<
>

Mets roster projection 2013.01

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A pitch has not even been thrown in major league camp. And position players do not report until Saturday. Still, given Frank Francisco's elbow issues, let's take our first 2013 stab at what the Opening Day roster might look like.

Let's start with the easy stuff. The rotation:

1. Johan Santana, who is slated to be the Opening Day starter

2. Shaun Marcum

3. Jonathon Niese

4. Matt Harvey

5. Dillon Gee

Then let's put Francisco on the disabled list to open the season and presume Pedro Feliciano, Scott Atchison and LaTroy Hawkins all show enough in camp to justify their minor league deals being converted to 40-man roster spots:

6. Bobby Parnell, closer

7. Brandon Lyon

8. Josh Edgin

9. Feliciano

10. Hawkins

11. Atchison

That leaves one vacancy for a group that includes Aaron Laffey, Scott Rice, Carlos Torres, Robert Carson, Jeurys Familia, Elvin Ramirez, Greg Burke and Jeremy Hefner. And because the Mets should have a 40-man roster crunch, let's give it to someone already on the 40. Our first leap ...

12. Burke, who was talked up by Terry Collins on Tuesday.

As for the position players, the infield is straightforward:

13. John Buck

14. Ike Davis

15. Daniel Murphy

16. Ruben Tejada

17. David Wright

And Collins already has anointed his left fielder as locked in:

18. Lucas Duda

Backup catcher should go to Anthony Recker over Landon Powell, since Recker is on the 40-man roster already.

19. Recker

There likely will be two platoons in the outfield. The center-field platoon looks straightforward:

20. Kirk Nieuwenhuis

21. Collin Cowgill

As for right field, that gives us our truest battle. Mike Baxter should form the left half, but the right side would be an open competition between Marlon Byrd, Andrew Brown, Zach Lutz, Justin Turner, Jamie Hoffmann and Brian Bixler. Let's hesitantly give the veteran the nod:

22. Baxter

23. Byrd

And that leaves the backup infielders, where Turner otherwise would settle in. Techically, Brandon Hicks and Omar Quintanilla would be in a competition to back up Tejada, but Hicks is on the 40 and should be the clear-cut favorite:

24. Turner

25. Hicks

Again, our most dicey picks: Byrd and Burke -- the latter of whom may only be a consideration if Francisco opens the season on the DL.