Last week, everyone’s favorite Mets beat reporter, Marty Noble, answered some questions on the Mets bullpen, rotation and center fielder fill-ins. Noble also lists his projected batting order, rotation and bullpen. Finally, Noble looks at new additions, prospects to watch, players on the rebound, and players that are gone.
Projected Batting Order: Reyes, Castillo, Wright, Bay, Murphy, Francouer, Pagan, Santos
Projected Rotation: Santana, Pelfrey, Maine, Nieve, Perez
Projected Bullpen: Closer: K-Rod. Setup Man: Escobar, Igarashi, Feliciano
Bay: That Bay bats right-handed and Beltran will miss at least the first month of the season creates a left-handed/right-handed balance power issue in the batting order.
Escobar and Igarashi: General manager Omar Minaya has identified Escobar and Igarashi as the likely setup relievers for K-Rod, even though the former has pitched five innings in the big leagues in the past two seasons, and the latter has never pitched in this country.
Blanco: Blanco is considered a good receiver. He threw well last year when he played in 67 games with the Padres.
Prospects to Watch:
Martinez: He didn’t distinguish himself in his 2009 opportunities, and chances are he won’t be on the big league roster on Opening Day despite the absence of Beltran.
Thole:Â The Mets see him as a 2011 possibility, with a chance to return to the big leagues in September this year.
Players on the Rebound:
Reyes: After playing in merely 36 games last season, undergoing autumn surgery on his right leg and rehabbing for months, Reyes says he is fit and anxious to return.
Santana: Santana noted he won his first Cy Young Award in 2004, the year after he had bone chips removed from his elbow for the first time. Now more chips have been eliminated and he — half-seriously — suggests a cause-and-effect relationship can happen again.
Beltran: His left-handed power, defense and basestealing — if he still is a basestealer — are critical to the Mets.
Francouer: Surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb has him ready for his first full season with the Mets.I don’t know about you, butÂ a 5-6 of Murphy and Francouer isn’t too appealing.Â I’d much rather see Pagan moved to the top of the lineup and have everyone else move down. I know most people are down on Perez, but how does slotting him 5th make any sense? Considering how important it was last yearÂ to have an established closer asÂ a setup man, I wonderÂ why the Mets are going with complete uncertainties this year. Is there one player on the team that must have a great year? For me, it’s Johan Santana. As constructed, do you think the Mets can compete without Beltran?