New York MetsOur expert from ScoutPRO.com,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.
New York Mets Team Projection
Scroll down to read my 2014 fantasy baseball player profiles of the New York Mets pitching staff.
1. SP Jonathon Niese
Niese struggled through the first 2+ months of the season (4.32 ERA) due to a bum left shoulder. He went on the DL in mid June with a partially torn rotator cuff that didn't require surgery. This led to a poor walk rate (3.9) and weak K rate (5.7). Jon was able to make it back to the majors in August. Over his last 10 starts, he had a 3.00 ERA with a solid K rate (7.6) and improved command (2.0). His 2nd half success was in line with his solid 2012 season. Overall, his command (3.0) regressed and his K rate (6.6) has declined over the last 2 years. His AFB (90.2) was only slightly lower than his previous 2 years. He throws a cutter as his #2 pitch, followed by a solid curveball and improving changeup. Most of his struggles were against RH batters (.294). Niese was a much better pitcher at home (2.70 ERA - 5.27 ERA on the road). His resume isn't the greatest (3.99 ERA and 1.376 WHIP), but he is a pitcher that has improved when healthy over the last 2 years. The key to his success is his walk rate. Possible 3.50 ERA with 150 K's if he has a clean spring training in 2014.
2. SP Zack Wheeler
Wheeler is getting solid respect in the early draft season. He is expected to be a SP3 this season, but his skill set does have some risk. I know some fantasy players don't want to miss on the next Matt Harvey, so they are paying almost full price for Zack. His walk rate (4.1) has been poor during his entire career. This led to a shorter K rate (7.6) in the majors (9.7 in his minor league career). Wheeler had a career 3.56 ERA in the minors with 420 K's in 391.3 innings. Last year, he had a spike in his HR/9 rate (1.2) at AAA. Zack had success against righties (.230), but he allowed too many walks to LH batters (31 in 162 at bat), which led to a .259 batting average against him. With the Mets, he allowed 2 runs or less in 11 of his 17 starts. His AFB was 94.4 with the Mets, while his slider is his #2 pitch (followed by a curveball and a weak changeup). Wheeler is a high upside pitcher, but his command is still a couple of miles down the road. His first pitch strike % (53%) was terrible with New York in 2013. I'm thinking Ubaldo Jimenez of 2008 with slightly better command, but a weaker changeup. 3.75 ERA with 175 K's and 90 walks.
3. SP Bartolo Colon
The math just doesn't add up with Colon over the last 2 seasons. He has developed elite command (1.4), but he has a weak K rate (5.5). Last year, his ERA (2.65) was lower than expected due to a high LOB % (80%). The Mets don't have a bullpen that is anywhere near as strong as the A's, so his wins aren't repeatable. HIs AFB (89.9) has declined over the last 2 years. Last year, he threw 2957 pitches (2516 fastballs). He also threw 1604 sinkers (batters hit .290 against it with 12 HR's in 438 at bats) and 912 four seam fastballs (.234). A big part of his success over the past 2 years is due to a much lower HR rate (0.7). Bartolo signed a 2-year, $20 million contract in December with the Mets. In essence, New York added him to be an above average innings eater. Colon is 189-128 during his major league career and has somewhat reinvented himself as a soft tosser. Realistically, he won't be an asset in any category in 2014. Maybe 11 wins with a 3.75 ERA and short K's. Just say, "No".
4. SP Dillon Gee
Gee pitched poorly in 6 of his first 10 starts, which led to a 6.34 ERA over his first 49.7 innings. The light bulb clicked on May 30th when he struck out 12 batters in 7.3 innings. Over his last 22 starts, Dillon had a 2.71 ERA with 107 K's in 149.3 innings. However, his AFB (89.3) was weaker than his previous 2 years. His velocity was also down in April (AFB - 87.9 - 89.5 over his 149.3 innings). Last year, he threw his changeup and slider equally as well, followed by a curveball. Gee has very good command against righties (6.00 - SO:BB ratio), but he did struggle with lefties (.288 with 34 of his 47 walks). As well as he pitched over the 2nd half of the year (2.74 ERA), Dillon did have some regression in terms of K rate (5.4). Gee had the best command (2.1) of his career, but his K rate (6.4) was lower than 2013. He has a decent major league arm, but really doesn't have any plus pitches. His changeup and curveball had the most value in 2013. Overall, Gee has a career 3.78 ERA with 385 K's in 437.7 innings. Decent backend option with possibly some upside in K's, but he has a slim margin of error and needs to improve against LH batters.
