Credit- Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

New York Mets 2014 Season Preview


Recap of 2013

Record: 74-88, 3rd in NL East

A putrid offense was the main culprit for the Mets’ mediocre 2013 season.  They finished 14th in the league in team batting average (.237), 11th in runs scored (608)  and only hit 130 homers as a club.  The pitching was the bright spot especially the starting rotation.  However, they lost Matt Harvey in August to Tommy John surgery.  The Mets have been consistently unimpressive in the last five seasons (70, 79, 77, 74, 74 wins respectively) and while the Braves and Nationals have gotten better the Mets seem to be in neutral.

Key Additions

OF Curtis Granderson, RHP Bartolo Colon, OF Chris Young

Key Departures

LHP Johan Santana, RHP David Aardsma, SS Omar Quintanilla, 3B Justin Turner

Payroll

Cot’s currently has the Mets payroll at nearly $75.5 million. With the exception of David Wright ($20 million) and newcomer Curtis Granderson ($13 million), New York is in good shape financially.  Matt Harvey is not arbitration eligible till 2015 and Bartolo Colon, signed in December, is owed a reasonable $9 million in 2014.  The Mets are aiming to be big spenders in the near future when their team is ready to win, but for now they’re perfectly happy where they’re at in the money department.

Player to Watch

Zack Wheeler has the uneviable task of holding down the rotation until Harvey returns next season.  The addition of Colon gives the Mets a legitimate ace, but its the younger arms, especially Wheeler who are most important.  Wheeler had an impressive first-year campaign in 2013 and while there will still be growing pains in the future, he proved he belongs in the bigs.  In ’13 Wheeler finished with a 7-5 record and 3.42 ERA in 17 starts.  If he can coral his wildness (46 BB in 100 IP), the young righty should have another solid year for the Mets.  Mets fan should look forward to a Harvey-Wheeler one-two punch in the near future.

Must Improve Upon 2013

To be fair, Curtis Granderson only played in 61 games last season because of injuries, but with his new team, there should be some urgency for him to play at a level that merits his pay.  Granted, $13 million is not ridiculous for a player of Granderson’s talent.  Furthermore, the 32-year old had been durable his entire career and had put up impressive numbers.  While he was an electric player for Detroit early in his career, it was during his time with the Yankees where he discovered his power stroke.  In 2011 and ’12, he smashed 41 and 43 homers respectively and knocked in over 100 runs in both seasons.

All that being said, Granderson needs to play a full season and put up great numbers at the same time.  The Mets have struggled offensively in recent years and the addition of Granderson could go a long way in remedying that weakness.

Regression Candidate

Bartolo Colon had an unbelievable year in 2013 at the age of forty.  Pitching for the Oakland Athletics, Colon finished with 18-6 record, a 2.65 ERA, a 1.166 WHIP, and finished fifth in Cy Young Award voting.  Believe it or not Colon only needs eleven wins to reach 200 for his career and chances are if he stays healthy this season, he’ll get there.  However, the magic number in this equation is forty, his age.  Sooner or later Father Time has a way of tapping guys on the shoulder and saying, “Hey, it’s been fun, but enough is enough.”

Colon has a lot of innings on his arm and it’s possible the ramifications of his season last year will show their ugly face early in 2014.  Pitching at Citi Field should help him as it’s a pitchers park, but don’t expect 18 wins and a sub-3.00 ERA from the veteran.

X-Factor

David Wright is, and will continue to be, the face of the New York Mets.  He’s still the best player on the team and how he goes, so goes the offense.  Admittedly, he had a pretty good season in 2013 (.307 average, 18 homers) and the Mets lineup was horrific.  However, the lineup has a whole has been upgraded and Wright should have more protection.  Since the Mets moved the fences at Citi Field in since the 2011 season (when Wright hit 14 homers), his power numbers have returned to normal levels.  A year similar to his ’07 and ’08 season would mean a world of difference to the Mets hopes of making a push for the playoffs.

Biggest Question for 2014

Will the offense perform at a level that will complement the solid pitching?  Pitching is an important aspect of baseball, but offense is making a comeback.  That’s because pitching has been so dominate in recent years and finding good bats has become harder and harder.  It doesn’t matter how good the Mets pitching is, if they don’t hit they will be facing another third place finish in the division.

Prediction:

80-82 (Third in NL East)

Tags: 2014 Season Preview New York Mets