From Tom Seaver to Dwight Gooden to David Wright, A look at the New York Mets past, present and future.
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This post is for the sole purpose of providing the complete outlook of the players in the field and not the pitchers of the New York Mets for the 2008 MLB season.
The Mets projected lineup will most likely lead off with speedy shortstop Jose Reyes, followed by second baseman Luis Castillo, and third baseman David Wright. Reyes (my second favorite player in Major League Baseball) has shown signs this spring that he is likely to be one of the top shortstops again in the MLB. He is a very exciting player as he led the National League in stolen bases (78) for the third consecutive season, although his batting average went from .300 in the 2006 season to .280 in 2007 and was heavily criticized when he performed very poorly during the Met’s collapse in September. Castillo, an extremely quick player as well, re-signed with the Mets this offseason looking to pickup his fourth gold glove in five seasons and trying to help the Mets win the World Series, which would be his third. Wright was voted to his second MLB All-Star game in the 2007 season and finished fourth in NL MVP voting. He batted a very impressive .325 and joined the 30-30 club with 34 stolen bases and 30 home runs. He was awarded the 2007 Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger Award at third base. The 25 year old has an extremely promising career and is looking to capitalize this season.
Following the three infielders is superstar center fielder Carlos Beltran and powerful first baseman Carlos Delgado. Beltran is known as a “five-tool player,” because of his excellent fielding skills, a good throwing arm, and the ability to hit for average, power, and steal bases. Although he had a better season in 2006, Beltran still had 33 home runs, 112 runs batted in, and 153 hits while earning his fourth consecutive MLB All-Star appearance. Beltran opened his mouth in the offseason after predicting the Mets will win the NL East this season, so now he must do the deed and fulfill his promise. Slugger Carlos Delgado didn’t put up his usual numbers last year only hitting 24 home runs and having a slugging percentage of .448, both were his lowest total since the 1995 season. He had a rough spring partially because of his hip injury and if he wants to be a key player in the championship run he has to be healthy, which is definitely a concern at the age of 35.
Rounding out the bottom of the lineup are all new Mets, starting with the number six hitter Ryan Church, followed by left fielder Angel Pagan, and finishing off with the catcher Brian Schneider. Church takes over for retired veteran Shawn Green in right field and is coming off an impressive season where he had career highs in many offensive categories and hopefully has finally found himself on a winning team. The third year Pagan will be starting in place of the injured Moises Alou and hopes to bring some some “pop” to the end of the lineup. The number eight hitter is the new man behind the plate, Brian Schneider. After catcher Paul Lo Duca was not re-signed in the offseason, the team needed someone new and traded for Schneider from the Washington Nationals over the winter. He isn’t a very offensive oriented catcher but is very reliable on the defensive part so he should be a good fit.
The Mets have a solid bench crew with veteran infielders Damion Easley and Marlon Anderson, outfielder Endy Chavez, and catcher Ramon Castro. Easley and Anderson are versatile players, both solid on the defensive end and can fill in for most infield positions. Chavez will be reserve outfielder for most of the season and is a good defensive player and has speed on the basepaths. Castro is likely to start the season on the disabled list because of a strained hamstring. Raul Casanova is the leading candidate to take Castro’s spot on the roster. When Castro is healthy, he has a good bat for a catcher (actually probably better then Schneider).
When it comes down to it, this is the year for the New York Mets. They have reached the playoffs just once over the past seven years, and after last year they are due for a big run. With Santana and Pedro leading things off and Billy Wagner closing on the pitching front- other hitters should be scared. Offensively, we know what they can do with the big bats of Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Delgado. The other x-factor is the injured Moises Alou. If he is able to return from groin surgery, he will make New York’s lineup even more intimidating.
In the eye of Manager Willie Randolph, anything but becoming the World Series Champions is considered a failure.
If there is one thing on the Met’s squad holding them back from winning the NL East it’s going to be the bullpen. Tim Marchman from the New York Sun wrote about how a good bullpen is not sufficient, but is necessary to win the pennant or make it to the playoffs.
