Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Roto Arcade

Pressing Questions: The New York Mets

Brad Evans
Roto Arcade

View gallery

.

It's possible Mr. Met will log more April innings than Johan Santana (US Presswire)

Last season was an all too familiar outcome for the blue-bonneted stepchildren of the Big Apple. For the 10th time since 2000, the Miracles failed to reach the postseason. As a result, Jon Stewart, quite possibly the organization's loyalest fan, added another gray hair to his increasingly silver dome.

Unfortunately for Stew Beef, and the entire Mets fan-base, additional pain and suffering is sure to follow.

The Mets, still financially unstable stemming from the Wilpons' ties to the Bernie Madoff scandal, are seemingly satisfied playing the undercard in the country's biggest market. This offseason, GM Sandy Alderson was unable to retain prized free agent Jose Reyes who bolted for big bucks on South Beach. Additionally, 2010 breakout Angel Pagan was shipped to the West Coast for Andres Torres. With Carlos Beltran also out of the picture, the club is clearly in rebuilding mode, an undesirable state that will likely force the franchise to log extensive time near the NL East basement this season.

Still, for fantasy purposes, the Mets, unlike fellow dungeon dweller Houston, aren't completely devoid of talent. To help decipher the meaningful form the meaningless, here are the most pressing questions about New York heading into spring training:

View gallery

.

Sorry Jon, it's likely going to be a long year (AP)

Citi Field, a pitcher's haven in its short existence, is getting a Comerica-like facelift with fences coming in upwards of 17 feet. Will the shortened dimensions boost an offense that finished 26th in home runs in 2011? What impact will the move have on the pitching staff?

The cavernous specs and "Great Wall of Flushing" in left greatly hindered the Mets' power stroke, and its visitors'. In its stats-deflating three-year history the ballpark has yielded a mere 1.43 home runs per game, the lowest number among big league venues. In the less spacious confines, Alderson believes his team will club roughly 27 more home runs per season, enhancing the value of its sluggers. David Wright is the only Met to surpass 20 homers in a season since Citi Field's opening (2010 when he hit 29 HRs overall, 12 at home). This year, it's likely the now healthy third baseman along with rebound candidate Ike Davis and sleeper Lucas Duda will each surpass that mark. Jason Bay, meanwhile, will continue to suck.

Of course, there's give and take with any fence-line alteration. ERAs could definitely be on the rise, especially for fly-ball heavy pitchers. Jonathan Niese, a strong breakout candidate (3.14 K/BB, 3.77 tERA in '11), Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey and Dillon Gee shouldn't be too negatively impacted by the change. Each did a commendable job keeping balls in the park posting groundball rates well above 45.0 percent last year. However, Johan Santana, assuming he's healthy, could come down with a nasty case of gopheritis. During his last healthy season, 2010, the two-time Cy Young winner allowed 1.12 HR/9 at Citi Field. He also notched a skyward 0.75 GB/FB ratio with the Mets from '09-'10. If Johan doesn't regain his mystifying form, he could become a punching bag, even at home.

What's less risky: Swigging untreated water from the East River or rostering Johan in a standard mixer?

Believe it or not, the waterway's diseased swill might possess fewer toxins than the former fantasy ace. The multi-time All-Star is coming off a season lost, recovering from major shoulder surgery. Still, contrary to December reports that painted a grim picture about the pitcher's early season availability, Alderson revealed recently an April appearance isn't out of the question. From the New York Times:

As for Santana, who did not pitch for the Mets last season as he recovered from shoulder surgery, Alderson said he was throwing on consecutive days from a distance of roughly 75 feet. He said he expected Santana to be ready for the start of the season but could not be sure.

"The answers are going to come in spring training, not beforehand," Alderson said. "We have no reason to believe it won't be the case. Right now, he's progressing and should be ready to go at the start of spring training."

Santana threw 25 times from 90 feet Thursday and plans to ramp up the long-toss distance in his next session. His goal is to be ready for bullpen sessions when the Mets officially open spring training Feb. 22. The lefty, though, contends he has no idea where he'll be physically in two months.

Despite the optimistic reports, Santana remains a very risky commodity. Pre-procedure, his velocity and, subsequently, his K/9 were already in decline. His change-up, once one of the most-devastating pitches in the game, lost its ability to baffle. Fangrahs' pitch value chart is clear-cut proof. Simply put, he was an avoidable commodity pre-injury. Citi Field's hitter-friendly makeover does him no favors. Yes, he's worth a speculative pick in the wee hours of standard drafts, but, unless he twirls a positive outing or three during spring training, nothing more. Auctioneers, let someone else overpay.

Prediction: "The Dude," Lucas Duda, delivers a Michael Morse-like breakout season. White russians also become all the rage in watering holes throughout Queens.

