Minor league affiliates will firm up this week. Players will attend their respective media days and rosters will be out by the end of the week. Thursday is opening day for the four full season teams. Las Vegas opens up at home vs. Fresno, Binghamton also opens up at home, vs. New Hampshire, St. Lucie gets a home start against Jupiter, and Columbia plays its first game ever in Charleston.
Yes, we are one game in but it’s not too late for me to throw my predictions out there for the 2016 season. Here goes –
1. I think Noah Syndergaard will finish the season as one of the top three vote getters for the Cy Young Award. He may even win it, but top three is as far as I’m going to go here. There is some great pitchers in the National League and it would be an honor for Syndergaard to achieve my prediction here.
2. I think Zack Wheeler will come back and have a respectable 2016 season. I’m thinking somewhere in the 7-9 wins area with an ERA well under 4.00. He also could finish second to Syndergaard in the K/9 ranking and should finish the season bypassing Steven Matz for the SP4 slot.
3. I think the decision to sign Alejando De Aza to a contract this year is going to be one of Sandy Alderson’s top genius moves as a General Manager because I think we will lose one of the other four outfielders with a season ending injury, maybe as early as the end of May. Can’t say who. Wouldn’t be prudent. But just wait and see.
4. I think it’s going to get increasingly harder to get decent tickets to see this team play. You may have to call up Earnest Dove and see if they can squeeze in out in the cheap seats with the 7 Train crowd. Forget behind home plate next to the Marlins Man. That’s Republican tickets.
5. I think Logan Verrett will set up and do well at whatever the Mets want him to do… long relief… emergency starter… whatever. Verrett, Reed, and Familia will be the rocks of the pen this season.
6. I think that 2016 will continue the sad, long journey of decline in David Wright’s game. It won’t have reached the ‘Tiger Woods pulling out of The Masters’ stage yet, but it will become quite obvious that the Mets are going to have to look elsewhere for someone to play third base in 2017.
7. I think you are going to be ole so happy that Yoenis Cespedes is back in a Mets uniform You’ll even dance in the isles if he plays more in left field than in center. You get Golden Glove quality play in center (Lagares) without losing one of the top bats in the league (Cespedes).
8. Josh Smoker will be the next great pitcher to come out of the Mets system. He probably will open up this week in St. Lucie because the Mets want to keep his arm warm those first few weeks that still bring show to New York State. He will quickly transfer to Binghamton and could easily bypass Las Vegas and hit Queens sometime in September.
9. Dilson Herrera is going to play lights out in Las Vegas and put a tremendous amount of pressure on Neil Walker to play well. Frankly I don’t think there is anything Walker can do to stop this guy.
10. Matt Oberste will give Dominic Smith a run of the money as the next top first baseman prospect in the system. Oberste has played three seasons in the Mets system since coming out of Oklahoma in 2013 as a 7th round draft pick. His 3-year stat line is (Brooklyn – Savannah – St, Lucie): 1010-AB, .268/.318/.395/.713, 17-HR, 135-RBI. The race for the next Queens first baseman is far from over.