CHICAGO, September 13, 2013 — Tagging Up has been exploring the teams that have been mathematically eliminated from making the playoffs. Yesterday’s Better Luck Next Year series looked at the troublesome season that the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs had, but today’s column says goodbye to the New York Mets and better luck next year.
Click here to read the previous installments of the Better Luck Next Year series.
What Went Wright: David Wright is having another great year, putting up a .309/.391/.512 slash line, and surprisingly the best OPS+ of his career with a 154. Wright has had more statistically impressive years like in ’07 and ’08 but that was during a far different offensive environment. In addition, the Mets locked Wright into an extension last offseason for seven additional years and $122 million. This deal will carry through Wright’s age 37 season, but the average annual value will start to decrease after his age 35 season.
Another bright spot for the Mets was Matt Harvey. The man was a phenomenon. He made Harvey days, days where he took the mound, appointment television. Harvey provided glimpses of what he showed this year in 2012, but that was in only 59.1 innings. In 2013, Harvey threw 178.1 innings and posted a 158 ERA+ while striking out 27.7% of the batters he faced and improving his walk rate to only 4.5% of the batters he faced.
The Mets also got contributions in the rotation from Dillon Gee and Zach Wheeler. Gee is not someone to build a rotation around, but he has provided league average innings this year posting an ERA+ of 99, but did so while throwing 179.2 innings. Gee is under team control until 2017. Zach Wheeler, on the other hand, offers a much higher upside. Wheeler was acquired for Carlos Beltran from San Francisco. Wheeler has thrown 95 innings with the big club this year, posting a 111 ERA+ while striking out 19.9% of batters faced and walking 9.8% of the batters faced, which is actually a lower number than Harvey posted last year.
Finally, the Mets farm system entered the year ranked 16th by Baseball America, but that was prior to the RA Dickey trade which brought them Travis D’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard, the Blue Jays number one and three prospects, respectively. The farm system seems to be on the right track and with the developments of Syndergaard and fellow pitcher Rafael Montero there may be more pitching on the way.
What Went Wrong: Matt Harvey’s UCL. Harvey was amazing all year, but was shut down due to a tear in his UCL. Harvey has opted against surgery, but the history of UCL tears seem to indicate that he will have to have Tommy John surgery, if not now, then down the line like Adam Wainwright who pitched with a UCL tear for five years.
Ike Davis has tortured Mets fans. He has shown glimpses of being a middle of the order hitter, but it does not appear to be in the cards for him or the Mets. Davis suffered from valley fever at the outset of the 2012 season, but came on strong in the second half posting a .255/.346/..566 slash line, with 20 HR’s, in the second half. He started slowly again this year and was even sent to the minors before suffering an oblique injury a couple weeks ago, leaving his 2013 slash line as .205/.326/.334.
Finally the Mets’ staff was hit with injuries. Johan Santana, Jeremy Hefner, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia were all struck by injuries. While Johan will likely never wear a Mets uniform again, the other three will all likely be back at various points next year after they rehab from their surgeries.
What to Expect in 2014: If Matt Harvey had not had a tear in his UCL it would be possible to imagine the Mets being a fringe contender next year, but without him it is hard to imagine that happening. There is a lot of money coming off the books (looking at you, Johan) and there are already rumors that the Mets will be a suitor for Shin Soo Choo, who would instantly be the Mets best outfielder and would replace Bobby Bonilla as their highest paid outfielder.
Free Agents/Options: Johan Santana (Club Option), Frank Francisco, Shawn Marcum, Latroy Hawkins, David Aardsma
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