Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Disappointments of the 2013 Mets

by John Vittas

1. Matt Harvey’s Torn UCL

This was an absolute tragedy. It can only lead you to believe that the organization is cursed. Harvey represented everything that was “right” about the Mets. He signified the attitude, the skill set and the method for future success. And it all came crashing down at that August 26th press conference.

Harvey burned two months in ignorant denial, sealing the fate of his 2014 season. Beyond the fact that the Mets will be 6-8 games worse because of his absence, it’s disappointing purely because it will be another 17 months before we get to see him dazzling hitters again. Get well soon, Matthew.

Image: AP / sportingnews.com

The Fallout

2. Ike Davis

Ike has Regressed, with a capital R. His first half struggles have become a constant. His once-promising bat is now a liability. His .468 August OBP might keep him on the 2014 roster, but Ike has flaws in his swing that need to be corrected.

His confidence needs to be resurrected and he’d be well-served to learn how to hit a breaking ball on the outer half of the plate. Unless he shows signs of a true Major League slugger in Spring Training, the Mets might be headed in another direction at first base.

3. David Wright’s Hamstring Pull

After signing his big 10-year deal, David Wright did exactly what he was paid to do. As the Mets entered the rebuilding stage of 2013, calling up their young prospects in August and September, it was Wright who was counted on to mentor them into Big Leaguers. But when he came up lame on August 2nd against Kansas City, the Mets lost their leader, essentially ending their season.

Still a presence in the clubhouse, Wright did what he could to help the youngsters from the bench, and even made it back to play seven games in September, but there’s no denying that his hamstring injury derailed his first season as the captain, leaving late-season Mets games anything but intriguing.

Image: Jay Jaffe (mlb.si.com)

4. Ruben Tejada

The kid appears to have hit his athletic peak at 21 years old, because the past two years have been a consistent free fall. He’s drawn the ire of his head coach and general manager with a lackluster work ethic. With three years remaining on his Mets’ clock, it’s curious as to whether Tejada will be dropped, traded or buried in Triple-A.

Speaking of Triple-A, Tejada ended up in Vegas this summer to rehab, and ended up being stuck there for 57 games (not sure if you can get “stuck” in Vegas). At the Major League level, his average dropped over 80 points and he looked incredibly benign at the plate. On top of it all, his sure-handed defense took a hit as well.

5. The Lackluster Debuts of Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores

Considering these two were the top position-player prospects in the system, a combined .206 average is not exactly what the Mets were looking for upon their arrival. Phenoms are supposed to look overzealous, not overmatched. And both d’Arnaud and Flores appeared lost at the plate at times in September.

d’Arnaud isn’t going anywhere, he’s going to have to figure it out - it’s that simple. On the other hand, the Mets have to make some serious judgements on Flores this winter.

6. The Demise of Jordany Valdespin

Valdespin may have been the most gifted athlete on the Opening Day roster, but he may be unemployed very soon. ‘Demise’ is definitely the right word. ‘Fall from grace’ is another. JV went from being one of the most exciting bench players in baseball in 2012 to an absolute pathogen in 2013.

A consistent pusher of the rules, Valdespin made up for it with offensive pazazz. But when he failed miserably on the field for the first time, his presence became a detriment. Tack on the 50-game drug suspension, and I’d be shocked to see Valdespin in Flushing ever again.

Let's Try to Remember This Valdespin

7. Bullpen Prospect Injuries: Josh Edgin and Jeurys Familia

As inconsistent as the Mets’ aging bullpen was in 2013, Josh Edgin and Jeurys Familia had two of the most promising arms coming into the year: Familia a highly touted prospect, and Edgin a southpaw 30th round steal. Both can chuck it in the mid-90s, but both had their seasons halted due to injury, forcing Collins to squeeze more out of guys like Scott Atchison, Scott Rice and LaTroy Hawkins. Personally, I would've rather seen Edgin and Familia.

8. Shaun Marcum

Shaun Marcum failed to be the Zack Wheeler placeholder he was supposed to be. 10 losses in 12 starts...ouch. His 5.29 ERA was better than 1.40 points higher than his career mark. It’s a shame too, because Marcum would have gotten plenty of late-season innings had he been effective.

9. Veteran Relievers (Aardsma, Atchison, Lyon, Feliciano, Byrdak)

With the exception of LaTroy Hawkins, none of the Mets’ veteran relievers were able to reinvent themselves and be high-leverage stoppers. Headlining the list, Brandon Lyon. The 10-year vet gave up 43 hits in 34 innings and couldn’t even make it to the All Star break.

10. Frank Francisco

Francisco must’ve had a thing for Port St. Lucie, because he had no desire to leave. And Terry Collins had no problem hiding him there. The guy who was meant to be New York’s closer wound up “rehabbing” a sore arm for five months, finally making it to the diamond just in time for the meaningless September slogs. Add him to the list of bad contracts, safe to say that $12 million went to waste.

Photo: Getty Images, zimbio.com

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