Mets Merized Online » 2013 projections Sat, 25 Feb 2017 14:09:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2013 Mets Projection: Scott Atchison, RHP Sat, 23 Mar 2013 19:59:16 +0000 The Mets made possibly their most underrated signings of the offseason in late-January when they signed right-handed relief pitcher Scott Atchison to a minor league contract.

Atchison, 36, has bounced around baseball in his 14-year professional career. He came out of TCU as a starting pitcher in the late ’90s. Drafted by the Mariners, he rose up through the system, but stalled at Triple-A. He was eventually converted to a relief pitcher, and made his debut with the Mariners. Over the next few years, he bounced around, pitching for Seattle, San Francisco, and even played two years in Japan for the Hanshin Tigers in the Nippon Professional Baseball League.

Atchison finally settled down with the Red Sox organization in 2010, becoming a major part of their bullpen. That year, he tossed a career-high 60 innings and posted a 4.50 ERA. He didn’t pitch very well, but got significant time thanks to injury after injury to Red Sox relievers. In 2011, he bounced back and forth between Triple-A Pawtucket and the Boston bullpen. He pitched very well for both teams in a long-man type role, not seeing too much late-game action. With the Red Sox, he posted a 3.26 ERA in 30.1 innings while putting up a 2.64 ERA in 61.1 Triple-A innings.

2012 was by far, the best season of Atchison’s career. Finally a permanent fixture in the bullpen, Atchison spent most of the season as a setup man. He was flexible, however, and was often able to give the team more than one inning, which, if he could do with the Mets, would be immensely helpful considering the health problems in the rotation. He missed two months of the season after he tore his UCL in his right elbow. The put him out from mid-July to late September. He was able to return to the Sox, and finished up the season with 5.1 scoreless innings in five September appearances. Atchison’s overall numbers for the season are outstanding. In 51.1 innings over 47 games, he had a 1.58 ERA, 4.00 K/BB ratio, and only allowed two home runs all season.

Atchison has pitched well thus far in spring action, allowing only two runs on seven hits in 8.2 total innings, striking out four and walking two. He has almost guaranteed himself a spot on the Opening Day roster. It’s still unclear who will have what role in the bullpen, but my guess is Atchison will have the same role he had last year in Boston. The key for Atchison has always been keeping the ball down and preventing home runs. That’s what has made him so successful over the past two seasons. It’s unlikely that he will pitch as well as he did last year, but if he can stay healthy and keep the ball down, he will have a very solid season for the Mets.

2013 Projection:

60 IP, 2.95 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 1.1 WAR

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2013 Mets Projection: Bobby Parnell, Closer Fri, 22 Mar 2013 12:30:08 +0000 With Frank Francisco working very slowly back from elbow soreness, presumably an effect of the surgery he underwent in December to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow, the Mets closer going into Opening Day will be Bobby Parnell.

The 28 year-old right-hander will be getting his first long-term shot at the closer role. He has been given some time in August and September over the last few years in the role, but he has never been “the guy” from the get go. This will be his last real opportunity to prove that he is more than a hard-throwing middle-innings relief pitcher.

Parnell is coming off the best season of his career, one that saw him drop his ERA to a career-best 2.49 mark in 68.2 innings pitched, a heavier workload than he has had to deal with in years past. His strikeout rate went down from 9.7 K/9 in 2011 to 8.0 last year. That’s still above league average, and slightly below his career average. However, he dropped his walk rate from a sub-par 4.1 BB/9 to a very solid 2.6 rate.

The key for Parnell has always been being a pitcher rather than just a thrower. Last season, he changed speeds on his fastball much more effectively than before and was finally able to find a breaking pitch that worked for him. Those two things were the key to his success last season, and we’ve only seen more of that in the spring. His control issues seem to be a thing of the past as well, and Parnell is much more consistent with his command than we have ever seen from him.

