2006 Finish: 97-65, 1st in the NL East, lost to the Cardinals in the NLCS
Manager: Willie Randolph
Comings: LF Moises Alou, RHP Jon Adkins, LHP Jason Vargas, OF Ben Howard, RHP Ambiorix Burgos, INF/OF David Newhan, LHP Scott Schoeneweis, RHP Aaron Sele, RHP Jorge Sosa
Goings: RHP Chad Bradford, RHP Heath Bell, LHP Royce Ring, RHP Brian Bannister, OF Cliff Floyd, RHP Roberto Hernandez, LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Steve Trachsel
Offense: Might be the most talented lineup 1 through 8 in the National League. SS Jose Reyes is the catalyst, scoring 122 runs and stealing 64 bases. He hit .300/.354/.487 and drove in 81 out of the leadoff spot. C Paul LaDuca is the ideal number 2 hitter in this lineup. He can/will take pitches to allow Reyes to get things going on the bases. He hit .318 last year, seeing lots of fastballs due to Reyes’ speed. CF Carlos Beltran put in a MVP type year, hitting .275 with 41 HRs and driving in 116, and he scored 127 runs. 1B Carlos Delgado enjoyed a very good first year in N.Y., hitting 38 HRs with 114 RBIs. 3B David Wright has established himself as one of the top young players in the N.L. He put up fantastick numbers, .311/.381/.531 with 26 HRs and 116 RBIs. Moises Alou was brought in to add more offense to this already devastating lineup. He played in only 98 games last year but managed to hit 22 HRs with 74 RBIs. 2B Jose Valentin enjoyed a bounce back year, hitting .271 with 18 HRs. Right field looks to be Shawn Green’s, but he has really struggled during the spring, opening the door for Lastings Milledge.
Rotation: This was an area that the Mets were thought to upgrade during the offseason but GM Omar Minaya decided to go with what was in house. LHP Tom Glavine decided to stay instead of returning to Atlanta. He was solid last year going 15-7. RHP Orlando Hernandez was brought in during the season, but was injured for the playoffs. When healthy, he can dominate at times, it is just he hasn’t been healthy of late. RHP John Maine was very good down the stretch and the Mets hope he builds off his playoff experience. LHP Oliver Perez was brought in by trade during the season and seemed to harness his potential during the playoffs. Perez has always had electric stuff, he has just not lived up to his potential while in Pittsburgh. But how many players do? There are several competitors for the fifth spot in the rotation, but the Mets’ top prospect, RHP Mike Pelfrey, has done everything he should to earn it during the spring. This group will be much improved if Pedro can come back healthy at some point during the year.
Bullpen: LHP Billy Wagner is one of the most dominating closers in baseball. In 06 Wagner saved 40 games with an ERA of 2.24. RHP Aaron Heilman appeared in 74 games and posted a 3.62 ERA. RHP Duaner Sanchez was dominant before getting hurt in a taxi cab accident. RHP Jon Adkins provides another solid arm in the pen, posting an ERA of 3.98 in 55 games. LHP Scott Schoenewies was brought in to get out lefties. They hit .236 against him last year. RHP Ambiorix Burgos was brought in from K.C. to provide another power arm in the bullpen. RHP Jorge Sosa had a terrible year in 06, but has a big time arm, and provides a capable swingman for the Mets.
Mike Pelfrey-RHP-Considered the top pitching prospect in the 2005 draft, fell to the Mets at number 9 due to signability concerns. 2006 was his first year as a pro due to contract negotiations. Had just 4 starts at High Class A before being promoted to Double A. Started 4 games for the big league club in his first professional season. Had an ERA under 2.50 in 96 minor league innings. Went 2-1 with a 5.48 in his 4 big league starts. His sinking fastball is considered an elite pitching sitting 92-95 with late life. He can bring a four seamer when he needs some extra velocity. A lack of a consistent breaking ball is really the only thing holding Pelfrey back. Is in the mix for the Mets’ rotation and with the development of his breaking ball, could be a future number 1.
Fernando Martinez-OF-Hit .333/.389/.505 at high Class A in 45 games as a 17 year old. Is said to have good pitch recognition and strike zone awareness. Has above average speed and a strong outfield arm. Will probably start the year back at high Class A and could be one of the Top 10 prospects in baseball by the end of the year.
Analysis: The Mets are looking to repeat in the NL East where the competition is much improved. The offense is as good as any, but the pitching leaves a lot to be desired. Glavine and Hernandez are getting up in years and injuries could be a problem. Maine was good down the stretch, but he must prove it over a whole season. The bullpen is deep and talented and should hold down most leads. If the pitching holds up, the Mets should be in the hunt in October.