2006 Team Preview: The New York Mets
by Asher B. Chancey, Baseball Evolution
February 26, 2006

2005 Record: 83-79 (3rd Place NL East)

2005 Runs Scored: 722

2005 Runs Allowed: 648

Pythagorean 2005 Record: 89-73

Pedro Martinez performed admirably last season, rebounding from a less than par 2005 season. That makes Pedro unique in that it makes him a Mets off-season acquisition gone right. There haven't been too many of those in the last ten years for the Mets. This year, Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner take their turn at trying to pay off for the Mets. We'll see.


2005 Starters: Mike Piazza; Ramon Castro

Projected 2006 Starters: Paul Lo Duca, Ramon Castro

One can only be led to the conclusion that Paul Lo Duca's next team will be the Padres, as he has followed Mike Piazza from LA to Florida and now to New York. That Lo Duca is an upgrade over Piazza speaks more to Piazza's decline than it does to Lo Duca's abilities.

First Base

2005 Starter: Doug Mientkiewicz; Mike Jacobs

Projected 2006 Starters: Carlos Delgado; Julio Franco

Generally exciting that the Mets have Carlos Delgado. However, I am perfectly willing to take a stab as disparaging this pick up, so . . . Mike Jacobs ripped it up in AA ball last season, and then the 24 year old first baseman ripped it up in 30 games with the big club to the tune of a .310 AVG and a .710 SLG. The Mets could have had the most exciting young infield in the majors, but instead they trade him to the Marlins for Carlos Delgado, and then add Julio Franco. So they have a 34 year old joining his third team in three years, who had failed to play 145 games in three of the last four years, and a 47 year old. I don't think enough has been made about how fast the Mets gave up on Jacobs. Good deal, but I'm just saying . . .

Second Base

2005 Starters: Miguel Cairo; Kaz Matsui

Projected 2006 Starter: Kaz Matsui

Entering Year Three of the Kaz Matsui experiment. Has not gone well, and now he is 30 years old. If he can stay healthy . . .

Third Base

2005 Starters: David Wright

Projected 2006 Starters: David Wright

Insert "Mr Wright" cliche here. As a 22 year old, he played 160 games, went 306/388/523, and struck out only 41 more times than he walked (72/113), hit 42 doubles and 27 homers while driving in 102 and scoring 99, and had range factors which scorched the league average. Now entering the "is he for real" part of his career


2005 Starters: Jose Reyes

Projected 2006 Starter: Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes is incredibly exciting, but leaves some unanswered questions. He is the same age as David Wright, but with less polish. He can score runs, he can hit, and he can run. He had 190 hits, 17 triples, and 60 stolen bases last season. But he also struck out almost three times as many times as he walked (27/78) and his on-base percentage was ridiculous (.300), though an improvement over his 2004 numbers. At the top of the lineup, he simply must get on-base to the tune of about .350 to be effective. His defense is sufficient, but not outstanding. How much he has matured as a player could tell us alot about how well the Mets will do this year.


2005 Starters: Cliff Floyd, Carlos Beltran, Victor Diaz, Mike Cameron

Projected 2006 Starters: Carlos Beltran, Cliff Floyd, Victor Diaz, Xavier Nady, Tike Redman

Cliff Floyd was fantastic last year, playing in only his second full season of his career, and having his best year since 2001. Unfortunately, Carlos Beltran was abyssmal, suffering through the worst season of his career. So, the question is, will Beltran return to form, given the Mets a powerful two-some, or will Floyd return to normal, giving the Mets underachievement in the outfield, or neither, or both.

The Mets got rid of Mike Cameron and picked up Xavier Nady and Tike Redman. So much of Redman's value is tied to his speed and the fact that he plays centerfield. It is odd that the Mets would pick him up since they have Beltran in center (he wouldn't move for Cameron, think he'll move for Redman) and Reyes batting leadoff. Redman doesn't strikeout alot, but as of last season he doesn't do much of anything very well.

The competition for the third outfield spot will be between Xavier Nady and Victor Diaz. You'll have to excuse Mets fans if they can't tell the difference between the two. Both are young, solid, serviceable outfielders with some power but who don't hit great and, unfortunately for the Mets, both bat right handed. Each should see time in 2006.


2005 Front Three Starters: Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Kris Benson

Projected 2006 Front Three: Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Victor Zambrano

Pedro surprised many by performing well last year - over 200 innings pitched, ERA in the 2s, over 200 strikeouts. Tom Glavine surprised a lot of people by not being terrible last season, to the tune of a 3.53 ERA and a break even record. Victor Zambrano surprised a lot of people by walking fewer than 100 batters (77 in fact) for the first time and keeping his ERA at the league average. Expect the same from Pedro, worse from Glavine, and slightly better for Zambrano.

Other 2005 Starters: Kris Benson, Kaz Ishii, Jae Weong Seo

Other Possible 2006 Starters: Steve Trachsel, Aaron Heilman, Alain Soler

The Mets essentially added by subtraction on the back end of the rotation, though they probably would have liked to hold onto Seo. The departure of Benson, Ishii, and Seo probably means more starts for Trachsel, Heilman, and Cuban import Alain Soler. Trachsel and Heilman are known quantities, while Soler is not. All leave a bit to be desired.

2005 Top Relievers: Roberto Hernandez, Braden Looper, Heath Bell

Projected 2006 Top Relievers: Billy Wagner, Chad Bradford, Duaner Sanchez

Wagner instead of Looper is definitely an upgrade, but losing Roberto Hernandez and Jae Weong Seo hurts the overall depth in the bullpen. Either Soler or Heilman will be in the bullpen, where they will join Chad Bradford and Duaner Sanchez. Bradford and Sanchez are solid, and should be able to get the Mets from the starters to Wagner with reasonable effectiveness.

Final Word:

The Mets made some big name moves in the offseason, picking up Wagner and Delgado, and made some big name cuts by getting rid of Mike Piazza, Kris Benson and Mike Cameron. Big name moves are not uncommon in Flushing, however, and it remains to be seen if this will be the year the big name moves pay off. The Mets will have less competition in the NL East as the Nationals will probably not be as strong as last year, and the Marlins are taking at least this year off to rebuild. But getting past the Braves and the Philllies will be tough enough, especially for a team with the potential for injury (Floyd) under achievement (Beltran), age problems (Glavine, Pedro, Delgado) and inexperience (Reyes). If all goes well, this team should be playing for the division title in the last week of September, but this team could also finish as low as fourth in the division.

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Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Asher B. Chancey resides in Alexandria, Virginia, and can be reached at asher@baseballevolution.com.

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