It might be hard to get extremely positive about a 74-88, but there were some bright spots to what the New York Mets did in 2013. First off, they finished above fourth place in the National League East for the first time since 2008. Second, the emergence of Matt Harvey gave the fan base an undeniable star to cheer for besides David Wright. Of course, Harvey will miss all of 2014 with Tommy John surgery, but they have something to look forward to for 2015.
But what does 2014 have in store for the Mets and their fantasy value?
Projected 2014 Mets Offense
|1. Chris Young||RF||30||R||380||43||13||37||13||.229|
|2. Daniel Murphy||2B||29||L||610||83||9||68||18||.289|
|3. David Wright||3B||31||R||525||79||19||84||16||.307|
|4. Curtis Granderson||LF||33||L||565||74||24||82||11||.232|
|5. Ike Davis||1B||27||L||390||40||15||52||2||.231|
|6. Juan Lagares||CF||25||R||420||41||5||39||8||.245|
|7. Travis d'Arnaud||C||25||R||435||43||12||50||3||.267|
|8. Ruben Tejada||SS||24||R||330||30||2||26||4||.245|
- Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Daniel Murphy & David Wright at all times. Curtis Granderson with a twist.
It’s not an easy lineup to project. There are many guys with limited Major League experience, and other potential platoons all over the place. But whether this team platoons or not, there are only three hitters on this team that you should even consider putting on your fantasy roster. That is, with the possible exception of Travis d’Arnaud, who will get to a little later.
– Murphy: You definitely want to be careful that you don’t overpay for Daniel Murphy based on his career year in 2013. More likely than not, he’ll be below 10 homers, and that will certainly drop his RBI and likely SB total.
But, his average would appear to be pretty solid above .280, if not closer to .300. While the Mets lineup has little to no depth, he is batting in front of a few good hitters, so the run total should be solid as well. He also has a lot of value from playing the thin second base position.
Let’s look at Murphy this way. Don’t expect a repeat of 2013, but don’t reach for a guy like Dustin Pedroia either if you can comfortably get Murphy a few rounds later. Pedroia is certainly the better player (fantasy or otherwise), but the differences between the two aren’t quite as immense as you probably think.
– Wright: In 2013, David Wright missed being a 20-20 player by two homers and 3 steals, while only playing 112 games. You probably do need to budget some missed time or at least, some games where he’ll be playing hurt. That said, Wright is still a Top-5 third baseman and a player who’s above average to very good in pretty much every fantasy category.
– Granderson: I really wish that Grandy still stole bases. With the move from the traditionally mashing New York Yankees to the more small ball Mets, it’s possible that will come back. But I’m certainly not going to project anything close to 20 steals from him.
The twist I talked about earlier is this. Curtis Granderson will hit for power, but his average can be an absolute drain. Do not bring him on board unless you’re above your goals in batting average with plenty of room to spare. The other twist is that unless Ike Davis has a big bounce back year or Travis d’Arnaud really emerges (again, more on him later), then Granderson has anemic protection behind him.
Maybe that will help his steals, but it’s not going to help anything else. He’s definitely a risk-reward guy. It’s not all Grandy’s fault, but he is a risk to be a bust.
Projected 2014 Mets Pitching
- Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Bartolo Colon & Bobby Parnell
We’ll get to them in a second.
Niese and Gee are strike-throwers, and that’s something I look for in streaming candidates, because weaker offenses just won’t take advantage of the pitches over the plate that often.
Wheeler is a little more wild, but can strike hitters at a good rate, which makes him a guy you want to stream. I don’t like him as a full time guy because he runs wild sometimes and I fear pitch/inning counts, especially if the Mets don’t contend. But if used right, he can provide some valuable starts.
Now for the other two guys…
– Colon: Logic says that a time will come in the not-too-distant future where Bartolo Colon will not be very effective, but I need to see it first. Because of his age, we can’t bet on him to be as good as he was in 2012 or 2013. But moving to the National League is going to be a good thing for Colon. Don’t stick with him too long if he struggles, but don’t let his age scare you, either. Even if he’s a bust, you can replace those pitchers pretty easily as there will inevitably be a handful of pleasant surprises.
