As we draw closer to the opening of training camp we will, as Mets’ fans, collectively dust off our previous frustrations and displeasures with the team’s past failures (not to mention current financial woes) and hope springs eternal.
It’s a clean slate. You’re once again starting from scratch with all things being equal. It’s an exciting time to be a baseball fan. No matter who your root for, it doesn’t matter as everyone begins on equal footing.
A lot of people have already written the Mets 2012 obituary with most calling for a guaranteed last place finish, with some people predicting in excess of 100 losses.
Well, I’m not here to pour more gasoline on the pessimistic fire. No, what I intend to do here is foster a discussion and have some fun with predictions.
What I plan to do here is predict who will lead the Mets in all the major statistical categories. The categories I will be projecting are basically the same ones used in the most rudimentary fantasy leagues. For hitters I will use batting average, home runs, runs, RBIs and stolen bases. For pitchers I will go with wins, strikeouts, ERA (not counting relief pitchers) and saves while tossing in innings pitched to make it a round ten categories to dissect.
Let me preface this by saying this is all based on gut instincts and hunches. So you won’t see a Brian Joura-type article where I asses things like BABIP, FIP, WAR and other peripheral calculators to make my projections. (I’m sure he’ll be here to make me look like a fool with his keen analytical thinking anyway).
This projection snapshot is more of a pragmatic, naked eye assumption I’m going on. So, let’s get right in and make some predictions.
Batting Average Champ: Daniel Murphy– .311
I’m in the pro-Murphy camp and feel that his bat is vital to the teams’ success, despite any perceived deficiencies in the field. I feel Murphy will have his best year yet and I’m cautiously optimistic he’ll stay relatively healthy all season.
Home Run Champ: Ike Davis– 34
I am going with another player coming off a major injury to make a significant impact here. With the fences being altered at Citi Field, there are a lot of candidates here as Davis, David Wright, Jason Bay and perhaps Lucas Duda have a shot on immensely improving their home run numbers. I expect Davis to come in with something to prove and have a career year.
Runs Champ: Daniel Murphy- 90
This mainly hinges on Murphy batting high in the order as I see him getting on base with regularity. He should have good run producers batting behind him all year.
RBI Champ: David Wright- 114
I had this as a toss-up between Wright and Davis. Wright will also have something to prove this year and I expect him to have a fine rebound season. Wright has a lot of skeptics now. So, anticipate him playing with a chip on his shoulder while having his best run-producing season since 2008.
Stolen Bases Champ: Andres Torres– 23
Basically by default, Torres should be the winner here. Torres will remind no one of Jose Reyes but he is an adequate base runner. Besides, who can challenge him for this distinction anyway? Only Wright has shown the legs to swipe some bags with consistency. However, Wright is coming off a bad back injury and most of his effort will be on hitting and not stealing bases.
Wins Champ: R.A. Dickey– 14
While he was a hard-luck loser last year, I believe Dickey is headed towards some good fortune this year. With Johan Santana and his injury issues a major concern, Dickey has proven to be the most durable and dependable Mets’ pitcher to trust these days. I expect Dickey to finally get some good run support and post his best win total in his career.
Strikeout Champ: Jon Niese- 176
If Niese can stay healthy all season, there is no reason to think anyone else can challenge him for this honor. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee are not strikeout pitchers and unless Santana rounds back into perfect form, Niese should not be challenged here.
ERA Champ: R.A. Dickey- 3.45
For the last two years, Dickey has laid claim to this title. Although I expect a good season from Niese, there is no reason to expect this honor to be won by anyone besides Dickey.
Saves Champ: Frank Francisco– 31
If Francisco fails to lead the team in saves, then something horribly went wrong in the Mets’ bullpen. Francisco was signed to stop the bleeding and provide the Mets with a veteran presence in the bullpen-something that was clearly lacking once the Mets shipped Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers late last year. Francisco’s second-half turnaround last season has some people excited for his 2012 prospectus.
Innings Champ: Mike Pelfrey- 201
If there is one thing that Pelfrey does well it is eat innings. Pelfrey is due for a better season and if he sticks to his even-numbered year success pattern, than we should be in for a treat.
So, who do you got leading the team in these categories? Feel free to chime in on the discussion and give us your favorites.
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