Written by Jonathan Leshanski
Published: 22 February 2008
This is one of the most loaded teams in baseball in terms of fantasy players. Take advantage of them
The Best of The Bunch:
Johan Santana (SP):
Santana is the number one pitcher in all of fantasy baseball - even more so now that he’s in the National League and pitching for the Mets. His ERA should improve as he won’t have to face the DH and his strikeout totals and WHIP should fall as well. He’ll vie for the NL Cy Young and will be the first pitcher off the board in serpentine drafts.
David Wright (3B):
Wright is National League’s premier third baseman and will almost certainly be the second choice of anyone who can’t snag Alex Rodriguez in the draft. He was a 30-30 man last season with a .325 average and over 100 runs and RBIs and he’s just 25 so his upside is tremendous - as hard as it could be to imagine this guy could and should get better. He’s a top 5 pick in most leagues.
Jose Reyes (SS):
Ok, I admit, I’m hesitant to list Reyes as an elite player - especially after his second half fall off last year and the fear that he could fall off a cliff this year. However, even if his average falls off, and he never realizes that 20 home run power this guy is capable of stealing more bases in a season than some teams do. That alone makes him extremely valuable since with a single player you can almost lock up a spot at the top of a category and since steals are still the hardest stat to come by.
Reyes still has a huge upside and could set a career best in ANY category this season. He’ll be a top five pick in almost every draft.
Billy Wagner (CL):
I hate putting any closer in the top tier of players, but no doubt about it Wagner is a top tier player in his role. While 12 other closers had more saves than he did, that was a symptom of the Mets collapse more than a failure on Wagner’s part. He ranked 4th in ERA among full time closers, struck out 80 in 68.1 innings and should get more chances this year.
The Second Tier:
Carlos Beltran (OF):
Beltran is just a shade away from being an elite player, and has fallen this far because of last year’s numbers (.276-33-112-93-23) and because of an arthroscopic knee surgery which is still going to he hobbling him coming into Spring Training. That could affect both his swing and his speed so be a little bit cautious here.
Oliver Perez (SP):
It’s hard to know what to make of Perez but he seems to have righted his ship in New York and could build on his 2007 numbers (15-10, 3.56-174 in 177 IP) to once again become one of the most dominant lefties in the game (as he was back in 2004). He’s only 27 and even if he only pitches as well as he did this year but goes 200 innings he’ll be even more valuable. Pitching as the number four starter should make things easier too.
John Maine (SP):
Maine threw his career best in innings last season (191) and finished with a 3.91 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 15 wins and 180 Ks. He’ll only be 27 this season and still has a lot of upside.
The Third Tier:
Ryan Church (OF):
Church is 29 coming into this season and has never been an everyday player. He should be better than his numbers the last few years suggest and batting in a lineup outside of the Washington/Montreal organization can only make him better. Consider him to have moderate upside and think that a .275-20-85 season is possible.
Moises Alou (OF):
The ancient Alou (41) played only 87 games last season and was limited to 328 at bats but when he played he was solid. He went .341-13-49 in that span and proved that he can still hit. How many games he can handle this year is the big issue. Even part time he’s a third tier outfielders and a good pick up in the late rounds, but if he’s healthy he could be a solid sleeper with 25 hr potential.
Luis Castillo (2B):
Because the position is thin, you might even consider ranking Castillo with the second tier guys - especially in an NL only league, but he offers little more than a good average, moderate (under 100) run production, and maybe 15-25 steals.
The Question Marks:
Carlos Delgado (1B):
Delgado dealt with injuries all last season ranging from recovery form shoulder and wrist surgery, a hyper extended knee, and of course the broken hand during the stretch drive after being hit with a pitch. It added up to one of the worst years of his career (.258-24-87-71-4 in 538 AB). He should be in much better health this season but he’s on the wrong side of 35 and skills are eroding. Even so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him better last year’s numbers.
Pedro Martinez (SP):
At 37 Pedro insists he’s still an ace, but since he’s only thrown 28 innings since 2006 and while those were good - they were hardly dominating. With another six months of healing behind him and not being in as high stress a role as the staff ace, Pedro could be less than the classic Pedro and still be pretty good, how good is the question. His health as always is a question, as is his durability at this point.
Brian Schneider (C):
Schneider is a low end fantasy option who hasn’t had more than 436 AB in any year of his whole career. He’s got a tiny bit of pop, but he might benefit enough from the Mets order to make him a very late round pickup.
The Great Debate:
Orlando Hernandez (SP):
He’s 38 or 48, or somewhere in between and he’s erratic as heck in what he can do. When he’s on he’s great, when he’s not he’d terrible and he’s pitched over 150 innings only once since 2000. Can he stay healthy? If he is healthy is he worth owning? Probably in moderately deep leagues, but he’s certainly not someone to rely on.
Mike Pelfrey (SP):
Ok, he’s not really a prospect but the Mets traded away most of their Major League ready prospects this offseason and could end up as the Mets fifth starter and certainly will be the first in line should anyone go down. That said, the Mets think very highly of this guy - so much so they refused to include him in the Santana deal. If he gets a chance to pitch he could be a sleeper - especially if the Mets offense gels this season and provides him with leads.