The first under the radar player that the Mets need a strong contribution from is Ramon Ramirez. He isn’t the closer, and may not even pitch in the eighth inning this year, but he might be the best and most important pitcher in the Mets bullpen. Ramirez was acquired along with Andres Torres in a trade that sent Angel Pagan to the Giants this off-season.
Ramirez will be a guy that can come in with two runners on and one out and hopefully pull the Mets out of a jam. Sometimes the most important innings out of the bullpen come in the sixth or seventh innings. Terry Collins will have the freedom to put Ramirez in almost any important situation and this will likely result in him pitching a lot of innings. This will hopefully get the most value out of him for the Mets this season.
Already 30, Ramirez has had 7 seasons of MLB experience in both the American and National Leagues. He has a career 3.15 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and almost an eight strikeout per nine. What makes him a good option to pitch in big spots is his left/right platoon splits. Ramirez is right-handed and is quite effective against right-handed hitters. However he has also had a lot of success against left-handed hitters. This makes him a great candidate to pitch in important late-game situations and being able to disregard match-ups.
The second player under the radar is Justin Turner. Coming off a very strong season he is going to need to play a large role on the 2012 team. He will be one of the few capable hitters on the Mets bench this season. He will be important as a pinch hitter and a fill-in player as he is serving as the back-up at first, second and third bases and if needed can play shortstop.
Turner is coming off his first season of extended playing time in the major leagues. Last season he proved that he belonged, starting at second base much of last season after Daniel Murphy’s injury. At 27, Turner has limited upside as a regular in the league, but he can be a very solid role player. His versatility is much needed on this current team because of the propensity for injury and lack of apparent depth in the infield.
Last season Turner came out of the gates with a hot start and while he cooled down a little, he ended with a .260 batting average and 30 doubles. He hopefully won’t get as much playing time as he did last year, which would mean the team stays healthier. Either way, his versatility will get him a lot of at-bats. If he can hold his own defensively at numerous positions, and provide an extra-base power bat off the bench, he will be doing his job.
Both players get little attention, but play a surprisingly large role on the 2012 Mets team. Injuries aside, these two players in their current roles could help the team to some extra wins with strong play, or lose them some with poor performance.