The moving trucks are leaving Florida. The hopes of a last second deal have faded. In just a matter of days, our beloved Mets, with a near certain 25 man-roster, will take the field in Queens and the 2014 MLB season will commence.
So the question becomes, is this team as we know it, improved from the 2013 version?
The pitching staff, if healthy, could be. The rotation has more stability at the back-end than 2013, and there are multiple reinforcements in Las Vegas that are expected to see major league action by mid-season. While middle of the pack last year, Mets starting pitching could crack the Top 5 this year (and be dominant next year).
The bullpen was another area of concern, with an ERA ranking 12th and FIP ranking 13th. It looks like we could see some improvement here, but the pen still seems to be laden with some question marks.
The biggest issue for this team last year, though, was hitting. The Mets ranked in the bottom third of the league in many key statistical areas including:
– AVG (14th)
– OBP (12th)
– SLG (14th)
– Runs (11th)
– K% (14th)
Ironically, one offensive area where the Mets ranked high amongst NL leaders was stolen bases (3rd). However, with such a poor ability to hit for average, that didn’t necessarily manifest into an abundance of runs, or more importantly, wins.
So, did the front office address any of these concerns with the team expected to take the field on Monday afternoon?
If Curtis Granderson can stay healthy, the team’s slugging percentage could be one area where the team shows a significant increase, especially if David Wright can duplicate what he did last season and stay on the field for 150 or more games. A solid rookie season from Travis d’Arnaud will help too.
However, unless we see a major rebound from Ruben Tejada and whoever mans first base, I find it difficult to believe that we’ll see much improvement in either AVG or OBP.
Ike Davis and Lucas Duda ranked 9th and 10th respectively in highest strikeout rate (minimum 300 PA). I suppose there will be few instances where each will be in the same lineup this season. But with both still on the Opening Day roster, the jury is out on how much the overall team strikeouts will diminish (Mets and Braves led the NL with 1,384).
What do you think? Have we improved enough offensively? And where can we expect to see the greatest improvement with the 2014 Mets?