A look back at a look ahead at the Mets in 2013
Earlier this year, I answered a few questions about the upcoming 2013 season. To see if I had any clue about what I was talking about, I pulled out my answers and compared them to the reality of the 2013 season.
Offseason grade: B-
You can’t really judge the process by the results, but the Mets’ problems in 2013 weren’t caused by their offseason deals. Buck and Byrd performed at least as well as expected and brought back a couple of prospects, so Mission Accomplished there. Shaun Marcum was Shaun Marcum, Collin Cowgill’s stay was mercifully short, and Travis d’Arnaud didn’t get much of a look due to injury. As for the big-name outfielders the Mets didn’t get in the offseason, well, Victorino was probably the only one worth his contract and I think I’m the only Mets fan who wanted to see him on the Mets.
Johan Santana won’t matter
As it turns out, Santana landed squarely on the worst case scenario line. While I didn’t pick that as the likely outcome, I didn’t think Santana would be a factor in 2013 and he certainly wasn’t.
The Mets had to keep David Wright
Take a look at the Game 162 lineup. Now picture it without Wright. Yeah, the Mets need him. We got a look at the Mets without Wright when he was on the DL and it wasn’t pretty.
Zack Wheeler: Impact Rookie
Wheeler did well in his rookie stint, but he didn’t blow everyone away like Harvey did. Still, he’s a solid starter in a rotation that featured Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang at the end. Travis d’Arnaud will take his rookie eligibility into 2014, so he wasn’t the right pick either. The real impact rookie this year was Juan Lagares, who was one of the top defensive outfielders in baseball in 2013 while being merely replacement-level at the plate. He set a Mets rookie record with 16 outfield assists, just three short of the Mets season record. Lagares was overshadowed last year by Matt den Dekker, but an injury in spring training kept den Dekker in the minors until the end of August. Lagares is on his way to becoming a star if he can get it together at the plate, but that’s a big if.
An honorable mention has to go to Scott Rice, who made his MLB debut with the Mets on Opening Day and pitched himself to hernia surgery in September. Along the way, he earned his first Rookie Card, though he has yet to appear in an MLB-licensed product (Lagares on the other hand is still waiting for his first Rookie Card). Not bad for someone originally drafted in 1999.
Mets finish at 76-86, 4th in the NL East
I was a couple of wins over on the record and one place under in the standings. Who knew the Phillies could fall so far so fast? With the Marlins seemingly loaded with prospects, the Phillies could find themselves in the basement as early as next year.
On the plus side, the Mets didn’t contend for half a season and then flush themselves down the toilet. 2013 was a series of ups and downs, though the end result was the same as last year. Take out the injuries and add some better players and maybe you have a team that can stay strong all season. But that’s still a bit of a stretch. They didn’t fail in their usual way, so that’s something.
Ike Davis Strikes Back
Well, three words out of four ain’t bad… Davis looked terrible at the start of the season, even worse than he did last year. A month in Vegas helped him a little, but the power never came back. He finished with just 9 home runs in 103 games, well off his usual pace. A full season of Ike was not something to look forward to after all.
Elsewhere, there were some fun moments. Sweeping the Yankees in four games, including a walkoff to end Mariano Rivera’s final appearance at Citi Field, was nice. Matt Harvey’s starts were always must-see TV, even if the Mets often found a way to lose. The Harvey/Wheeler doubleheader may have been the most anticipated day of Mets baseball all season. And of course Harvey’s start at the All-Star game and the Futures Game started by a pair of Mets prospects were memorable, even if they weren’t actual Mets games.
The Jordany Valdespin question has been answered. Wilmer Flores is still largely an unknown, as is the pronunciation of Familia’s first name. Bobby Parnell did a great job as closer, though injury ended his season early and gave us LaTroy Hawkins, Vic Black, and Frank Francisco as possible closers. Gabriel Ynoa is a stud, Luis Mateo not so much, and Hansel Robles regressed. Las Vegas seems to be working out, but there may only be another year of it left. And no, the outfield question did not get resolved in 2013. There was a lot to see this year, even if we already knew how it would end. The season is a journey and this one is over.