My Thoughts on the Mets Going Forward: The Infield & The Bench
December 31st, 2010 by slangon

On this day of closing things out and preparing for new beginnings, I was hoping to combine the last 2 topics I wanted to cover on the Mets heading into 2011 and thus close out a series of posts that honestly have become a little bit of a chore for me. I don’t think that it’s become a chore because things look bleak or anything like that, either. Actually, even though I don’t expect the Mets to really do too much this coming season, I am pretty excited about it. I excited to see how the team reacts to the new front office philosophy. I’m excited to see some of the young guys continue to develop. I’m excited to see some of the older guys bounce back from disappointing seasons. I more think it’s become a chore because I’m not a very cerebral fan, so trying to verbalize what it is I expect from a player, or what it is I like about a player or dislike is not the easiest thing in the world for me. Once I started to write this post, however, the chore became too great, so you’ll just have to wait until next year to read my brilliant insight into what the Mets should or should not do as far as bench players. Oh, the agony of waiting.

Anyway, here’s the infield.

Starting behind home plate (honestly, I’m not sure if catcher counts as an infielder, but I wasn’t sure where else to stick him and he is kind of stationed in the infield, so there he stays), although the Mets have signed veteran Ronny Paulino, I really hope to see Josh Thole get the lions share of playing time. Although, Josh lacks any consistent power at the plate, I think he has the ability to become a guy who will consistently get on base and / or put the ball in play. I think he would perform admirably in the number 2 hole behind Reyes. Although he might not be the best catcher behind the plate right now, it seems he made major improvements in his game calling and ability to throw out runners last year, so I’m confident he’ll continue to improve in both of those areas. All this combined with the fact that for whatever reasons that I can’t really put my finger on, Ronny Paulino kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I’m hoping to see Thole as the catcher for the next few seasons to come.

Moving 90 feet from home plate to 1st, we have Ike Davis. I don’t spend a whole lot of time reading about the Mets farm system, so it’s very rarely that I get excited about a prospect. I was, however, really excited when I heard Ike was getting called up. That might have had more to do with seeing him perform really well in Spring Training than anything I heard about him in the minors though. Either way, I clearly remember watching his very first at bat. I was on vacation in Florida at the time and was just getting ready to leave some restaurant after eating an early dinner. Me and all the other dudes in the party (who were all Mets fans) were standing under a TV in the bar while all the women folk were yelling at us to go. We were all just waiting to watch this guys first at bat. He got a single I believe. Anyway, from that moment on, Ike just continued to impress me both offensively and defensively. I mean, I didn’t think Ike had any realistic shot at Rookie of the Year, but when was the last time a Mets Rookie was even in the discussion? Watching him play was one of the very few bright spots of 2010 and watching him continue to develop will be one of the bright spots of 2011.

I’m pretty torn on second base this year. I never really was a Castillo hater, but I do not want to see him playing second base this year, contract or no contract. He can go hang out with Ollie for all I care. I did enjoy watching Ruben Tejada play – defensively. Offensively, it’s a good thing he only weighs 160 lbs. Otherwise, he’s be dangerously close to not hitting his weight. Sadly for Ruben, the time of carrying a position player for his glove is long, long gone. I think he could certainly profit from another full year in the minors, and even at that, I’m not sure he’ll be anything more than a late inning defensive type guy. So who will be manning 2nd? This guy, maybe…

Murph certainly has proved he can hit a bit, but can he handle handle 2nd? I hear he’s been playing the position well enough in the Dominican Winter League, so I guess we’ll find out.

One of the biggest things that has concerned me thus far in the off-season has been all the things I’ve been hearing about Jose Reyes‘ days as a Met being numbered. I guess in my head, I understand all the thinking behind it, but as I stated in the opening paragraph of this post, I’m far too much of a heart type of fan. Reyes has easily been my favorite Met of the last 7 years, since he came up with the team in 2003. I cannot imagine seeing him in any other uniform. I also refuse to believe that he won’t bounce back this coming season. Obviously, 2009 was shot thanks to him missing over 3/4 of the season with that calf injury followed by subsequent injuries suffered while rehabbing the original injury. Fits and starts. I feel like 2010 was similar in that he missed pretty much all of Spring Training with that weird thyroid thing. He basically played his Spring Training in Major League games, so he really didn’t get going until the middle of May. Then he pulled his oblique at the end a June, missed a bunch of games, came back, aggravated it, and missed a bunch of games again. Again, fits and starts. I feel like if he can have an injury free year, he’ll be awesome. What I fear is that since this is his walk year, if he does start to tear it up, the Mets will trade him while his value is high. I can’t even think about that now. For now, I’ll just predict that Jose is going to have one hell of a bounce back year.

That leaves us at the old hot corner. The last 2 seasons that David Wright has played have confused me a bit. in 2009, his average was there, but his power fell off the table. Some people said it was because of Citi Field. Then in 2010, his power numbers returned to normal, but he had the worst average of his career. On top of that, both years saw his strikeout numbers skyrocket. Honestly, I’m a little bit at a loss as to what to say about that. All I will say is that obviously David is a professional hitter, and a very good one at that, and I hope he will figure it out. I almost think that since Wright is the face of the franchise, and the last 2 years have been sort of weird as far as injuries and holes in the lineup and all that, David might’ve been pressing something awful and that might’ve contributed to hit troubles. Wishful thinking? Probably, but I suspect that things might even out if he’s slotted in the same slot in the lineup everyday, playing in front of and behind the same guy everyday. Also, seeing as it doesn’t seem like anyone, be it fans or media or upper management are expecting the team to do too much this year, maybe Wright can just go out there and play baseball, instead of trying to save the world.

Well, that’s it for the infield. All in all, I think that particular group of guys will be okay, and probably, for me at least, be one of the most fun parts of the team to watch in 2011.

Anyway, have a great New Years Eve, everyone. Have fun. Be safe. Thanks for a great 2010 and I’m looking forward to an even greater 2011.

One Response to “My Thoughts on the Mets Going Forward: The Infield & The Bench”

  1. I completely agree with you on Wright. It’s tough when every player around him missed time. I def felt like he was pressing, but hopefully the team/lineup will be more stable. Happy New Year!!!

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