There is one issue that has gone unanswered from Parnell, however, and it is the most important one: can he handle the closer role? While he hasn’t been put in the spot long-term ever in his career, he has thus far struggled in those situations. His numbers are significantly worse in save situations over his career. In 87 save situations, he has a 4.54 ERA with 31 walks in 73.1 innings. That’s compared to his 2.45 ERA and much lower walk rate in 146.2 innings in non-save situations. Parnell thus far, has shown that mentally, he cannot handle the ninth inning role. The pressure has been a little too much for him, and quite frankly, it has shown in some of his post-game comments after games.

While a full spring of preparations for becoming a closer will help him a little bit, it is hard to predict how Parnell will adjust mentally to the new role. The switch may seem insignificant to some pitchers, but others sometimes wilt under the pressure. He has improved as a pitcher over the past few seasons, especially last season, so I don’t think he will pitch as badly as his career stats in save situations would suggest, but until I see proof that he can perform under the pressure in the ninth, I don’t think Parnell can reproduce last year’s excellent statistics.

2013 Projection:

3.70 ERA, 65 IP, 8.2 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.5 WAR

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2013 Mets Projection: Shaun Marcum Sun, 17 Mar 2013 13:50:11 +0000 The Mets made arguably their biggest addition of the offseason in late January, when they finally filled in the slot once filled by R.A. Dickey. The man chosen to fill the spot was 31 year-old right-hander Shaun Marcum. Marcum is a seven-year MLB veteran with the Blue Jays and Brewers, and has spent the last two season in Milwaukee after being traded in December 2010 for Brett Lawrie.

Marcum has put up above average numbers throughout his career. He has a 3.76 career ERA, including his 3.60 mark since coming over to the National League. He doesn’t walk too many batters, with a 2.8 BB/9 rate over his career and a 2.4 rate since 2010. He has had success, even without great stuff. His fastball is quite slow fo a conventional pitcher, sitting in the mid-80s. He has had to utilize his secondary pitches his entire career to get hitters out, and has done so with much sucess, his primary weapons being his changeup and slider.

There are injury concerns with Marcum, which is why likely the sole reason why he wasn’t offered a multi-year contract this offseason. He has battled injuries throughout his career. In 2007 and 2008 as a full-time starter with Toronto, he missed some time, throwing 159 innings in 2007 and 151 in 2008. Marcum went down with a late-season elbow injury in 2008 that finished his season, and forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery. He was able to make a few minor league starts in 2009, but didn’t make it back to the majors until 2010.

2010 and 2011 saw better health for the right-hander. Coming off Tommy John surgery, Marcum pitched 195.1 innings in 2010 and rose over the 200-inning plateau for the first time in his career in 2011. LAst year, however, he missed significant time due to elbow and shoulder problems, and was only able to toss 124 innings. He was out from mid-May to late-August with issues, and wasn’t quite himself when he got back. After coming back from the DL, Marcum posted a 4.32 ERA the rest of the season, with slightly worse strikeout and walk rates. This made the signing of Marcum risky for the Mets. Luckily, they only guaranteed him $4 million, with $4 million in incentives. If healthy, he could be much more valuable than that.

Spring training has been promising for Marcum up to this point. He’s been throwing strikes and in his last two starts, has been impressive. He took some time away from game action to strengthen his shoulder, with the team claiming he wasn’t injured. Based on what we saw this weekend, it can be safe to assume that they were telling the truth, and that the hiatus was more of a preventative measure than anything else. He is staying healthy so far with no news of pain in his arm of elbow. That has me relatively optimistic for Marcum’s performance this season. If healthy, he is an above-average third starter who will be valuable piece in the Mets rotation.

2013 Projection:

3.80 ERA, 175 IP, 7.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 2.1 WAR

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2013 Mets Projection: Dillon Gee, SP Thu, 07 Mar 2013 14:00:22 +0000 Mets starter Dillon Gee took a significant step forward last season, improving in a few key areas. Gee lowered his ERA from 4.43 in 2011 to 4.10 last season. He took some big steps forward and has me optimistic for this upcoming season.

The biggest sign of Gee’s improvement last season came from his so-called “peripherals”– walks and strikeouts. He saw a substantial drop in walks, going from 4.0 BB/9 to 2.4, and an increase in strikeouts, going from 6.4 K/9 to 8.0. That is likely the result of Gee mixing his pitches more effectively. He brought the use of his slider up from just 2 percent in 2011 to 13 percent last season while mixing in his curve ball a bit more as well. Gee also became less predictable with two strikes, using his changeup in that situation much less than he did in 2011. For that, there’s reason for optimism.

