Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NL East Preview: New York Mets

Prediction: New York Mets: 1st place finish

Strengths: Shortstop Jose Reyes, third baseman David Wright and center fielder Carlos Beltran are among the best young players in the league and represent the core of the Mets line-up. Starting pitcher Johan Santana, has the stuff to be the most dominate pitcher in the majors and anchors a solid front of the Mets rotation. The Mets bullpen was a weakness going into the off season but with the additions of a pair of closers, J.J Putz and Francisco Rodriguez, should now turn into a strength of the team.

Weaknesses: While New York has a playoff caliber team, they do have some holes on their roster. Second baseman Luis Castillo and catcher Brian Schneider are below average offensively. The back of the Mets rotation is unsettled as well. Oliver Perez has struggled in Spring Training and the 5th spot is up for grabs.

Farm Aid: The Mets don't have much in terms of immediate help in their minor league system. New York does have the depth in their lower minors to make a trade or two if they need a player for a playoff run. A pair of pitchers are the best bet to help out the Mets this season. Left-hander Jonathon Niese may become their 5th starter before the year is out. Righty Bobby Parnell is likely to make the roster as a middle reliever and could be a bridge to the 8th and 9th inning guys.

Outlook: The Mets are opening a new ballpark in 2009 and should christen it with an NL East division title.

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