The Mets have showed they know how to win. They also have shown that they know how to choke when it matters most, hence last season. Two years ago they were the number one ranked team in the NL in ERA. This past year they were eighth. Two years ago they were all but that close from making the World Series. This past year, the Mets capped one of the worst collapses in baseball history, having led the National League’s Eastern Division by 7 games with 17 to go.They lost six of seven games in a final home stand against teams with losing records, and missed out on not only the division title but even the wild card spot in the baseball playoffs. This leads to my point… obviously the whole team is to blame for the melt down because most players didn’t hold their own, but the bullpen, which is supposed to hold the lead when the team is up- didn’t, and it costed them the end of their season.
For most of the 2007 season the bullpen was on of the New York’s biggest strengths, but near the end they became the one of the biggest weaknesses. In the last seven games of the 2007 season, reliever Joe Smith had a 0-1 record with a 13.50 ERA. A couple other relievers followed in that pattern- Phillip Humber had a 11.25 ERA, Aaron Sele had a 9.00 ERA and closer Billy Wagner did as well. The list goes on and on.
A big thing to improve a certain part if your team is to get better players and work harder at it. That never happened. The bullpen basically has not changed, so there is solid chance that there will be another hold on their journey for the World Series.
When it comes down to it, the Mets have the hitters to make it to October, that’s a for sure, and with the best pitcher in the league Johan Santana and another pitcher who is working his way up to greatness again Pedro Martinez, the starting rotation will be very good. The only thing that will be stopping the Mets from reaching the point where they are expected to is the bullpen.
After the Mets acquired the two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana in a trade with the Minnesota Twins, they not only became a legitimate threat to contest the World Series Champions the Boston Red Sox’s to be the top team in the MLB, but now have one of the better pitching staffs in the National League (with a few tweaks) and have no excuse not to make the playoffs.
After Santana leading off the rotation as the number one starter, following up is three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez who only started 5 games last year and has had numerous injuries since joining the Mets. Pedro has changed his style of pitching and no longer has the fire he used to but now has become a crafty pitcher who can get outs and strikeouts without hard stuff. The number three starter is most likely pointing to the righty John Maine who put up good numbers for the Mets last year, having a record of 15-10 in 32 starts and throwing 180 strikeouts, although he had a fairly high ERA of 3.91. The number four starter will be the 26 year old, left-hander Oliver Perez who last year had stats very similar to Maine- 15-10 record, 174 strikeouts, and a 3.56 ERA. So far Perez has a 4.61 ERA this spring in four starts, but has steadily getting better in each game. Finishing off the starting rotation is likely to be veteran Orlando Hernandez. The 42-year-old will enter his 10th season and looks to improve his health as spring training continues so he can back into his old form from the past few seasons. Mets GM Omar Minaya said Hernandez would not pitch out of the bullpen, although 24 year old Mike Pelfrey will battle “El Duque” for the fifth spot.
The New York Mets are scheduled to begin play at the new 45,000 capacity Citi Field on opening day of the 2009 baseball season.
According to the Environment News Service, this ballpark is much different then the ordinary MLB team stadium for the fact that about 95 percent of the 12,500 tons of structural steel used to construct Citi Field is recycled. Using recycled steel not only saves money, but also reduces energy consumption, compared to making steel from virgin materials.
The Queens Ballpark Company will build and operate the major league baseball team’s new $800 million (thats the price with “saving money” for use of the recycled steel) stadium using some of the latest green technologies and practices. Recycled steel beams, concrete made from coal combustion ash, energy and water conservation, stormwater runoff controls – all will play a part in the construction and operation of the Mets’ new ballpark in the borough of Queens.
During construction, the builders will use at least two million pounds of recycled coal combustion products instead of newly manufactured portland cement. When all is done, the whole process saves over 800 tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, CO2, and is equivalent to taking 1,000 cars off the road for two months, the federal agency says.
Once the ballpark is in use, the Mets will use metered hands-free faucets, toilet flush-o-meters, and waterless urinals, which will conserve more than four million gallons of water a year.
This is a whole new breed of ballpark and hopefully this will be the future for upcoming new fields and another step forward in saving the environment.
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