The only problem I can foresee with Gee this season is arm strength. He was healthy through 17 starts, until doctors found a blood clot in his throwing shoulder, which kept him on the sidelines for the remaining three months of the season. He was able to toss 109.2 innings. An increase to a full-season workload may be tough for Gee, but luckily the issue isn’t something that is going to linger. In other words, it isn’t going to flare up again like Shaun Marcum‘s elbow issue could. I’m not going to predict injuries because that’s not what this projection series is about, but durability issues are something the Mets will have to keep an eye out for.

Looking back at 2012, Gee’s statistics, much like Jonathon Niese‘s, are inflated by two awful starts. He gave up seven runs to the Giants in April and seven to the Brewers in early May. Take those two starts out and Gee’s ERA is 3.31. However I think it will be difficult for Gee to rid himself of games like those, considering what type of pitcher he is. He doesn’t have the stuff of a Matt Harvey or R.A. Dickey, so he is just going to get lit up sometimes.

For that same reason, I have to be very conservative when projecting Gee. With his stuff (which isn’t bad, but it’s certainly not at the level of the rest of the staff) he can only progress so far. He won’t be at the level of a Jon Niese, but he will provide the Mets with above-average production from the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation. He won’t be flashy because he never has been, but many teams would kill to have a fifth starter as consistent and productive as Dillon Gee was last year, and will be this season.

2013 Projection:

3.95 ERA, 180 IP, 8.1 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 2.7 WAR

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2013 Mets Projection: Jon Niese, LHP Mon, 25 Feb 2013 14:00:08 +0000 The Mets signed Jonathon Niese at the perfect time early last April, inking the left-hander to a five-year extension worth just over $25 million. The contract the two sides agreed to kept Niese a Met for his final pre-arbitration years (2012), all three of his arbitration years, and at least one year of free agency. The best part of the deal may be the two team options, which total $21 million and would keep Niese for two more free agent years. Niese, who has constantly been the subject of trade rumors throughout his career, finally had some security. How did he respond? With a career year.

Niese was coming off a few year in a row in which he was unable to finish a season pitching well or healthy. In 2010, he posted a 7.57 ERA over his last seven starts after pitching very well for most of the season. He was clearly showing signs of wear and tear. In 2011, he missed all of September with injury. It was very important for Niese to finally be able to pitch (and pitch well) down the stretch in 2012.

Niese’s overall numbers last season are actually a bit deceiving, and don’t quite tell the whole story. He finished the year with an above-average ERA of 3.40, 14th in the National League. However, he actually pitched much better than that mark would suggest. His ERA was inflated by two terrible starts, one in May against Toronto and another right before the All-Star break against Chicago. In those two games combined, he gave up 15 earned runs in 10 innings pitched. If you remove those starts from his statistics, his ERA is 2.84, which would have been fifth in the National League.

Since he has become a full-time starter in the big leagues, Niese has shown steady improvement, but last year was an even bigger step forward and has me excited for his future. He is mixing his pitches much better than in years past, and is also pitching remarkably better out of the stretch. With men on, opponents had a meager .272 on-base percentage with Niese striking out 3.52 batters per walk. In 2010 in those situations, hitters had a .358 on-base percentage and Niese struck out only 1.94 batters per walk. That’s a very promising trend and shows that last year was no fluke.

Overall, Niese has a very bright future ahead of him. Last year was not a fluke, but genuine improvement. He has turned himself into one of the better young lefties in the National League. With his new team-friendly contract, if he continues to pitch like he did last year, he will be immensely valuable to the Mets in the years to come.

2013 Projection:

3.50 ERA, 205 IP, 7.6 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 3.8 WAR

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2013 Mets Projection: Johan Santana, SP Tue, 19 Feb 2013 15:30:15 +0000 Johan Santana‘s 2012 statistics look awful at first glance. No, they are awful. His 4.85 ERA and 1.33 WHIP are both his worst since becoming a starter. That, combined with the fact that Santana missed the last two months of the season might have you down on the 33 year-old lefty. But when you look deeper, there is some reason to be optimistic that Johan Santana can bounce back, and be effective.

