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10 Things We Learned About The Mets In 2010, Part Two

6 – Angel Pagan is for real
If it wasn’t for Angel Pagan this season the Mets and the Nationals would have fought to stay out of last place in the NL East. His numbers did tail off at the end of the season (315 first half/ 263 second half), but 2010 was his first full season and a dip in production wasn’t a surprise.
You can argue that Pagan was the Mets 2010 MVP, he did lead the team in average, hits and stolen bases. His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) was a team high 4.7, but more than 40% of that is from fielding. Even with those lofty stats I still think that David Wright is the team MVP, Pagan was a close second.
His emergence also made it easier for the Mets to get rid of their opening day centerfielder (Gary Matthews Jr) and allowed fans to not worry about the return of Carlos Beltran.
Pagan is eligible for arbitration at the end of 2011 and if he repeats this season he is going to win his case. He is going to be in the Mets starting outfield next year and hopefully for many more to come.

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7 – The Mets minor league is a mess
In the month of September the Mets lineup included at least four rookies for the majority of the games and in one game, seven rookies (and David Wright) took the field. How many of those guys really impressed you? Ike Davis, Josh Thole (maybe?) anyone else? Most of them looked like AAAA guys, at best.
Rebuilding this mess will be job one of the new GM. The bad news for that GM is that his rebuilding job will not bare fruit for three or four years and he might not even have a job then.

8 – The pitching staff is fine
The Mets 2010 staff was the reason this team didn’t lose 95 games or more. Nineteen shutouts, sixth in the NL in ERA and three of the teams ahead of them made the playoffs and another missed the post season by a game.
There is no need for the Mets to go out and overspend for a free agent pitcher. I know everyone wants Cliff Lee, but can the Mets afford him, or afford to make another mistake like him?
There are some downsides to next years’ staff. Their ‘ace’ is on the DL until who knows when; their second best pitcher caught lightning in a bottle in 2010 and we all wonder if he can do it again; their emerging star hasn’t put back-to-back good seasons together and their mister-do-it-all doesn’t want to stay in the pen.
Its very possible that the same staff completely implodes next year, but I am willing to take that chance rather than spend $100+ million on one guy.

9 – Citi Field does not suck the life out of the lineup
The Mets were a better hitting team at home 255/326/393 then on the road 243/304/373. They did hit more homeruns on the road 65 to 63, but that small of a margin in negligible.
What the Mets need is to build a team to fit the ballpark and use it to their advantage. Remember the 1980s Cardinals? Seven rabbits and one bopper. That was a team built to play in the old Busch Stadium, artificial turf and an outfield big enough to land a plane in. Tommy Herr drove in 110 runs by hitting eight homeruns in 1985, something that hadn’t been done in forty years.
The Mets need to build a team to fit Citi Field. Guys who drive the ball into the gap, guys who can run, guys who can field. Just like Shea, Citi Field is never going to be a home run hitters park. There is a reason only three Mets in 49 years have hit 40 homeruns or more, they play in airports.

10 – Mets fans have unrealistic ideas about 2011
Mets fans think that by signing Cliff Lee the next stop will be the World Series. This team is much further from a World Series trip than just one starting pitcher, no matter how good he is.
A starter would be nice, but so would a second baseman with an OBP of 400+ who bats second and steals 35 bases a season. A corner outfielder who hits 30-35 homers would also rock. And a closer. And another arm in the pen.
One player isn’t going to vault the Mets into first. We are going to have to accept that this team is at least two seasons and five players from a trip to the post-season.

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