Meet the 2011 Mets
Meet Terry Collins and the players on the Mets opening day roster.
By Jim Baumbach
TERRY COLLINS, Manager
A major-league manager for the first time since 1999, Collins ran a tighter camp in spring training than the Mets’ players were used to. His downfall with the Angels proved to be his poor relationship with some players, which is something he vows to improve with the Mets.
JOSH THOLE, Catcher
Though Thole has never hit for much power in the minors, he has always succeeded at reaching base (.376 OBP), which is something the Mets’ new front office values greatly. If he continues that tendency in the majors, he’ll have the starting job here for a while.
MIKE NICKEAS, Catcher
The 28-year-old catcher will take Paulino’s place on the roster while Ronny Paulino finishes the final eight games of his 50-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Nickeas was 2-for-10 for the Mets as a September call-up last year.
IKE DAVIS, First base
The biggest surprise from Davis’ rookie season was his success against lefthanded pitchers. The lefthanded power hitter batted .295 (36-for-122) against lefthanders with a higher on-base (.362) and SLG (.443) than versus righthanders (.348 OBP, .439 SLG).
JOSE REYES, Shortstop
After two straight seasons in which Reyes was hampered by injuries, he has financial incentive to stay healthy and produce this year. He’s a free agent after the season and could be in line for something similar to the $142 million, seven-year deal Carl Crawford signed with Boston.
DAVID WRIGHT, Third base
By hitting 29 homers last year, Wright distanced himself from the notion he couldn’t be a power hitter at cavernous Citi Field. Now he needs to cut down his strikeouts; after averaging 115 in his first four full seasons, he stuck out 140 times in 2009 and 161 last season.
BRAD EMAUS, Infield
A Rule V pick from the Blue Jays, Emaus posted a .395 OBP and .495 SLG in 87 games at Triple-A last season but was blocked from advancing to the majors in Toronto by the presence of Aaron Hill.
DANIEL MURPHY, Infield
Murphy was slated to be the Mets’ first baseman last season before hurting his knee late in spring training and then tearing his MCL during a minor-league rehab game. Now he’s reinventing himself as a utility player who likely will be the first pinch-hitter off the bench.
CHIN-LUNG HU, Infield
Acquired from the Dodgers, Hu was once considered a major-league prospect but has proven to be a light-hitting middle infielder who is above average defensively. Mets front-office exec Paul DePodesta was the Dodgers general manager when Hu was on the rise.
SCOTT HAIRSTON, Outfield
Hairston, 30, is a versatile outfielder who can play all three positions. He also has some pop in his bat; he hit 17 home runs in 326 at-bats in 2008 and 17 in 430 in 2009. But he’s never been known for his ability to reach base (career .303 OBP).
JASON BAY, Leftfield
Bay’s first season with the Mets was a struggle. He had only six home runs and a meager .402 slugging percentage when the side effects of a concussion suffered in Los Angeles shut him down for the remainder of the season. He said the side effects are long gone.
ANGEL PAGAN, Centerfield
As the Mets slipped out of contention last summer, Pagan slumped, recording a .284 OBP and .324 SLG over his final 43 games. Handed the full-time centerfield job in spring training, Pagan plans to resemble the hitter who had a .364 OBP and .471 SLG on August 14.
CARLOS BELTRAN, Rightfield
How much will Beltran’s troublesome knees affect his availability? It’s the biggest question hovering over a player who is in need of a productive, injury-free season to get another contract. He’s also moving to a position – rightfield – that he’s only played three games at in the majors.
WILLIE HARRIS, Outfield
Doesn’t it seem as if this guy has made a career of making game-saving catches against the Mets? Now he joins them as a backup outfielder who figures to be utilized most often as a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch runner.
MIKE PELFREY, Starting pitcher
Pelfrey finally emerged as a front-line starter last season, going 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA. Now, with Johan Santana out until at least the middle of the season, Pelfrey is the Mets’ interim ace. With so many questions on this team, the Mets need Pelfrey to build on last season.
R.A. DICKEY, Starting pitcher
Dickey finally mastered his knuckleball last season, dazzling opposing hitters while posting an impressive 2.84 ERA and 1.187 WHIP in 174 1/3 innings. It’s not unusual for knuckleballers to develop late; the Mets rewarded him with a two-year deal with a team option for a third year.
JON NIESE, Starting pitcher
Niese established himself as a capable major-league starter last season, going 9-10 with a 4.20 ERA in 173 2/3 innings. He’s only 24 years old, so there’s still a chance this lefthander becomes the next Jerry Koosman … or the next Glendon Rusch.
CHRIS YOUNG, Starting pitcher
Young hasn’t pitched a full season since 2008 because of shoulder problems, but he said he’s completely healthy now. He’s a flyball pitcher, making him a good fit to pitch his home games in spacious Citi Field. He’s on a one-year incentive-laden deal.
CHRIS CAPUANO, Starting pitcher
After missing the 2008 and 2009 seasons rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery, Capuano went 4-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 66 innings for the Brewers last season. The Mets have him penciled in as their fifth starter, with Dillon Gee next in line at Triple-A.
FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ, Closer
There’s at least one reason why Mets games in September will be meaningful. Once Rodriguez finishes his 55th game this season, his 2012 option for $17.5 million automatically vests. It will be a shocker if the Mets allow that to happen.
D.J. CARRASCO, Reliever
Manager Terry Collins raved early in spring training about Carrasco’s different arm angles, which helped him post a 3.68 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 93 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh and Arizona last season.
BLAIN BOYER, Reliever
Spent five seasons as a reliever in Atlanta. Traded to Cardinals in 2009, and later designated for assignment. Pitched for Diamondbacks last season.
BOBBY PARNELL, Reliever
The hard-throwing righthander has a chance to own the eighth inning if only he can show better consistency. One positive sign is that he allowed only one home run 35 innings last season, a year after giving up eight in 88 1/3.
TAYLOR BUCHHOLZ, Reliever
In 2008, Buchholz was one of baseball’s most effective relievers with a 2.17 ERA and .95 WHIP in 66 1/3 innings for Colorado. But he was sidelined by Tommy John surgery, missed the 2009 season and threw only 12 innings last year.
TIM BYRDAK, Reliever
The 37-year-old Byrdak has had success against lefthanded hitters, holding them to just 47-for-267 (.176) over the last three seasons, earning him a spot in the Mets bullpen as the lefthanded specialist.
PEDRO BEATO, Reliever
A Rule V pick from the Baltimore Orioles, the hard-throwing Beato is making the jump to the majors from Double-A where he had a 2.11 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 59 2/3 innings last season. He throws five pitches, including a fastball that can top out at 97 miles per hour.