Santana attempted something extremely difficult last year: returning to pitching after a year’s absence. Santana had surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. He was originally slated to come back in 2011, sometime in June or July after having the procedure in September of 2010. However, he suffered a number of setbacks and wasn’t able to pitch at all in 2011.

Last February, Santana returned to spring training ready to pitch. He was finally healthy, and the Mets, while limiting his pitch count, more or less threw him into the fire. He responded well, and through the first two months of the season, he was pitching better than anyone on the pitching staff (including R.A. Dickey).

By now you know what happened next. Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history, dogging his way through to a 134-pitch shutout. He wasn’t at his best, but Santana has always been a bulldog on the mound, so he got it done anyway. After the no-no, however, Santana started to decline. Well, at leas that’s the way some people see it. In reality, Santana had one bad starts and one so-so start immediately after he no-hit the Cardinals. He gave up six runs in five innings against the Yankees and four runs against Tampa Bay. He then bounced back, however, and tossed three great games, including eight shutout innings against the Dodgers.  It was only then that he started to break down.

Santana ended his first half with a home start against the Cubs, and was shelled. He gave up seven runs on 13 hits. In the middle of that game when running to cover first. Reed Johnson of the Cubs stepped on his ankle. After the break, Santana continued to struggle. He gave up 26 runs in 14.1 innings before the front office finally put an end to his season.

The shutdown was probably the best thing for Santana. It was completely unfair to expect him to pitch a full season without getting hurt. If the Nationals are cautious with Stephen Strasburgh, a pitcher with a young, untested arm, why not be just as careful with Santana, whose left arm has been through constant wear and tear? It was best that the Mets shut him down before another injury occurred. And luckily, since it was just fatigue and nothing more, Santana was able to build up some arm strength (117 innings) in preparation for a full season this year. The injury risk is greatly diminished now because of what he did last year.

So why did Santana struggle so badly? It was really just a bunch of small issues compounded. He had the fatigue (if you want to call that a “small issue”) from pitching full-time. He also had the hurt ankle, which was probably something that would take only two or three weeks to heal, but was another annoyance nonetheless. Lastly, there was the issue with Santana tipping his pitches,, which we found out a few weeks ago on Mets Hot Stove. Now that Johan is working with John Buck, I doubt we will see that issue flare up again, however prevalent it was.

Yes, Santana struggled towards the end of 2012, but most signs point towards a bounce back season. He will finally have the arm strength back, with a few other issues that I’ve discussed taken care of as well. We saw Santana return to a reliable pitcher last year and at times, still dominant. There is no reason to believe that he can’t get back there again, and possibly stay there. Things are looking up for him and if he avoids another injury, Santana should have a solid season.

2013 Projection:

3.90 ERA, 180 IP, 8.5 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 2.8 WAR

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2013 Mets Projections: Matt Harvey, SP Mon, 18 Feb 2013 17:45:25 +0000 Despite losing a Cy Young Award winner via trade this offseason, the Met pitching rotation is still arguably the club’s biggest strength. The rotation is built around a few young and talented pitchers, with a more just a few months from the big leagues. The most promising of the bunch is Matt Harvey, who catapulted himself to ace status after last year’s incredible ten-start stretch to end the season.

Harvey, 23, was the subject of much debate last July, as the Mets needed a starter to fill the void left by Johan Santana, who was injured and shut down for the last two months of the year. Being only 23 with only 245.2 minor league innings under his belt, some people were skeptical and thought that the Mets should wait to bring up the 6’4″ right-hander. I was a little skeptical as well, but after a few starts was convinced that Sandy Alderson made the right decision in calling him up.

Harvey got his first taste of the big leagues on July 26 in Arizona. The team was in the middle of a long west coast road trip, so the time seemed right. The pressure was still high, despite the situation. Mets fans around the country were glued to their televisions. Harvey responded with a dominant performance. He allowed only three hits and three walks, while striking out 11 D-Backs, more than Dwight Gooden and Tom Seaver fanned in their big league debuts.

