Team Previews in a Fantasy Nutshell: New York Mets
Projected Starting Lineup
C Travis D’Arnaud—The Mets are encouraged with D’Arnaud’s new swing, and they are hoping he can finally come close to the power they were expecting when they traded for him years ago. More importantly, can D’Arnaud stay healthy? He needs to have more than 400 at bats if he wants to be Fantasy relevant this season.
1B Lucas Duda—Duda had back issues at the beginning of spring training, but he looks to be healed and ready to go. The Mets desperately need him in the middle of their order to provide some thump but expect Duda to lose playing time to Wilmer Flores when the team faces a LHP.
2B Neil Walker—Walker only had 412 AB a year ago, but yet he still hit 23 HR. His power is for real, and he even hit over .280 for the first time in five years. Expect another solid year from Walker in 2016. He kills RHP and is a mainstay in the middle of the Mets lineup.
SS Asdrubal Cabrera—Cabrera shocked Gotham City last season, hitting 23 HR and providing the team with a solid option at shortstop. Many people will overlook Cabrera mainly because he is 31 years old, but that would be a mistake. He has been ultra-consistent for the past five years and should be a big part of the Mets offense in 2017.
3B David Wright—I will not take Wright in any of my drafts. Instead, I recommend taking a flyer on Jose Reyes who might end up qualifying at multiple positions (even OF) by season’s end. With speed at a premium, Reyes should be good for 20 steals, and you can get him with a 22nd or 23rd round pick.
OF Curtis Granderson—The Grandy Man can hit the baseball—when he makes solid contact. Granderson is exactly who you think he is big time power, no average, and dwindling speed. I like him more in NL-only leagues than I do in mixed leagues as his career starts to decline.
OF Jay Bruce—Bruce is still a Met—for now. The team tried hard all off-season to move him so they could open up a spot for Michael Conforto. I don’t expect Bruce to finish the year with the team, but I expect that his numbers will be similar to seasons past (think 30/90 with a .240 BA).
OF Yoenis Cespedes—Cespedes is the key to the Mets offense as no one can carry a team on his back as he can when he gets hot. The Mets signed him to a huge contract this off-season (110 million dollars), and I do worry that he might take it easy now that he is not playing for a big deal. That said, he is one of the top hitters in the NL, with the ability to hit for average and power. He is a terrific 4th round pick in any league format.
Util Wilmer Flores—If you are looking for a sneaky player in NL-only formats, take a close look at Flores. He crushes LHP and should qualify at multiple positions too. The Mets might even end up trading him at some point which would be a boon to his Fantasy value.
SP Noah Syndergaard—“Thor” is one of the top starters available in Fantasy Baseball today and a guy who I would have no problem with anchoring my rotation. Thor has never thrown 200 innings in his career, but I expect that will happen this season. If it does, he could not only get 250+ Ks, he could end up winning a Cy Young Award.
SP Jacob deGrom—deGrom had surgery this off-season to fix his ulnar nerve, but he is back throwing in the high 90’s in spring training. If healthy, deGrom gives the Mets a second ace at the top of their staff. I always love rostering deGrom in DFS when he is at home, and I think he is a terrific pick in the 5th round of any Fantasy draft.
SP Matt Harvey—Harvey suffered from thoracic outlet syndrome last season (it caused numbing of his fingers) as well as a myriad of shoulder problems. He appears to be feeling better in spring training, but you would have to think that the Mets will be very careful not to push him too hard, especially in the early part of the season. I have my doubts that Harvey will pitch more than 150 innings this year, but if he does that will be good news for the Mets and Fantasy owners alike. Picking Harvey is a high-risk, high-reward pick which I always like.
SP Steven Matz—Matz had off-season elbow surgery to help fix a bone spur issue that he was having. The words “elbow issues” immediately raise red flags for me and I would be careful trusting Matz as anything more than my SP3 this season. Assume Matz will get about 150 innings with an ERA of 3.20 and a WHIP of 1.20. Anything more than that would be a light chicken gravy.
SP Robert Gsellman—Not too many people are talking about Gsellman, but as of right now it looks like he will be the team’s 5th starter and he could surprise. Gsellman looked excellent in a brief seven-game trial with the team last year and only let up one HR in 45 IP. The Mets offense is pretty solid, and the bullpen is good too—those two things alone should help make Gsellman a ten game winner at the major league level.
RP Addison Reed—Expect Reed to fill in at closer for as long as Familia is out. Reed was dominant for much of last season, striking out 91 batters and finishing up with a WHIP of .94. I love him in leagues that use holds as a category.
Closer Jeurys Familia—There is a pretty good chance that Familia is suspended due to a domestic violence situation (maybe 20-30 games), but there is no doubt that he is the closer when he is available. Familia has 94 saves over the past two seasons and strikes out more than one batter per inning.