With every new baseball season comes the hopes and dreams that this is the year your team will go all the way. When April begins, every team is in first place and the possibilities are endless. No matter what statistics, “expert” opinions or common sense dictate, every fan believes their team can do it this year when opening day arrives. Met fans are no exception to the rule and in 2013 they may just have good reason to be optimistic.
In 2012 the Mets surprised a lot of people by going into the all-star break with a 46-40 record just four and half games behind first place Washington. It seemed that very few writers, or fans for that matter gave the Mets any chance of a successful campaign. Predictions ranged from a futile 65 wins to perhaps 80 at best. One would be hard pressed to find any predictions that had the Mets as a .500 team or better. At mid-season the Mets pitching staff ranked ninth in the National League with a combined ERA of 3.96, 10 shutouts, and 22 saves from the bullpen. Offensively, New York ranked third in the National League with 294 runs scored and seventh in average at .259. Their .328 on-base percentage and .398 slugging average were also impressive for a team that was supposed to spend their time in the cellar by most accounts.
The team seemed to fall back to earth immediately following the break losing their first 5 games and 13 of 15 quickly dropping out of the race and crushing the high hopes their fans had built up as a result of their impressive first half accomplishments. The Mets finished the season with only 74 wins but definitely offered a few bright spots and promise for the future. Star third baseman David Wright batted over .300 with 93 RBIs, Ike Davis led the team in home runs with 32 and young pitcher Matt Harvey impressed with his solid performances in ten starts.
The 2013 version of the New York Mets move forward with plenty of youth and enthusiasm giving their fans good reason to get excited. The opening day lineup included three brand new faces in outfielders Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck , a trio that contributed 6 hits, 5 runs scored and 7 runs batted in. The average age of this year’s opening day lineup was 28 or 26.6 excluding Marlon Byrd (35) and John Buck (32). Their pitching staff is packed with promising young arms including starters Jon Niese (26), Dillon Gee (27), Matt Harvey (24) plus relievers Bobby Parnell (28) and Josh Edgin (26). The Mets also possess three highly regarding young arms in their farm system with Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Meji and Zach Wheeler all of which are expected to make contributions in a Met uniform at some point during the 2013 season.
The Mets secured the centerpiece and newly appointed captain David Wright by signing him to an eight-year, $138 million contract that will keep him at Citifield through the 2025 season. Other important pieces to the puzzle returning to the team include Ike Davis (1b), Ruben Tejada (ss), Daniel Murphy (2b), Lucas Duda (lf) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (cf).
There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Mets in 2013 and even more so in the next few years as an abundance of your arms and position players gain experience. With powerhouse teams such as the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets will have to find consistent production from all members of their young team if they are to seriously compete for a playoff spot. If their opening day performance, an 11-2 victory over San Diego is any indication, there will be plenty to cheer about at Citifield in 2013.