The rest of the season went just as smoothly for Harvey. He had one tough start in San Diego in which he gave up five runs on eight hits, but was otherwise dominant. He finished the year with a 2.73 ERA over 59.1 innings, striking out 70 while walking 26. The walk number is a bit high, but it is what you would expect from a 23 year-old rookie.

There is no reason not to be extremely optimistic for Matt Harvey this season. He has everything going for him. He’s dominated every level of the minor leagues, and put up fantastic numbers at a very young age in the majors last year. The only negative for him will be the pressure that will come from being the ace of the pitching staff, but with the pressure that he has already faced as the top Mets prospect for two years, I don’t think that will become a problem.

What I love the most about Harvey is his work ethic. He always wants the best, and doesn’t ever want to settle for anything less than dominance. You have to love that in a rookie. Harvey is also an extremely hard worker, and is willing to make adjustments. That’s why I think he will see major success this year. He won’t see much of a “sophomore slump” like other pitchers tend to do. Even if the Mets aren’t in the playoff hunt, Harvey and the other top prospects will make this season worth watching.

2013 Projection:

3.45 ERA, 195 IP, 9.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 4.0 WAR

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2013 Mets Projections: David Wright, 3B Mon, 11 Feb 2013 17:45:54 +0000 A year ago, all the talk surrounding David Wright involved his long-term future with the club. A few down years in a row made people start to wonder if we would ever see the David Wright of old (circa 2006) ever again. Would the Mets re-sign him? Would they sell low and flip him for prospects? Well, a year later, he not only had a bounce-back season, but also secured his long-term future in New York by signing an eight-year contract, the most expensive in Mets history.

Wright had a down year in 2011, and was plagued by a stress fracture in his back for almost the entire season. He had hurt himself in mid-April, and wasn’t really the same again, hitting .231 over the last two months of the season while showing little in the way of power. In all, he finished the year with career-low marks in batting average (.254) and OPS (.771) with just ten home runs and 61 RBI in 102 games. Fans weren’t too high on him as his expectations (and value) hit a career-low. A great season for David was in the best interest of both him and the club. If he had a good season, he could cash in with a big contract, and the Mets would have the option to trade him and get a respectable package in return if they so desired.

Wright started off the season hot, hitting .394 with a 1.064 OPS over the first month of the season. He continued to hit well, batting .347 in May and .340 in June, with MVP talk heating up. Could he stick with the Andrew McCutchens and Buster Poseys of the world and compete for the batting title? The answer was no. Wright’s production took a turn for the worse after the All-Star break.

Over the second half of the season, Wright was far less productive, hitting a shade under .260 with a .750 OPS. His strikeout rate shot up again and his walk rank dipped. He was almost reverting back to his 2009-2011 self. The power was still there, but he was striking out more often. We’ve seen time and time again that if his strikeout rate goes up, his production goes down.

Wright krate

You can see that in his best years, his strikeout rate has been well below 20%. The past few years, however, it’s been well above that mark.

As usual, before I make a projection, I want to put it in context by showing you two other respected projections. One, ZiPS, is a very conservative computer projection. It doesn’t take into account injuries or playing time, but it gives a rather pessimistic view most of the time. On the other side, we have the Bill James projection, which is much bolder. Here’s what they both project Wright doing this season:

ZiPS: .274/.357/.449, 19 HR, 85 RBI, 18 SB

James: .302/.392/.488, 21 HR, 94 RBI, 16 SB

I think we have some reason to believe that last year’s second half for Wright was just a slump, and something that he will get over. He showed last year that he is becoming more selective again and laying off the inside pitch. Check out this chart from Fangraphs, comparing Wright’s “down years” from 2009-2011 and two of his “good years” (2008, 2012):


His selectivity was what made him very successful from 2004-2008 and is still the key to him producing now. The fact that he was more selective last year is a very good sign, and has me optimistic for Wright this season. While I highly doubt he will produce like he did in April and May, he will, in my opinion, have another quality season in 2013.

