The following is the ultimate “What If” scenario for Met fans. That perfect universe where everything just happened to work out exactly how the Mets wanted it to when they needed it to. Those things that we all “Hope” for but don’t necessarily get when push comes to shove.
Spring Training Surprises:
Johan Santana Healthy – Santana is assumed to pitch about 50% of the average innings for starting pitchers in 2012 but WHAT IF he showed up this Spring with new found health and after his long break was able to pitch and pitch to a reasonably high standard (#3 Pitcher) for the whole season?
Matt Harvey As Good As Advertised – Harvey looked about as good in the majors in 2012 as any rookie has ever looked when they first arrive. The world expects regression as young pitchers are supposed to hit bumps in the road to success but WHAT IF Harvey continues to shine to the same level of excellence he showed in 2012? (Pitching 180 innings, striking out 210 and jumping right into the Cy Young discussion.)
Travis D’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler Look Ready – D’Arnaud and Wheeler are supposed to go to AAA and I project they should and will but WHAT IF they both play to the level of stars throughout Spring Training?
Wilmer Flores Shines – Flores may not have a direct role open for him on the team but a strong Spring could give the Mets a very valuable trade chip very early in the season. WHAT IF Flores looks to be a ready MLB 3B?
Jenrry Mejia Reemerges – Mejia has not looked good in the off-season and there are mounting doubts to if he will reach a glimmer of his once bright potential (after being horrendously handled by the organization). WHAT IF Mejia shakes off those doubts and sparkles in Spring Training and outright winning a role as a starter?
Jeurys Familia Becomes the Closer – Frank Francisco’s surgery is going to add all sorts of doubt to his role. WHAT IF Francisco’s injury opens the door for Familia to win the closer role with a strong spring? WHAT IF Familia proves in Spring Training that he IS the closer of the future for the Mets?
John Buck is Needed – D’Arnaud is likely headed to AAA with Buck getting the starting job but WHAT IF Austin Romine, J.P. Arencibia or some other starting catcher on a winning franchise gets hurt. The Mets might then be able to promote D’Arnaud and trade Buck for a leadoff hitter.
Ike Davis is Back – WHAT IF Davis jumps off in 2013 and plays to the level he started showing us in 2011 before his injury. WHAT IF he can be the workhorse engine in the middle of the lineup and crank out 35 HRs and 110 RBI a season.
Jonathon Niese Takes Strides – Niese is a highly regarded, young lefty who people feel will become a franchise pitcher. WHAT IF Niese finally makes that jump from good to great and challenges the perception that Harvey and Wheeler will “Lead” the rotation.
Lucas Duda Rebounds – In 2011 Duda looked like he could be a 25 HR, 85 RBI player and the ideal candidate to hit 6th in the Met order behind Wright and Davis in the future. In 2012 Duda just didn’t hold true to his 3/5ths of a season promise. WHAT IF 2013 is a new Chapter for “The Dude” and he abides with a .290 average and productive power?
Trade Deadline Deals:
Mets Buy Big – Nobody in baseball expects the Mets to be buying at the deadline. To buy they would need to be in the position to win and they shouldn’t be winning enough to qualify. WHAT IF they are well within the playoff hunt or even leading the Wild Card or NL East? WHAT IF the Mets are the team who are making a trade with the Marlins to buy their star OF (who is disgruntled). We’ve already imagined Flores playing well, is it hard to imagine Flores (and probably Michael Fulmer at least) then centering a deal for Giancarlo Stanton?
Zack Wheeler Rolls – Matt Harvey pitched extremely well when he was promoted. Who can say how well Wheeler would do but WHAT IF he managed to jump right in and pitch to the All-Star “Ace” level we all hope he eventually will.
Matt Den Dekker Fixed – Den Dekker lit AA on fire but was exposed in AAA as being the world’s most likely strikeout victim. WHAT IF he somehow manages to control his free swing in the 2013 season and when he’s called up manages to be the Carlos Beltran LITE that I expect him to be.
The Unlikely World Series Mets:
- Ruben Tejada, SS [R]
- Daniel Murphy, 2B [L]
- Giancarlo Stanton, RF [R]
- Ike Davis, 1B [L]
- David Wright, 3B [R]
- Lucas Duda, LF [L]
- Travis D’Arnaud, C [R]
- Matt Den Dekker, CF [L]
- Matt Harvey, RHP
- Jon Niese, LHP
- Zack Wheeler, RHP
- Johan Santana, LHP
- Jenrry Mejia, RHP
- CL: Jeurys Familia, RHP
- SU: Bobby Parnell, RHP
- SU: Josh Edgin, LHP
- MR: Frank Francisco, RHP
- MR: Elvin Ramirez, RHP
- LOOGY: Robert Carson, LHP