Leading up to the start of the 2009 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the New York Mets. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
They are the New York Mets, and they should be the class of the National League. They’ve made a habit of choking away playoff berths with heavily loaded rosters the past couple seasons, but they won’t be in a position to blow it in the last week this year. This team is as good of a bet to represent the NL in the World Series as anyone, in our highly respected opinion. When they come to your town, they’re the team that everyone is interested in seeing play.
They have the thunder in the lineup so that your lead is never safe, and once they have a lead the game is over by the 7th or 8th inning due to additions they’ve made in the bullpen. Lets talk about the bullpen. They added perhaps the finest closer in the game to replace Billy meltdown Wagner in Francisco Rodriguez. They added another former closer and nasty man in JJ Putz. They’ve said goodbye to Duaner Sanchez, but they still have Pedro Feliciano (tough lefty), Shawn Green, Carlos Muniz, and Freddy Garcia. Garcia may eventually be in the rotation if an injury or ineffective starter rares their ugly head.
There is a ton to like about the rotation. The ace is unquestionably Johan Santana. Vegas likes his chances to be a Cy Young winner. So do we now that he’s had a year to learn NL hitter tendencies. John Maine reminds us of a replacement player a little bit doesn’t he? Rick Reed with a little bit more of an arm? He’ll be the #2 and he’s a tough gamer. Oliver Perez has been retained as the #3 starter and he is a candidate to really breakout as well as Mike Pelfrey the #4 starter. It’s now or never for Pelfrey, or what you see is what you get. We think he’s going to throw really well this season. The #5 starter is lefty Tim Redding.
Then comes the thunderous lineup. No one knows how new Citi Field will play or how the ball will fly there, but we feel it will be slightly easier on hitters then old Shea was.
Rumor has it that Jerry Manuel is planning on hitting Luis Castillo leadoff so Jose Reyes can hit 3rd. Good move. Also rumored is that Castillo lost a bunch of weight and is back in the shape that he was when he had a 35 game hitting streak for the Marlins and was one of the most exciting players in the game. The middle of the order will be the home of David Wright, Carlos Delgado, and Carlos Beltran. If they can stay healthy they’ll do what they’re paid at a premium for and that is putting up really spectacular offensive numbers. Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church are the corner outfielders. Brian Schneider is a decent hitting catcher.
If their division wasn’t so tough, they have that makeup of a 100 win team. Instead, they’ll win around 93-95. From there its up to Jerry Manuel and the starpower. Mr. Met will be smiling a lot in 2009.