Ted Berg over at Tedquarters.net is doing a four part series on “If absolutely everything falls right” and looking at the upward bounds of expectations for the Mets roster. It’s nice to know I’m not the only person looking at the optimistic avenue. I was beginning to feel a little like Highlander as an optimistic Mets fan.
I think this post on the infield is very reasonable, and it’s even possible that some of the players overshoot his proposed projections. The most unrealistic part is them all staying healthy all year. Still, health is not an unreasonable expectation. I’m not expecting Wright to break his back again, or Ike Davis managing to fall in exactly the wrong way to ruin his season.
His second part, on the outfield, seems a tad more pessimistic to me. Maybe Bay does rebound a little. I’ve mentioned that here in the past, but I think we’re doing a disservice to Duda in projecting his ceiling defensively as “not terrible”. His outfield experience in the minors was mostly in left, and he’s only got about half a season of time in the majors. Perhaps his hulking frame tends to make one believe he’ll never be good defensively, but I think he can hit “not terrible” just by having all of Spring Training to start at the position and build on it as the year goes on. He can clearly hit the baseball, and if he were to improve on what he did last year he could be our own version of Mike Stanton. In fact, their offensive WAR on baseball-reference were very similar factoring in playing time. Ralph Kiner and Keith Hernandez both love his swing, for whatever that’s worth.
Ted dreams of Jason Bay having a great first half and becoming a trade chip and Kirk Nieuwenhuis forcing his way up to the majors. Personally I think that’s unrealistic, because I don’t think a half season of good baseball is going to yield the type of return to make it worth trading him. He’s not Carlos Beltran and his trade would come along with 24 or so million dollars owed to him and a possible vesting option. More likely if Nieuwenhuis does warrant a call-up, Andres Torres will become a fourth outfielder. If this happens we’ll lose a little defensively, but gain a lot offensively, including some flexibility with defensive replacements.
So what’s the highest fWAR we can expect from the Mets offense? I’m going to say somewhere in the 28-30 range. This would’ve had them 4th in the NL last year and best in the NL East. I think this number represents of everything goes well. It’s certainly possible that if one or two things turn out to go extraordinarily well, they could shoot past it. Because fWAR heavily relies on fielding, if the pitching does better there will be less balls in play and less fielding damage to the values. I assume part three and four of Ted’s series will deal with the rotation and the bullpen.