For deep leaguers, Duda was a godsend after the All-Star break last year. He cracked a homer once ever 20.5 at-bats and finished with a .322/.411/.957 line over 205 box steps. His fantasy contribution during that stretch ranked No. 26 among outfielders, equivalent to a Round 7 value in 12-team mixers according to Baseball Monster. Extrapolate his second-half production over a full season (550 at-bats, 26 HR, 103 RBI, 81 R), and he would've posted numbers in-step with mass-owned outfielder Hunter Pence.

Though his contact numbers (81.3 CT%) and K:BB splits (0.58 BB/K) were laudable, it's unlikely he'll sustain a BA above .300 over a full slate. Still, a .286 career hitter in the minors, he isn't a categorical harm. Combine that with a likely everyday gig in right, fifth-spot in a decent batting order and Citi's remodeling, and Duda should turn a massive profit. Struggles against southpaws will be common (22.5 K% vs. LHP in '11), but he is certainly capable of a .280-25-90-80 output. Considering his current 218.7 ADP at Mock Draft Central and projected $1-$2 winning bid, he's one of those bargain basement buys that propel owners to the winner's circle. Don't overlook him.

Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch must really enjoy one another's company. During their stint in Toronto last year, many owners were forced to roster both. Should owners break out the 'cuffs yet again?

Owners who drafted Francisco as one of their primary closers (Guilty as charged) endured a rollercoaster of emotion last year. The rocky stopper, limited by pectoral/shoulder problems early in the season, overtook the job in May, only to cede occasional opportunities to Rauch as the season wore on. However, he finished strong, posting sensational numbers in August/September (18 IP, 3 ER, 16 K, 7 S).

View gallery

.

I'm Keith Hernandez (1984 Fleer)

Francisco's shrinking K/9 and home run vulnerability definitely raise an eyebrow, particularly in a park that should be more hitter friendly. But he still possesses a terrific mid-90s fastball. And if he relies more on his splitter, his past long-ball indiscretions likely won't resurface.

As we've constantly preached, owners should never overpay for saves. Francisco, who clearly has the inside track on the end-game gig heading into spring training, is exactly why you can avoid chasing the category early in drafts. The 32-year-0ld is a great late-round (220.2 ADP), low-dollar ($2 mixed league AAV) grab. Though keep in mind, if Franky bombs, Rauch, who saved 11 games last year, is next in line.

Historically, the Mets' farm system has produced a number of memorable homegrown arms (e.g. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Dwight Gooden). Is there another rifleman waiting in the wings?

Every year, a power-armed prospect mows down minor league hitters, invigorating the fantasy masses. It's been ages since a Mets farmhand primed the pump, but righty Matt Harvey certainly has the disposition and stuff to develop into a top-of-the-rotation ace. Propaganda from the New York Post:

What makes Harvey special is not just the right arm that throws a four-seam fastball in the mid to upper 90s, a late-breaking curveball, sinker, slider and a developing changeup, but also that his makeup is off the charts.

Watch him pitch and you see the kind of focus the Mets run up against when they face the likes of Phillies ace Roy Halladay.

Easy gas. Hard determination.

Over 132.2 innings between High-A and Double-A, Harvey proved nasty, whiffing 156. His 1.32 GB/FB ratio was equally impressive. The 22-year-old still needs some seasoning, but his big arm is worth keeping tabs on. If injuries arise or Dillion Gee bombs as the fifth starter, Harvey could earn a promotion as early as June. Highlight his name on your cheat sheet, keeper leaguers.

Want to bean Brad in the head? Bring the heat on Twitter @YahooNoise.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (28)

Recommended for You

  • Mark Cuban made comments about the NFL six months ago and he was right

    Peter King of Sports Illustrated looks back at the comments from Maverick owner Mark Cuban about the future of the NFL. ESPN's Marc Stein has a great write up about the premiere of the Berlin Tall's new movie.

    SB Nation
  • Former CB Brian Baucham Sues USC and Lane Kiffin

    Former USC Trojans' cornerback Brian Baucham is suing the university and ex-coach Lane Kiffin, according to an Associated Press report. In the September 2012 game, Brian Baucham collapsed during the second half and was taken to the hospital by an ambulance. Baucham hadn't played in USC's previous…

    SB Nation
  • DeSean Jackson doesn't realize the Washington Redskins lost to the Eagles

    Apparently Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson did not realize his team lost to the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday. Yeah, Jackson scored, he taunted Eagles players and fans, and he got his 'revenge' on this play. Check the scoreboard, DeSean.

