared from .150 to .213 since June 10 with five doubles and three home runs.

His on-base percentage of .282 is at its highest point since May 7, when he was still playing for the Cubs.


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