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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
Royals P Tim Collins (elbow) to have MRI on Thursday
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(1:48 pm ET) Royals pitcher Tim Collins is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his sore elbow Thursday, according to MLB.com

Collins left Wednesday's game against the Rangers after experiencing tightness in his elbow. Kansas City won the game 13-2. Though further testing will take place, Collins expressed optimism about the injury. 

"I think it's just spring training," Collins said. "Everybody goes through this. It's just some tightness. I don't know what the plan is yet with the trainers."


Cardinals P Adam Wainwright (abdomen) to throw live BP Sunday
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(1:43 pm ET) Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright plans on throwing a live batting practice this coming Sunday in spring training, according to MLB.com

This would follow a high-intensity bullpen of nearly 50 pitches he threw on Thursday. 

"Good bullpen. I stepped up the intensity and velocity of everything, all my pitches," Wainwright said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I threw with a greater convicton. I felt very good coming out of it. I felt very good doing it. So, very good step."

Wainwright is coming off of an abdomen injury sustained in February. 

A's DH Billy Butler back in lineup after sitting out with stomach illness
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:38 pm ET) Athletics DH Billy Butler was back in the spring lineup Thursday against the Cubs after sitting out Wednesday due to a stomach illness.

“It was a bad 24-hour bug,’’ Butler said, per the Bay Area News Group. “It was nasty. But I’m OK now, good to go.’’


Angels' Garrett Richards could face hitters soon
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:22 pm ET) Angels manager Mike Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher told reporters that starting pitcher Garrett Richards could be ready to face hitters in live batting practice as early as his next time on the mound, per the Orange County Register.

"That's an important step," Scioscia said.

Richards, who is working his way back from knee surgery, has done extensive fielding drills and logged six bullpen sessions this spring. He's reached approximately 50 pitches in each of the last three sessions. He's on track to make his season debut two-to-three weeks into the regular season.


Orioles' Brian Matusz expected to throw one inning Thursday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:08 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz, who received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder Monday due to an AC joint sprain, will work one inning during Thursday's split squad game against the Blue Jays, according to manager Buck Showalter. He is slated to start March 14 against the Rays.

Michael Kirkman reported normal soreness after 'pen session
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:08 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Michael Kirkman felt normal soreness from his bullpen session on Wednesday, according to the Star-Telegram. Kirkman, who has been working his way back from an impingement on his throwing shoulder, will need a few more bullpen sessions before he sees any game action this spring.

Rangers' Derek Holland scheduled for 'pen session on Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:04 pm ET) Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland had no reported issues after his long toss session on Wednesday.

Holland, who was scratched from pitching in Sunday's intrasquad game due to shoulder soreness, said he expects to throw a bullpen session on Friday. Assistant general manager Thad Levine said he will be evaluated by  Dr. Keith Meister before making his spring debut.


Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo sent home from camp with illness
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:59 pm ET) Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was sent home from camp on Wednesday due to upper respiratory infection and flu-like symptoms, according to the Star-Telegram. Assistant general manager Thad Levine indicated that he sent Choo home to avoid getting other teammates in the clubhouse sick. 

Rangers SS Elvis Andrus targeting Cactus League action next week
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:55 pm ET) Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, who is working his way back from a mild patella tendinitis in his left knee, is targeting game action at some point next week, per the Star-Telegram. Although he's scheduled to miss at least Texas' first four spring games, Andrus has been taking batting practice and working on his fielding.

"I'm still doing everything, still hitting," Andrus said. "It's a long spring training.

"I feel better," Andrus said. "If I keep feeling this way I think I'll be ready to play next week. I don't think missing four or five games is going to do something good or bad to me."


Cubs might bat Anthony Rizzo second at times this season
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:51 pm ET) Anthony Rizzo has primarily hit third in his major-league career with the Cubs, but manager Joe Maddon is toying with the idea of batting Rizzo second when he opts to hit the pitcher eighth in the lineup. 

“I liked Jimmy Edmonds batting two,” Maddon said when Edmonds was an Angel, per ESPN. “I liked when we put him in the two hole. When you get a better hitter like that in the lineup, you want someone at the bottom to feed him.” 

Rizzo would like to stay in the same spot in the lineup, but he said he is just focused on getting his timing down at the plate.

“I think everyone would like one spot but it doesn’t matter to me,” Rizzo said Thursday. “I just want to see a live at-bat first before I worry about where I’m hitting.” 


 
 
 
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