My 2014 Fantasy Baseball Preview continues with a stop in New York. I will get to the Yankees later on but today it’s time to look at the New York Mets’ top position battle entering spring training.
Unlike the other teams I have featured to date, the Mets could have a couple different battles going on so I will take a look at both, beginning with the first base position.
Ike Davis has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason and while Mets general manager Sandy Alderson recently told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com that they’re “not going to move Ike just to move Ike,” that doesn’t necessarily mean Davis will have a job locked down to begin spring training.
After being subject to trade rumors in the offseason, Davis is still with the club, and the favorite to claim the position. If he fails, Lucas Duda is expected to step in. But Collins indicated that he’s not going to accept poor performances early. If both Davis and Duda get off to slow starts, Collins said the team could shift Daniel Murphy to first while Eric Young Jr. plays second.
However keep a close eye on Davis during spring training.
Collins said he plans to get Davis around 90 at-bats during spring training. “He might get a little tired but he’s too big a piece,” Collins said. “We have to know what we have there.”
Davis is coming off a disappointing 2013 campaign where he only hit .205/.326/.334 in 317 at-bats last season.
Despite posting only a .661 OPS in 103 games, his 32-homer season in 2012, a year in which he struggled badly before heating up in the second half, keeps him fantasy relevant for the moment.
With a career .602 OPS against left-handed pitching, it’s likely that Davis would have a platoon partner should he win the starting job, so he shouldn’t have much value to begin with.
A trade, especially to a place like Pittsburgh with a short porch in right field, could up his value some but his struggles have been too great that I would recommend staying away from Davis altogether in drafts.
If you want to take a shot on another power breakout very late in drafts that is one thing but if you end up with Davis as your primary first baseman or even your corner man, you are going to be in trouble.
I would also stay away from Duda as he is likely a guy that you can grab on the waiver wire if you are in a pinch.
Duda has proven to be a solid major league hitter, with a .773 OPS and 13 homers per season since 2011, but he has nowhere near Davis’ power potential.
Another guy I would keep an eye on the waiver wire after your draft is Josh Satin.
Satin could be a sleeper after posting a .781 OPS in 75 games as a rookie. He also will attempt to learn how to play the outfield this offseason, according to the New York Post, which could make him a dark-horse candidate in deep leagues.
Prediction: Someone has to win this job, but I’m not overly excited about either guy. Eventually I think Davis will be moved, but as for now he will likely be the Mets’ first baseman to start the season. The best case scenario I project for him is a .230 AVG with 18 HR and 60 RBI. You can do much better so stay away from him if you can.
As for Duda I am going to project him a bit higher, based on the fact I think Davis will be moved. Overall I can envision a .245 AVG, 20 HR and 65 RBI as he could see time in the outfield as well to begin the season. But again, those numbers are based on Davis being moved. If he isn’t, stay away and I would proceed with caution even if Davis gets dealt before the season begins.