That was Then...
The second half of the 2012 season was a wasteland for the New York Mets. They posted a 28-48 mark after the Mid-Season Classic that saw them slip from being a surprising Wild Card contender to a bottom-of-the-division team.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was unhittable throughout the entire season, finishing with a 20-6 record, a 2.73 ERA and the 2012 CY Young award. He also led the league with 230 strikeouts.
While he was the best, he wasn't the only standout member of the rotation as they Mets also got solid seasons out of Jon Niese and Dillon Gee.
Starter Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history before once again suffering through injury troubles that would end another season for him prematurely.
Pitching was not entirely a strength for the Mets as they had one of the worst bullpens in baseball, dragged down mostly - but not exclusively - by closer Frank Francisco who finished the year with a 5.53 ERA. Reliever Manny Acosta posted an ERA of 6.46 making every trip to the pen an adventure for the Mets.
Third baseman David Wright turned in another quality season and was rewarded with a seven-year, $122 Million contract that will keep him as the anchor of New York's lineup.
...This is Now
The Wright Track
With team captain David Wright signed to a long term contract, the New York Mets are set to start building around their superstar third baseman.
With Dickey now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays after an off-season trade and Santana on the shelf to start the season once again, the Mets will put their rotation depth to the test.
First baseman Ike Davis is the only power threat in the lineup other than Wright and if his bat goes cold at any point of the season, they will struggle to provide any offence to bail out their starters and especially their bullpen that did not receive many off-season upgrades.
Travis d'Arnaud - who was acquired in the Dickey trade with the Blue Jays - is one of the top rated catching prospects in all of baseball and when he is ready, will be something the Mets can both rally and build around for years to come.
The problem is: he is not yet ready to be a major contributor to their lineup and will not be rushed into a Major League position.
Only the ineptitude of the Miami Marlins will keep the Mets from bringing up the rear in the NL East and if the injuries start to mount in Queens, it could be a real race to the bottom.
Every year, we look for players 26-years-old or younger that could make an impact on their team in the upcoming season. The player might have already established himself with a regular role with the team, or he could make their mark later on in the season.
Past Picks: 2012 - Jon Niese, 2011 - Ike Davis, 2010 - Josh Thole, 2009 - Daniel Murphy, 2008 - John Maine, 2007 - Mike Pelfrey, 2006 - Victor Diaz, 2005 - David Wright, 2004 - Orber Moreno, 2003 - Ty Wigginton
The slowly rebuilding Mets open this year's rankings at 23.
3B David Wright is the top-ranked Met, at 18th overall.
Though he suffered an injury in the World Baseball Classic, 3B David Wright is still a tremendous fantasy option, warranting a pick in the first two rounds. He has at least 20 home runs in six of the last eight seasons, stealing at least 10 bases in all eight years.
One of the most intriguing Mets for fantasy purposes is RHP Matt Harvey, a 23-year-old who dominated in 10 starts last season, striking out 70 in 59 2/3 innings, posting a 2.73 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He only won three of eight decisions, and that could remain a problem this year, but Harvey's potential will warrant consideration relatively early.
LHP Jonathon Niese had a breakthrough year last year and 1B Ike Davis provides enough power to overcome a shaky batting average.
Starting pitchers Shaun Marcum and Dillon Gee are also intriguing enough to round out the lower end of a fantasy rotation and LHP Johan Santana has such a great pedigree that he's worth a look whenever he makes his return to the mound.