A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE METS
It's not a strong club when they're healthy—and they're not healthy.... Johan Santana left everything out there the night of his no-hitter last June. He was never the same after that. I don't think you can count on him right now—or find any value for him on the trade market.... I'm a big fan of Matt Harvey. When he's throwing strikes, the tight spin on his breaking ball can make it look like a four-seam fastball.... Zack Wheeler has a chance to be special too. He throws up to 98 effortlessly, has a good breaking ball and a feel for his changeup.... Jon Niese is a very solid No. 3 starter, but he'll start the season as No. 1. He's a little bit like Andy Pettitte: He has a curveball, he gets in on righthanders, and he has more than enough fastball to keep them honest.... For their sake I hope Bobby Parnell can handle the closer role because he has better stuff than Frank Francisco and doesn't make as many mistakes.... David Wright has really matured into a smart hitter. Early in his career he used the middle of the field a lot, but now he'll pull the ball more to drive it.... Ike Davis had better at bats this spring, but only because he couldn't have had worse at bats than he did last year. He has a very rhythm-oriented approach. Last year he never seemed to get his feet and hands to work right.... I like Ruben Tejada a lot. He has bat speed, handles the fastball well and has gap power.... Terry Collins has done a nice job in a not very good situation.
2013 Projected Statistics
MANAGER TERRY COLLINS
Third season with the Mets
LINEUPS AND STAT PROJECTIONS BY ROTOWIRE.COM
The K Meter
Percentage of 2012 plate appearances that ended with a strikeout, and major league rank
BY HITTERS | 20.5% | 18TH
BY PITCHERS | 20.4% | 12TH
The young pitching—anchored by Harvey and Wheeler—develops, and a healthy d'Arnaud shows signs of stardom.
Wright struggles, dragging down the rest of the lineup, as does the young pitching. No end in sight to mediocrity.
Ted Keith has more on the Mets at SI.com/mlb
The Mets' lack of quality outfielders makes building a lineup difficult—the players they have simply aren't good enough to bat high in the order. Jordany Valdespin might lock down the leadoff spot, but old-school manager Terry Collins can do his offense a favor by leaning on a new-school idea. He should move David Wright into the number 2 hole, rather than use a traditional "bat-control," two-hole man like Ruben Tejada or ask too much from a spare part like Collin Cowgill. Studies have shown that a team's best hitter should bat second, largely because it would mean an extra 18 plate appearances a season compared with third, Wright's usual spot—the equivalent of five more games for New York's biggest bat. Batting second could be a boon for Wright too. He's more hitter than slugger and has always had the ability to go to rightfield. Batting with a man on first could open a hole on the right side of the infield—a distinctly old-school benefit Collins will enjoy.
MATT SLOCUM/AP (HARVEY)
JOHN IACONO FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (WRIGHT)