by user Timothy Moreland

Pedro Martinez is the best starter in the NL and has started 29 or more games for the last four years. Tom Glavine hits 40 years old this year but hasn't slowed down too much. The last two years he has had ERAs of 3.54 and 3.60. I would expect at least some dropoff but his strikeout rate, walk rate, and homerun rate remained stable or improved last year. Steve Trachsel is 35 and not much better than a mid-4.00 ERA pitcher. Victor Zambrano cut his high walk rate last year but his K's dropped too. His homerun rate is low so he is a serious breakout candidate if he gets his K rate back up while maintaining his other skills. Aaron Heilman is very intriguing. Last year, he had an ERA of 3.17 and earned every bit of it. The thing is, he was miles ahead of what he has done in the past few years in the majors and minors. All of his rates massively improved last year. He cut a couple hits, a couple walks, and a homerun off his rates, while adding a couple strikeouts. In his 108 innings last year, he pitched as well as some of the top pitchers in the league. He is 27 so it seems late to be breaking out this big but the Mets have to like his potential from the #5 spot in the rotation. Their bullpen has a stud closer in Billy Wagner, surrounded by solid reliever in Juan Padilla, Heath Bell (history says he is better than his ERA last year), Chad Bradford, Duaner Sanchez, and Jorge Julio. I am a believer in Julio cutting his HR rate and being a bigtime contributor out of a setup role.

Projected Rotation

Pedro Martinez

<stats> Player=martipe02 Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

Tom Glavine

<stats> Player=Tom Glavine Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

Steve Trachsel

<stats> Player=Steve Trachsel Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

Victor Zambrano

<stats> Player=Victor Zambrano Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

Aaron Heilman

<stats> Player=Aaron Heilman Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

Jose Reyes, one of the fastest guys in the league, will add a ton of SBs, as always. Unfortunately, he has an OBP that struggled to hit the .300 mark last year. That's not a good thing for a leadoff hitter. With all of his speed, you would think his defense would be great, but it isn't any better than average. After being hampered with leg injuries last year, Carlos Beltran will be right back where he was in Kansas City. His SBs will depend on how much the Mets are going to run this year but he will be a 20/20 man again with positive defense. David Wright will be one of the top ten players in the majors for many years to come. His offensive reached superstar status last year and he is still years away from his peak. The sky is the limit for this 23 year old. Scouts raved about his defense when he was in the minors but his stats so far in the majors have not reflected that. Although, he did make that amazing barehanded catch last year. That play should have won him a gold glove by itself. Carlos Delgado remains one of the top hitters in the league. Thanks to 41 doubles and 33 HRs, his slugging was .582. He is the type of guy who could slug .600 this year, which he did in 2000. Health has been somewhat of a problem for him and should be an increasing factor as he rises into his mid-30's. Down is the only direction Delgado can go from here but he is so high that it will take years before he is no longer a great hitter. The Mets should try and get Delgado his first SB since 2002; he has only attempted once since then. Cliff Floyd has always been able to hit but he has not stayed healthy for a few years. Last year, health and production combined and the result was great. I don't think there is a good chance he will stay healthy again. If he does, then he will get 30 HRs again but I see him more around 20. Here is where the lineup turns bad. Xavier Nady is an annual disappointment and I don't see much upside for him anymore. The more at bats Victor Diaz gets the better. Diaz may not be any better than Nady but he at least has promise. I don't think many people would agree with this, but I think Ramon Castro is a better player than Paul Lo Duca. He can hit just as well and play better defense. The #8 spot will see no production as long as Kazuo Matsui hits there. He has no power, his OBP was .300 last year, and he is now thirty years old. The Mets could promote any of there minor leaguers and find better value than Matsui. Bench players Endy Chavez, Tike Redman, and Chris Woodward have no place on a major league team except as batboys. Overall, the Mets have a great #2-#5 but #6 back around to #1 will produce little to nothing with their current players. The pitchers spot may not even be the biggest hole in there.

Projected Batting Order

SS Jose Reyes

<stats> Player=Jose Reyes Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

CF Carlos Beltran

<stats> Player=Carlos Beltran Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

3B David Wright

<stats> Player=David Wright Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

1B Carlos Delgado

<stats> Player=Carlos Delgado Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

LF Cliff Floyd

<stats> Player=Cliff Floyd Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

RF Xavier Nady

<stats> Player=Xavier Nady Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

C Paul Lo Duca

<stats> Player=Paul LoDuca Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

2B Kazuo Matsui

<stats> Player=Kazuo Matsui Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

Projection: 90-72 1st in the NL East...The NL East lacks a team that stands out so I went with pitching. The Mets have a strong bullpen, the best ace, and the best closer.

Other Moreland Previews
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NL Central Brewers Preview Pirates Preview
NL West Diamondbacks Preview Rockies Preview
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Fri 03/10/06, 11:18 am EST

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