5. SP Rafael Montero
Montero may be the impact rookie arm for the Mets in 2014. He is 28-16 in his minor league career with 2.51 ERA with 326 K's in 348.3 innings. He has shown elite command (1.7) during his minor league career with a solid K rate (8.4). Last year, he made 16 starts at AAA (3.05 ERA with 78 K's in 88.7 innings). His fastball sits in the low 90's and it will have upside when he adds more bulk. He throws a plus slider and an improving changeup. Montero is committed to becoming a pitcher, rather than a thrower. He beat out Harvey and Wheeler for minor league pitcher of the year for the Mets in 2012. High upside arm who appears ready to make the step forward to the majors.
6. SP Jenrry Mejia
Mejia has kicked around the Mets system for 7 years. He looked like a high upside pitcher in 2010 when he went 2-0 with a 1.28 ERA in 42.1 innings with 45 K's. His season was cut short by a shoulder injury, which led to Tommy John surgery in May of 2011. He returned to the minors in 2012 and appeared to be a lot less pitcher. His ERA (3.59) was solid and he had the best command (2.8) of his career, but his K rate (5.3) looked like it has faded off into the sunset. Last year, he struggled with an elbow/forearm injury out of spring training that led to two long DL stints. The last resulted in right elbow surgery to remove bone chips. He is expected to be ready for spring training. In between his struggles, Mejia flashed major league upside. He pitched well during his 5 major league starts (2.30 ERA) with elite command (1.3) and a solid K rate (8.9). Overall, Jenrry is an extreme GB pitcher (58.0%). His AFB (92.1) has declined during each season in the majors. He added a slider at the expense of his curveball, followed by a changeup. Mejia has an upside arm, but he has never pitched over 100 innings in his career at any level. The emergence of his slider is a change in skill set and it looks like the missing ingredient to being a successful starter in the majors. His lack of health will depress his value to where his price point is just about free. Possible flyer if he is healthy in spring training and is named the 5th starter for the Mets.
7. SP Noah Syndergaard
The Mets acquired Syndergaard in the R.A Dickey trade in 2012. After stalling at A ball in 2012, he pushed his way up 2 levels in 2013. Noah has a career 22-12 record in the minors with a 2.64 ERA and 329 K's in 293.7 innings. His fastball can reach the mid 90's with some upside. While his curveball isn't elite, it has been strong enough to get minor league batters out. This pitch needs to improve for him to have success in the majors. His changeup is also still developing. Syndergaard has had solid command (2.5) in the minors with a plus K rate (10.1). Overall, his innings have been short during his career. I'm sure New York would like to get him to the 150 innings mark in 2014. Noah has a nice upside arm and the Mets could have the building blocks for a strong starting rotation in the near future with Harvey, Wheeler, Montero, and Syndergaard. I expect him to start the year at AAA. He has about a half season behind Montero in his development.
8. CL Bobby Parnell
Parnell handled himself well as the Mets closer over the first 4 months of the season. He threw the most first pitch strikes of his career (65%), which led to an improved walk rate (2.2). His K rate (7.9) has declined over the last 2 seasons. Bobby had the exact same success against RH (.211) and (LH (.211) batters. However, his AFB (95.0) was weaker than his last 3 years. His #2 pitch continues to be a curveball. Unfortunately for him, his season ended in late July due to a herniated disk in his neck that required surgery. Parnell was cleared for all baseball activities in early January and appears to be on track to be ready for spring training. He has a plus fastball with improving command. The Mets offense should be improved this year and their starting rotation has decent depth. Parnell has 40 SV upside with solid K's. His neck issue may scare off some fantasy owners, but his skill set looks strong enough to keep the job if he is healthy.
9. RP Vic Black
I've seen Black's name pop up on a couple of message boards as the possible closer for the Mets if Parnell wasn't healthy. When I finally looked him up, I quickly said "no way" and searched for other options. He has a plus fastball (95.5) with a solid curveball as his 2nd pitch. His command (3.2) was better than his minor league resume (4.5), while his K rate (7.9) was shorter than expected considering his improved command and his minor league success (11.0). Vic had a career 3.08 ERA in the minors with 217 K's in 178.3 innings. His skill set started to improve in the minors in 2012 without an improved walk rate. Upside fastball that can reach triple digits, but he'll never pitch in the 9th without better command. His 2013 major league resume suggests he had some growth, but it is too small of a sample size. If Montero wins the 5th starting job, Mejia is the next best major league option for the 8th inning.
10. RP Luis Mateo
Mateo blew out his right elbow last year, which led to Tommy John surgery in June. He won't be ready for the start of the year and hasn't pitched well above low A ball. He had electric command (1.1) in 2012 with a plus K rate (10.4). Furthermore, he had a mid 90's fastball with a plus, plus slider. He has enough talent to be the future Mets closer if his stuff returns to his pre surgery form. His progress as a starter will be slow in New York's system due to road blocks at higher levels of the minors and the majors. If he throws the ball well when he returns sometime in 2014, he could move very quickly as a reliever. It's pure speculation on my part, but his arm will have value to the Mets down the road in the bullpen.