Continuing with the two schools of thought, we move to the lighter side of things; the opti-mets. This crowd must be gellin’ with Dr. Scholl’s insoles or something, because to remain completely optimistic about the 2012 Mets after the past five year is saying something. Except for our Optimistic Mets Fan
, there aren’t a whole lot of these guys left around. But for those of them who remain, this is how an opti-mets views next year’s squad in a nutshell:
- Starting Pitching: The starting pitching has potential that has yet to be recognized to this point. Santana appears to be moving in the right direction towards returning to rotation, hopefully somewhere near the level he was prior to the torn shoulder capsule. Niese and Gee experienced some growing pains in the second half but that doesn’t take away from how talented they are or their potential as young pitchers with high ceilings. Pelfrey makes it hard to be optimistic but hopefully he can find his sinker again and perform like he did in most of 2010. As for Dickey, until Santana returns, he is the rock of this rotation. Throwing off hitters with that dancing knuckleball, the guy is a gem that the Mets should hold onto for years to come.
- Bullpen: In the most significant addition of the winter, Sandy Alderson completely re-vamped the bullpen for the better. Adding Francisco, Rauch and Ramirez to a previously thin ‘pen brings a much less stressful 7th inning on for Terry Collins as well as the Mets fan base. Francisco has had an ERA under 4 for the past four years running, Rauch, with exception to 2011 in which he played injured, has been a consistent and reliable arm for his entire career; and as for Ramirez, the guy could very well become one of the best set-up men the Mets have had in a long time. For a team that may go through some ebbs and flows, this bullpen is shaping up to be one of the more stable aspects of the 2012 Mets.
- Offense: Despite losing Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, this offense is loaded with potential. With young stars waiting to break out coupled with veterans on the rebound, this Amazin’ offense could be a force to be reckoned with in the National League.
- Josh Thole: For a catcher, Thole is above average when stepping up to the plate. Behind it however, Thole has gotten a bad rep, partially due to his catching R.A. Dickey and unfortunate April of 2010. The fact is he isn’t a great catcher, but Thole is better than most think.
- Ike Davis: I think it’s a general consensus among the fanbase that Ike Davis is the future of the Mets and is primed for a breakout year in 2012. With the Adam Dunn power, Mark Teixeira defense and the capability to hit .300; Davis is destined for big things in Flushing.
- Daniel Murphy: Murphy can flat out hit. He would have been among the league leaders in batting average had he not gotten injured in 2011. His openness to trying a variety of positions has allowed him to stay on this club despite the corner infield spots obviously filled. It will have to be an adjustment period for Murph, but with some practice, he can succeed at second base.
- David Wright: Despite some ups and downs the past few years, David Wright is still David Wright. He is still the guy who hit .300, 25 and 100 for four years straight from 2005-2008. He is still smack-dab in the middle of his prime, so before everyone has cast him off as a has-been, they might want to wait and see.
- Ruben Tejada: There is so much pressure on Tejada to lessen the blow of losing Jose Reyes that anything short of an MVP-caliber season would be seen as “not good enough” for the fans. He is not Jose Reyes. Tejada has extraordinary defensive skills and a good contact swing. He works the count and doesn’t waste an at-bat. If he is over matched, he will make that pitcher work for the out, taking 6,7,8 pitches to do it. He may not be Reyes-good, but he is still a solid shortstop with quite a bit of potential yet to be recognized.
- Jason Bay: September of 2011 was a sign that Jason Bay could be back. He managed a .313/.392/.563 line with 3 home runs, 13 RBIs and 7 doubles. That’s a .954 OPS! Bay stated that he just decided to drop all of the minute tweaks to his swing and just hit, and that paid dividends in September. If he can keep that up in 2012, the Mets may finally get a return on that 4-year $66 million dollar contract.
- Andres Torres: If Torres can perform to the level of anywhere his 2010 campaign, he’ll be an exceptional leadoff hitter for the Mets in 2012. He gets on base, has good speed, outstanding defense and above all has a baseball IQ higher than any ten ballplayers you could shake a stick at. So long as he gets over whatever funk he was in in 2011, this would be an excellent pick up by GM Sandy Alderson.
- Lucas Duda: As shown in his 2011 performance, Lucas Duda –like Ike Davis– is primed to break into stardom in 2012. in 300 at-bats, roughly half a season, Duda batted .292 with 10 homers and 50 RBIs. Put that over a full year, and you have a major force in any lineup, not just one in need of production. I cannot wait to see this guy playing as a full-time starter, he is a star in the making.
After reading this and the first school of thought I posted last week
, think about which category you tend to fall under.
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