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Sunday, January 09, 2011

2011 Surprise: Who Can Be This Year's Version of R.A. Dickey

“Every year players come out of nowhere to become success stories. Look no further than R.A. Dickey. He signed a minor-league deal last January, became a fixture in the starting rotation in May, and finished the season with 11 victories and a 2.84 ERA. I believe some of our offseason acquisitions can be this year’s version of R.A.”

New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson stated this in an e-mail to fans earlier today, and he could very well be projecting the future.

With not much for Mets fans to look forward to this upcoming season, there is always a chance that a proven or unproven player can surprise fans enough to keep their butts in Citi Field.

R.A. Dickey was our success story in 2010, and now we take a look at eight players who could surprise us this season.

Chris Capuano

Coming off two, yes… TWO, Tommy John surgeries, Chris Capuano has something to prove not only to the Mets and their fan base, but also to himself.

The former All-Star and 18-game winner for the Milwaukee Brewers told reporters that he is feeling back to 100 percent and has his eyes on a starting rotation spot on the Mets, which could establish something good for Capuano and the Mets in 2011.

Dillon Gee

Whether from the bullpen or in the starting rotation, Dillon Gee has the potential to become a bigger ‘out-of-nowhere’ success than Dickey.

The former 21st rounder, as opposed to R.A.’s 18th round, Gee was on no ones radar a few years back, and now he has seemed to crack the Mets 25-man roster.

He has shown that he can handle the pressures of the big leagues and if he remains healthy, he can become an integral part of the 2011 Mets rotation.

Taylor Buchholz

Another arm on the Mets to have undergone surgery is newly acquired reliever Taylor Buchholz.

After missing all of 2009 because of elbow surgery, Buchholz split last year between the Blue Jays and Rockies and glimmered with hope, going 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in nine appearances as a reliever.

If Buchholz can get back to his 2008 form when he appeared in 68 games for the Rockies striking out 56 with a 2.17 ERA, he can be the low-risk/high-reward player the Mets hoped for when they signed him.

Pedro Beato

Featuring a mid-90s fastball with good movement on his breaking pitches and a compact delivery, Pedro Beato has been described by GM Sandy Alderson as a “power arm” that the Mets bullpen needs.

A native of Queens, NY, Beato can be a huge surprise to shore up the shaky bullpen after the Mets acquired him through this year’s Rule 5 Draft.

Josh Thole

Finally being able to show us he can be an everyday starter, Josh Thole obviously has the potential o surprise fans this year.

His superior defense behind the plate will help keep his stock up with manager Terry Collins and hopefully will limit the amount of time Thole sees on the bench as Ronny Paulino forms the other half of the platoon.

Consistency at the plate and in the field is what we need from Thole, and if he remains consistent throughout a majority of 2011, that will be a success in its own right.

Lucas Duda

Even though it would be best suited for outfielder Lucas Duda to start 2011 in Triple-A Buffalo, he could very well be a big surprise for the Mets if they don’t externally sign a fourth outfielder.

After a slow start in 2010, Duda showed hope that he can rip opposing pitchers and his big body should be able to mash even harder in the future.

Any hypothetical injury in the Mets outfield could begin the breakout year for Duda and the Mets.

Brad Emaus

In a second base competition that seems to be getting more and more interesting as the season draws near, former Rule 5 Draft pick Brad Emaus could be the Mets answer.

After years of seeing little to no production at the 2B position, Emaus has the potential to start over incumbent Luis Castillo and Daniel Murphy and has the right tools to shine this year at second base.

Justin Turner

Also in the mix for the Mets starting second base competition, Justin Turner will have to do a lot if he wants to stand out this season.

He’s looking up at a couple players that should get the nod before he will, but Turner can definitely make good of his chance and surprise us coming into spring training.

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