This is one of those posts that tend to make people mad at me. I can already see the “if the bullpen could have…” comments coming in.
Let’s walk through the 2009 Mets and give everyone best case scenario:
1B Delgado. In what will likely be his final year as a Met, the super-motivated Delgado chooses not to suck in April and has an awesome 40 home run 120 rbi year. We’re off to a great start!
2B Luis Castillo’s gonna hit .334 and steal 62 bases like he did in 2000 as a 24 year old.
SS Jose Reyes will prove he’s not overrated, he’ll win an MVP and hit a career best .330 (43 points higher than his career average), score 120 and hit 20 homers with 80 rbi’s. Just like everyone but me thinks he will.
3B David Wright. How about we settle for 2007-like #s with some .325 and 30 action. That’s some infield!
LF Dan Murphy. The Murph got 131 at bats which I believe puts him one over the maximum to qualify for rookie of the year (that sucks). I’ll give him .313 again (making that 5 guys hitting over .300!) but I can’t give him more than 10 HRs until he shows me some pop.
CF Carlos Beltran. How about a 2006-like 40, 120 and .280. Carlos has only batted .300 once so our run of .300 hitters ends here.
RF Ryan Church and Friends. Ryan will play in a solid 162, which should give him around 18 home runs with a .275 average.
The Catchers, Well, they’ll catch the ball and throw it back to the pitcher. Anything more will be asking a lot.
Santana will win the Cy Young. His best was 20-6, let’s give him 21 wins with an elbow-free summer.
John Maine will find his way out of his funk and go 15-10. He’s done it before!
Oliver Perez will learn that every game is a big game, better his best 15-10 and win a sneaky 18!
Mike Pelfrey won 13 games at age 24 and looked like he learned to pitch. Let’s give him 16!
That Other Guy. The Number 5 Guy is going to eat innings for us. He’ll only go 10 and 10 but that’s a solid 80 wins from our starting pitching! That’s 4 more than the 1986 Mets. Not bad!
Now we know 63 of those will be saved by K-Rod, with 63 holds from Putz.
That all looks amazingly promising! But what if Santana misses a game or two. What if Castillo is the 2008 version? What it there’s a book on Murphy now? What if Maine is funky and 15 wins becomes 10? What it Perez wins 18 not 15?
I think this team has enough to win – but it’s not a lock that they’ll out hustle the Phillies. I would love one more decent bat in there – maybe not Manny, but I wish we knew what we actually had in left, right, second and behind the plates. There’s a lot of wishful thinking with how this team is put together. I hope it holds. It seemed like everything broke right in 2006 and broke wrong in 2007. Maybe something in between and some number less than 30 blown saves might do the trick. After the last two seasons I’m not ready to declare this team better than the defending World Champions. I’m hopeful, but I’m going to need to see it to believe it, and I won’t believe it until I’m watching the Mets in the NLDS.