So, to lead things off, why not start with my expectations for the New York Mets’ 2013 season. To straighten things out right from the start, no, I’m no dreamer who believes the Mets are destined to upset the baseball world by going deep into October. But I like what I see and with baseball being a day-to-day business who knows what we are in for in 2013. I mean, did anyone really expect a no-hitter when the 2012 season started?
Okay, we all agree the Mets won’t be anywhere close to contending, right? So, what’s there to look forward to? Well, for me it’s how players develop. Let’s take Lucas Duda, for example. Considered a big bust last season for his failure to deliver the desperately needed punch in the lineup. When he comes to spring this year people are all over him for injuring his wrist while moving a couch at home. He starts by repeatedly striking out and the whole world is writing him off. No good. Can’t help the team. Not made for the majors. Too many holes. And what does he do? He delivers. Comes back. Hits. Even with power. Which is something I like. I like how players rebound. How the game gives them the chance to redeem themselves. Is Lucas Duda a championship caliber player? No, at the moment he’s not. Does he have the potential to become a championship caliber player? That I don’t know. I’m no scout or stathead. But I like the fact that he adjusts and keeps a low profile. And he plays. Hard. Trying. And that is something I expect the team to do over the coming season.
They don’t play great defense (apart from Wright and Davis), especially not in the outfield. But they play hard. The look like they will run for every ball and at least give it a shot insted of just letting it pass. Which is something I really like seeing in any sport. Sure, there are gifted players to whom everything comes easily. Naturally. But some athletes have to work hard to keep up their game. And the Mets have a lot of those players. And if they play hard and work hard, they might be in for a few surprises. Does this mean they’ll be in contention in September? No, I don’t think so. But at least they will make it hard for those teams who still are. At least that’s what I’m hoping fort.
What’s there to look forward to? Definitely the pitching. Matt Harvey should be fun to watch. I also like Dillon Gee’s approach. Jonathon Niese should win quite a few games. Yes, there’s holes, deep holes, behind those three, especially with Johan Santana going down, but, here’s another thing I like. Pitchers called up from the minors might deliver a gem on any given night (or day, for that matter). And I think the Mets might have one or to of those guys. And I’m not talking about Zack Wheeler, that would have been too obvious. But speaking of Wheeler, the prospects who might arrive in Flushing over the course of the season look like they are worth waiting for. I still haven’t seen Wheeler in a game, but Travis d’Arnaud looked just as promised. And that’s what should make it a fun season.
Then consider lunatics like Justin Turner or Jorday Valdespin and you have a pretty nice picture. Perhaps my outlook is too positive just because the team doesn’t have to fear relegation like teams in other sports in Europe. Maybe it’s because we all know the Astros will be even worse. But I’m really looking forward to 2013. And, hey, if you want a goal that I ant the Mets to reach, then it’s finishing fourth ahead of the Marlins. And that should be realistic.