Can this team finally erase the demons of the past two years and make the playoffs?
I believe so. They fixed their one big overall problem…their ‘pen. When your bullpen blows 29 of 72 leads, there is a good chance your not making the playoffs! The Mets have fixed this with Putz and K-Rod. I believe this team is as good offensively as the Phils if not better. The Mets beat the Phils 10 out of 17 times they faced each other last year. Thats not just good luck folks. Their ‘pen blew several others against them. This is the NL East Division champ folks.
What kind of impact will we see out of the revamped bullpen?
Shall we start by holding leads for a change! Putz and K-Rod aren’t gonna be perfect through the season but they certainly are gonna be better than Sho and Wagner/Ayala in the 8th and 9th inning.
What do you expect from Jerry Manuel in his first full year as manager?
I like a lot about Jerry Manuel. First off, he’s very relaxed all the time. He knows his team is good and him radiating confidence during his press conferences and his throughout his general demeanor make you a little less worried that General Willie. I think he will lead this team to the division crown.
Will the Mets regret not upgrading in the outfield corners?
Well they did upgrade with the Sheffield acquisition the weekend before the season started. This should push Church and Murphy to play better knowing that a Hall of Famer is knocking on their outfield starter’s position door (more so Church).
Will the lack of depth for the fifth starter job become a problem?
I am ok with Livan Hernanedez in this spot. We all know he is an innings eater and when healthy can give you 200+ innings. He will have an ERA around 5 all season so don’t expect him to be pretty out there, but with this offense, he should be able to keep the Mets in games. I wasn’t against re-signing Pedro for an incentive laden contract, but apparently he didn’t want that. I guess the $52 million he took for the 1.5 years worth of work he did for his 4 year contract was ok for him.
What do you think about the Mets bench?
The Mets bench is a little shaky. Marlon Anderson is not effective anymore nor is Alex Cora. Fernando Tatis had a surprisingly good season last year so there is hope for him. Adding Sheffield was a big help whether he is effective or not. He can still hit and will strike fear in pitchers on his reputation alone.
Will the following Mets repeat, exceed, or regress in 2009?
I see Reyes having another good season. I think it is fair to say he can bat .300, hit 15 HR’s, drive in 75 RBI’s and steal more than 56 bases this year. I expect Reyes to steal close to 80 this year and help catapult this team to early 1st inning runs.
With all the talk about Castillo losing weight, he clearly should be healthier and more productive. The days of him batting .300 are over but he should serve as a decent 2nd basement and a respectable 8th hitter.
I kinda agree with Joe here that I feel Wright might not be as productive as seasons past. I think his HR’s will be down (mainly due to Citi Field) and expect 25 from him and drive in around 100 RBI’s. He will bat around .300 but will give his usual hot and cold streaks. Let’s hope he hits better with RISP than he did last season.
Delgado is back! After an awesome second-half of last season and an very good WBC and spring training this year, Delgado will come out swinging. He looks more confident up there than last year and doesn’t seem as anxious to swing at so many bad pitches. I think he will serve as a good cleanup hitter and give his usual .270 avg and hit about 32 HR’s and have 110 RBI’s.
I think this is the year Beltran hits .300! He will drive in a ton of runs mostly with singles and doubles. I don’t think he will hit as many HR’s as last season (I believe he hit 27). This core of the lineup will score a ton of runs just like last season.
Church should play more than last season mostly because he is not plagued this season with concussions. I do expect him to serve as a decent 6th batter in the lineup and provide good defense with a cannon arm.
This guy is the big question mark for me. We all know the Mets organization is very high on him. My goodness, he’s guaranteed his left field job and sandwiched between Reyes and Wright. I hope all this confidence in him pays off. If he is as good as they hope he is, expect him to hit close to .300 and have about 170 hits.
Do we even care about this position? We all know Schneider is there purely for his glove and arm. He’s not Russ Martin or Joe Mauer though with his bat so don’t expect much production.
Our ace of the squad had an awesome season last year and his bullpen blew 7 leads for him. He should have won the Cy Young Award if the pen would’ve held on to half of those. Its not out of reach for this guy to get 20 wins, strike out 200+, and have a sub 3 ERA. Here’s your NL Cy Young Winner folks!
I think the 2-4 starters are all shaky and will start off poorly. I expect Maine to finally get it going in June when he gets more comfortable with his mechanics. He wasn’t pretty duiring the Spring. 12 wins would be more than fair to expect.
After Ollie signed his new contract with the Mets, he looked mostly terrible in the spring and blamed it on the WBC for him being behind his schedule. I am concerned about his velocity being down but just hope its the fact that he hasn’t thrown all that much. Ollie is too good of a pitcher to stay bad for too long. If he is starting a game, make sure to pack some Rolaids. His usual 180 K’s and 14 wins would be pretty acceptable for Met fans. He will surely have his fair share of 2 inning starts where he walks the ballpark!
Pelf looked pretty darn good towards the 2nd half of last season. The Mets are hoping he is not a slow starter and think fairly high of him to be the 2nd starter in the rotation. I would like to see Big Pelf throw another 200 innings and strike out more than the measly 110 he did last season. He really needs to add another pitch to his arsenal and he’s not really that groundball pitcher we expected.
7th inning lefty specialist. Well he’s the only left in the pen right now so lets hope he can do this right. I have always liked Feliciano even in big games. He would’ve been one of the relievers I would’ve kept from last season so I am pleased the Mets did just that.
THE REST OF BASEBALL:
Home Run Leaders
AL- Josh Hamilton (40)
NL- Ryan Howard (46)
AL- Magglio Ordonez (.340)
NL- Albert Pujols (.347)
Stolen Base Leaders
AL- Carl Crawford (48)
NL- Jose Reyes (78)
Teams That Will Surprise
NL- San Francisco Giants. (Even with a putrid offense those starters will help them win games) 80-82
AL- Oakland A’s (Adding Giambi and Matt Holiday) will boslter their offense. Maybe even Nomar can stay healthy! 80-82
Teams That Will Disappoint
AL- Tampa Bay Rays (after an awesome eye-opening AL pennant winning last season, I don’t even think this ballclub will make the playoffs. Boston and NYY are just too strong with both of those teams grabbing the division and Wild Card. They basically have the same team as last season and even added Burrell, but the Sox and Yanks will beat them out head to head. 87 Wins.
NL- Milwaukee Brewers. Brewers fan can be joyous for their one season of making the playoffs in the last 25 or so years. That was it. Losing Sabathia and Sheets will do just that
AL- Josh Hamilton .333 40 130
NL- Albert Pujols (again) .347 42 129 (plus he’s healthy this season which is scary)
Cy Young Award
AL- CC Sabathia
NL- Johan Santana
Rookie of the Year
AL- Matt Wieters (Baltimore Orioles). The Rays teased us last season with keeping Longoria off the major league roster for the 1st month of the season. Then he proceeded to tear it up as soon as he came up plus not to mention he has an awesome glove. The O’s are doing the same thing with Wieters. Greg Zaun won’t be around very long.
NL- Cameron Maybin (Florida Marlins). This guy’s a 5-tool talent. Plus no one else really is that good.
Playoffs (LDS, LCS, and World Series predictions)
Boston over White Sox
Yankees over Angels
Mets over Dodgers
Cubs over Phillies
Yankees over Boston
Cubs over Mets
CUBS over Yankees in 6
(Note from Cox: I am happy to announce that TJV101 will now be writing for BlueAndOrange.net, effective immediately. You may be familiar with TJV101 from the comments section, but I feel he can be a very positive contributor to the website and we are all happy to have him on board!)