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How The Mets Could Make a World Series Run

by Jason Radowitz | Posted on Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Yes, you read the title correctly.

The Mets can make a World Series run this year. Many things will need to go their way, such as good play from their shortstop, first baseman, and their entire pitching staff.

I’m a Ruben Tejada believer. But he has shown me nothing this year at shortstop that could help my case as to why Tejada should be the opening day shortstop. Tejada has two hits in 18 at bats on the year (.111 avg) with just one walk (as of March 16). At the beginning of the year it was thought that maybe he could get back into his lead-off role when Eric Young Jr. was on the bench for the night. What’s even worse about Tejada is that his fielding percentage during Spring has dipped below 90 percent, falling to just 88.5 percent, accumulating three errors in just seven games. Clearly, Tejada is not the answer if the Mets want their World Series run.

But if the right choices are made, production will come out of shortstop.

Wilmer Flores is probably the best and most intriguing option the Mets have. Flores has been in the Mets farm system ever since 2007. Lately, he’s been getting some looks at shortstop as the Mets desperately look for different options to fill the void left by Tejada. While Flores hasn’t put up eye-popping numbers with his bat (.182 avg) either, we’ve seen throughout all these years that he is capable of producing when he’s in the lineup. Flores has more pop and a raw bat that could hit in clutch situations. In the field, manager Terry Collins said he was pleased with how Flores played shortstop when given the chance. The Mets have not ruled the Wilmer Flores playing shortstop scenario just year. But if the Mets want a world series run, Wilmer Flores should be standing between second and third base on opening day, barring any trades for Seattle’s Nick Franklin or Arizona’s Chris Owings or Didi Gregorius.

Note: A deal for free agent shortstop Stephen Drew is very unlikely at this point.

At first base, the Mets have a similar situation with three more than capable first baseman’s on the roster that just can’t produce consistently enough. Well, if they want a World Series run, one of the three need to produce in the middle of the order.

Ike Davis is the leading candidate to win the job. But with a bruised calve and a walking boot, Ike Davis’ chance of playing first base have slimmed down every day. Lucky for him, one of his competitors, Lucas Duda has also been sidelined with a strained hamstring as well.

Ike Davis has been disappointing lately, trying to find his swing that was lost after his 2012, 32 homer season. Davis hit just nine home runs in 103 games. During the season, Davis was sent down to AAA Las Vegas in the middle of the season as he tried to find his swing. He didn’t.

Lucas Duda had the same brutal season playing just 100 games on the season with an average of .223. For a player with such raw power, Lucas only hit 15 homeruns on the season, while also recovering from injury. It seemed like when Duda was given the chance to start at first base, he played better. But not well enough to win the job at first.

The last option the Mets have at first base, Josh Satin, became a fan favorite, hitting the ball way more consistently compared to Davis and Duda. At times Satin would be itching for playing time from Terry Collins, although Satin looked very good at the plate. After 60 games in Triple A Las Vegas, Josh Satin was called up as the Mets were in need of a legitimate corner infielder. Satin started his above average hitting while pinch hitting late in games, turning Terry Collins’ head. Satin presumably became the Mets first baseman in last year’s second half with no one else producing at first other than Satin.

There’s still a problem with Satin at first base. Critics prove that he doesn’t put up first base power numbers, like Davis and Duda are capable of. But in the end, who ever can produce the most with their bat will likely become the opening day first baseman. A World Series run needs one of their first baseman’s to produce and reach their potential. The Mets hope Ike Davis is that guy.

As for the starting rotation, with Harvey most likely out for the entire 2014 season, many people believe the Mets pitching staff won’t nearly be as good as last year’s corp. Truth be told, if everything falls into place, their pitching staff should be just as good if not better than last year.

Two of the starters, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee had career years last season. Gee had 12 wins with an ERA of 3.62 in 32 games and Jon Niese was right behind him with an ERA of 3.71 with eight wins on the season in 24 appearances. It’s a large goal to hit 200 innings of work and Dillon Gee was just one inning shy of that last year, going 199 innings strong. Jon Niese hasn’t stayed healthy in the recent years, however, if the Mets want to make a run in the playoffs, Niese will need to stay healthy and Gee will need to pitch just as well as he did last year. It’s forgotten how well Gee pitched last season.

The Mets went out and got a big signing for the pitching staff in long time veteran Bartolo Colon, who seems like he will never retire. Colon finished last year with the Oakland Athletics with a record of 18-6 with an ERA of 2.65 in 190 innings. Colon was acquired to fill the void and replace emerging all-star Matt Harvey for the year. If Colon pitches anywhere near that this year, the Mets could easily become contenders.

However, if the Mets want to contend and win 90 games this year to win the NL East division, Zack Wheeler will need to step up and become the ace of the team. It’s very possible that Zack Wheeler could become the new Matt Harvey this season, absolutely embarrassing batters at the plate. Wheeler had a great second half last year, appearing in seven games, finishing with an ERA of just 3.42. His performance wasn’t talked about much because of Harvey’s nonsensical 2013. Shades of stardom were seen while Wheeler was on the mound last year. Now he needs to reach the stardom this year. All fingers point to the sky with Wheeler.

As for the final rotation spot, the Mets have three different options. Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lannan, and Jenrry Mejia. Matsuzaka pitched very well in his final four starts last season, Lannan only appeared in six games in 2103 (but won four of them), and Mejia looked absolutely filthy when he pitched, but had to be shut down later in the season. It’s clear Mejia has ace material. Dice-K could also give you ace material, as he was highly touted just five years ago. One of those guys will need to step up and eat many innings while also pitching quality starts. It’s believed one of them will be able to give that. If an injury takes place, there will always be a couple backups that could come in for a spot start and also give a quality start.

If the starting rotation has five guys that can give consistent quality starts, there’s no reason to believe the Mets can’t make a World Series run.

That’s not enough to make a World Series run? How about when Noah Syndergaard gets promoted to the Mets a little bit after the second half begins? Rafael Montero could be up there as well. Both of those pitchers have been talked about highly. We now know why they’ve been talked about after watching these two studs pitch during Spring Training. Montero barely walks batters while Syndergaard barely allows batters to hit the ball.

Also, it’s a long shot, but Matt Harvey believes he will be back in August as well. If healthy, all these stellar arms capable of throwing quality starts could really help the Mets make a run at the World Series.

It’s clear, everything needs to go as planned. Daniel Murphy and David Wright need to continue their hot hitting. Curtis Granderson and Chris Young need to prove that their signings were worth it. Travis d’Arnaud’s batting needs to show a huge improvement from last year. Lastly, the bullpen needs to crack down and get the job done for these starting pitchers.

I can’t watch starting pitchers throw eight scoreless innings and get a no decision anymore. I can’t watch starting pitchers throw seven innings of one run ball and receive a loss.

But I think this year, we won’t see that. We’ll see more hitting and more runs. We’ll see dazzling pitching equivalent to last year’s performance. And when everything falls in place, the Mets will be contending for MLB’s most prized trophy.

The Commissioner’s Trophy could come back to New York. No not the Yankees. But that forgotten team in Queens. The Mets.

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