You read that right. By sweeping the ‘Stros this past weekend, the Mets finished with a winning record (41-40) â€“ at CitiField.
And I was there and met lots of other Mets fans (and old Brooklyn Dodger fans), many who read TRDMB, then after the game, I walked around the bases â€“ there were too many people to actually dash. That’s your humble correspondent post-walk in the photo. Combined withÂ Figueroa’s 4-hit shutout, Pagan’s 3/4 cycle and the great weather, it was one of the most enjoyable days I had at Citi this year.
While wandering around the CitiField infield, I got to thinking â€“ like everyone else â€“ about next year. Without Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, a lousy Perez, a sort-of lousy Pelfry, a sort-of rookie in left field who had no business being in left field shifted to first base, a new right fielder, a runner missing third base in the 11th inning, a dropped fly ball at second in the ninth inning, two blown saves via grand slams, leading the league with days on the DL â€“ and we still finished with a winning recordâ€¦at home.
Maybe we don’t have as many holes to fill as we think. Maybe, just maybe, aside from the triage ward, CitiField’s imposing dimensions put a bug in our hitter’s heads making it difficult to adjust in less imposing non-Citi surroundings.
I’m not as pessimistic as many about 2010. On the bright side, we were tied for the lead league with a .270 BA. I couldn’t find the number, but I know we finished high in team BA/RISP, which is amazing since we finished in the middle of the pack in runs scored.
Individually, in his last 72 games, Daniel Murphy hit .282 with 37 extra base hits, 35 RBI and finished first or second on the team in home runs, depending on how you count Francoeur’s stats. Those 72 games extrapolate out to 83 extra base hits, which would have been good for fifth in the league this year, and 78 RBI for a full season, and that’s without building in what I expect to be natural improvement. With Wright, Beltran and Francoeur surrounding him for a full season and without the weight of playing left field for two months, Murph could easily be good for 20 HR and 85-90 RBI next season.
We will have Jeff Francoeur for a full season. As a Met in 75 games this year, he hit .311 with 10 HRs and 41 RBI, which extrapolates out to 21 HRs and 89 RBI for a full season.
A full season of an Omir Santos/Josh Thole platoon works out to .270/13/88 in a combined 600 ABs.
I believe we will get normal (for CitiField) seasons out of both Wright and Beltran â€“ 20-25 HRs, 100 RBI each.
Without injuries, post-surgery Johann Santana will be good for 18-20 wins. A healthy John Maine is good for 13-15 wins. I even have high hopes for Parnell to finally get his act together and for Ollie to right himself (or as right as he gets) post successful knee surgery. With the unexpected workload, Parnell’s fastball dropped five MPH by season’s end. He won’t be pitching winter ball, so maybe he’ll be back to the high-90s by April. Pat Misch looked like Tom Glavine Jr. in his last couple of starts and Nelson Figueroa also performed well. Even if the Mets don’t crack open the Mr. Met bank and convince John Lackey to immigrate east, I think we’ll be okay on the mound â€“ certainly better than this year.
For me, the key isn’t getting another pitcher or another bat, but the return to any kind of form by Jose Reyes. I’d bet everyone’s RBIs total would go up 10 percent with a healthy Reyes at the top of the lineup, which could mean maybe four guys with 100+ RBI.
Colorado won the wild card this year winning 92 games. The Mets won 89 games last year, one game off the wild card. Are the Mets as currently constituted but fully healthy with low expectations and a year under their belt at CitiField and adjusting to win on the road capable of winning 92 games in 2010?
I don’t think there is big bat out there we can realistically expect to sign that would be an improvement on what we have now. We’re not going to sign Matt Holliday, Jason Bay is unlikely to come back to the Mets and I’m not even sure he’s an upgrade (.267 BA, 162 Ks, mediocre defense) to Angel Pagan, especially in a pitcher’s park that favors slashers and gappers, not bangers.
No, I think our present group, healthy, is capable of 85 wins next season, at least, with a shot at the wild card ala the last-to-first 1991 Twins and Braves, especially with a dynamo calling the shots from the bench. I’m an optimist. I can’t help it.
Or we’re gonna suck for years. A more pessimistic historical POV in a few days.