Mets Need Breakout Years From Davis, Duda, Niese And Others
Let’s assume for a moment – and this isn’t much of a reach – the Mets don’t do anything for the remainder of the winter. How then, can the Mets be competitive if another assumption that R.A. Dickey won’t be back?
A lot of things must happen, beginning with David Wright regaining his power stroke. If he does, and Johan Santana has a good year, that’s only the beginning. So much else has to happen in terms of their young players having breakout seasons. It could happen. It has before.
JOSH THOLE: I won’t be going out on a limb if I said Thole would again be the starting catcher. As much as there’s talk of the Mets needing a catcher, they have more pressing needs, such as the bullpen and outfield. Those areas must be addressed first. Thole made a good first impression hitting .321 in 2009 with his bat control, ability to work a count and go to the opposite field. Maybe he was corrupted by watching others with no plate presence, but his average has declined every year since and he provides no power. Even worse, has been his defense. If the Mets are to open their wallets after 2013 – that’s what they tell us so it must be true – they will address catching so this is Thole’s last chance.
IKE DAVIS: Davis was a beast in the second half and finished with 32 homers. He must learn to put two halves together, and it begins by being more selective at the plate. His power production could soar if he cuts his strikeouts and increases his walks. Davis can be dangerous, but has too many holes in his swing and goes into long stretches where he tries to pull everything. Since the Mets are void of power, any trade talk involving Davis is ridiculous.
DANIEL MURPHY: Yes, he can hit for average, but where’s the power? Unless Murphy adds power to his game, he’s as good as he’s going to be. That’s fine off the bench or in a platoon, but in today’s game he must have more offensive production. Perhaps dropping him in the order to put him in more traditional RBI spots might help. Ooops, I forgot … there has to be people on base ahead of him.
LUCAS DUDA: This guy is as strong as an acre of onions, but like Davis, he has too many holes in his swing. His patience is non-existent at times and he’s not a defensive plus. Left field might work out better for him than right. So far, Duda is all potential and little production. We know he’s strong enough to hit 30 homers, but we can’t say he’s a 30-homer player until he actually hits 30, or 25, or 20. So far, in three years, the best he’s done is 15 and 57 RBI. That won’t cut it.
BOBBY PARNELL: Will it ever happen for Parnell? He’s shown glimpses, but has never held onto the brass ring. The closer job was his for the taking. So was the set-up role. He spit the bit both times. At the end of last season, when Frank Francisco went down, Parnell gave us a peak what all the wonder had been about. He has the stuff, but his command and secondary pitches needs work.
JON NIESE: When teams call the Mets, Niese is the guy they want. He’s a hard-throwing lefthander with a reasonable salary over the next few years. Throw him into a veteran staff and he’d learn and blossom. That’s the assumption anyway. With Santana entering his last season and Dickey not certain of returning, Niese and his career-high 13 wins becomes the de facto ace. He’s not ready for that role.
MATT HARVEY: Harvey gave us a peak into what promises to be a bright future. However, only a handful of teams saw him and those that did now have a book on him. There will be adjustments made, so Harvey adapt back. Harvey impressed with his stuff and poise that belied his age. The path to greatness isn’t easy and often has pitfalls and obstacles. A lot was projected of Mike Pelfrey, too, if you don’t remember.
How well the Mets do is anybody’s guess, but if there’s to be any electricity this year at Citi Field this young core must stop languishing and start playing to its potential.
That is, of course, if that potential hasn’t already been reached.
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that.
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