Offense: Mike Baxter-RF, Ruben Tejada-SS, David Wright-3B, Daniel Murphy-2B, Lucas Duda-LF, John Buck-C, Ike Davis-1B, Jordany Valdespin-CF. Bench: Anthony Recker-C, Justin Turner-UTIL, Marlon Byrd-OF, Andrew Brown-OF/1B, Juan Lagares-OF.
I'd like to thank the Mets for having an off day on Monday, allowing me to write this preview in advance and have the numbers not be slightly off. Mike Baxter once walked five times in a normal nine inning game. That is the only interesting fact about Mike Baxter on his Wikipedia page, which says a lot about Mike Baxter. He hasn't really been given much of a chance to play in the majors, making his AAAA resume seem a bit unfair. He has a little power and a little speed, but doesn't seem to do anything well enough to make an impact or any lasting memories. Contrary to popular belief, Ruben Tejada was not named after the sandwich and that is the worst joke I've ever made and I am so very sorry for it. Still not going to delete it though. He is however the man given the unenviable task of replacing Jose Reyes over the past two seasons. It's not that he's bad, it's just that he's not particularly good or interesting. He plays decent defense and has a below-average bat, putting his ceiling around the 2 WAR limit.
As a reward for re-upping with the team for another seven seasons, the Mets named David Wright the fourth captain in team history. His punishment however is having to play for the Mets for another seven years. I will be 32-years-old when David Wright is finally out of Queens, where he will have been for half of my life at that point. Wright is a year or two away from having just about every hitting record in franchise history. He's on pace for a 20-20 season and another All-Star berth, but it has to bother him somewhat that he's going to have to waste his peak years not playing in the postseason. Daniel Murphy is one of the other hitters in this lineup whose name you actually recognize, but you have no idea why. Murphy is a league average hitter who can only play good defense at first base, where you kind of need to be more than a league average hitter. Such is the fate of the Daniel Murphy's of the world. He's an averagish player in a lineup more or less full of them. And he's batting fourth.
Lucas Duda should in theory be a decent and respectable power hitter, but unlike gravity this theory doesn't seem to be always true. The power shows up in flashes, as it's done so far this season (.274 ISO). He also draws enough walks that he should always be safely league average at worst in OBP. But last season he somehow managed a .239 batting average despite a .301 BABIP, which just feels impossible and wrong. He's terrible in left field. This can't be right. John Buck currently leads the National League in RBI? And he's hit ten homeruns already? What the hell is this nonsense? This is a guy who hit 12 all of last season. Sure that was only 106 games, but still. Normally he's league average at throwing out runners, but he's been mowing them down so far and I'm sorry but I don't want to live in a world where John Buck has somehow become a really good hitter. I'm just going to hang back here until he starts coming back to earth and things make sense again. You can go on without me.
I said go away.
Fine, I'll keep going. Ike Davis has what is probably the most powerful bat in the lineup. So why is he hitting 7th? Because he can't make contact. He's striking out almost one third of the times he steps up and hasn't shown the power that saved his season from being a complete waste last year. It's never good when 32 homeruns only result in a .331 wOBA, but that's exactly what happened. If he can adjust and get back to what was working so well for him in the past, he'll be pretty good. If not, he'll keep batting 7th for this Mets team. Jordany Valdespin's ability to play baseball is nowhere on par with how delightful his name happens to be. Things he has going for him: cool name, decent power for a center fielder, good speed. Things working against him: everything else.
Pitching: Jon Niese-LHP, Matt Harvey-RHP, Jeremy Hefner-RHP, Dillon Gee-RHP, Shaun Marcum-RHP, Bobby Parnell-CL.
So it being a time crunch for me and all, I'm only going to cover Harvey, Hefner, and Parnell. When the Mets come to Chicago, I'll write something up on the pitchers we face then (fingers crossed that it's somehow those two again). Yes, I am painfully lazy. But I only have eleven days left in the semester and am so damn burned out. The Angels preview later this week will be better.
So, Matt Harvey is a pretty good young pitcher. I mean, he was drafted six picks before Chris Sale and all. He can't keep up his current pace because no one can keep that pace up. That being said, the drop off probably won't be enough to stop him from joining David Wright at the All-Star Game. His fastball sits comfortably in the mid-90s with the ability to go even faster and he mixes it up with a good slider, a curveball, and a changeup. Jeremy Hefner is a soft-tossing righty, which never bodes well for one's career. He gets a good amount of groundballs, which he needs as he doesn't get many strikeouts. His fastball sits in the low-90s and he mixes it up with a cutter, a curveball, and a changeup. Bobby Parnell is now the closer due to injuries, though he probably should have been closing all along. He's a good reliever who has learned how to stop walking so many damn hitters. He throws two pitches: a mid-to-upper-90s fastball and a curveball.
Outlook: It's a battle of two not very good but not completely terrible teams full of names that fans of the other team look at and think "Huh?". So 2-2 sounds about right.