2013 Projection:

.298/.399/.508, 22 HR, 15 SB 6.9 WAR

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2013 Mets Projections: Ruben Tejada, SS Wed, 06 Feb 2013 14:00:56 +0000 When the Marlins signed Jose Reyes in December of 2011, the Mets were forced to turn to a young, inexperienced shortstop in Ruben Tejada. Just 22 at the time, Tejada was given the enormous (and probably impossible) task of replacing Reyes. No one expected him to make up for the production lost, but the club certainly needed decent production out of the position.

In 2011, Tejada got a substantial amount of playing time for the second year in a row, and began to hit at the big league level for the first time. He had hit just .213 in 78 games as a 20 year-old with the Mets the year before, but improved drastically, batting .284 with a very solid .360 on-base percentage, the result of a solid 9.3% walk rate. Mets fans had high expectations for him going into camp in 2012.

I wouldn’t say Tejada completely met the high expectations some had for him, but he definitely improved and had a good season nonetheless. He batted .289 for the season, a few points better than his 2011 average. The overwhelming negative for Tejada, however, was his drop in walks. His walk rate was almost cut in half, dropping to just 5.4%. That had a negative effect on his on-base percentage, dropping from .360 to .333, and that’s with an uptick in batting average. His first half was significantly better than his second, hitting .325 before the All-Star break and just .269 after. Comparing his second half to other shortstops, that’s well above-average although it’s not quite where we’d like Tejada to be.

Despite a few negatives, I’m happy with Tejada’s overall performance last season. He played the field well, and hit well above-average for a shortstop. It’s hard to project Tejada as a future batting champ, but he will definitely hover in the .280 to .290 range for quite a few years. That may not seem extremely valuable when considering his lack of power, but in a league where the total batting average for MLB shortstops is .256, it is. Speaking of the power, I really believe it’s going to start increasing for Tejada, as he is getting older. He will never be a home run guy (he’ll probably never hit more than five in a year) but the ability to get extra-base hits will continue to develop as it did last year. When will separate Tejada from the average seven or eight hitter is his ability to hit gap-to-gap. That will allow him to become a useful player in the second spot.

Before we move to my projection, let’s look at the two others that we’ve been using throughout our series, Bill James and ZiPS. Here’s what they are projecting for Tejada:

James: .277/.338/.347, 2 HR

ZiPS: .272/.328/.341, 2 HR, 2.2 WAR

I actually disagree with both of these projections. Looking at Tejada’s batting average on balls in play, and a few other factors, Tejada actually got a little bit unlucky last year. His BABIP, or projected batting average on balls in play was a staggering .369. The stats from throughout his career and his style of hitting had him projected to have a higher BABIP. However, this year, his BABIP was 30 points lower at .339. Don’t take those numbers too seriously of course, because projecting BABIP is still (and never will be) an exact science, but when the gap is so great like that, it’s certainly something to keep in mind when making a projection.

When watching Tejada play, I see a future above-average shortstop, especially with the bat. His etra-base hit power, which began to develop last year, will improve again this year. If he’s able to take a more balanced approach at the plate, he will draw more walks and thus help the rest of his game. Last season, he was being more aggressive at the plate, swinging at outside pitches more often and driving down his walk rate. That needs to be a top priority (along with the gap-to-gap power) going into camp this year. If he takes the approach he took two years ago, which I believe Dave Hudgens will push him to do, Tejada will have an excellent season.

2013 Projection:

.286/.352/.370, 1 HR, 46 RBI, 2.1 WAR

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2013 Mets Projections: Daniel Murphy, 2B Tue, 05 Feb 2013 14:15:03 +0000 Daniel Murphy went into camp last year with very high expectations. After hitting .320 in 109 games in 2011, some people expected Murphy to become a perennial .300 hitter. In 2011, it appeared as though Murphy was living up to his potential, but a year later, Murphy’s future is much less certain.

Murphy started off the year at a slower pace than he did 2011, but still put up solid numbers. In April, he hit .298, and had a .301 batting average at the end of May. That’s when thing started to go downhill. June was a rough month as Murphy’s already-low walk rate plummeted even more, reaching base only twice in the entire month via walk. He broke out the power stroke for the first time all season, hitting three home runs in the month, but it was an otherwise unproductive time for the second baseman, batting .240.

