The Mayan Apocalypse has come and gone and the world is still here, which means it’s time to start Christmas shopping. No doubt lots of you want to leave coal in the stockings of everyone related to the Mets but let’s at least give the players something that they really need. With that in mind, here’s what I think these guys need for the upcoming year:
John Buck – A HR binge to start the year. Remember 2010? Newly-acquired Rod Barajas opened the year with 9 HR in his first 23 games and then proceeded to do nothing for three months. Yet there are still fans who remember his stint fondly. Buck’s a short-term solution so might as well pack his value into a brief time frame, much like Barajas did.
Ike Davis – The enthusiasm to play defense again. When Davis showed up in 2010, he posted an 11.9 UZR/150 and made countless highlight-reel plays. In 2011, his UZR/150 dropped to 7.1 and last year it was (-2.1). That’s correct, Davis was a below-average defensive player last year. Highlight-reel plays were replaced by lackadaisical effort on too many balls. It was fun to watch him hit in the second half of 2012 but that joy did not translate to watching him in the field. Hopefully he can be a complete player again in 2013.
Lucas Duda – A quick recovery from his fractured wrist. That type of injury is known for sapping power and his 2012 season already showed a disappointing lack of HR.
Josh Edgin – Better success against the Braves and Phillies. Against all other teams in baseball, Edgin had a 1.04 ERA last year but against those two NL East rivals, Edgin allowed 11 ER in 8.1 IP for an 11.88 ERA.
Frank Francisco – An improved BB/9 rate. Last year Francisco raised his strikeout rate and cut down his HR/9. But he was done in by a 4.46 BB/9, his highest mark since 2007.
Dillon Gee – A full season of last year’s 3.34 K/BB ratio.
Jeremy Hefner – A consistent role on the team.
Daniel Murphy – The return of his ISO. In his first 707 PA, Murphy had a .162 ISO. But in 2012 that dropped to a .128 mark and last year it was .112 for the season. Murphy needs to stop being content to hit the ball the other way and look to turn on more pitches.
Jonathon Niese – A repeat of last year’s .272 BABIP
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – Production in his ABs where he does not strike out. There’s little doubt that Nieuwenhuis is going to fan in at least 25% of his PA. But in his final 28 games, he posted just a .222 BABIP and a .382 OPS.
Bobby Parnell – Respect from the fans. The other RA had a terrific season last year yet fans seem not only willing but eager to send him out of town for anyone with a pulse who bats from the right side. Parnell had great overall numbers last year but everyone still clings to the belief that he can’t pitch in the 9th inning. Parnell had a .524 OPS in the ninth last year. People claim that he falters in high leverage situations but his .703 OPS in high leverage situations was better than the NL average of a .736 OPS.
Johan Santana – Thirty starts like his first 11.
Ruben Tejada – The return of his walk rate. Last year Tejada had a 5.4 BB% after posting a 9.3 BB% in 2011. Tejada had many memorable extended-pitch ABs last year, so he seems comfortable going deep into counts. It’s surprising to me that his walk rate was so poor last year.
Justin Turner – An outfielder’s mitt. The Mets tried Turner at first base last year and that didn’t work out too well. Why not try him in the OF? Turner doesn’t figure to get a lot of playing time in the infield in 2013. Dave Schneck and Victor Diaz had similar body types as Turner and the Mets used them in the OF once upon a time…
Jordany Valdespin – More drag bunts. OK, I admit that the drag bunt is to me like cowbell is to The Bruce Dickinson. But I just think it’s thrilling to watch a batter get a running start and beat out a hit this way. And since Valdespin and his .286 OBP offer little else – why not try it once a game?
David Wright – a K rate under 15%. I try to give guys different gifts each year but this is clearly what Wright needs more than anything. Here are his splits in 2012:
1st Half – .351/.441/.563 with a 13.2 K%
2nd Half – .258/.334/.416 with a 20.7 K%
Sandy Alderson – The freedom to speak the truth about the team’s payroll
Terry Collins – A chat with former Mets manager Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine where they each discuss how they ran their bullpens when they were employed in Queens. Torre’s bullpens in his full seasons managing the Mets always posted a better ERA than his starters and in Valentine’s last year, the bullpen’s ERA was a full run lower than the starters. In two years under Collins, the Mets’ bullpen has a 4.49 ERA in 932.2 IP and both years they’ve posted a higher ERA than the starters.
Fred Wilpon – Coal, for allowing anyone in the organization to trash Dickey on his way out the door.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of the readers here at Mets360. We experienced tremendous growth the last year and I’m very happy that you come to our site on a daily basis. And I’d like to give an extra special thanks to loyal readers like Metsense, Name, Chris F, NormE, AJ, Steevy, Pete, JoeG, JerryGrote, 7train and kjs who comment on so many of our stories. Your contributions add to the site and make us all better writers. And finally, thanks to Charlie, Chris, Dan, David, Doug, Mike and Steve for all of your articles.
This is the fourth Christmas wishes column I’ve written. If you’re curious about past gifts you can check them out at the following links: