The Mets have a realistic chance of playing meaningful games into September. Here are 10 players key to this season and next seasons success in order of importance
1. David Wright, 3B: He is the Mets offense. The Mets need to re-sign him and build the lineup around him, because he is their only all-star caliber hitter. It’s scary to think what the lineup would look like without him, and there is no help in sight from the minors or free agency.
2. Johan Santana, SP: He and Dickey are very close. Johan still makes it above Dickey because of the clutch pitching and dominance Santana has shown and the knowledge that as long as he is not injured, he will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
3. R.A. Dickey, SP: What can you say about Dickey? He has progressively gotten better and is now to a point where he is dominant. It’s exciting to think what his encore will be going forward. Combined with Santana, the Mets have one of the more formidable top pitching rotations in baseball.
4. Ike Davis, 1B: Davis is all the way up at number four because of the potential he has to be a great hitter that can be a force in the middle of the order. He is an excellent defensive player, and if he can put together a .370 OBP with 25-30 HR, he will give an enormous boost to the lineup. If he continues to play at the level he has most of this year, I can’t see the Mets having a very successful offense.
5. Matt Harvey, SP: Harvey has proven nothing, however he has the potential as soon as the end of this year to be an above average pitcher, eventually progressing to a top of the rotation starter. Harvey has started to pitch quite well at Triple-A, not quite dominating, but he has a 3.87 ERA, a strikeout per inning and a .240 BA against. Harvey is a key to the future of the Mets success, but he can have a big impact as early as this year.
6. Jon Niese, SP: Niese has improved in almost every important pitching category this season, improving his WHIP, ERA, SO/9, H/9. His key to success is being able to pitch longer into games and not getting injured. Hopefully, Niese along with Harvey, Dickey and Santana will be able to carry the Mets team.
7. Jenry Mejia, RP: Now that Mejia is in his rightful place in the bullpen he will most certainly be up later this year. Hopefully he can stabilize what has been a terrible bullpen. He has the ability to close, pitch multiple innings, and has the stuff to be a stopper late in games.
8. Lucas Duda, 1B: Besides the top 3 in this list, Duda might be the most consistent. Duda will probably be around a .270 hitter with 25 doubles, 25 home runs and a run producer from the four or five spot in the lineup. Some consistent production is what the Mets need with all the wildcards on the team.
9. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF: A good all around player. If he can keep his average up around .290, he will be a great top of the order player who can do a little of everything. He strikes out too often but it has not let affect him to this point in his professional career. His versatility on defense and varied skills make him an important player going forward.
10. Daniel Murphy, 2B: I’m not sure anyone knows what Murphy is or will be. He is a solid hitter who hits a lot of doubles but plays bad defense. For him to be a positive force on the team he needs to hit over .300 with a higher than .350 OBP, otherwise his hitting is mitigated by lack of power and defense.
Honorable Mention: Ruben Tejada, SS, Jeurys Familia, SP/RP, Jason Bay, OF,
Tejada just needs to be an average hitter to make a positive impact because of the lack of quality players at shortstop these days. There is no way to know what Familia is going to be. He could be a dominating reliever or an awful starter who can never find the zone. His inconsistency and lack of definite position is why he is not higher on the list. Between injuries and with no improvement in sight, Jason Bay is an honorable mention because of the 1% chance he returns to be the player he was, once upon a time.
The Mets success this year and next, hinges on these players living up to or exceeding expectations. There are a lot of question marks, but hopefully they can lead the Mets to the playoffs.