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Young Mets Hitters Could Develop Into Solid Core

Young Mets Hitters Could Develop Into Solid Core

Young Mets Hitters Could Develop Into Solid Core

All the talk around the Mets has been about the young pitchers. Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia and the forgotten man, Jenrry Mejia, will be a huge focus throughout the season. Although a lot of the excitement about the future will be in Binghamton and Buffalo, there is an intriguing young offensive core coming together at Citi field. Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada all will be on display in the big leagues. All young, homegrown and full of potential.

Duda surprised everyone when he produced an OPS of .957 his last 64 games of last season. The Mets have lacked a true cleanup hitter since the departure of Carlos Delgado. With Carlos Beltran in St. Louis, Duda will be asked to make up the loss of 25 HRs and 90 RBI in right field. Between Buffalo and New York, Duda hit 20 homers and drove in 74 runs. The team seems bullish on the offense trend continuing, with the big question being whether he is a corner outfielder or first baseman.

I talked about Daniel Murphy last week. When asked about his goals for 2012, he responded by saying he wants to win between 95 and 100 games. Murphy has the work ethic and winning attitude that breeds long-term success. What position? If he was going to start for this team, it appeared second base or bust, however the uncertain future of David Wright means any success he has at second could be short lived. Defensively, Murphy is best at one of the corner infield positions. Considering he has the potential to be a hitter that is consistently north of .300, it would make sense for him to get every opportunity to be somewhere on the field.

Ike Davis was robbed of a huge season when he went down with an ankle injury in April. On pace for 32 HRs and 112 RBI, Davis was conjuring up memories of Carlos Delgado, but with a gold glove. Just 24, Davis already is averaging 23/85/.271 line for his short big league career. My only question is the impact of the ankle injury that nearly required microfracture surgery. Ruben Tejada might have the most thankless job of the group by replacing a popular homegrown All Star. His .360 OBP at the age of 21 was similar to Rafael Furcal and Alex Rodriguez at similar ages.

Nobody is suggesting he is A-Rod, but Furcal without the power numbers might be reasonable. Another comparison, made by NYBD contributor Joe Delgrippo on my show last night, is Elvis Andrus. Last year, Andrus hit .279 with 5 HRs and 60 RBI. That seems to be a reasonable offensive ceiling for Tejada. His defense may not be on par with Andrus or Reyes, but he certainly appears to be a solid shortstop on both sides of the ball for a winning team.

The Mets are shaping up to potentially be a decent offensive team. With three solid left handed bats, a hopefully productive David Wright and maybe a shade above anemic season from Jason Bay, they may be able to make up a bit for the thin rotation. The development of these four young players will go a long way to how quickly the Mets can return to contention. The pitchers are a year or two away, but the offense may have already arrived.

By Mike Silva
Thursday, 23 Feb 2012

 

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