I’ve talked a lot about the negatives so far, but I see this infield as the best of the best for the 2013 team. Aside from the catcher, there will be no changes from last year. The Mets acquired John Buck from Toronto in the R.A. Dickey trade, along with trading away Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. To be blunt, Thole and Nickeas were not on my hot list. Neither could hit or field the ball, so why bother having them call games for a growing pitching staff? Travis d’Arnaud will most likely not be catching, to avoid the “Super Two” status (to avoid early arbitration). Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada and David Wright will improve: This is the first consistent infield they’ve had since Shea Stadium.
John Buck will most likely going to start the year catching, with Travis d’Arnaud replacing him sometime in June (along with Zack Wheeler).
Ike Davis hit 32 home runs after a dreadful first half (.201/.271/.388, 12 home runs, 81 games). His second half improved dramatically, (.255/.346/.542, 20 home runs, 75 games). Due to his poor time at the plate, his fielding was effected very negatively. His dWAR was a dreadful -1.1, something that will not happen again with the proper mindset now at the plate. In his 3rd full year, expect big things from Ike. He has 35 home run potential, something to Mets haven’t seen since (personal favorite) Carlos Delgado back in 2008.
Daniel Murphy put a smile on my face when he took the field, but not always when he picked up a bat. Now his oWAR (2.1) and dWAR(-0.8) will gladly disagree with me, Murphy played the field better than anyone would have expected after seeing him in left field during his brief stint there in 2008-09. His splits between the first and second half of the season are very similar, with the first half being about .020 points better in every category. Murphy is doing what we expected Reese Havens (points if you remember THAT name), so I’m happy with him!
Ruben Tejada dWAR: 0.6
Jose Reyes dWAR: -0.9
I’m kidding, that’s now how I’m opening up about Tejada (Tey-Ha-Duh, just for my roommate). By the way, did you know Jose Reyes is playing with R.A. Dickey again? Funny how life works…
Tejada was pretty damn good on the field last year. He played gold glove defense, but what’s a gold glove these days since Derek Jeter can still win them (can’t be a sports blog with ripping on Jeter, right?!). Tejada reminds me of Rey Ordonez, key word being “reminds”. He’s not Ordonez, but certainly can show flashes of being him. He is the poor man’s (and the Wilpon’s are POOR men) Ordonez, with a slightly better bat. Like many Mets, Tejada battled through an injury last season. A healthy shortstop (something we haven’t seen since the Shea days…) will be key having this infield be lights out.
David Wright, officially maning the hot corner until at least 2020. Wright hit his 200th home run on August 24th, against the Houston Astros. He also finished 6th in the MVP voting this past season, primarily because of his great first half (.351/.441/.563). While Ike Davis got hot in the second half, Wright got very cold (.258/.334/416). He tied his 2008 WAR total with a 6.7, and finished with his highest dWAR ever at 2.1 (1.8 above his career average). Things seemed to click at times for Wright, but he NEEDS supporting bats around him. He had Murphy, Captain Kirk and Lucas Duda in the first half until the two outfielders got very cold. Ike Davis stepped up his home run game, but it wasn’t enough for Wright.
The key to this infields bats and gloves is…consistency! It’s almost too obvious to be true, isn’t it?
Next time, I’ll look into the bullpen (Brian Wilson, anyone?)