– Parnell: Coming off of a serious injury, I projected a little bit of regression from Bobby Parnell, but he’s been an absolute stud on the mound for each of the last two years. You never like serious injuries from pitchers, but closers don’t have the same workload that starters do, which can help ease him back into health. Like Colon, I need to see some serious struggling before thinking about giving up on Parnell.
- Fantasy Star: David Wright
As we went over above, Murphy is a bit of a regression candidate, while Wright is a legitimate 20-20 candidate who should hit around .300, if not above it. But what about those other two stats? How much help is he going to get from the rest of the order for runs and RBI.
Well, not a lot. The Mets aren’t exactly going to remind anyone of the Texas Rangers or Boston Red Sox in 2014. But, everyone else is going to be stuck with the same handcuff there. Wright gets an edge because he will at least be sandwiched between Murphy and Curtis Granderson, who are both at least formidable.
Wright is the only player in this lineup that I would say will hit somewhere in the 2-4 spots, no matter what. Even Granderson and Murphy are guys that I can see Terry Collins moving around if they struggle. Not Wright. If he’s out there, he’ll be in the middle of the order with the best possible protection around him.
- Fantasy Bust: Zack Wheeler
I’m not saying that Zack Wheeler will be a bad pitcher in the long run, but I’m not too sold on him this year, for all the reasons that we went over above. I think his WHIP will be inflated with way too many walks, and I don’t like young pitchers on teams that don’t appear to be contenders, as they’ll be treated very cautiously at the end of the year.
On top of all of that, to be a bust, you need to have high expectations, and only a few players on the Mets have those. Too few people have high enough hopes for Ike Davis to call him a bust if he has a bad year. It really came down to Wheeler and Curtis Granderson, who I’m somewhat optimistic on.
Given that and the tendency of fantasy players to go a little overboard with youngsters, Wheeler gets the nod.
- Prospect Watch: Noah Syndergaard
Take a look at what Syndergaard did in the minors last year.
Noah Syndergaard: 2013
|A+ St. Lucie||63.2||61||16||64||3||3.11||1.209|
Now, Syndergaard has one of the same problems that we just went over with Wheeler: He’s a young pitcher in an organization where the big club is definitely looking forward to the future. So, even if he gets the call to the show, you have to be aware of stingy pitch and innings counts.
That worries me more with Wheeler because of the walks, so I’m not sure how long he’ll be in games. Syndergaard is a strike-thrower who’s never had serious issues walking people. He’ll at least be a little more efficient while he’s out there.
If a Mets prospect makes an impact on fantasy baseball in 2014, the smart money’s on this guy.
- Fantasy Sleeper: Travis d’Arnaud
If you want to be stingy, you might take some exception to me calling d’Arnaud a sleeper, as people certainly know who he is. But given a pretty deep group of catchers and the fact that he had a rough, injury-riddled season in 2013, I don’t imagine that people have terrible high expectations for Travis d’Arnaud, at least not in 2014.
Understandable, but do you remember what he did in Triple A in 2012?
Travis d'Arnaud: 2012
Travis d'Arnaud: Extrapolated 2012
|500||81||29||93||2||.332 or .334***|
Now, I know that’s the minors and in the typically hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, but we’re talking about a pretty good hitter.
A few final points:
- I apologize if you’re a fan, friend, or family member of Anthony Recker, what I’m about to say is certainly not a personal attack on him. But I don’t see him taking at-bats away from Travis d’Arnaud. Yes, he’s a catcher so he’ll lose some at-bats due to the position, but unless the Mets make a signing, the catching position is undeniably his.
- After Curtis Granderson in the cleanup spot, you could basically draw the 5-8 hitters out of a hat. d’Arnaud doesn’t need to be an elite guy to move his way up the order and into a more prime run producing spot.
- Final Thoughts:
As a franchise, the Mets are moving in the right direction. But from a fantasy point of view, they come in just over wasteland status. In a 2014 only league, there is sparse value at best in Queens. In a dynasty league, I’d certainly be willing to give some of their prospects a better look.
Otherwise, get better, Matt Harvey. The game — real and fantasy — will be better when you’re back.
- Paying Off a Career Year at Second Base: Matt Carpenter and Daniel Murphy
- Curtis Granderson Mets: OF Has Massive Sleeper Potential in Queens
- David Wright: Evaluating 3B’s Fantasy Value in 2014