Opening day is only a week away and somewhere in Japan right now people are getting ready for the first MLB game in the far east. It's an exciting time of year where every team still has a chance at winning the pennant.
The Mets are full of high hopes, and I for one expect to see a lot of those hopes and dreams come true. Here are my expectations for 2008.
1. Jose Reyes will increase his OBP by at least 50 points
Jose Reyes is no longer a young player. He's a veteran and he needs to start proving he's a leader on this team, not by his dugout behavior but with his on field play. He needs to show patience at the plate. Get a few more walks under his belt, and for crying out loud quit trying to swing for the fences. I expect we'll see Reyes take more pitches and stop uppercutting as much as he did last year. If Reyes increases his OBP by 50 points this year, I expect that to translate into at least 10 more wins in 2008.
2. The Mets will have three 15 game winners.
Santana, Perez, & Maine should all win 15 games this year. Surprised I didn't say Pedro? I expect Pedro to miss some starts but these three guys should get at least 35 starts this season. I'm expecting closer to 18-20 wins for Santana, but I think Oliver Perez & John Maine will be able to build on their success last year. I just keep thinking about Maine's performance against the Marlins the second to last game of last season and I see a ton of potential for him this season.
3. David Wright will compete for the NL MVP.
I'm expecting this to happen every year for the next 8 years. Call me an optimist.
4. The Mets will play for a World Series.
Ok, if this does not come true, two things will happen. First, Willie Randolph will be fired. Second, Omar Minaya will be on monster.com too. Sure injuries will happen, and players will have slumps but this team should win 100 games. Period. No excuses. The starting rotation is the best it's been in almost 20 years. The bullpen has some question marks but in Wagner, Heilman and a healthy Sanchez you've got a great 7th, 8th & 9th inning pitcher. Our first four in the lineup are arguably the best in the majors. And our bench has some good depth to it (although I'd like another right handed bat before August rolls around).
The Mets don't need to just redeem themselves from 2007, they need to take back the World Series trophy. It's been too long and we're too good to let it elude us yet again.
Those are my expectations for the 2008 Mets. Let's play ball.