KFFL answers some important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the New York Mets?
How do I handicap the Mets' disabled veterans?
Quietly, Jose Reyes hit .282 with 11 homers and 30 thefts in 603 plate appearances in 2010, and he enters a contract year. He learned to deal with a thyroid condition, but a high risk of injury remains. You wouldn't know it from his high ADP, per Mock Draft Central, though. That's because shortstop could be a relative wasteland. The reward could easily be greater in 2011, so it's all about how you plan around his selection.
Big risk, bigger payoff?
Jason Bay has gone months without feeling symptoms of the concussion he suffered in late July. His NYC production was on life support, though, and it wasn't exactly Citi Field's fault. He's a choice of faith, but that leap for a high payout should be relatively inexpensive.
Johan Santana has had bone spurs removed from his left elbow twice and had shoulder surgery in September. He could be pitching in the bigs by June, but his declining skill and medical history cause pause, despite his impressive resume. You'll need patience.
In September, Carlos Beltran batted .321 with five homers in 78 at-bats before his knee forced him to shut it down again. The joint will remain a threat to his PT and output, but he has been lifting without pain - a huge positive. With tempered hopes, he's a low-risk buy, but monitor him.
Should I feel comfortable drafting Francisco Rodriguez?
Trends suggested that, statistically, K-Rod might be headed for disaster. In 2010 he posted the best BB/9 of his career, discounting 2002 (5 2/3 frames), however. Although his velocity remained down, his K/9 jumped back over the 10.00 mark. Rodriguez committed to being more aggressive in the strike zone, and he threw first-pitch strikes more often than he has in any other season.
How will the league react to a more assertive K-Rod? Perhaps just as important, how will Rodriguez react, period? The emotional pitcher's issues came to a head with an assault charge against his father-in-law last August. He tore a thumb ligament in the alleged incident. The Mets withheld his salary, he filed a grievance, and ... well, it was a big mess. K-Rod avoided jail time by agreeing to attend anger management classes.
His digit should be fine. Rodriguez still coerced a lower rate of swings and misses last year, unfortunately, and opposing batters can always swing earlier. To say the least, K-Rod is still ... volatile.
Is Angel Pagan's 2010 campaign a fluke?
Pagan's 2010 line (.290 batting average, 11 homers, 37 steals) is in accordance with his 2009 output and, in general, that of his career, with some progression taken into account. He always missed the chance for extensive PT because of various other factors - notably, serious health problems. His 2011 draft price will probably be more a result of skepticism, but injuries are a greater issue. It doesn't matter what crafts the cost if you're willing to pay it, but it may make you more willing to pay it.
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.