As the calendar turned to July, Murphy’s bat heated up once again, bating .360 and hitting 13 extra-base hits, more than in any other month. However, we once again saw Murphy’s bat struggle, batting .225 in August before rebounding and hitting .317 for September and October. He finished the year with a .291 batting average, .332 OBP, and .403 slugging percentage.

At second base, Murphy wasn’t great, but made progress as the season went along. At first, in early April, he not only looked uncomfortable at the position (which is to be expected of someone in his situation), but was also making bad mental mistakes and messing up some of the easy ways. That’s the way he’s always been, and we are going to have to live with it. However, he made significant improvement at the position and by the end of the season, was bearable. If given another year or two, he could definitely become an average fielder.

As for this season, it’s hard to tell exactly how Murphy will play. When I projected Ike Davis yesterday, there were a few reasons for his early-season swoon, and I was able to say confidently that he would not repeat that this season. Murphy’s inconsistencies, however, I am more unsure about. Before making a projection for myself, let’s look at some of the other respected projections out there. The ZiPS projection has Murphy hitting six home runs with a .282 batting average and .325 on-base percentage. ZiPS is almost always very conservative in its projections, so take those numbers with a grain of salt. Bill James‘ projections, always much less conservative, have him batting .303 with nine home runs and a .352 on-base percentage. As I did with Davis, I’m siding more towards the Bill James side. I’ve seen too much promise from Murphy over the past few years to believe that he’s going to deteriorate. I believe he’s going to hit .300 again.

2013 Projection

.305/.345/.425, 7 HR, 67 RBI, 2.5 WAR

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2013 Mets Projections: Ike Davis, 1B Tue, 05 Feb 2013 05:07:21 +0000 ike davisIke Davis‘ 2012 season can be summed up in just one word: inconsistent. Fans had high hopes for Davis, who many thought could rise to stardom last year. Two months in, however, people started to question whether Davis should even be on the team, as his batting average struggled to even approach .200.

Later in the season, Davis picked up the production, and his batting average gradually rose above .200. And with the hits, came the home runs. In April and May, Davis combined for just five home runs. The rest of the way, he hit 27, including nine in the month of July.

Davis was inconsistent, but overall much better after June 1, as shown by his numbers.

Davis chart

You can clearly see a huge difference between the Ike Davis of April and May and the Davis of the last four months of the year. He looked like a minor league player, and then all of a sudden, one of the best power hitters in the National League. His ISO (which measures a player’s raw power) of .283 from June 1 on would have been third in all of baseball had he kept that up for an entire season.

Obviously, the number one question about this huge swing that Davis went through was why. The first few months, Davis was swinging at way too many pitches, becoming too predictable and striking out at an alarmingly-high rate. He couldn’t touch (or lay off) an outside breaking ball. In June, July, and onward, he became more patient, bringing his strikeout rate to a tolerable level and raising his walk rate to a well above-average level. The other contributing factor was probably the Valley Fever that Davis came down with last offseason. He said early on that he wasn’t feeling symptoms, but fatigue from Valley Fever may have been a factor in his slow start.

Before I make my projection, let’s take a look at some of the other projections that have been made for Davis so far. ZiPS (a very conservative computer projection system) has him posting a .245/.328/.453 slash line with 21 home runs and a .208 ISO. One thing to remember, however, is that ZiPS does not take into account injuries (or sickness).

The projections made by Bill James were much different than ZiPS. James predicts that Davis will have a very good season, knocking 31 homers with a slash line of .266/.354/.511 and .245 ISO. Clearly James likes what he saw during the second half of the 2012 season.

Like James, I’m very optimistic about Davis in 2013. Now that the Valley Fever situation has passed, he should have a much better season this year. Hopefully, he learned from his mistakes last year (clearly he did based on his last four months) and will not repeat them this season. The key for Davis will be his patience. If that is there, everything else will fall into place.

2013 Projection:

.260/.345/.500, 33 HR, 90 RBI, 3.7 WAR

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