Go Mets in 2003!
The New 2006 Mets: The Team to Beat in 2003!
A look at the new lineup. What if they play now like they played then!
An overly optimistic scouting report from Evan T. Pritchard January 30th, 2006 updated March 9th
Mets fans have high hopes for the 2006 season and well they should. Omar Minaya has just bought the best team money can buy—three years too late! The Mets in 2006 could conceivably field a team of eight position players and a pinchhitter, plus seven pitchers that all had great seasons in 2003, most of whom speak conversational Spanish. The problem is, this isn’t 2003 (and this isn’t Spain, but never mind, New York City comes pretty close, linguistically speaking.)
Does Omar have a secret elixir of youth, taken from the very fountain that Hispanic Hall of Famer Ponce de Leon was searching for in the land of winter ball down in Florida, not too many seasons ago? Is he getting vials of it sent to him from Victor Diaz, another Hispanic hombre, and one who has obviously found something south of the border to pep up his swing in winter ball? Looking at these trades, maybe Omar has an inside source for the baseball equivalent of Grecian formula. If he can get these guys to do in 2006 what they did in 2003, the Mets would be a match for this year’s Yankee team in a World Series (provided they didn’t also find an elixir of youth to put a spring in the step of Bernie Williams and company).
Of course we’d have to give up David Wright for a moment to have this Mets fantasy come to life, but all the more fun adding him, a truly hot player, to this slightly worn lineup. Soon enough we’ll be imagining him making a similar comeback. We’d also have to give up Kaz Matsui, which most of us want to do anyway, at any price. And Aaron Heilman will have to sit on the sidelines, as usual, since he didn’t have a major league career in 2003. Paul LoDuca had a truly phenomenal season in 2001, but sits on the bench in our 2003 assembly of giants with a .273 average. You also have Redman on the bench, who batted .333 in 2003
Pitchingwise, you have Pedro at 2.22 ERA with 206 strikeouts, Trachsel with 3.78 ERA (much better than 05) fanning 111; Bradford at 3.04 with 62 strikeouts, and Wagner with a 1.78 ERA and 105 Ks on the year. So here is the Mets lineup, as it will look on September 30th, 2006, providing that these players repeat their performances from a particular year of long ago, 2003.
Player Position ave. HR
Reyes, Jose SS .307 5
Franco, Julio 3B .294. 5
DelGado, Carlos 1B .302 42
Beltran, Carlos CF .307 26
Floyd, Cliff RF .290 18
Castro, Ramon C .287 5
Nady, Xavier LF .269 9
Valentin, Jose 2nd .237 28
Chris Woodward PH .261 7
Total about .285-290 145
METS PITCHING ROTATION 2006: Expected Performance Based on 2003
Pitcher ERA strikeouts
Martinez 2.22 206
Traschel 3.78 111
Zambrano 4.21 132
Glavine 4.52 82
Wagner 1.78 105
Bradford 3.04 62
Julio 4.38* 52 (36 saves!)
In summary, these few 2006 Mets would generate 145 homers, an average of almost 20 per starting player, with a team batting average of well over .285, (the Red Sox team average in ’05 was a mere .281) and their seven top pitchers would generate 750 strikeouts, almost 110 per average player.
Look upon it and drool, Oh Mets fans, because it probably is never going to happen. As Ponce de Leon noted, you can’t step into the same fountain twice. However he was not a Mets fan, and never heard the immortal words “Deba Creer!” (“You Gotta Believe.” )
The Mets are unique in that they do have a youth movement, but also an antiquarian movement. Will it work? The Aramaic is already on the wall, as the aging Brett Boone (who was the original inspiration for this article) has already hung up his Ben *** and gone home. His 2003 stats included a .294 average with an amazing 35 homers. We can no longer stir that into the pipe dream smoking mixture. And he leaves behind him a gap at second base in terms of the 2003 factor. Jose Valentin has played 28 games lifetime at second, and could do so again, a man who hit 28 big ones in 2003. Chris Woodward has played 31 games lifetime at 2nd, and in 2003 he batted .261 with 7 homers. Both are interchangable as DH PH or 2B.
Who’s to say the Mets won’t do even better in 2006 than they did in ’03? You gotta believe. But don’t look at trends, and whatever you do, don’t look at 2005; This group already started to show what creaking bones and aching muscles look like in action, which is why we actually have no idea what to expect in the coming season, do we?
Yes, history repeats itself, which could spell either relief or disaster for Mets fans, depending on what history you bet on to win. Personally, I’m hoping they all have career years, especially Julio Franco. But that would be like voting for Abe Lincoln for President hoping that he makes a speedy recovery and gets off the DL. In other words, some of these aging stars are already going from red giant to super nova as we speak, and as I recall, Dr. Emmit Brown’s "Back to the Future" Machine got destroyed in the third installment.
* His ERA was .59 better than Benson’s in 2003. Also, Kris Benson cannot speak Spanish. This is probably the real reason why he is now speaking Baltimorian, which you can accurately immitate by placing marbles in your mouth before speaking.