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 21
    Washington34 - 37Philadelphia
    Game Recap
  • GIF: Brock Lesnar Curb Stomped by Seth Rollins at WWE Night of Champions 2014

    At some point or another it was decided that the finish to the Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena rematch at Night of Champions on Sept. 21, 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee would feature a run-in from Seth Rollins. It was also decided that Lesnar, vulnerable thanks to Cena spamming finishers for the last 10…

    SB Nation
  • Report: Steelers signing James Harrison after losing Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones

    In order to bolster their linebacking depth, the Pittsburgh Steelers are signing former NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison. The Pittsburgh Steelers had a convincing 37-19 win over the Carolina Panther on Sunday, but it was costly. Jarvis Jones was placed on IR-Recall after suffering a…

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 21
    Tennessee7 - 33Cincinnati
    Game Recap
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr. needs to own hypocrisy, treat his fighters like he treats himself

    The five members of the Nevada Athletic Commission would be well advised to do a search of the Internet and read Floyd Mayweather's own words from May 1, 2012, as they question him Tuesday. Chairman Francisco Aguilar ordered Mayweather, not only the world's best pound-for-pound boxer but the owner…

    Yahoo Sports
  • Man Told to Sell Lamborghini Golf Cart or Lose Wife

    RELATED: See photos of another great Lamborghini from 1999 – the Diablo GTR The 36-volt Lamborghini golf cart comes fitted with leather seats, which he confirms he will be sure to fart on as much as possible, as well an auxiliary charger, spare seat, manual, spare parts, and a headrest, which he…

    Boldride
  • Darnell Dockett has tickets for Cardinals fan getting in a brawl with 49ers fans

    Sunday was kind of a wild day at the 49ers-Cardinals game. Aside from just the loss, 49ers and Cardinals fans got into a nasty brawl in the stands. It's a really nasty fight, with quite a bit of blood on the ground as the fight wrapped up. It seemed

    SB Nation
  • Undertaker rumors of poor health seemingly debunked by his wife, Michelle McCool

    Over the weekend, a weird rumor started making the rounds that Undertaker is in poor health or bad shape or whatever other term you want to use to signify someone is not doing well physically. The source for this was, apparently, Limp Bizkit lead singer Fred Durst, who reportedly dedicated a song…

    SB Nation
  • Manning exposed: Seahawks win, Richard Sherman continues his season of subdued dominance

    Not nearly as easy as the Super Bowl, Seattle ended up just being a little better at defense than Denver was. Going into the Seattle Seahawks game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, we had a very convenient frame of reference as far as what we might expect to see. After all, no other two teams…

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 21
    Denver20 - 26Seattle
    Game Recap
  • Texas QB David Ash says he has no regrets about career cut short

    David Ash’s career came to an unfortunate and premature end after the concussion symptoms he dealt with for most of the 2013 season returned following Texas’ season-opening win over North Texas. Texas coach Charlie Strong announced last Wednesday that Ash’s career was over. On Monday, the senior…

    Dr. Saturday
  • Gareth Bale kicks the ball at Luka Modric's face

    You know what hurts more than seeing Gareth Bale and Luka Modric scoring amazing goals and winning trophies like we always hoped they would do for Tottenham Hotspur? Watching them turn on each other. GARETH BALE KICKED THE BALL AT LUKA MODRIC'S

    SB Nation
  • Watch Yaya Toure give Eden Hazard a playful halftime slap around

    Before Frank Lampard scored the goal that will probably haunt him for the rest of his life, Chelsea and Man City were playing a hard-fought match — the physicality of which apparently carried over into the tunnel at halftime. As the two teams made their way back to the pitch for the second half,…

    Dirty Tackle
  • View

    Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti faces the media (11 photos)

    All of the parties involved in the Ray Rice elevator-assault scandal are being called to account for their actions, or inactions, and the Baltimore Ravens, Rice's now-former team, are now in the spotlight. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti held a press conference

    Yahoo Sports
  • Derek Jeter as you've never seen him before, Yankees star finally opens up

    Derek Jeter has done an exceptional job of becoming one of the famous athletes in pro sports without ever revealing too much of himself. In the give-and-take that is the modern press, where you have to expose so much of yourself to get noticed anymore, Jeter's always played his own game. As Jeter…

    Big League Stew
  • Two Vikings players body-slammed Drew Brees and he wasn't happy about it

    On the final play of the third quarter, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and safety Robert Blanton appeared to make a drive-ending sack on the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees. But Munnerlyn and Blanton added a WWE-esque finishing move with

    Shutdown Corner
    Sun, Sep 21
    Minnesota9 - 20New Orleans
    Game Recap
  • Chris Weidman's broken hand postpones Vitor Belfort fight, Hendricks vs. Lawler II now headlines UFC 181

    UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is out of his UFC 181 main event showdown with Vitor Belfort, but the UFC has since confirmed a Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler welterweight title rematch in its place. Nothing like a dose of bad news to start off your week, as UFC middleweight contender…

    SB Nation